Jaffarguriqbal Singh

Jaffarguriqbal Singh

2012 Summer Program Alumnus

Year Attended STEM Institute: 2012

Originally from Punjab, India, Jaffarguriqbal immigrated to the United States at the age of four. His passion for learning geared him towards finding opportunities to learn new topics. When accepted to the STEM Institute during the summer of 2012, he received a wider understanding of the potential topics in STEM. This experience helped him decide on a future career in medicine and science. After graduating high school, Jaffarguriqbal attended Hofstra University Honors College, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. While attending Hofstra, he gained valuable research experience in working in both organic and inorganic research laboratories. With the pursuit of becoming a physician in his mind, he wanted to use the knowledge that he gained at Hofstra to first contribute to a cancer research laboratory. After graduation, he accepted a position in Tyler Jack’s cancer laboratory at the Koch Institute at MIT. There he was able to learn new techniques to help diagnose and treat cancer. Shortly after, he helped start a new lab at Yale Medical School with Dr. Mandar Muzumdar. This is where he contributed to research that showed a correlation between obesity and the progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma as well as how to limit the progression of this disease in the early stages. Currently, Jaffarguriqbal will be applying to medical schools with the aim to become a physician. He hopes to continue the pursuit of learning in the field of medicine and science that he gained throughout his time at the STEM Institute.

Jaffarguriqbal recently had his research about the relationship between Pancreatic Cancer and obesity from Yale published in Cell as a co-first author. His research article publication can be access at https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)30395-0

Kristoff Misquitta

Kristoff Misquitta

2018 Summer Program Alumnus

Kristoff is a rising senior at Stuyvesant High School, at his young age (17) Kristoff served as the Co-head of Operations at the NYC Aerospace and is a valuable member at the NY Academy of sciences.

After joining the STEM Institute in 2018, Kristoff has led his scientific passion to run free and continues to thrive. He holds the award for the national Genes in Space competition 2020.

“His research about the capillary action in microgravity will explore why pharmaceutical drugs are less effective in microgravity. Specifically, he will investigate whether spaceflight-induced changes in liver function may underlie the observed changes in drug efficacy. Results from his project will help improve understanding of how spaceflight affects drug metabolism and could aid the design of more effective treatments for astronauts on long-duration spaceflight missions.” – ISS National Laboratory

Kristoff’s piece of advice for other STEM Students is to take advantage of the advanced classes offered in High-School, be on the lookout to find the right mentors, and especially to persevere and never stop questioning.

“Without a doubt, the STEM Institute taught me the vital skills needed to make my dream a reality”- Kristoff Misquitta

Kayla Steele

2007-2008 Summer Program Alumnus

Kayla Steele, MD is currently a Pain Management Fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and a graduate of SUNY Downstate Medical School. She attended the STEM institute during her sophomore and junior years of high school where she took courses in Algebra, Physics and Calculus. Her passion for the sciences was continually fostered during her experience at the STEM Institute, which prompted her to apply to the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at CUNY City College. While at Sophie Davis School she engaged in a multitude of research experience including bench work on gene proteins involved in mitochondrial diseases and took advantage of an international research project in Trinidad and Tobago where she studied the influence of advertisements on alcohol consumption in school aged children. She strongly believes that the early exposure to science and research obtained during her years at the STEM institute is what helped her to facilitate the research work she engaged in during her pre-medical and medical years. At SUNY Downstate she quickly discovered her passion for Anesthesiology which led her to engage in research as a summer medical student anesthesia research fellow in the use of ACE/ARB medications perioperatively and its effect on intraoperative blood pressure response to vasopressors. She was able to translate her passion for mathematics and sciences that materialized during her time at the STEM institute into a career in Anesthesiology, when she applied and matched to NYU Langone Health in Manhattan for Anesthesiology Residency. She recently graduated from NYU Langone Health and will complete her fellowship in Pain Medicine in June 2020.

Sashary Marte

2006-2010 Summer Program Alumnus

Co-op: Sashary was a cross-functional team leader at Trane Commercial Systems where she effectively applied lean product development techniques to increase productivity and improve product quality of the centrifugal chiller. She also directed the formulation and execution of strategies to mitigate project risks.

Research: Sashary was able to broaden her engineering capabilities by gaining valuable research experience under Professor Jorge Gonzalez through NOAA – CREST. As an intern she developed her knowledge in the field of sustainable energy by learning how certain parameters, like climate temperature, can impact energy demands in places similar to NYC.

Employment: Sashary’s collegiate and professional experience led her to attain a position in the Engineering Development Program at Honda of America Manufacturing (HAM). At HAM she will be rotating through several departments where she will be involved in various projects designed to maximize her knowledge in engineering.

Bryce Marte

2007-2010 Summer Program Alumnus

I am a proud graduate of the STEM Institute at City College, where I spent four years studying. I later returned to the program as a Physics and Robotics Teaching Assistant for two years. STEM enabled me to hone my math and science skills and develop my passion for mechanical engineering. It also taught me how to work with and mentor others. By the time I graduated from high school I had already earned 10 college credits. As a student at CCNY I joined the Toyota Technical Center, as part of a one-year co-op rotation. I was a member of the Engineering Drive Trainee Design team where I developed a system to optimize design specifications for parts to meet press fit loads and ejection forces. During my second co-op rotation I worked as a transmission evaluation engineer, running worst-case scenario testing for six speed transmissions to evaluate failure mode. As side projects I also benchmarked and evaluated previous transmission design processes to recommend and implement improvements for Toyota transmissions.


I became a team leader of several projects while attending CCNY’s Grove school of Engineering, such as CANSAT – an international competition where we developed a miniature payload that would descend from 1.2 miles in the air on its own without the use of a parachute. I developed various skills, such as reverse engineering, manufacturing techniques, and most especially computer-aided design software. This sparked my passion for engineering design. Our design team was able to come up with a unique design, using an autogyro, which was able to land the payload safely. During my last semesters at City College, I led a team that completed two senior design projects – one of which won First Place for the Most Creative Design Award for Senior Design, and the other was patented by our sponsor Jack Abel of Watermark Design. I am also a recipient of the Kaylie Scholarship at GSOE and a Xerox Scholarship.

Leonardo Abbrescia

2009 Summer Program Alumnus

“The STEM Institute’s summer program in 2009 was a life changing experience for me, I took the fantastic Calculus I and II courses taught by Doris Pichardo and Mr. Dario Cardenas. Mr. Cardenas and Miss. Pichardo are two of the most talented and kind instructors I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and learning from; the STEM Institute really is fortunate to have them. The mathematical background provided to me by STEM allowed me to succeed in some of the most difficult math and science courses offered by my high school, Brooklyn Tech. With the knowledge and confidence I gained from STEM, I went on to take 12 AP exams and earned five 5’s and five 4’s and two 3’s. This was a key factor in writing a successful application to Columbia University, to which I was accepted.

I majored in Applied Mathematics in Columbia, and even with the exceptional start afforded to me by the STEM Institute; it was an extremely difficult transition to higher level mathematics.

The STEM Institute also taught me how to persevere and handle a large amount of stress and work. Without that under my belt, I am certain that I would not have been able to be successful in my undergraduate career. I went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Math in 2015 and wrote a successful application to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Student Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), which provides an annual funding of $34,000 to doctoral students. I highly recommend every student in the STEM Institute to apply to the NSF GRFP if they ever decide to pursue a Ph.D. in science. Please feel free to ask me for help.

After graduating from college, I started my Ph.D. in Mathematics at Michigan State University as an NSF Fellow. My field of research concerns partial differential equations, which as a fun fact, uses many of the techniques I learned from Miss. Pichardo: the chain rule, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, and Integration by Parts. I anticipate completing my Ph.D. in Mathematics in spring 2020. I have successfully written an application for an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, which funds my postdoctoral work that I will start at Vanderbilt University in fall 2020. In the future my goal is to be a Professor of Mathematics at a college or university.

The takeaway from my story is that none of my accolades would have come to fruition had the STEM Institute not put me on the path to success. They have some of the best instructors in the world; it is an absolute privilege and honor to learn from them.”

Two pieces of advice:

  • Be modest, and never forget who has helped you along the way. It really does take a village to raise a scientist, engineer, or mathematician.
  • Pay attention in your English courses. I certainly wish that I had. If you think you will not need to be a good writer or have good reading comprehension skills, think again! In any career that you end up in, including any career in STEM, you will need to have communication skills. Your English classes are built for this.

Michael Amoako

2013 Summer Program Alumnus

Michael Amoako is a recent graduate from MIT with a major in Business Management and minors in Computer Science and Mathematics. He is originally from Teaneck, NJ and partook in the STEM Institute after his sophomore year in Teaneck High School (THS) on 2013. The STEM Institute served shape his career interests by surrounding him with many other brilliant students interested in the STEM field. This helped him get ahead on classes he’d later take in his final years at THS, allowing him to graduate as THS’s first African American male valedictorian.

He currently works as a Program Manager at Microsoft in their two year AI Rotation Program in which him and his teammates empower other teams at Microsoft using AI solutions. Michael’s next plan is to join Harvard Business School’s deferred MS/MBA program. His ultimate goal is to empower entrepreneurs who seek to make a positive impact on society and have strong interests in both social impact and technology-related entrepreneurship. Michael firmly believes in the value of mentorship and feels that a community will reach its full potential when those with desired experience and knowledge serve as mentors to others.

Emmanuel Hiram Arnaud

2006 – 2007 Summer Program Alum

Year(s) Attended STEM Institute: 2006 – 2007

“Hello! I am a proud STEM alumnus and recent graduate of Cornell Law School. I had the pleasure and honor of attending the STEM institute, where I participated in research on New York City air quality, using technology such as LIDAR (Light Imaging Detection and Ranging).  Although my current career is a departure from science, the STEM Institute instilled and further refined in me, the important values of hard work, camaraderie, and a love for learning. I applied these values to my High School studies, which helped me to gain admission to an Ivy League school, Columbia University. I majored in 20th Century United States History, and focused my studies on race relations, critical race theory, and urbanization. I was also involved in various leadership positions among student organizations and dedicated much of my time to giving back to communities of color.  It was difficult to adapt to the intensity and rigor of Columbia University, but the work ethic I developed in High School, and as part of the STEM Institute program taught me to never give up, and that I was capable of anything as long as I worked to the best of my abilities. After I graduated in 2013, I was admitted to Cornell Law School. At Cornell, I served as President of the Latino American Law Students Association (LALSA); an associate and notes editor of the Cornell Law Review; had my student notes published in the journal; and was on the Dean’s List. I am currently embarking on a one-year fellowship at Justice 360 – a South Carolina non-profit, dedicated to reforming policies and practices in capital proceedings – where I will be working on the defense of death row inmates who likely suffered constitutional violations. My first job will be clerking for Judge Nelson Roman of the Southern District of New York.  My passion for the law stems from my passion for my community. As a first generation American, the son of a Puerto Rican mother and Dominican father, I have witnessed, experienced, felt, and learned about the extreme difficulties of not just my ancestors, but of communities of color and other underrepresented communities throughout our country. I am no longer engaged in solving complex equations or attempting to discover new planets (I love astronomy), but my passion for the law is attributable to a simple lesson I learned at the STEM Institute: you must always give back to those who come after you. Working in the public interest sector of the law, and attempting to fight against systemic racism and the death penalty is my small way to honor that lesson”. -Emmanuel

Vickie Wu

2007 Summer Program Alumnus

Vickie Wu, 2007 STEM Institute Summer Program Alum

Vickie Wu majored in Human Evolutionary Biology and minored in Global Health and Health Policy at Harvard University. Since very young she was interested in the medical field and was very involved in community building. She joined the STEM Institute summer program after her sophomore year in High School. After graduating in 2013, she worked in clinical research at Massachusetts General Hospital studying infants hospitalized with bronchiolitis and their risks of developing recurrent wheezing. A year later, she matriculated to medical school at Albany Medical College.

“My success today is due in part to the foundation that the STEM Institute helped me build as a young high school student. Exposure to college-level courses while being surrounded by other students who came from the same socioeconomic background that I did, with immigrant parents who spoke no English, showed me that social barriers to success can be overcome so long as there are opportunities (such as the STEM Institute) to inspire the young community”.

Jermaine Heath

2007 Summer Program Alumnus

Student Name: Jermaine Heath

Year(s) Attended STEM Institute: 2007

Jermaine, participated in the CCNY STEM Institute Summer Program in 2007, right after his freshman year of high school. He truly believes that his early exposure to advanced math and science courses through his participation in our program helped him cultivate an aptitude and develop a deep interest in STEM fields. After joining us, he even gained the confidence to take several AP-level courses later on in high school. While in college, he developed an interest in medicine and health delivery. He interned at Montefiore’s Care Management Organization in the Bronx/Westchester and worked on various care delivery innovations spurred by the Affordable Care Act. He was a Health Policy fellow at The Dartmouth Institute of Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, where he carried out research regarding care delivery innovations and their impact on patient outcomes in health systems across the country. He recently began medical school at Howard University and looks forward to combining clinical practice with research to inform future health reform efforts from physicians’ perspectives.

Willie Caraballo

1999 Summer Program Alumnus

Willie Caraballo participated in the CCNY STEM Institute Summer Program for the first time in 1999. When asked about how the STEM Institute influenced him, he exclaimed, “One of the main factors that helped me realize my interest in engineering and science was the STEM Institute. It’s because of this program that I got to know what engineering was about. Not only did I gain insight as to what engineering was all about, [but] it also gave me the problem-solving skills, along with the motivation, to do better for myself.”

Upon graduating from high school, Willie enrolled in The City College of New York to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering. Soon after, he became involved in conducting research thanks to Mr. Marte, who mentored him while he pursued his undergraduate studies at the CCNY Grove School of Engineering.

With Mr. Marte’s support, Willie’s first research experience took place in the summer of 2002 at Stony Brook University under the guidance of Professor Thomas Robertazzi. Their research focused on determining whether a simple circulatory structure of probability flux, for a two-class Markovian priority queuing system, existed.

Milana Zirkiyeva

2007-2008 Summer Program Alum

Student Name: Milana Zirkiyeva

Year(s) Attended STEM Institute: 2007-2008

“Greetings! I am a proud STEM alumnus and recent graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine. I had the pleasure and honor of attending the STEM institute, where I participated in the summer programs and Robotics Program for 2 years. I double majored in Chemistry and Biology and had a minor in theology at St. John’s University. During the four years of undergraduate, I participated in medicinal chemistry and biochemistry research and volunteered as a research volunteer at the current NY Presbyterian Queens Hospital where I was a co-author of study regarding increased hospital admission in the elderly population. I was the Head Skull of Skull and Circle Honor Society, President of Watson’s Pre-health Honor Society, and Secretary of Earth Club.


After I graduated in 2013, I was accepted to St. George’s School of Medicine where I was able to complete 2 years on basic sciences in Grenada and then 2 years of clinical clerkships in NY. I was secretary and treasurer of the Jewish Students Association and participated in health fairs. For 3 terms, I was tutor for Biochemistry, Genetics, and Immunology. In the 3rd year, I was nominated into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Soon after graduating medical school in 06/2017, I was a clinical instructor for 3 months at Kingsbrook Jewish Hospital Center and had an opportunity participating in guiding medical students completing their clinical clerkships. Later in 09/2017, I was fortunate to start my Internal Medicine Residency at Queens Hospital Center. Currently, I am almost done with my first year of residency. My passion for medicine is unexplainable and I look forward to making a difference on a daily basis” – Milana

Brian Victor Portelli

2008 - 2010 Summer Program Alum

Student Name: Brian Victor Portelli

Year(s) Attended STEM Institute: 2008 – 2010

“I was lucky enough to be able to attend the STEM Institute for multiple summers during my high school career. The courses I attended prepared me for classes that I would be taking in school and fueled my interest and passion for the sciences. One summer in particular, I learned how to code in Matlab and interned with a NOAA research team to investigate a real-world issue. This opportunity allowed me to gain research experience and helped to disprove a theory concerning the rising water surface area of Lago Enriquillo, a hypersaline lake in the Dominican Republic. Overall, participating in the STEM Institute at the City College of New York inspired me to understand the value of study and helped to give me the motivation to exceed expectations.

While studying for my undergraduate degree in Wheaton College, the hard-working and determined attitude that I developed during my summers at STEM served me well. In my four-year undergraduate career, I completed the required courses for my neuroscience major as well as additional pre-medical requirements, maintained a stellar record at my on-campus job, and accepted memberships to two national honor societies. In addition, I served as secretary for the Pre-Health Society Executive Board; founded and directed the Pre-Health Society Mentoring Program; co-founded the AED National Honor Society Epsilon Chapter; and acted as a mentor for younger students. Lastly, I studied abroad at the University of Wollongong in Australia, where I took courses in biotechnology, philosophy, and cultural studies. In my free time, I explored several beautiful destinations and built lasting friendships with my local and international peers. After graduating two months ago, I am taking a couple of years to work and study before pursuing a career in clinical neurology. Although some aspects of my future are unclear, I know that my success to date is due in part to the dedication instilled in me by the rigorous STEM Institute at CCNY. My time there taught me that we should never rationalize inaction with self-doubt, fear of failure or scrutiny, and that no goal is unachievable”. -Brian

Charles Sosa

2004 Summer Program Alumnus

Charles Sosa, 2004 STEM Institute Summer Program Alum

Charles attended the CCNY STEM Institute Summer Program in 2004. He graduated from The City College of New York’s Grove School of Engineering in the fall of 2011, with an honors degree in Mechanical Engineering (Cum Laude). After graduation, Charles followed his dreams and attended the University of Michigan for his MSE and PhD in Nuclear Engineering.

Ping Hsiang Liang

2012-2013 Summer Program Alum

Student Name: Ping Hsiang Liang

Year(s) Attended STEM Institute: 2012-2013

Ping Hsiang Liang grew up attending various summer camps with his two brothers. Although the ones with outdoor activities were his favorite, Ping enjoyed his time at the STEM Institute and attended our program for two consecutive summers. After graduating high school, Ping attended Stony Brook University and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout his four years of college, he joined several on-campus organizations and surrounded himself with hard-working future engineers. Ping interned at a small HVAC company during the summer of his sophomore year. There, he was exposed to hands-on repairing and troubleshooting of various cooling and heating systems. The summer of his junior year, Ping interned at Northrop Grumman Corporation in Baltimore, Maryland. He worked as an intern in the reliability lab and helped with testing and test setups. Ping was exposed to the working culture of a large company and the many processes that were involved to make things work. Ping learned how to use 3D printers and made models that he designed for various tests. After his college graduation, Ping started to work full time for Northrop Grumman in August 2018. He took a role as a mechanical designer for the space design group. He worked on circuit card assemblies that would be packaged up to meet performance under various vibrations and thermal requirements that are necessary for successful deployment into space. He also worked on various tests, research and development efforts that are related to fighter jets. Ping is excited to continue his journey as a young mechanical engineer, and he has recently accepted a new role as a mechanical designer for submarine launcher systems in Sunnyvale, California.

Josh Cutler

2013-2014 Summer Program Alum

Student Name: Josh Cutler

Year(s) Attended STEM Institute: 2013-2014

“I am a proud member of the STEM family, both as a student and a teaching assistant. Coming from a special education background, the STEM Institute was my very first experience in a “general” education environment. Very quickly, I learned a few life lessons that [have stayed] with me to this day: no challenge or adversity is insurmountable, and the greatest limiting factor in life is yourself. I started out with the STEM Institute in 2013 and returned prior to entering the Grove School of Engineering in 2014. During the summer of 2014, I conducted research for the CUNY Center of Advanced Technologies. My research involved the use of metamaterials as a means of autonomously steering laser beams with high precision. For two summers after that (in 2015 and 2016), I served as a Teaching Assistant for the Engineering/Robotics class, helping students learn such skills as Python programming, 3D printing, and technical writing. Overall, the STEM Institute gave me the tools and values I needed to follow my dreams. From the time I participated in STEM, and even before [that], I had developed a passion for the rail industry and wanted to find a way to apply it [to my future]. My dream job was to work on the actual rail cars themselves. My dream would come true the following summer, in 2017, when I created an internship program and became the very first intern for Kawasaki Rail Car, a train builder that makes many of the newer trains for the New York City Subway. I continued my internship during the following winter and summer breaks, and ultimately secured a job as one of the youngest systems engineers ever to work for Kawasaki. I am currently part of a team that is working on the class of next generation New York City Subway cars, known as the R211, which you will be able to ride in a few years.” –Josh

Jovanny Sanchez

2011 Summer Program Alumnus

Student Name: Jovanny Sanchez

Year(s) Attended STEM Institute: 2011

Jovanny Sanchez a former STEM Institute TA and Chemistry instructor and a Proud STEM Alumn. Jovanny proved to be resilient in all the tasks he took on, and always shared the qualities required to achieve academic excellence with his students. As a successful SAT Math Coach and mentor he inspired many of our students in becoming successful not only academically. Soon after graduating he became a patent Litigation Intern for Skadden, Arps Corp.

Mary Zhuo Ke

2014 Summer Program Alumnus

Student Name: Mary Zhuo Ke

Year(s) Attended STEM Institute: 2014

Mary Zhuo Ke attended the CCNY STEM Institute Summer Program her junior year of high school, studying Calculus and Robotics. During her time with us, she won first place in her Robotics course for designing an innovative way to complete a task for the robotics soccer competition. In her senior year of high school, she won first prize in the NYC Regional Brain Bee at Columbia University and later went on to compete in the USA National Brain Bee Championship, which tests knowledge of medicine and life sciences. She developed a strong interest in life sciences and engineering due to her experiences, and as a result, she majored in biomedical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a full scholarship as a QuestBridge National College Match Scholar. During her time as an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Iceland, where she conducted research related to renewable energy resources. She was also a Microrobotics research intern at Harvard University, where she helped design and manufacture bioinspired mechanical prototypes. Mary was also a research assistant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she studied behavioral neuroscience and designed tools and experiments to better understand and diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders. Presently, Mary is working as an engineer in the cognitive computing department at Epic Systems Corporation, a medical software company that creates diagnostic and electronic health record software for many hospitals in the United States. She hopes to continue to pursue careers and opportunities in STEM, and is a proud alum of the City College STEM Institute.

Nicholas Schulman

Nicholas Schulman

2003 Summer Program Alumnus

Nicholas Schulman STEM Institute Former Student 2003.

Graduated CCNY with bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2018. Currently pursuing a PhD in chemical engineering with a research focus on nanomaterials, thermodynamics and reaction engineering at Cornell University.  Nicholas was a very involved student, during his first summer at the CCNY STEM Institute Nicholas worked as a chemistry and physics TA.

Yelissa Lopez

2018 Summer Program Alumnus

Yelissa Lopez, 2018 STEM Institute Summer Program Alum

“The STEM Institute gave me the confidence and ability to pursue my passions.” – Yelissa Lopez

Yelissa Lopez attended the CCNY STEM Institute Summer Program in 2018. While studying with us, she built a partnership with Louis Hernandez from the Grove School of Engineering. Yelissa continued to work with him after our Summer Program ended, and eventually, under Hernandez’s mentorship, Yelissa conducted research in aerospace engineering, learning about the aerodynamics of rockets. Yelissa was even able to participate in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, the world’s largest rocket competition.

This Summer 2019, Yelissa will be attending MIT and participating in Launch X, an entrepreneurship program, were she will design, develop, pitch and start her own business.