meet our 2016-17 ELLA Fellows!

Safia Mahjebin Hunter College

Safia Mahjebin

Hunter College

Right to Say “NO” Right to Say “NO”  is an educational workshop series that refutes common arguments made using Islamic religious texts to justify gender based violence. The series partners with Sanctuary for Families to provide participating schools and their students with available resources that cater to the Muslim community.

Safia Mahjebin is a  Brooklynite through and through even though her hands sometimes smell like Bangali curry. She is currently a sophomore at Hunter College double majoring in Chinese language and philosophy with a minor in human rights. In addition to school and the ELLA Fellowship, Safia dedicates her time to Sanctuary for Families. Safia is also the youngest organizing member of American Muslim Women (AMW) Political Action Committee (PAC). 


Bianca Herrera University of Illinois at Chicago, 2016

Bianca Herrera

University of Illinois at Chicago, 2016

“¿Que dijiste?: Teniendo conversaciones honestas sobre el sexo con adolescentes. /“What did you say?: Having Honest Conversations about sex with Teens” is a series of bilingual workshops at a high school in Chicago for Latinx parents of teens that aim to give them knowledge about sex, sexuality, and the body. This project also aims to increase parents comfortability around these topics in order to facilitate increased and more effective communication between parents and teens.

Bianca Herrera is a Xicana who currently resides on the southwest side of Chicago. She recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.A. in Public Health. Bianca currently works for a rape crisis center, which contrary to many people’s beliefs, she finds to be a very uplifting and positive place to work.

DaMonique Ballou Barnard College

DaMonique Ballou

Barnard College

“Body. Black. Girl.” is a mentoring art collective between Barnard students and high school aged girls. Participants will meet weekly to develop a social media campaign and archive that represents and re-imagines portrayals of black girls influenced by their own experiences.  Participants' work will culminate into a pop-up exhibit composed of a workshop, an art gallery, and group conversations that reflect on, challenge and re-imagine representations ofpost-adolescent black girlhood.

DaMonique Ballou is a senior at Barnard College, from Compton, California. She is invested in curating spaces that share non-dominant narratives.

Dayana Pichardo The College of Saint Rose

Dayana Pichardo

The College of Saint Rose

Purely Positive Women of Purpose is a collective that strives to create an uplifting and supporting environment for women located on the campus of Saint Rose College in Albany, NY.  The organization discusses social issues within both on and off the college campus. PPWOP seeks to create a safe space where the women of St. Rose can build a sisterhood while discussing social justice issues. 

Dayana Pichardo is an Afro-Latina feminist originally from New York City, NY. She was inspired by her experience at Sadie Nash as a high schooler and was driven to create a space modeled after that home once arrived at The College of St. Rose, called Purely Positive Women of Purpose (PPWOP). 

Kayla Myele Chisholm Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (New Brunswick) 

Kayla Myele Chisholm

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (New Brunswick) 

Branching Out is an open space for students at Rutgers University- New Brunswick to address their anxiety in order to help them become more involved on campus. Through peer counseling and open dialogue Branching Out seeks to combat the stigma of mental illness and create positive discussion.

 Kayla Myelle Chisolm is a third year undergraduate student at Rutgers University on a Pre-Law track with a major in Cultural Anthropology a double minor in Global and International Studies, and Critical Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. She has hopes of working within the United Nations doing non profit humanitarian work. Kayla is part of a women's mentoring organization on campus called Douglass D.I.V.A.S. and in her free time you can find her with her friends having fun or curled up with a book in her room.

Maria Antonella Pereira Barnard College

Maria Antonella Pereira

Barnard College

Inclusion is a sustainable working group of students with disabilities dedicated to spreading hard of hearing/disability culture on Columbia/Barnard’s campus through various forms of activism to develop ways of combating the lack of accessibility & resources. The coalition seeks to create a sense of community while giving such students a space to voice their opinions. 

María Antonella Pereira is a sophomore at Barnard College majoring in Political Economics. She is very passionate about disability activism given that she is severely hard of hearing and proud! She is excited to be in the Big Apple although she misses her home in Ecuador where she could see the mountains every day. In her free time she enjoys reading and dancing flamenco.

Tiffany Traille Binghamton University

Tiffany Traille

Binghamton University

Education: For Us, By Us is a project that aims to restructure the learning environments of black and latinx high school students who are disproportionately punished in their classrooms. The project seeks to center young people’s identities and lived experiences through workshops facilitated by college students of similar backgrounds. Participants will have the opportunity to learn in ways that are best suitable to them, and to be active learners in an environment that prioritizes safety, love, and community. 

Tiffany Traille is a 21-year-old senior at Binghamton University majoring in Sociology and Political Science. She was born in Jamaica and resides in Bronx, NY when she isn't away at school. Education: For Us, By Us was inspired by her 8-year-old niece, who reminds Tiffany of what it means to be a carefree black girl.

Mamasa Dukureh Columbia University

Mamasa Dukureh

Columbia University

Shades of Blackness is an empowerment group for high school students in Newark, NJ.  This group seeks to build a community of girls that recognize and celebrate their different experiences with blackness.  By the end of the workshop series, they will have historical knowledge of what black solidarity looked like on the continent of Africa and across the diaspora.  They will also have a larger awareness of injustice that allows them to recognize larger structures of oppression.

Mamasa Dukureh is a junior at Columbia University majoring in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies.  As a black woman, she is strongly invested in the fight for racial and gender equality and hopes to utilize her research, program facilitation, and rhetorical analysis skills to organize for high school students in her hometown of Newark, NJ. 

Gabrielle “Gabby” Vera Gateway To College

Gabrielle “Gabby” Vera

Gateway To College

For Colored Girls Who've Considered Suicide is a support group for young women of color ages 13-18 in Newark, New Jersey. The group seeks to create a space where young women of color can disclose of any mental illnesses they may be living with while working towards developing healthy coping mechanisms, practicing self care, and leading a journey to healing. Using creative writing and performance WOC will learn to share stories of trauma, pain, survival, and healing to reclaim their narratives and voices. 

Gabby Vera lives in Newark, New Jersey and is a Gateway to College student at Essex County College. She joined SNLP in 2015 for Summer Institute and has since participated in Sisterhood Academy as well as a second year of Summer Institute. As secretary of the Newark Students Union (NSU), Gabby has organized various walkouts, shutdowns and sit-ins over the past two years challenging educational injustice. 

Fabliha Anbar Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice

Fabliha Anbar

Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice

Girls' Generation is a safe space for girls of color Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice to social justice issues and political crisis around the world. People are open to express their own identity and share their own personal stories with the support of the community. Weekly discussions will introduce different topics and allow peers to learn about United States history in terms of intersectional justice. 

Fabliha Anbar grew up in New York City and began her Sadie Nash journey with Summer Institute in 2015! Fabliha has lived with anxiety for many years so she turns to journaling to deal with its effects. She loves learning and can often be found watching documentaries. When it comes to self care, Fabliha enjoys throwing on some comfy pajamas, putting on a turmeric mask and binging on youtube videos.