ALUMNi Updates

Melanie Hernandez was featured on the Lehman College website as part of their Lehman Today series. Click here to read the full article! Congratulations also to Luis Machuca, who was a winner of the Don and Mary Ellen Passantino Scholarship, awarded by CUNY's University Student Senate. Luis is now pursuing his Master's at Hunter College in Rehabilitation Studies. Corey Lionel Spencer and Merita Ljubanovic were members of CUNY's Pipeline Program, which offers support to students pursuing a PhD. Stephanie Trinidad who worked as an editorial interns at St. Martin's Press (Macmillan Publishing) with Yocasta Novas, is now pursuing her M.A. at the CUNY Graduate Center. Greg Nemeth obtained a position as a teaching assistant at P.S. 24. Visit the website for news and helpful hints about resumes, jobs, and tips for majors.

Danyelle Milton, EHP class of 2014, is working on an e-book for her terrific lifestyle/beauty blog for women,  Napturallydanywhich has earned her a spot in the “Hype Hair Blogger Network” of Hype Hair, the number one hair and beauty source for women of color for over 20 years: wow! Danyelle is now also a contributing writer for Kinky Curly Yaki blog, a natural hair extensions company, and for Natural Hair Rules!!!, one of the top natural hair blogs receiving over a million monthly page views. While currently working part time for Eagle Capital Management, Danyelle hopes to transition into blogging and freelance writing full time by the beginning of 2016. And, more celebrations are in order: Danyelle and her husband are expecting a baby girl in April. Hooray and congratulations!   

Gregory Nemeth, who recently completed his EHP thesis, has been working as a teaching assistant at P.S. 24 starting this past January. Greg wanted to provide information on how he found the job at P.S. 24 for others who might want to do the same: "The chair of the education department, Elvani Pennil, sent out an email that there was a teaching assistant job available. I went to see her and mentioned to her that I've done observations for my education classes and she said I should mention that I'm familiar with the school and staff. I went to and created a resume and cover letter through the website. I sent it out and had an interview 2 days later. I received a recommendation from one of the teachers at the school and was hired for the position after the interview." Congrats, Greg! 

Stephanie Trinidad, who also completed her thesis this past January, landed a coveted summer internship at Macmillan Publishing. Her advice on landing such an internship: "Here is a link to the Macmillan summer internship. I have spoken to Zohra, the publishing coordinator whom I work directly with and she said that Penguin also has a paid internship. The internships are a way into the Publishing industry because it would help you make connections that may get you a job. The earlier that English Department students apply, the better --  it would benefit them in trying to gain a position. This goes the same for any internship within any publishing company.  Here is the link for the main job board for Macmillan. If you have any experience within publishing, even if it's at a small company, you should apply to one of the assistant positions. Even if you don't, you should apply because if you have a bachelor's in English, it is considered one of the main qualifications for most of those positions.  Interning and actual experience are a plus for some positions, while required for other.

Rebecca Severn, EHP Class of 2014, reports: I'm teaching AP language and composition and regular ELA, plus an elective African American Literature course. Guess what we are reading right now in the latter? Equiano! And next we will read Wheatley. It's a great class because I get to do what I want and only have 11 students. I actually get to do what I want, that is plan all of my own curriculum for all of my classes, but I have 11th graders again so the Regents and now AP language exam are looming over my head at all times. In English we are about to start The Crucible, which I have never taught, but it should be fun. In AP we are doing it as well but from the angle of being a rhetorical response to Mcarthyism.  

Lisa Marie Blanco, EHP and LSP class of 2012, double majored in English and Italian. She received the Ella Burstein Award for the Graduating Senior with the Highest GPA and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, Chi Chapter, 2012. 

Lisa is working on her MBA part time at the NYU Stern School of Business while working full time at NYU. After graduating Lehman, she was hired as a Clinical Placement Assistant at the College of Nursing but after 2.5 years there, got a job as Program Coordinator for the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute. After this semester, Lisa will be only one 3-credit class away from her degree, and she will have managed to cram a 60 credit part-time degree into 2.5 years! “Yaay for my craziness and drive,” she writes.

Here is a message from Lisa on her recent adventures: "I take adventures very seriously and love to travel! I have taken up rock climbing and snowboarding since graduating Lehman. After landing my first full-time job, I have traveled to Aruba, Costa Rica, Canada, Turkey, Spain as well as Florida and Wyoming in the USA. I also traveled to Italy after graduating Lehman, but I don't count that since I lived in Italy from the age of 11 to 19 and have gone back many times. This winter, I plan on going snowboarding in Colorado." 

Grecia Huesca, EHP class of 2012, is currently working at Benchmark Education Company, which publishes educational books for children grades K-6 in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Grecia is an Assistant Content Creator in the Spanish department and plans to pursue graduate school. Grecia shares some thoughts with us on her writing and reading, as well as on studying literature and the role of the EHP:

I am still writing poetry whenever I can. I would like to write a series of short stories depicting the immigrant experience from different perspectives. I have started out mapping some of these ideas as well as reading books related to this topic. I read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and I am currently reading a graphic novel, La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and the Human Rights in Mexico, which focuses on the border town of Juarez, Chihuahua. I am also busy with my three year old, Iliana. She is currently reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas every night before bed.

Literature is a connecting force. It is through reading books that we are able to follow a character from any walk of life and gain a new prospective in life. In today’s global world, it is more important than ever to understand those who we always imagine to be so different from ourselves. Nations are becoming more diverse as people leave their home country to escape unemployment, violence, or to explore new places. As an English major, we read about different characters, places, and different times in history. We learn to analyze all of the information that is presented to us in the text in order to make an observation. Problem solving is a major part of any job, and being an analytical thinker and being able to see a situation through different lenses help solve issues.

The English Honors Program at Lehman helped me develop those skills by providing challenging classes with interest subjects in a smaller setting. I didn’t appreciate the smaller classroom setting until I took a summer class at UC Berkeley. I took a Detective Fiction, and while the subject and readings were interesting, having 60 people in the class made it difficult to have a discussion based class. Having the experience of small classes at Lehman helped me develop a closer relationship with my fellow students and professors, making it the most enjoyable part of my learning experience. 

Lisa Abate, EHP Class of 2012, reports: I am starting a new part time job in the school district close to home. In addition, I am working on becoming an adjunct professor at Bergen County Community college as a business teacher. I have linked up with a senior professor who loves my passion and thinks I would be an amazing teacher. I met him at my daughter's elementary school. He has been a guardian angel for me and offered me a great opportunity along with a realistic path in coming of my shell.  So this month I am guest speaking in all of his classes to gain some experience. I have also been elected to the banking advisory at the college as well. I am hopeful to be teaching at the college by the Fall of 2016. I would like to eventually teach online, as it's much easier for me while being able to maintain control of my kids. I also have Rockland Community college, which is 3 miles from my house. This is my plan which I am trying to put into action.  

Conor Anderson, EHP Class of 2011, double majored in English and Psychology. Some news from Conor:

I've just accepted a job as a Program Manager at Brainfuse, a nationwide online tutorial company that delivers educational assistance to colleges, high schools, K-12 programs, and public library systems. Previously, I worked within CUNY at Brooklyn College, in the Office of the Associate Provost for Academic Programs. When I'm not working, I'm carving out time to write fiction, which these days is usually before dawn. Currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Voice of the Fire by Alan Moore (for fiction research), as well as Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (for pleasure), and listening to Radiohead on loop.

Tihela Feit, EHP class of 2011, recently completed a Masters in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She is currently working as the Development Manager of iMentor Chicago, the first regional expansion site of iMentor, a college success organization that leverages the power of long-term mentoring relationships to support students to and through college.

Jordana Lopez-da Silva, EHP class of 2011, is currently pursuing her MA in Barcelona. Her thesis is on agency and gender performance in the Hunger Games and Divergent novels and films: "I argue against the overwhelming consensus that Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen is a gender role-defying leader; rather, I maintain that she is stripped of her agency as her body is manipulated by the actual rebellion leaders - all of whom initially happen to be men - into performing conventional gender roles. However, Divergent's Tris Prior is in full control of her body and role as a leader; and her search for identity allows her to exercise the one thing Katniss doesn't have - choice. What is interesting is that Hollywood has given silver screen Katniss more agency, whereas it has taken some of that away from Tris, thus rendering Katniss as more of a disciplined leader, and Tris as more of a feisty rebel. For my Ph.D., I would like to continue with Hunger Games and Divergent, but also add the Maze Runner series. I am interested in comparing the way those particular male and female authors treat the male body vs the female body, how their characters perform gender, how gender hierarchies are set up within those societies; and of course, how Hollywood has repackaged those narratives for mass consumption, why those changes are so appealing to audiences, and what that reveals about the current state of gender roles and the movement toward gender equality."

Some inspiring words from Jordana on the English major:

Perhaps the most frequent question I have received from loved ones, friends, and potential employers is “Why English?”

Here’s why: Being an English Literature major equips you with skills that are easily transferable and vital to professional roles, including time management skills, critical thinking, and logic. As an English Literature major, you are able to efficiently articulate your thoughts because of your expansive vocabulary, and grammatical and writing skills, which are all necessary for job-related correspondence. Most importantly, through your exploration of the psychology of literary characters, you analyze the human psyche, subsequently giving you a deeper understanding of the complexities of social constructs such as race and gender.

Having completed my B.A. in English Literature at Lehman and my M.A. in English Literature at Autonomous University of Barcelona, as well as attended writing workshops at various institutions, I can confidently state that pursuing an English Literature degree at Lehman means that you will have a breadth of courses that suit your particular interests. Lehman’s diverse faculty and student population is essential for dynamic discourse when delving into texts, because that environment provides you with various viewpoints that will both affirm and challenge your beliefs. Having classmates and faculty who understand your cultural references because you all share similar histories is something that makes Lehman unique; especially since you will learn is that being an English Literature major isn’t just about understanding literary text – it is about understanding the very fabric of society.

Hi, my name is Michelle Sanchez and I am an EHP alum of 2010!  I received my Masters in School Psychology with a Bilingual Extension from Brooklyn College, and am currently working on receiving my Advanced Certificate. I also am completing my internship to become a Bilingual School Psychologist in the Department of Education. I was accepted into the competitive Psychologist-In-Training program provided by the DOE, in which one is an employee while completing their internship. It is a wonderful opportunity, as you are trained throughout the year, are paired with a mentor, and receive additional workshops throughout the year. I am learning so much and have met so many inspirational people along the way, and am so thankful for all those who believed in me and helped me. 

Shabraj Miller, EHP Class of 2015

Shabraj Miller, EHP Class of 2015

Octrisha Parker, EHP Class of 2015

Octrisha Parker, EHP Class of 2015

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EHP Class of 2015

EHP Class of 2015