2021 - 2022 George Van Amson Fellows











Nazeer Abdul-Salaam

School of General Studies, 2022 | Psychology 

Internship Site: Youth Action YouthBuild

Through the Public Interest Fellowship, Nazeer will work alongside staff at Youth Action YouthBuild to help recruit and retain East Harlem youth participants for a 9-month education empowerment program. Nazeer will focus the first half of his summer on outreach to local schools and CBOs to recruit 17-24 year olds for the YAYB program. To enhance engagement and improve program retention, Nazeer will also design and facilitate an 8-week seminar that will help participants discover their strengths, set goals, identify their aspirations, and develop those skills into marketable assets. Nazeer hopes to motivate participants to obtain their high school equivalency diploma, and prepare them for entry into the job market or post-secondary education. 


Sharmie Azurel

Barnard College, 2023 | Ethnicity & Race and Human Rights

Internship Site: Damayan Migrants Worker Association 

Through the Public Interest Fellowship, Sharmie will assist staff in administration and planning at the Damayan Migrants Workers Association. Damayan is a migrant worker association that aims to empower low-wage workers to fight for their labor, health, gender, and immigrant rights, and address the impact of the pandemic. Sharmie first got involved with the association through a service learning course, and continues to engage because of her personal connection to the Filipino community as well as her passion for legal advocacy of Asian immigrant rights. This summer Sharmie will use her skills to support the Damayan members in outreach, event management, grassroots fundraising, and ecommunications.


Casandra Chen

Barnard College, 2023 | Asian and Middle Easter Cultures 

Internship Site: Coalition for Asian American Children and Families

Through the Public Interest Fellowship, Casandra will work as a Policy Associate at the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF). The CACF advocates for an equitable society for Asian and Pacific American children and families. Cassandra will work with the CACF policy team on 3 health equity projects to ensure the needs of marginalized communities are heard in the legislative process. She will focus on tracking and monitoring legislation relevant to the projects, as well as participate in advocacy outreach to state legislators and NYC mayoral candidates. 



Tasha Tahsa

Columbia College, 2022 | Psychology

Internship Site: Community Impact Emergency Food Programs

Through the Community Impact Brinkley Fellowship, Tasha will work alongside CI staff to enhance operations of CI Emergency Food programs at the Ford Hall Food Pantry and the Broadway Presbyterian Community Lunch. Assisting in direct service 3 days a week, Tasha will help manage daily operations of the pantry and kitchen, both preparing for, and serving clients. Tasha will also be responsible for supporting the development of an expanded social services resource hub, participating in outreach to NYC partner agencies, surveying for client feedback, and researching Ecommerce, food delivery, and community fridge opportunities.