Introducing Year 5 Civic Innovation Fellows 2018 – 2019

Introduction to the Civic Innovation Fellows Program:

The Civic Innovation Fellowship is the first and only comprehensive program dedicated to improving community boards’ use of data and technology while training the next generation of civic leaders from CUNY. Manhattan Borough President Gale A Brewer founded the program in 2014, and BetaNYC has run it since 2015. Here you can read about our fifth class of CUNY Service Corps fellows!

For eight weeks, our fellows, selected for competency in a variety of relevant skills, are trained in the fundamentals of civic technology, data, and design. After this boot camp training, fellows are partnered into innovation teams who explore projects to bolster the civic fabric of NYC.
This program is a partnership between the Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, BetaNYC, CUNY Service Corps, and Fund for the City of New York. The program is supported by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Data & Society Research Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, and New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.


Amy Montero

My name is Amy Montero and I am a senior at CUNY Queens College. I major in Economics and minor in Political Science. When I obtain my Bachelor’s degree in May 2019, I would like to pursue a career in the financial sector while acquiring my Masters degree at CUNY Baruch College. Anything regarding technological skills and data collection piques my curiosity as it incorporates analytical skills regarding my major and will be relevant to what career I choose to pursue in the near future. The whole notion of technological innovation, open data and policymaking in government is what ultimately drew me into this program in the first place. Even though I currently lack skills and experience in computer science, I’m extremely curious and would love to learn about it. I’m also excited to learn about the powers and jurisdiction of a Borough President and delving into the world of NYC bureaucracy. Being directly involved with policy making and working on a range of tasks in this internship will give me the opportunity to learn more about my strengths and weaknesses, while getting connected and developing my professional network. I also want to utilize my strengths and make a positive difference during my time here; no matter how small the difference may be. Whenever I’m not working or in school, I like going to concerts, open-mic events, restaurants, museums, etc. I’m into comedy, politics, and watch a lot of shows and movies (when I have the time). I also work at Sephora in the side and was affiliated with a sorority on my college campus for a couple of years.


Anderson Ceus

My name is Anderson Ceus. I am a junior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, majoring in criminal justice. I came from a small village in Haiti. My family and I moved to the United States four years ago for a better education and job opportunities. I completed my first internship at Brooklyn Borough Hall in 2015 during my junior year at High School. I received the President Honors Program in high school and three years of perfect attendance. I’m a very dedicated person; when I put my mind into something, I won’t stop until I reach my goal. I am a three-time Dean’s list recipient in college. I’m passionate about learning and serving New York City. My goal after graduating from John Jay is to become a police officer and pursue a master’s degree in the legal field.

I am excited to join the Civic Innovation Fellowship Program to work with the BetaNYC and the Borough of Manhattan President’s office. I’m eager to learn more about the city and gain interpersonal skills that will help me in the future. I want to uphold the laws that serve the city. In order to help the city the way I want to, I need to understand the way the local government works and what the citizens in the city want. This internship is a good way for me to start understanding how the city government works.


Jennifer J Maldonado

My name is Jennifer Maldonado and I am a senior at Queens College. I am majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Business and Liberal Arts Honors (BALA). I’ve always had a keen interest in the environment and I recently developed a desire to merge that interest with business. Growing up, I was mainly concerned as to how our natural systems and wildlife were impacted by human activities; however, my thinking change during my college years. While taking a few urban studies courses, I realized that communities suffer from environmental impacts just as much as the environment they are in. After taking a GIS course this past spring semester, I discovered a newfound interest in urban planning. I created maps to visualize the distribution of asthma rates and waste transfer site locations throughout the city. This demonstrated a correlation between human activities and impacts on the environment as well as human health. Not only did I gain a genuine appreciation for maps, I began to think about how maps could be used to educate people about environmental problems. Because of my experiences, I’m excited to be a part of the NYC Innovation Fellowship. I want to learn and understand the functions of a community board and how open data, mapping, and other sects of technology are used to create digital tools that are accessible to the public. I want to branch out and push myself to learn new things. I hope to make a difference whether it be small or large. In my free time, I enjoy reading the New York Times, watching nature documentaries, and trying out vegan eateries.


Jimmol J Singh

My name is Jimmol Singh and I go to New York City College of Technology. I’m currently a sophomore pursuing an Associates degree in Computer Information Systems and will later pursue my Bachelors in Software Development.I’m passionate about the environment, which is why I enjoy working with students and professors on campus to encourage and educate others to be more green and do things that will have a positive impact on the environment. I’m excited to be part of Civic Innovation Fellowship because this is closely related to my major, and I find that working with, visualizing and analyzing data to be pretty awesome and a cool skill to carry with me in the future. Some of my hobbies including hanging out with friends and playing video games.


Kevin Trujillo

My name is Kevin Trujillo and I am currently a junior at Lehman College; double majoring in Political Science and Philosophy. I am a proud member of the Lehman Scholars Program; a rigorous honors program designed to push students outside their usual comfort zone of academia. During my last two years at CUNY Lehman, I have been heavily involved in numerous on-campus extracurricular activities; such as Student Government, Pre-law Club, Men’s Baseball, and various other community outreach clubs. As the Executive Secretary for the Student Athletic Association Club; a nationally recognized club, I helped organize numerous events to help the borough of the Bronx and its residents. Whether it was toy drives, coat drives, volunteering at local pantries or soup kitchens, I constantly emphasized community involvement; especially within the student athlete community at CUNY Lehman. Having lived in the village of Freeport, a mid-sized white and blue collared town in Long Island, I was easily able to notice the socio-economic obstacles and differences that hindered most residents in this borough. I believe that exploring policy will enable me to become better prepared to look at issues from an economical, political, and social perspective. One day, this will help me create my own policies for legislation. As a libertarian conservative, who believes in small government, maximum freedom, and individual responsibility. I value and strive to protect the Constitution of the United States, especially the 1st and 2nd amendment. Likewise, I value a strong national defense to keep our families and country safe from enemies abroad. My end goal after becoming an attorney is to transition into international relations and focus on foreign policy. I also strive to join the military one day, particularly the United States Air Force, most likely once my post-career plans are completed.
I believe the Office of the Manhattan Borough President’s Internship Program will provide me with the much-needed tools to further help me pursue my goals and make them a reality. I am ambitious and willing to learn. I am excited at the fact that this fellowship offers mentoring, workshops about public speaking among many other topics, and networking with prestigious professionals. I view this fellowship as an opportunity to help me refine my skills and obtain success in my career as a lawyer and in anything I choose to do upon graduating college.


Ochanya Itodo

My name is Ochanya Itodo. I am a sophomore at the College of Staten Island. While my major is currently undecided, I am considering double majoring in International Studies and Linguistics. My interests are in the humanities, theatre, music and writing. I also have always been passionate about politics. In the past year, I became increasingly frustrated with our government and how little change I felt from the policies they were creating. Especially with the current administration, it has become clear that in order to stimulate change, we must begin with our local government. Through the Civic Innovation Fellowship, I hope to gain a better understanding of local governments as well as how to begin the work for a grassroots movement. I am excited to learn and eventually work with open data because it allows people to not only understand our government and its process, but to develop a relationship with their local governments. This can allow the people to create the ideal community they want to live in.


Wen Jiang

My name is Wen Jiang (also known as Anita Vaesalius Jiang). I attend John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Currently, I am junior who is double majoring in Criminal Justice B.S. and Economics B.S. I am also part of the Honors Program in school and a Dean’s List Recipient. My previous internship experience involved canvassing with Paul Newell who, at the time, was running for state assembly. I have also had experience in working in a startup company called Token Tax which help clients file taxes for the various cryptocurrencies they own. In addition, I currently work in the Law Office of Henry Lee M. Fong where our office handles litigation, real estate, commercial, and immigration law. I am passionate about learning and experiencing anything that is new. Thanks to my passion for learning, I picked up boxing as a hobby. Although I don’t have that much free time due to numerous responsibilities, I love to read classical literature or philosophy and spend time with the people I care about. I am thrilled to join the Civic Innovation Fellows Program to work with BetaNYC and the Manhattan Borough President’s office. I believe that CIF would allow me to further comprehend and master what I have learned in my economics classes. Likewise, I have the opportunity to strengthen my writing and public speaking skills. While I am in CIF, I hope to learn more about open data, data analysis, and computer skills.


Boubacar Barry

My name is Boubacar Barry and I am from Conakry, Guinea in West Africa. I came to the United States in November 2010 to reunite with my mother and secure a bright future with vast opportunities. I graduated from LaGuardia Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Science. I am currently a senior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where I will be completing my undergraduate studies. I am majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Political Science. My major helped me build many skills to be successful in college, law school and for the future. I am fluent in English, French and Fulani. Coming from a land of few opportunities, I want to make a difference in the world and do something that would benefit my family as well as the community. This dream inspires me and keeps me going forward.

An internship like the Civic Innovation Lab in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President has always been my dream since I first started attending John Jay College in the Spring of 2017. I am very excited about learning different things and to expand my horizons. I admire this program and I want be a part of the community. I am interested in learning about city data, engaging in civic events and community boards. I believe it can give me high level skills, tools and experience so that later in life, I will be able to give back to the community. I am open to learning and discovering what the Civic Innovation Lab Internship can do for me and other students by working together as a team in order to bring something great to this program. I will contribute to this program and take advantage of the support that is offered. My hobbies include reading newspapers and books to understand what’s going on in the United States and around the world, learning about politics, the economy, business, entertainment and sports. I tend to do sports at least twice a week such as playing soccer and I go out and run with friends to help me relax my mind and exercise my body.


Herlande Jasmin

My name is Herlande Jasmin. I am from Haiti and moved to New York a couple years back with the only intention to succeed and help my family. I am currently at my last year of undergrad at John Jay college of criminal Justice; majoring in Criminal Justice Management with a minor in law. My plan after graduation is to pursue a degree in the legal field. I don’t have much experience concerning technology and data, but I am eager to learn more and develop new skills that will help me in the future and throughout my career. My major allows me to understand the importance of public interests and management which shaped my interests into being more engaged in the community. My hobbies include reading and watching movies and shows related to law.
Having the opportunity to be part of CIF is a huge step towards civic engagement and gaining new knowledge about data and technology- which is one of the reasons why I am very pleased to be part of the team this year. I am looking forward to contribute and be involved in any way possible to this wonderful program.


Ishrat Chowdhury

My name is Ishrat Chowdhury and I am a junior at Queens College. I am majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Mathematics. I am an immigrant from Bangladesh and came to New York City around six years ago and I have been loving the city ever since. I enjoy the outdoors and I am always up for an adventure. I like to be active in my community and I am very aware of the current political situation which motivates me to be more active in the community. I have volunteered with a non-profit organization which helped Asian communities living in New York City public housing. I am very excited to be a part of CIF because I am passionate about technology and helping the community. I am also very excited to learn about the impact of the open data portal in the community and I also want to explore topics that related to immigration issues that may impact the community. I am looking forward to working and collaborating with everyone and I hope to have a great year!


Ahnaf Tazwar

My name is Ahnaf Tazwar and I am a sophomore at New York City College of Technology majoring in Chemical Technology A/S. I intend to pursue Chemical Engineering for which I will have to transfer to a different college because City Tech does not offer a Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering. As of now, my prime objective is to transfer to a different college (a more competitive college). I have always wanted to expand my horizon of networking and communication skills. As soon as I discovered about Beta NYC from the CUNY Service Corps, I knew it was the best fit for me. I am really interested in the statistics of the housing rentals around New York City because I feel like that is one of the issues that concerns New York City citizens- mostly immigrants.

Fun fact about me- I am an orange belt Taekwondo Martial Artist!


Charles Amofordjuoh

My name is Charles Amofordjuoh and I am currently a math major form Medgar Evers College. I was raised in Brooklyn, New York and my choice of a career is to become an data analyst. I joined Civic innovation so I will gain experience using tech skills for data analyst. I also enjoy teaching so I also plan on being a math teacher if I don’t become a data analyst. I never knew I will become a math major being a math major just came upon me when I was a freshman. I love doing applied mathematics more than doing pure math just because I hate doing proofs. If any students need help in math just communicate me by email.