Introducing Year 6 Civic Innovation Fellows 2019 – 2020

Introduction to the NYC Civic Innovation Fellowship Program:

The Civic Innovation Fellowship is a unique opportunity for CUNY Service Corps fellows to learn more about NYC government, local communities, and how data and technology can help strengthen civic life. Being immersed in BetaNYC’s Civic Innovation Lab allows fellows to develop a deeper understanding of civic technology, data, design, and their role in local government. After this bootcamp period of intense education, the fellows are partnered into innovation teams to explore exciting, real-time projects to bolster the civic fabric of NYC. 

The class of 2019-2020 is our sixth unique cohort. Our diverse fellows come to us with a wide variety of expertise and hail from different educational and cultural backgrounds. Their majors include criminal justice, public administration, and an array of STEM majors. This is the first time BetaNYC is hosting fellows from CUNY community colleges (LaGuardia and Hostos) and graduate programs (Computer Science and Public Administration). We are very excited to educate the next generation of civic leaders!

Murat M. Akaydin

My name is Murat M. Akaydin and I am a Turkish-American that was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I have served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence professional, completed my Bachelor of Business Administration in IT Management, and am now in my final year of my Masters of Public Administration at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

A fun fact about me is that I am a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, where I learned and grew a lot, both personally and professionally, and I still try my best to stay active and mentor the new members from my chapter as a member of the Alumni Advisory team.

I am honored to be a part of the 6th cohort of Civic Innovation Fellows with BetaNYC and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President. It is such an exciting opportunity to work towards improving the city that I love and empowering NYC’s Community Boards to take advantage of NYC’s Open Data Law and make use of the data and technology available to them. I’m looking forward to all that I will learn, as well as the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the lives of New Yorkers.

Nikki Prascak

My name is Nikki Prascak, and I am a junior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I am majoring in Forensic Psychology and minoring in Criminology. I am also a BA/MA student at John Jay, so I am working towards earning my Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology while I am completing my undergraduate degree.


I am excited to join the sixth class of Civic Innovation Fellows because I am passionate about helping and giving back to local communities. I look forward to collaborating with the staff and my fellow interns to improve the lives of New Yorkers. I am also looking forward to learning about the NYC government, open data, and the technology software we will be utilizing. A fun fact about me is that I enjoy playing tennis. I played on my high school tennis team for three years and I went to the U.S. Open two years in a row.

Ameen Alhubaishi

Since I was born, I have been called by Ameen Alhubaishi, which is my name. I am originally from Yemen so I am fluent in Arabic. I have considered New York City as my home since I moved here in 2009. I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering at LaGuardia Community College. I have a background in Technical Support, Networking and Engineering. I was in Malave Leadership Academy CUNY. In addition, I was a delegate and Head delegate representative of Senegal, Greece, Canada, and Yemen at the National Model United Nations Conference- DC.Ameen

I am interested in math, science, engineering, robotics, space, and history. I enjoy learning about arts, different cultures, and meeting new people and thus my favorite places in New York are the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of the City of New York, The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Bridge, and Central Park.

I am excited to join the sixth class of Civic Innovation Fellows because this program is giving me the chance to learn about the history and the culture of New York City, and its government structure. It is the first time for me to work at a nonprofit organization. I am interested in Technology and Data analysis which I am going to be taught helpful skills in CIF by professional stuff. I cannot wait to start and meet with everyone and learn from each other and offer our best to service people of New York which is the city that you can get the best one dollar pizza at any time in the day.

Onedeige James

OnedeigeMy name is Onedeige James and I emigrated from Guyana in 2010. I am completing my Associates in Environmental Science at LaGuardia Community College and I plan to continue pursuing this major upon transferring to a four-year college. My experience includes five years of office administration in the construction field and one year of student support at LaGuardia Community College. I enjoy salsa and ballroom dance, as well as taking the occasional martial arts classes.

It is a privilege to be a part of the 6th cohort of Civic Innovation Fellows because it is my first role in a capacity that will utilize and expand upon the knowledge and skills gained through my major. I hope to gain valuable knowledge of open data, data visualisation, and analytics as it relates to the continuous development of our unrivaled New York City. I am excited to get a brief look behind the curtain to view and understand the New York City government, and how it utilizes the civic technology movement. I also look forward to forging new friendships with my fellow interns.

Mohammad Chowdhury

This is Mohammad Abdulla Chowdhury. I was born and raised in Bangladesh. I migrated to New York six years ago in search of higher education. Currently, I am pursuing my bachelors degree in Computer System Technology in New York City College of Technology and I am in my senior year. Fun fact about me is that I like to play badminton, soccer, and I am also down for any kind of outdoor athletic activities.Mohammad

I am privileged to be a part of the 6th cohort of Civic Innovation Fellows, and I am also excited about the program because this program will allow me to communicate with different community boards and members of New York. It’s a wonderful platform which will create a pipeline between the community and the technology. Being a part of this program, I will have the opportunity to learn and use new technology for the welfare of the community. I have always wanted to do something for the community and this will open up the door for me to give back to society.

Gabrielle Langston

Gabrielle LangstonMy name is Gabrielle Langston and I’ve lived in Brooklyn, New York my entire life. My mother’s family is from Puerto Rico while my father’s family is of African descent from North Carolina. I am currently a senior at New York City College of Technology, majoring in Applied Mathematics. I am passionate about culture, math, data and politics. One fun fact about me is that I love watching tennis; my favorite players are Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Also, I was able to ski a black diamond slope when I was just eight years old.

I am honored to be part of the sixth class of Civic Innovation Fellows because I will be able to give back to our community and use my passion for data. I love that this program has a clear vision for the future that is linked to open data and technology. I look forward to learning about local governments, mapping software and how our Community Boards operate. In addition, I want to grow as a participating citizen and form everlasting relationships with my fellow interns.

Stephanie Lovett

I am currently a junior at New York City College of Technology and am majoring in Applied Mathematics. Despite having grown up in rural Georgia, I consider New York City to be my home. A fun fact about me is that every so often you’ll hear a glimmer of my Southern lilt. I love that the City is continuously reflecting upon what works best to benefit the lives of its citizens, where there are opportunities for improvement, and what constitutes an ideal city government. I love that there’s always a plan: PlaNYC 2030, OneNYC 2050, whatnot.Stephanie Lovett

I am privileged to be a member of the sixth cohort of NYC Civic Innovation Fellows and to work with BetaNYC. I look forward to learning more about how my city runs, especially at the local level of boroughs and community boards. I am super excited to work more with open data on projects for the Office of the Manhattan Borough President using the software and tech tools that we’ll be learning about in our bootcamp. I am grateful to have this unique opportunity to facilitate better government work on a small scale as I begin my career in Civic Tech in NYC.

Srijana Tamang

My name is Srijana Tamang. I am an international student from Nepal. I am a senior at Queens College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. I am also a peer mentor monitoring a pre-calculus class at Queens College. I have been in New York City for three and a half years only, but it feels like home. Being surrounded by the community in Queens that shares the culture of my home country, I am glad to have been here and experience it on a whole new level. One fun fact about me is that I love singing.Srijana

 I am glad to be a part of the 6th cohort of Civic Innovation Fellows as it involves working in the field, I am most interested in, which is open data. I have been loving the classes related to databases and being able to work with and manage huge sources of data, which helps the city in one way or the other and is a great opportunity that I am looking forward to. I am excited to be learning more about this city, community members, and how we can help to better the lives of people living in New York.

Guohua Zhang

My name is Guohua Zhang. I am an international student from china. I worked as an auditor in KPMG for 3 years. I am currently a master studying Computer Science at Queens College. I enjoy reading and getting to know about different cultures and history. I look forward to a fun and productive year with Emily, Zhi, and my fellows.Guohua

I was attracted to BetaNYC because it closely related to my field, computer science. I believe that the future will be driven by technology and analytics. Through this program, I hope to expand my current knowledge about data analysis and cloud computing. I also hope to develop a project or software to help modernize government. I believe that after all the coming months of training and learning, I will be able to complete what I expected. And at the same time, I will be able to give back to the community by cooperating with the people who work at this program.

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.