Nearly 50 CUNY students intern for Mayor Eric Adams’s transition team



Dani Heba, Sports Editor

As part of CUNY’s civic engagement internship program, 49 combined graduate and undergraduate students who attend a combined 14 CUNY colleges had the opportunity to assist Mayor Eric Adams’s administration on policy and research.

“Everything we do at City Hall must be done with future generations in mind – and so it is essential and appropriate that our talented young women and men from CUNY are part of creating our new mayoral administration,” Adams said, per The Daily News.

Adams himself is a graduate of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he earned his bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice.

He s defeated Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa in the New York City’s mayoral election this past November and was sworn in on Jan. 1. He succeeds Mayor Bill de Blasio, and is the city’s second Black mayor in its history.

The CUNY civic engagement program is a paid program that aims to engage students in the city’s decision-making process, and Adams’s transition team will help make that happen.

Interns were expected to research and analyze data for 10-15 hours per week, while gathering information from residents and interviewing city stakeholders, per CUNY’s blog post on the matter.

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez applauded the program’s diversity, enthusiasm and expressed hope that it will tackle the issues that matter to New Yorkers.

“We are so proud to have nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate students from throughout the University, who together speak two dozen languages, and represent all five boroughs, bringing their energy and enthusiasm to help the Mayor-elect’s Transition Team build an administration that will address the issues most concerning to New Yorkers from his first day on the job,” Matos Rodríguez said, per The New York Daily News.

Hejun Chen, a Baruch College student majoring in statistics and quantitative modeling, served as an information technology intern on the team’s IT committee. Chen said he enjoyed the work and felt a great sense of achievement in his role.

“I really enjoyed this valuable three-month long internship experience with Eric Adams’s transition team because as a new resident who moved to this country in 2020, I got the chance to contribute to big projects that will eventually bring city-wide impact and improvement,” Chen told The Ticker via an email statement.

Chen said he got to work directly on a city digital transformation project, which aims to digitize various government-to-citizen processes including payments, services and identity recognition.

Chen also got to participate in workshops to learn about his field and to network with senior city leaders.

His main responsibility was to conduct research and benchmark the team’s project initiatives with existing efforts and prototypes with case studies. Chen said he was able to find success in his role.

“I believe my work is valuable for Eric Adams’s IT committee because I have successfully found five possible vendors and initiated a phased plan for scaled UI/UX studies across the city,” he said.

Amanda Raikes, a master’s of public administration student at Baruch, served on the team’s housing committee and public housing sub-committee. Raikes believes it was a rewarding and informative experience.

“This experience has expanded my interest in learning more about the public housing crisis that we face in New York City,” Raikes told The Ticker via an email statement. “I’ve spent many years working with persons experiencing homelessness housed in New York City shelters, but I’d like to become more familiar with how we as New Yorkers can improve the largest public housing city in the United States.”

Among Raikes’s responsibilities were note-taking during housing committee meetings, incorporating information from these meetings and using other data sources for agency memos for the Adams administration’s first 100 days initiative.

Raikes also met with many well-known leaders in the housing sector who have firsthand experience in tenants’ rights and are familiar with the issues New York City’s public housing faces.

“I’m grateful to be chosen for this opportunity and hoping that other students consider applying for the CUNY civic engagement internship in the future, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the challenges within our city,” Raikes said.