Students, Faculty, and Staff Recognize John Jay College Heroines in Celebration of Women’s History Month

Students, Faculty, and Staff Recognize John Jay College Heroines in Celebration of Women’s History Month

Students, Faculty, and Staff Recognize John Jay College Heroines in Celebration of Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, members of our community have taken the time to recognize some very special “John Jay Heroines” among us. These talented women inspire us every day through their innovative thinking, strength, good humor, resiliency, determination, and empathy. Below are the moving tributes from each of their nominators.

(left to right) Danielle Officer and Michelle Garcia
(left to right) Danielle Officer and Michelle Garcia

John Jay Heroine: Danielle Officer, Senior Director for Student Affairs and Conduct Officer
Nominator: Michelle Garcia, LGBTQ+ Resource Center, Assistant Director 

How does she inspire you? Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure to work with Danielle Officer in opening the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. With so much work to get done, Danielle made the process not only achievable, but also smooth, exciting, and fun. She’s open to ideas, and extremely dedicated to providing optimal service and support for her staff. She’s always available to help in any way she can, whether I need an extra pair of eyes to look over documents, moral support in meetings, or even just an ear to bounce ideas off of. She’s kind, super inclusive, and cares what her team thinks. Danielle gives us room to be creative with our visions, allowing us to bring out the best of ourselves for our students. She also has a wonderful positive attitude that leaves us feeling inspired and motivated.

(left to right) Emily Diaz and Richard Pusateri
(left to right) Emily Diaz and Richard Pusateri

John Jay Heroine: Emily Diaz ’22, Student and Secretary of the John Jay Veterans Association
Nominator: Richard Pusateri, CAPT, CHC, USN retired, Military and Veteran Services Manager  

How does she inspire you? I have great admiration for Emily Diaz, a Coast Guard veteran, mother, and John Jay student, for the incredible job she’s doing in managing her academics, student engagement at the College, part-time work in security, and being the mother of her 2-year-old son. Emily proudly served six years in the U.S. Coast Guard as a Machinery Technician. In Fall 2020, after transferring to John Jay, she fully immersed herself academically and in her new role as our Spring 2021 Secretary of the John Jay Veterans Association and VA Work Study employee. Her ability to connect with other military and veteran students, while excelling in all the other areas of her life, is impressive.

(left to right) Fay Williams and Monika Son
(left to right) Fay Williams and Monika L. Son

John Jay Heroine:  Fay Williams, Associate Director of SEEK 
Nominator: Monika L. Son, Assistant Professor, Chair and Director of Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Department 

How does she inspire you? Fay Williams truly goes above and beyond to support our students. She loves our students and is committed to their success and well-being. Holding vast institutional knowledge of the John Jay Community, Fay continues to support the legacy of access and opportunity at all levels of support across the College that our students need. We are so grateful for her wisdom, commitment, and contributions to sustaining our mission.

(left to right) Malaine Clarke and Erin Thompson
(left to right) Malaine Clarke and Erin Thompson

John Jay Heroine: Malaine Clarke, Director of Health Services, John Jay’s Food Pantry, and the Student Emergency Fund
Nominator: Erin Thompson, Faculty Director, Center for Gender Justice and Associate Professor, Department of Art and Music

How does she inspire you? Malaine Clarke has long advocated for students facing food insecurity. When she began the food pantry, few people believed that John Jay needed one, but Malaine knew that as a student, you can’t succeed if you’re hungry, eating poorly, or worrying about your next meal. Malaine found out how many students would benefit from having a food pantry on campus, got grants to build and stock it, and kept fighting to make sure it offered nutritious, varied food. Since the start of the pandemic, she’s worked tirelessly to continue providing food to our community members who need it most—and she was doing all this even as her own family suffered loss from Covid-19. 

(left to right) Nancy Yang and Michelle Cevallos
(left to right) Nancy Yang and Michelle Cevallos 

John Jay Heroine: Nancy Yang, Associate Director for First-Year Programs
Nominator: Michelle Cevallos ’24, Student, Criminal Justice major

How does she inspire you? Since the very beginning of my John Jay journey, Nancy Yang has been there for me; supporting me by giving me advice, reaching out and asking if I have any concerns or difficulties, connecting me with other support systems, and informing me about amazing opportunities available to me. I admire her excitement and positive mindset toward everything she does and her motivation to help students in their academic and personal goals. She’s become such an important role model in my life; encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone, to never be afraid to ask for help, and to feel confident in all the new adventures my future brings upon me. I hope to one day be like her, and become the support system for students, reminding them that they have someone who will guide them every step of the way.

(left to right) Nancy Yang and Michelle Cevallos
(left to right) Ximena Garcia-Lambas and Jay Chopra

John Jay Heroine: Ximena Garcia-Lambas ’19, Peer Program Associate, SASP
Nominator: Jay Chopra, SASP Peer Program Coordinator 

How does she inspire you? Ximena Garcia-Lambas is not only an amazing John Jay alumna, she’s also our incredible Peer Program Associate at SASP. Ximena has blossomed into an outstanding professional, she’s dedicated to our students and is an irreplaceable member of my team. Her talent is limitless. She can design, she can lead, she’s an Excel wizard, and I’m so proud to have her on my team.

(left to right) Yvonne Purdie and Maria J. D’Agostino
(left to right) Yvonne Purdie and Maria J. D’Agostino

John Jay Heroine: Yvonne Purdie, Undergraduate Advisor, Criminal Justice Management, Public Administration, Fraud Examination and Financial Forensics 
Nominator: Maria J. D’Agostino, Professor, Public Management 

How does she inspire you? Yvonne Purdie is a successful, authentic women who shares her insight with you professionally and as a friend. 

(left to right) Evalaurene Jean-Charles and Ernest Lee
(left to right) Evalaurene Jean-Charles and Ernest Lee

John Jay Heroine: Evalaurene Jean-Charles ’20, alumna and McNair Scholar
Nominator: Ernest Lee, Associate Director/Adjunct Assistant Professor, McNair Program/Political Science & Africana Studies Departments 

How does she inspire you? I am inspired by Evalaurene Jean-Charles’ passion, leadership and activism in the field of education. She believes that all children, particularly Black children, deserve equity in our educational institutions, and she’s working to ensure that there are policies and curriculum in place so that equity can be achieved. As an undergraduate, education was the focus of her McNair research and graduate school search. Eva was accepted to Ohio State’s doctoral program in Educational Policy, but deferred to work with Teach for America. Currently, she is a second-year Special Education Teacher at a charter school. In addition to teaching, Eva co-founded with her father the podcast Black on Black Education, which is dedicated to, “revolutionizing and recreating education in the Black community.” 

(left to right) Gabriela Leal and Robert Kim
(left to right) Gabriela Leal and Robert Kim

John Jay Heroine: Gabriela Leal, Interim Director of Compliance and Diversity/ Title IX Coordinator
Nominator: Robert Kim, Senior Title IX/EEO Investigator

How does she inspire you? I admire Gabriela because of her persistence and her dedication to her work. She knows so much already, but is always challenging herself to learn and grow. She handles a dizzying variety of tasks and responsibilities both in and outside of her work in a way that makes me go, “Wow, how does she do that?” She’s a terrific mom and a great colleague. Most of all, I admire Gaby’s energy, humor, and candor. She has a unique ability to be highly professional yet very relatable in a way that makes people around her feel at ease.

Alisha Springer (left) and Ximena Garcia-Lambas (right)
(left to right) Alisha Springer and Ximena Garcia-Lambas

John Jay Heroine: Alisha Springer ’21, student
Nominator: Ximena Garcia-Lambas ’19, Peer Program Associate, SASP 

How does she inspire you? Alisha is not only talented at her job as a Peer Success Coach, but she’s also strong and passionate about developing her own business. She is an incredibly talented makeup artist, and I believe she will go very far in this role and in anything she chooses to pursue in the future. We should all aspire to be like Alisha in chasing our dreams and sharing our talents with the world. Seeing her work and growth has been a pleasure.