Ines Anous

My name is Ines Anous, and I am a College Assistant at the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). I graduated from BMCC with an associate degree in criminal justice in Fall 2018 and then I transferred to John Jay College of Criminal Justice where I earned my bachelor’s degree in philosophy in Spring 2020.

I believe that life is a journey of exploration and we are constantly learning new things about ourselves. When I was a student, I was not afraid of exploring different majors before I decided to pursue philosophy. Now that I am ready to start a full time job, I am embracing the different opportunities that come my way to discover where I belong. Starting in July 2021, I will be teaching in an elementary school. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, cleaning and organizing my apartment.

Interviewee, Interviewer, Project Coordinator & Website Editor

Mahameda Begum

Hello, My name is Mahameda Begum! I’ve been tutoring for several years, now specializing in Math. I am a senior student at The City College of New York, (CUNY), majoring in applied mathematics and minoring in economics. I graduated from Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) with an associate degree of science in mathematics.

One of the goals that I set for myself is to become a math teacher. Some people find mathematics challenging, but to me, it is fun and rewarding. I want to contribute to society by applying the skills I have acquired in the field of mathematics to help others who are not as passionate about math as I am.


John Holemans

My name is John Holemans and I grew up in Belgium. Being the eldest of four siblings and the Chief of the Boy Scouts in my native country, I came to appreciate collectivism rather than individualism. At a young age, I traveled to many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, and South Asia. My fascination with other cultures and conversations with people from these cultures have contributed significantly to my outlook and intellectual growth. My major at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) is accounting, though recently, I have discovered a new passion for statistics and reconnected with math. My dream is to become certified as an actuary.

I live by the motto…”I wake up with determination and finish my day satisfied.”


Jose F. Huete Montoya

My name is Jose Francisco Huete. I came from Honduras to the United States in January 2017 to pursue an associate degree in science for health professions. I always knew I wanted to be in the medical field but I didn’t know at the moment what my calling as a professional would be. Once I took my first anatomy and physiology classes at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), I fell in love with biology and medicine. I then realized, thanks to my professors and classmates, that I wanted to become a nurse.

I transferred after two years to Hunter College and fought really hard to enter the Nursing Program at Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing. This upcoming semester, Fall 2021, will be my first semester as a senior nursing student and I am planning to graduate in Spring 2022.

Besides my passion for biology, I love to watch movies and play video games. When I am not doing my homework, I like to go out for walks or play poker with my friends.


Shemaine James

My name is Shemaine James. I am 27 years old. I am a psychology major at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and will be graduating in the Fall of 2021. I am a part of Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) program and as of April 18, 2021, I was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). Besides being a full-time student at BMCC, I am an active member of the Science Club and the Sisterhood Society Club that is facilitated by the Women’s Resource Center.

In my spare time, I enjoy watching documentaries about esoteric knowledge, philosophical concepts and history. I also like to watch anime and sketch comedies. I am a single mother of two young boys who are four and five years old. They mean everything to me and have motivated me to pursue my degree so that I can make a better living for them and myself.

After completing my degree, my plan is to attend a four-year college and obtain a bachelor’s degree with a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy. My dream is to become a clinician and bring awareness to mental health in marginalized communities. I would also like to bring awareness to minorities being the most affected by mental illness and help alleviate the stigmas associated with this form of illness.


Ryan Lopez

My name is Ryan Lopez. I am an ethnic studies major at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). I am also an elite athlete competing for the USA boxing team and have trained and competed in other combat sports such as wrestling, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well.

I work as a lifeguard and swim instructor in Brooklyn. I am a very motivated and dedicated individual. I’m chasing all-time highs inspired by all-time lows. My lows were very low. I grew up at the bottom. I had zero self-esteem, zero self-worth, no hope, and no plans for the future.

My goal was literally to become a big-time gangsta like Paulie from GoodFellas. I wanted the respect and status the guys I looked up to had. That was what I was surrounded by in the streets for many years. Gang members were my role models.


Aniqa Mannaf

I am an alumna at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) where I earned my associate degree in science. While studying at BMCC, I was a research assistant and worked on computational drug design at the Department of Science. I am of South Asian descent and was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I currently live in the East Bronx, a neighborhood my family has called home for more than ten years.

Currently, I am pursuing my bachelor’s in science with a major in biochemistry at Lehman College. Additionally, I am a Chemistry Tutor for the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at BMCC. Besides teaching and research, I am passionate about swimming and traveling.


Khadiza Nesa

My name is Khadiza Nesa and I am a Computer Information Systems major at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). I am also a trainee with a Software Development track in the Year Up Program. I will graduate in spring 2021. Besides working in computer science, I like to draw and read sci-fi and history books.

I am currently also working on my public speaking skills to become a better speaker. I believe public speaking is one of the most important skills to have as it helps you become confident, gain knowledge, increase your network, feel comfortable in a new environment, and succeed in professional life. People who are afraid of public speaking should work on their speaking skills whenever they get a chance because one day or another everyone in her or his life has to learn and apply this skill.


Camille Neves

My name is Camille Neves (she/her). I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I moved to New York City almost four years ago. I am a multimedia programming and design student. My main passion is design and besides that, I also enjoy to paint, draw, and sculpt. I hope to spread empathy through design and art.


Opeoluwa Olaniyan

My name is Opeoluwa Olaniyan, I am an English Tutor for Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP)  and also the Vice President of the ASAP Premedical Society at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). I graduated from BMCC in June 2019 with an associate degree in science, and I am currently at Hunter College with a biological science major. I also have a passion for music. I believe that change isn’t something that happens after the first try. In order to make a change or be the change we want to see, we have to first believe in ourselves and persevere always.

Interviewee & Interviewer