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Student Anna Acevedo Chosen for Malave Leadership Academy

From helping her fellow students adjust to college to answering immigrants’ legal questions to working with survivors of domestic violence and rape, City Tech senior Anna Acevedo has demonstrated her talents as a leader time and again.

Her efforts were recently recognized by The City University of New York’s (CUNY) Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy, which chose her from among hundreds of nominated students as one of 25 Malave Fellows for the 2010-11 academic year. (Formerly the CUNY Leadership Academy, the program was renamed in memory of the late Ernesto Malave, CUNY’s vice chancellor for budget and finance and a CUNY alumnus who devoted himself to mentoring and encouraging student leadership.)

As a Malave fellow, Acevedo will participate in a weekly leadership seminar with her peers and faculty from across CUNY to hone the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to develop leaders who will serve the city, state, and nation with distinction.

“The Malave Fellows are a remarkable group of leaders who reflect CUNY's rich diversity,” says Dr. Chris Rosa, University Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. “They have demonstrated outstanding leadership and service on issues of critical importance to our campuses, our University and our larger communities.”

Acevedo, a human services major living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico, has distinguished herself as a volunteer and a mentor, both in the greater community and within City Tech. Her accomplishments are even more remarkable, given personal health problems that have included six surgeries and the fact that she dropped out of high school.

For the past six years, she has been a volunteer advocate for survivors of domestic violence and rape for the Mount Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention program, On-call around the clock on a monthly basis, she provides immediate crisis intervention, emotional support and information to both female and male survivors as well as to their families and friends in the hospital’s emergency room. She is also a mentor for the Women’s Prison Association.

Acevedo with her parents and Stephen Soiffer, far left, special assistant to City Tech President Russell K. Hotzler.

“Volunteering has exposed me to grassroots movements, public speaking and individual and community outreach,” she says. “The value of volunteering is immeasurable. Besides the satisfaction of making a difference, this unselfish act can help you develop skills that will enhance employment opportunities and give you a window into new career paths.”

Acevedo’s role as a community activist began several years ago when she joined El Puente (The Bridge), a human rights organization based in North Brooklyn that engages youths and adults in the arts, education, wellness and environmental action to nurture leadership for peace and justice. There, she also was an AIDS peer educator. About that time, she became an active member of Los Sures (also known as Southside United), a Williamsburg-based housing organization.

“Anna is a model student and advocate who has made her mark on City Tech in so many ways,” says Lauri Shemaria-Aguirre, associate director of City Tech’s Coordinated Undergraduate Education program. “Five years ago we established the First-Year Learning Communities mentoring program, which Anna was instrumental in creating. Since its inception, she has worked as a peer advisor mentoring incoming City Tech students.”

In that capacity, she helps incoming freshmen with the transition from high school to college. “I really love what I do and want them to have the best freshman experience and not be afraid,” says Acevedo, who is a member of the City Tech Honors Scholars Program and the Black Male Initiative. “I see what I do as a partnership between me and their professors. We work together as a team in order to ensure that the students get the most out of this mentoring experience.

“My e-mail signature contains the motto, ‘Together we can make a difference in your academic success,’ because I help students understand and navigate City Tech’s many resources and services -- for example, the Learning Centers, tutoring, computer labs, study tips, etc. -- so they can succeed academically,” she adds.

Acevedo’s advocacy work at City Tech has taken many other forms. She has served as a senator in City Tech’s Student Government Association (SGA), is an active Women’s Center committee member and helped provide immigration information as a volunteer for the CUNY/Daily News Citizenship Now! Call-in Initiative.

As a senator, Acevedo developed the SGA/Public Safety Forum and the SGA/ Financial Aid, Registrar, Bursar and Business Office Forum. “These discussions allowed students to meet and talk with officials from each of these offices,” she explains. “The forums ensured that students’ views were expressed and addressed.”

She currently serves as a member of the CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities (CCSD). “I want to assist students with disabilities by giving them a voice and speak for those with no representation throughout CUNY,” says Acevedo, who plans on earning a master’s degree in social work and becoming a licensed social worker. Every semester, she also helps City Tech’s Office of Student Life & Development with its New Student Orientation.

Acevedo’s parents were role models for her. They came to the aid of family, friends and neighbors so frequently that she grew up wanting to help people, too.

“My father once saved a neighbor’s apartment from being destroyed by a fire and that made a big impression on me,” she says. “My mother was always volunteering in her church and advocating for others. She would never back down until the issue was resolved and justice served. I felt such a rush when I saw her in action that I wanted to do the same thing. I believe that’s when my passion for advocacy started.”

10.25.10


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