CUNY BA Careers Event – Meet the Panelists

Join CUNY BA’s Graduate Fellows and Student Leadership Council for a career development event featuring special guest alumni of the program in fields such as academia, corporate development, education, global health, filmmaking, non-profit advocacy, and religious practice.

Alumni panelists will discuss how they turned their interdisciplinary studies into professional assets, how they achieved their career goals after finishing the program, and how current students can take the right steps now. A Q+A with panelists will follow their presentations.

This online event will take place on Wednesday, April 13, at 7:00 pm. Register here.

Ilana Gelb is a Nutrition Policy and Advocacy Senior Officer at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Prior to joining IRC’s Health Unit, Ilana managed the health advocacy portfolio at the International Federation of Red Cross at their United Nations Delegation in New York and supported nutrition research and advocacy at Save the Children. She has a depth of experience in cross-border migration, women’s rights, refugee resettlement, and emergency response from her roles with the UN Refugee Agency, the Refugee Youth Service, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), and the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/NY. Ilana has a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. In her free time, she volunteers with local mutual aid projects.

Emma-Francis Synder is a New York-based activist and award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her directorial debut, Takeover, was shortlisted for a 2022 Academy Award. She was also chosen as one of Vimeo’s Best New Creators. Takeover is part of the 2021 New York Times OpDoc series and was shortlisted for the IDA and Cinema Eye awards. She is a 2020 Ford Foundation: Just Films and Open Society Foundation grantee. In 2012 Emma, and co-director, Sara Beth Curtis, received the Rosen Fellowship through CUNY Brooklyn College and traveled to Santiago, Chile, and Montreal, Quebec to film the simultaneous student movements.

Michael Hattem, PhD, is an Associate Director of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and historian of early America, with a focus broadly on culture and politics in the long eighteenth century. He is also the author of Past and Prologue: Politics and Memory in the American Revolution, which explores the role of changing historical memories in revolutionary American culture and politics, as well as a contributor to and producer of The JuntoCast, the first podcast devoted to early American history and History Talks, a YouTube channel producing historical content by historians for a general audience. He has served as a historical consultant or contributor for a number of projects and organizations, including Hamilton: The Exhibition, American Yawp, Founders Online, as well as television documentaries and auctions. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University.

Maria Thornton is a Development Officer at All Our Kin, an educational non-profit. She started her career as a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College and graduated from Hunter College, where her Area of Concentration was “Political and Social Structures in Shaping Children and Youth at Risk.” During her time at CUNY, Maria focused on studying the policies behind child homelessness in the US and finished her B.Sc studying criminal justice reform and the effects of mass incarceration on overall society. She dedicated most of her time volunteering with homeless communities in New York City. Maria was a recipient of both the Thomas W. Smith Fellowship as well as the Vassar Exploring Transfer scholarship. This fall, she will begin the Masters of Public Administration program at Columbia University on a scholarship.

​Funlayo E. Wood-Menzies, Ph.D., is a scholar-practitioner of Africana Religions, specializing in the Ifa-Orisa tradition as practiced in Nigeria and among African Americans in the US. She is the founding director of the African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association and founding dean of Ase Ire Communiversity, an independent Africana Studies Institute. Dr. Wood-Menzies received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and her work has been published in academic and popular venues including the Journal of Africana Studies, the Review of Religious Research, and Medium. Her book in progress, Obi: Death, Divination, and the Divine Feminine will produce the first scholarly monograph on the kola nut in the context of African Religion.