NYC Comptroller and CUNY announce First Fellows for recent graduates

Sushobhan Parajuli

On Oct. 6, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez announced a new paid fellowship program, First Fellows, that will provide career opportunities for recent CUNY graduates.

Twenty graduates from colleges including Baruch College, Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lehman College and Queens College have been selected to participate in a six-month fellowship program at various bureaus of the Office of the New York City Comptroller. The program began on Oct.5, and will conclude on April 1.

The First Fellows program will provide fellows with hands-on experience in government functions such as law, policy, contracts, accountancy, engineering, asset management, diversity and inclusion initiatives and communications. The program will include robust training and educational opportunities such as skill-building workshops, meetings with civic leaders and content-based presentations on various aspects of City government, according to CUNY.

As the unemployment rate increases during the pandemic, Comptroller Stringer hopes that this fellowship program will forge a pathway from graduation to full-time employment for the fellows.

“Our young people are our future. We always need a strong bench of driven, talented civic leaders ready to step up and shape the city of tomorrow — and it’s our responsibility to create pathways of opportunity for the next generation,” said Comptroller Stringer.

“That’s why I am proud to launch the first-ever fellowship program with the City University of New York at the Office of the Comptroller,” Stringer added. “So young people can attain first-hand knowledge and experience in public service and use these skills to push our city forward.”

Chancellor Rodríguez also detailed which backgrounds qualify for the program.

“Thanks to Comptroller Scott Stringer, these 20 CUNY students, whose academic interest range from the social sciences to the humanities to computer science and economics, will embark on six-month paid fellowships, and in the process gain invaluable hands-on experience utilizing their skills in vital public sector offices, while laying the groundwork for a career of service,” he said.

The fellows will be responsible for various functions of the Comptroller’s Office including engineering, accountancy, communications, diversity and law. Among the 20 fellowship participants, five are Baruch College graduates. Finance graduates Reema Doleh and Mohammed Hashif, and Economics and Political Science graduate Ian Kessler will constitute the Bureau of Asset Management. Daliza Peralta, a Management graduate, will work at the Bureau of Administration. Economics graduate Taalat Ahmed will work at the Bureau of Contract Administration.

Comptroller Stringer maintains a hopeful outlook for both the program and students who undergo the experience.

“I know this passionate cohort of fellows will be an invaluable asset to our city, and that this program will be a stepping stone for a lifetime of civic engagement. I want to express my deepest gratitude to CUNY for understanding the importance of hands-on learning and career development and for partnering with us on this exciting initiative,” he said.