NCAC Advisers

Adviser 2018-19 Profiles

Kaljah Adams

Why I advise: I advise because I every student deserves the opportunity to go to college.

Alma Mater: Dickinson College (2017)

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Harlem, New York City

School Placement: Frederick Douglass Academy III

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: My favorite color is blue!

Whitney-Shannon Alam

Why I advise: I advise because I want to reach students who faced struggles similar to those I faced in HS, and to provide them with a deeply caring support system they may otherwise not have (be it at home, in school, or among peers).

Alma Mater: Columbia University, Class of 2017

Major: Psychology with focus on Adolescent Development; Drug Abuse and Psychopharmacology

Hometown: Astoria, Queens

School Placement: HS for Health Professions and Human Services

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: My favorite color is frequently assumed to be purple because my hair is purple (and has been for almost 4 years now!), when it is actually green.

Priscilla  Alfaro

Why I advise: I advise to inspire, motivate, and lead the uprising leaders of the future.

Alma Mater: Manhattanville College

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: High School for Contemporary Arts

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I am a poet.

Aisha Azam

Why I advise: I was fortunate enough to be around people that guided me and led me to become the first person in my family to graduate from college. In return, I want to be that person that makes it possible for others to reach their goals.

Alma Mater: The New School University-Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts

Major: Global Studies/ Minor in Gender Studies

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

School Placement: Urban Assembly of Music and Art

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: Ginger ale & Bubble tea is celebratory/ favorite drink.

Lauren Benjamin

Why I advise: I advise because it is my way of showing gratitude for all the guidance I received during my own college application process.

Alma Mater: Amherst College ’17

Major: Russian; Sociology

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

School Placement: Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I have lived in four different countries.

Nora Blake

Why I advise: I advise because I want to be the mentor for my students that I wish I had when I was in high school. All students deserve to have meaningful and equitable access to any path that they want to pursue.

Alma Mater: New York University, Class of 2016

Major: Applied Psychology

Hometown: Norwalk, CT

School Placement: Abraham Lincoln High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I’m left handed!

Priscila Briones

Why I advise: I advise because I see myself reflected in my students. Coming from a place where I had a mentor throughout my college process, I know students will need that extra support throughout this time.

Alma Mater: Hunter College 2017

Major: Psychology

Hometown: New York City, NY

School Placement: Essex Street Academy

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I love biking and going on adventures throughout the city

Kimberly Cabrera

Why I advise: I advise because without my college counselor I would have been lost. This is my way of giving back to a community that supported me.

Alma Mater: SUNY Maritime College

Major: Maritime Studies

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

School Placement: Manhattan Village Academy

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I’m a competitive sailor!

Jimmy Cacho

Why I advise: I advise to give my students the opportunities they deserve.

Alma Mater: Skidmore College

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Harlem, NY

School Placement: Brooklyn Preparatory High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I have been skydiving.

Maria Calderin

Why I advise: I want to help students continue their education.

Alma Mater: Canisius College

Major: Higher education/ student affairs

Hometown: New York, NY

School Placement: Bronx Academy of Health Careers

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I like the color blue.

Michel Caro

Why I advise: It has always been a goal of mine to become a role model, by providing ongoing support and guidance.

Alma Mater: State University of New York at New Paltz

Major: Humanistic/Multicultural Education

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: 47′ American Sign Language & English Secondary School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I enjoy listening to music and dancing.

Marielle Castellanos

Why I advise: I advise because someone believed in me and it changed the trajectory of my life and now I do the same for my students who come from similar backgrounds as me.

Alma Mater: Stony Brook University, Class of 2018

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: KIPP NYC College Prep

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: My site supervisor was my former CAC Adviser!

Rubeisy Collado

Why I advise: I advise because education changes lives.

Alma Mater: Syracuse University

Major: Public Policy and General Accounting

Hometown: New York, NY

School Placement: Frederick Douglass Academy II Secondary School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I love to travel.

Meghan Cuadra

Why I advise: I advise to help students have the help and information I did not have during my own college process.

Alma Mater: CUNY City College 2018

Major: International Relations

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: Talent Unlimited High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I love to travel and I speak four languages fluently.

Jennifer Dardon

Why I advise: To be the support and resource that I did not have when I was applying to college. The pathway to college or any other post-secondary education plan at times comes with many obstacles and I knew i wanted to be a part of that.

Alma Mater: Manhattanville College (May 2018)

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Manorville (Long Island), NY

School Placement: The Marie Curie High School for Medicine, Nursing, & Health Professions

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: Fun fact is that junior year of college I was able to study abroad & live in London for 6 months due to my full ride scholarship at Manhattanville College.

Cynthia Del Toro

Why I advise: I advise because I want to be the advisor that I never had.

Alma Mater: City College 2018

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: Health Opportunities HS

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I studied abroad 3 times to London, Costa Rica, and South Africa.

Chelsea Dionisio

Why I advise: I advise because every student deserves an opportunity to decide their future.

Alma Mater: California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

Major: Psychology (PSYCH) and Child & Adolescent Development (CADV)

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

School Placement: Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Third Year

Fun fact: I run a half marathon without any training every year for the past three years.

Mariyamou Drammeh

Why I advise: I advise because every student deserves equitable access to post-secondary opportunities, regardless of their background.

Alma Mater: New York University (2018)

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I speak Soninke, a common language spoken in the Gambia, the smallest mainland country on the continent of Africa!

Christopher Esposito

Why I advise: I advise to help ease the immense stressors that arise during the college application process, and to help prevent students from making the same mistakes I did during my first year in college.

Alma Mater: Stony Brook

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

School Placement: Lower Manhattan Arts Academy

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I go to see a new movie almost every weekend

Scarlett Ferman

Why I advise: I advise because I believe ALL students, not only students with access to resources, should be able to succeed and prosper in higher education.

Alma Mater: Sarah Lawrence College

Major: Sociology and Education

Hometown: Livingston, NJ

School Placement: William H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I am a huge horror movie fan and I love all things spooky!

Jake Gianaris

Why I advise: I advise because I want more voices heard in the classroom. I had a great academic experience and I want this experience to be an option for more people.

Alma Mater: NYU Gallatin ’17

Major: Individualized study: Literature, critical theory, and urban studies

Hometown: Edwardsville, IL

School Placement: Grover Cleveland High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I come from a huge family; I have 5 siblings!

Lamar Henry

Why I advise: Because I know a few people my age who needed someone like me in your life.

Alma Mater: SUNY Albany C/O 2018

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: Unity Center for Urban Technologies

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I have an extra rib.

Mike Holliday

Why I advise: I advise to help students of color understand why they need to get and education and open their mind. The only way to break down most of the systems that are oppressing people of color today is to beat them from within. Education is a way in.

Alma Mater: Hamilton College 2017

Major: Chinese and Africana studies

Hometown: Boston, MA

School Placement: The Cinema School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I love LeBron James. But Celtics till I die.

Diamond Jarvis

Why I advise: I advise to change the future of my students. I love to open their eyes to the endless possibilities that are available for them.

Alma Mater: Hunter College

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

School Placement: Clara Barton High School for Health Professions

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: Prior to CAC, I worked with reptiles (including snakes) that weighed up to 30+ pounds.

Sam Kahn

Why I advise: My students deserve the same education and life opportunities that any other student has at their access.

Alma Mater: Northwestern University

Major: Human Development and Psychological Services

Hometown: Larchmont, NY

School Placement: Channel View School for Research

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I can identify any commercial airplane in the sky

Lauraly Laurent

Why I advise: I advise because I see it as me contributing to the greater push for educational equity.

Alma Mater: University of Chicago

Major: East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

School Placement: Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: My favorite food is peanut butter.

Hillary Le

Why I advise: It brings me great joy to assist students through their journey of achieving a higher education. There’s great value in assisting and uplifting marginalized communities such as underrepresented first-generation college students.

Alma Mater: University of Vermont ’18

Major: Business Administration

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: Bronx Aerospace High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I love to travel and dogs!

Joanne Leung

Why I advise: I advise to be the person I needed when I was younger.

Alma Mater: Rutgers 2016, NYU 2018

Major: Psychology, School Counseling

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

School Placement: Expeditionary Learning School For Community Leaders

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I transferred colleges and switched my major three times!

Soremi Lockhart

Why I advise: I advise because everyone deserves to have opportunities and recognize that they have so much potential to fulfill whatever they set their mind to!

Alma Mater: Manhattan College, 2017

Major: Major Psychology, Minor Spanish

Hometown: Yonkers, NY

School Placement: Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy MS/HS 141

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: My first name is a combination of my parents’ names.

Katie Maningas

Why I advise: Every day I am inspired by the young adults I work with and the dreams they possess; therefore, I advise so that they can someday make their dreams a reality.

Alma Mater: Boston University

Major: International Relations

Hometown: Charlestown, PA

School Placement: High School of Art and Design

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: In 9th grade, I became a vegetarian on a dare- and still am 9 years later!

Mandi Morales

Why I advise: I advise to advocate for other children of immigrants and to empower young people to know they are worthy of a higher education.

Alma Mater: New York University

Major: Sociology

Hometown: San Luis Obispo, California

School Placement: Khalil Gibran International Academy

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: My first time in New York was my first day at NYU!

Samantha Pimentel

Why I advise: I advise because my students need to be aware of all the post-secondary options they have out there.

Alma Mater: NYU 2017

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: Leadership and Public Service High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: During high school, I was a part of a college access program called Summer Search which gave me the opportunity to travel twice on my own; once to India and another on a wilderness expedition for three weeks.

Ashley Polanco

Why I advise: I advise because I was in most of my students’ shoes as a first-gen woman of color applying to college 4-5 years ago.

Alma Mater: Skidmore

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Harlem, NY

School Placement: The James Baldwin High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I am a trained facilitator in inter- and intragroup relations, conflict and social justice.

Fernando Ponce

Why I advise: To empower students and giving them a helping hand as they navigate the challenging yet, rewarding college process.

Alma Mater: SUNY Plattsburgh

Major: Social Work

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

School Placement: Bronx Leadership Academy High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I love mismatch socks.

Nicole Ramos

Why I advise: I advise because everyone should have the opportunity to develop a postsecondary plan regardless of socioeconomic, racial, cultural, or immigration status. Our students are the future and it is our duty to guide them to the next step to create a more equitable society.

Alma Mater: Rutgers University, Class of 2017

Major: Nutritional Sciences

Hometown: Belleville, NJ

School Placement: International High School at Union Square

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I’m gluten free (not by choice) 🙁

Petronila Rodriguez

Why I advise: I advise because I want to be able to provide my students with information that is necessary in order for them to progress. I advise because I want to be able to say that I tried to give it my all when it comes to helping my students in what they need.

Alma Mater: SUNY Purchase

Major: Sociology

Hometown: New York, NY

School Placement: High School of World Cultures

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I am a singer.

Bintou Sankareh

Why I advise: I believe that every student deserve access to higher education and I want to ease their process.

Alma Mater: Hunter College (Class of 2017)

Major: Psychology and Sociology

Hometown: Bronx, New York

School Placement: Global Leaning Collaborative

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I love to travel and I love food!

Camile Shaw

Why I advise: I was in the same position as my students a few years ago. They deserve to know that somebody understands and is invested in their future.

Alma Mater: Columbia University, 2018

Major: English and Psychology

Hometown: Valley Stream, NY

School Placement: Francis Lewis High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I have to sit on a pillow to drive!

Shelley Shin

Why I advise: I advise because education is a right NOT a privilege

Alma Mater: SUNY Binghamton

Major: Double majored Asian/Asian American Studies and Psychology, minor Education

Hometown: Staten Island, NY

School Placement: Lower East Side Preparatory High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I have purple hair

Luisanna Sosa Caraballo

Why I advise: I advise because representation matters and I want to help foster future leaders.

Alma Mater: SUNY New Paltz- May 2016

Major: Communications and French

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: Bronx Lab School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I am trilingual, I speak English, French and Spanish.

Brander Suero

Why I advise: I feel that students of color and students from different minority groups are extremely disadvantaged when it comes to the college application process and options.  I want to present students with all the possibilities that they have in front of them and to help them find the right future path.

Alma Mater: Dickinson College ’17

Major: International Studies

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: William Cullen Bryant High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, however, Paris is not my favorite city

Naomy Taveras

Why I advise: I advise because it is important to share my story to motivate the next generation.

Alma Mater: The City College of New York

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: Crotona International High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I don’t drink coffee.

Isabelle  Thenor-Louis

Why I advise: I advise because my students are ready to take on the world. They just need someone to advocate and support them on their journey!

Alma Mater: Brown University (2016)

Major: Anthropology

Hometown: Great Neck, NY

School Placement: High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I’ve met Tracee Ellis Ross two times (and I didn’t pass out!).

Anibel Vargas

Why I advise: I advise because I am confident of the impact that advising has on students who need the assistance in order to be their best selves in regards to the college process as a whole. Therefore, serving in this field will help me open that door for students who might not have had that opportunity without the support that they need in order to accomplish their goal of not only gaining admittance into college, but also reaching the finish line and acquiring a degree.

Alma Mater: Hofstra University

Major: English

Hometown: Bronx, NY

School Placement: Manhattan Academy for Arts and Language

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I collect snow globes.

Cathlean Wheeler

Why I advise: It is a severe injustice to our youth when they leave high school without options and unable to navigate the education system. I advise because eduction is power.

Alma Mater: University of California, Berkeley

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Upland, California

School Placement: El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): First Year

Fun fact: I learned Norwegian during my study abroad.

Maria Zhangallimbay

Why I advise: I advise because my students deserve to be invested in.

Alma Mater: Fordham University 2016

Major: International Studies

Hometown: Queens, NY

School Placement: The High School for Community Leadership

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: My last name has 13 letters which is the same number as my birthdate.

Tom Zoeckler

Why I advise: I advise because my students need me

Alma Mater: Georgia College and State University

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

School Placement: Lower East Side Preparatory High School

Adviser Year (first, second, or third): Second Year

Fun fact: I love to garden!