Alexandria Washington is a Doctor of Public Health Student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She has a prevention-focused mindset and hopes to one day contribute to the elimination of diabetes and obesity through food literacy. Along with a passion for food literacy, she is passionate about volunteering and health education. Ms. Washington served as a Co-Chair for the Northwest Florida Cancer Control Collaborative and is an active member of the Florida A&M University Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society, the National Association of Professional Women, and various other organizations. Recently, Ms. Washington was named as one of the Tallahassee Democrat’s 25 Women You Need to Know for her various efforts in the community and professional achievements. Upon completion of her schooling, Ms. Washington plans to relocate to New Orleans, Louisiana and start a non-profit centered on food literacy.
Alyssa Smith was born in Pine Bluff, AR and has resided in Little Rock. Alyssa enjoys immersing herself in various cultures. For example, traveling is an important part of Alyssaâs life. Alyssa has taken opportunities to study abroad. At Alyssaâs high school, Alyssa was involved in Centralâs International Acceptance Organization (CIAO), which was a club centered on bringing the experience of other cultures to my peers. Alyssa also enjoys learning about history, especially when it informs Alyssa of her heritage. Alyssa volunteered at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and was a member of the Historic Siteâs Youth Leadership Academy (YLA). As a chairman of her schoolâs chapter of the NAACP, Alyssa has a passion for social justice. In addition to being in NAACP, Alyssa was a member of Project Town, a student-based social justice organization sponsored by Communities of Arkansas (JCA). After graduation, Alyssa plans on going to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Alyssa is not sure what she wants to major in yet, but she hopes it will align with her interests. In the future, Alyssa wants to start an organization that helps at-risk youth by giving them the opportunities that might not be afforded to them; whether it is going to a state park, a museum, or learning how to garden, the exposure will make a difference in their lives. Alyssaâs mother made it a priority that she knew the importance of history, geography, and culture. Alyssa wants to pass on the knowledge she has gained to the younger generation.
Angela Wong is a first-generation college student who attended Georgetown University. Originally from York City, she was raised by parents who emigrated from Malaysia. She attended Kent School through the support of A Better Chance, which allows students of color access to private school education. There, Angela participated on its cross-country and swim teams. She worked as Features Editor for Kents and a Peer Writing Tutor. By graduation, Angela was inducted into the Cum Laude Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. A product of contrasting school landscapes, Angela has become passionate about promoting social justice and educational equity. The Center for Social Justiceâs (CSJ) First Year Orientation to Community Involvement (FOCI) introduced her to the endless service opportunities on the Hilltop. Through the CSJ, she has tutored English language learners with the DC Schools Project. Angela also attended an Alternative Break Trip to learn about healthcare disparities in Mississippiâs Delta. She has also been involved with the Roosevelt Instituteâs Education Policy Center. She has also been appointed to Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA)âs Socioeconomic and Cultural and Racial Inclusivity teams. Angela is incredibly grateful for all the opportunities she is offered and hopes to dedicate her life to serving the public good.
Anna Thomas received her Associates of Arts Degree in Business from Seminole State College and transferred to Florida International University to study Public Administration, with a minor in International Relations. She is passionate about teaching the significance of privilege, power, and esteem in the education system of the U.S. to young women who deserve to epitomize the essence of empowering one another. She is also passionate about providing essential educational resources and support to underprivileged schools to help bridge the dropout gap in high-poverty communities. Her involvement around campus ranged from being a leader for the only USNC United Nations Women club in the U.S. to advocate for reproductive justice, LGBTQIA rights, and sexual assault awareness. She aspires to be an AmeriCorps member for City Year Orlando to give back to her community by providing individualized support to at-risk students and establishing an overall positive learning environment in the school. She also aspires to one day develop an interactive and extensive curriculum that educates young women on the significance of their self-worth, intelligence, and voice. Overall, she seeks to engage her community by educating young people on the social justice issues that plague our country and empower them to take action against these issues. By empowering them to create change, they will, in turn, empower each other. Annie hopes to continue working for youth empowerment and potentially advocating for social policy issues. In her spare time, she likes to cook creative plant-based meals, travel, and do bikram yoga.
April is a graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s in Food Studies and Public Policy with a concentration in Global Health Policy. With her current background and future pursuits, she hopes she can be of use in an increasingly critical space where public health, social justice norms, and policies are collaborating. April thinks the passion she has long cultivated for public health stems from a fundamental recognition that far too many people, in our local and global communities, are depending on their health as the sole means of their families’ livelihoods. Domestic and global policies regarding the distribution and sourcing of our food, medicines and other life essential commodities have far too often favored corporate interests over public health considerations to the detriment of our most vulnerable. With such injustices constantly in mind, she believes that dismantling health disparities will at least bring forth some form of the right to health. Some undergrad experiences April reflects most fondly on include time with refugee families and folks at the local shelter, political activism, a forum for dialogue about diversity and food security-related advocacy. April is planning how to most effectively dedicate her post-graduation year to learning more about our nation’s relationship with food sources. With a strong belief in the healing of a wholesome diet and outlook on health April will continue to work toward better access to quality food and health care for families.
Ayesha Islam attended Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, majored in International Studies and double-minored in Arabic and Creative Writing. She was born in Arizona, grew up throughout various areas of the Northeast, and lived in York City. As a female Muslim minority, Ayesha is a triple-threat combination of marginalized groups and fought for the voices of these communities. She was a certificate recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations for her activism-based work on Guantanamo Bay and police brutality. Ayesha has worked with Amnesty International for three years, served as Student Activist Coordinator of Amnestyâs Northeast regional leadership team for one year, and contributed to multiple national level roles with Amnestyâs Headquarters. Sheâs had experience working for judges, law firms, nonprofits, political offices, election campaigns, and more because she believes public service is an avenue for impactful social change. Her critical essay titled âGuantanamo Bay: A Real-Life Horror Storyâ won a Regional Gold Key within York City, and then moved on to win a National Gold Medal within the United States for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in 2015. She believes in the power of writing to shed light on injustices and is passionate about using narratives to share oft-ignored perspectives. Ayesha is considering various paths for her future, from participating in diplomatic work with the State Department or the United Nations to working in fields of local politics and government or to become a lawyer. The specific profession doesnât matter as much as the outcome of her work. If Ayesha can make the world a bit more bearable to live in, put one motherâs worry for her childrenâs safety at ease, or help one person seek justice, then she knows she was doing the right work.
Native/Indigenous In Empowerment, Cultural Preservation, & Tribal Sovereignty
Blessing Ikpa attended American Universityâs School of International Service in Washington DC to pursue her Masterâs in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs. She is most passionate about issues relating to human rights and social justice. Blessing has completed internships with Oxfam International in Italy, Oklahoma Policy Institute, and the Gender + Equality Center at the University of Oklahoma where she completed her undergraduate degree in Criminology â Sociology. Blessing hopes to continue her love of traveling through her future career while implementing a focus on basic human rights for all people.
Community Safety, Police Brutality, and Prison Abolition
Boomer Vicente attended UC Berkeley, where he studied Political Science and Public Policy. Born and raised in Santa Ana, his experiences in Santa Ana molded and influenced him to be a community organizer and activist. He saw the limited access to education, the mass incarceration of his community, and the constant barriers towards communities of color. During his time at UC Berkeley, he was involved on and off campus to empower communities of color. He interned in the Raza Recruitment and Retention Center on campus his first year, worked on projects and community events to build community and do external outreach for Latinx students. He was a Justice Corps intern at the San Francisco Superior Courthouse where he helped more than 80 self-represented litigants on court based issues such as family law, housing, civil harassment, restraining orders, gender changes and more. In addition, he was a Police Review Commissioner for the City of Berkeley where he helped conduct an investigation of the Berkeley Police Department to address concerns and policies during the December Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Brandon Briscoe was a student at Capital University, studying Business Management. He is a first generation college student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Since being at Capital University, Brandon became an intern for Capital Universityâs Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a Student Ambassador the Admissions Office, and a member of Capital Universityâs Integrated Marketing Communications Committee. Brandon also served as the Co-Coordinator for Capital Universityâs Smooth Transitions Program. He was an Equal Opportunity Review Commission Intern for the City of Pittsburgh, the home of Mayor Bill Peduto. He has also served as the Vice President of Communications of Student Government and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Omicron Rho chapter. After graduation, Mr. Briscoe plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Masterâs Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. In the future, Brandon would like to start a non-profit organization which will focus on Leadership Development for Minorities/Underrepresented Populations.
Trans* and Queer Liberation
Brittany Burnam is a graduate of the University of North Texas. She received her Bachelors of Science in Sociology with a minor in Social Sciences. She served in many organizations and roles included The Amazinâ Zeta Eta chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., UNT Positivity Ambassadors, an SGA Senator, and a Youth Marketing Director for Cherie on Top Community Center. After her first year as UNT NAACP president, she worked with her organization and the next year they won the: National Chapter of the Year award, Economic Empowerment Award, and Voter Empowerment Award. She also served her second year as UNT NAACP President. She has spent much of her time empowering, educating, and advocating for the rights of women, poverty in America, voting rights, education, and people of color. A community organizer and educator, Brittany Burnam has spoken at and organized many programs for the community. Her first act that she was proud of was being able to speak at the rally at capitol hill in Austin, TX for social welfare and social worker rights. Brittany hopes to create a non-profit that creates opportunities and bridges the gap for those in disadvantaged communities. Also, creating her own business working with businesses and organizations to help them with their own missions and goals. With a unique focus on the social good, she is one that believes your story is someoneâs testimony. You should never be ashamed of who you are or your past, but use your story as an advantage and how you can use it to look forward to the future.