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EOP/HEOP Ambassadors

Two students dressed in graduation regalia with EOP/HEOP ambassador stoles posing on the Arts Quad at Cornell University

We are honored to have such a great group of student leaders within our EOP/HEOP community. These students demonstrate the best of what being EOP/HEOP means and are frequently around the office and participating in events.If you are a prospective student and have questions about the program or what it is like to be a student at Cornell, please read our bios below and contact us at:


Name: Paola Canales Cruz

Your College and Major: CALS & Interdisciplinary Studies
Graduation Year: 2023
Hometown: Brentwood, NY
Favorite Class and Professor: AIIS 1110 & Dr. Karim Aly-Kassam
Co-curricular Activities: H/EOP Ambassadors

Name: Alwany Angeles Taveras
Your College and Major: CALS - Biological Engineering
Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Lindenhurst, New York
Favorite Class and Professor: Principles of Biological Engineering with John March
Co-curricular Activities: H/EOP, P3, GSMU, BEE Hive (Student Org for BEE majors)
Research Experiences: Design of High through put Mechanical Testing Approach for Gels
Special Experiences: Intersolar Clean Energy Conference in San Diego
Why are you an ambassador? Being an H/EOP ambassador allows me to constantly have a familiar space at Cornell where I am connected to folks who are passionate about being H/EOP members. It is also a wonderful opportunity to work alongside my advisors to help welcome and prepare other H/EOP students for life at Cornell.

Name: Mo Islam
Your College and Major: ILR, Majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations
Graduation Year: 2023
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Favorite Class and Professor: ILRLR 3300 Advocacy and Debate, Professor Sam Nelson
Co-curricular Activities: I am Vice President of the ILR Student Government Association, Debater and Secretary of the Cornell Speech and Debate Society, a Peer Mentor for the ILR Freshman Colloquium. I am a general body member of Minorities in ILR Student Organization (MILRSO) and ILR Global Affairs Club (IGAC). I am also part of P3 at OADI.
Research Experiences: On Professor Steven Alvarado's research team researching the ability of high school opportunity programs to pull generations of immediate and extended family members out of poverty.
Internship and Work Experiences: This summer I was a Legal Intern at The Law Office of Jodi Morales. I also taught debate at the NYC Urban Debate League Summer Camp.
Special Experiences: I am Co-Outreach Chair for EOP/HEOP Ambassadors

Name: Raquel Castromonte
Your College and Major: CALS, Environment and Sustainability
Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Queens, NY
Favorite Class and Professor: NTRES 3100/4100 with Evan Cooch
Co-curricular Activities: SACNAS, McNair Research Scholars, Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society
Research Experiences: Tree Swallow Diet at the Vitousek Lab, NTRES 2100 Why are you an ambassador? I am an HEOP ambassador because I want to share my experience as an HEOP student to applicants and continue engaging with other HEOP students at Cornell. Anything else? We continue to be a strong and supporting family (even virtually)!

Name: Jessica Velesaca
Your College and Major: Arts and Sciences - American Studies and Sociology
Graduation Year: May 2022
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Favorite Class and Professor: Latinos in the U.S. Professor VĂ©lez
Co-curricular Activities: VP of Public Relations/Events Coordinator at BlackGen Capital, RA at JAM, Outreach Chair for the H/EOP Ambassador Program
Research Experiences: Through the OADI Research Scholars Program, I had the opportunity to do research at the Worker Institute related to sexual harassment in the workplace. I also researched with CS for All regarding computer science education.
Internship and Work Experiences: During the school year, I work as a student library assistant at Olin Library. This past summer I worked with Woodg doing research related to OADI alongside two other students, it was a great opportunity to learn about the history of OADI and what it took for us to get to where OADI is now. This upcoming summer I will be working at Goldman Sachs in their Risk Division.
Why are you an ambassador? The HEOP program has enabled me to reach my goals both academically and non-academically. I love that I can always reach out to anyone from H/EOP and be provided with advice and support. I owe a lot of the success I have had at Cornell to my advisor, other HEOP students, and HEOP staff. As an ambassador, I am able to share my experiences as a HEOP student and I have the opportunity to reach out to prospective students who may not know what HEOP is. As the Co-Outreach Chair, my goal is to educate and increase engagement/community within the larger HEOP and EOP family.

Name: Rocio Chanez
Your College and Major: ILR
Graduation Year: May 2022
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Favorite Class and Professor: One of my favorite classes was Latinos in the U.S. lectured by Professor Velez. The class environment and the Professor reminded me of home and I could relate so much to his stories.
Co-curricular Activities: I am currently the VP of Alumni Relations for the Minority ILR Student Organization. I am also a McNair Research Scholar so I hope to go onto grad school and obtain my PhD in either Social or Education Policy.
Research Experiences: As a McNair Scholar I am currently conducting research on the economic impact of COVID-19 on undocumented immigrants. I hope to be able to share their stories as they are one of many disadvantaged groups.
Internship and Work Experiences: I currently work for Upward Bound and STEP which are housed in the Public Service center and have interned with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement located in India where I worked for the Tribal School.
Why are you an ambassador? Being an ambassador has allowed me to connect with prospective students and first-year students which is crucial when they are in the college application process or transitioning to college. I also want to connect with current H/EOP students and ensure that they feel welcomed and are supported in every way possible especially during a time of such uncertainty.

Name: Reginald Ezeh
Your College and Major: CALS Information Science
Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Staten Island
Favorite Class and Professor: CS 2110, Professor Gries
Internship and Work Experiences: Interned for TIAA (summer 2020), currently interning for FICO
Why are you an ambassador? I feel that I want to make some sort of impact and influence in order to replicate all the assistance that has been provided to me.

Name: Bianca McIntyre
Your College and Major: College of Arts & Sciences; Biology & Society
Graduation Year: 2023
Hometown: Jamaica, Queens
Favorite Class and Professor: Tamar Kushnir; HD 1150: Infancy & Childhood
Co-curricular Activities: BBMTA, P3, BSP, HEOP Ambassador
Research Experiences: Prospective PAC Lab Research Assistant
Internship and Work Experiences: NERA MedPrep Program; Assistant to the Assistant Dean of Public Service at Cornell Law School
Why are you an ambassador? I am an ambassador because I think that is important to represent my school and the HEOP program and how it has impacted me to prospective students and their families throughout the admissions process. It is also good to share my experiences with others who might need that extra boost and confidence, if they are going through what I have already been through.

Name: Genesis Santana
Your College and Major: AEM, Dyson
Graduation Year: 2023
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Favorite Class and Professor: Intro to Oceanography, Prof. Monger
Co-curricular Activities: Cornell Consulting, Forte, HEOP, Business Students of Color Coalition
Internship and Work Experiences: JetBlue, CBRE, DREAM Charter School
Why are you an ambassador? I am an ambassador because I want to help students the way others have helped me when entering college, a place that initially was very daunting and challenging to transition to.