-- Prestigious Program Brings Highly Talented Graduates into Government Service --
FLUSHING, NY, November 17, 2016 – Jesula Prophete and Jewell B. Mason, who both graduated from Queens College in June with master’s degrees in Urban Affairs, share a passion for public service. And now these high-achieving women are receiving valuable career experience as New York State Excelsior Service Fellows.
Begun by Governor Cuomo in 2013, the initiative brings the talent, energy and fresh ideas of the brightest graduates into state government, with the goal of cultivating the next generation of leaders. The highly competitive program draws from leading colleges, including Queens College, Baruch, Columbia University, Barnard College, Fordham Law School, and Syracuse University–Maxwell School, to name a few. Excelsior Fellows work alongside commissioners and other senior members of the administration and have the opportunity to deal with a range of important issues.
This fall, Prophete and Mason settled in Albany. Prophete has been assigned to the Office of Communications at the Department of Motor Vehicles, where she will be working on policies and statewide campaigns to promote organ donation. “This life-saving program is very personal to me because one of my loved ones is living with a chronic liver disease,” she says.
Mason has been appointed to the Office of General Services, Business Services Center (BSC). The BSC provides shared services to standardize human resources and financial transactions for the state, thereby lowering costs and increasing efficiencies. “Here I can increase my knowledge base and hone my skills in a variety of areas including project management, data analytics, supervision and leadership, finance and human resources,” Mason says.
About Jesula Prophete: She was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she attended high school and received an undergraduate and law degree. A mother of two boys, ages 19 and five, and a three-year-old girl, she moved to New York in 2012 to join her husband and pursue graduate study at Queens College. She left behind her job as public information officer and radio producer at the United Nations Mission in Haiti.
“Queens College is an inspirational place,” says Prophete, who is particularly interested in women’s health issues and understanding the social barriers that prevent comprehensive care. “What’s most important is the passion of public workers to improve the life of others. My professors taught me that public service is more than getting a paycheck from the government. It refers to the ability to provoke change; to make the impossible happen; to give hope.”
“Jesula is serious, steadfast and incredibly hard working,” says Dana-Ain Davis, the Urban Studies professor who recommended both young women as Excelsior Fellows during the application process.
About Jewell B. Mason: A resident of Baldwin, Long Island, Mason impressed Davis with her initiative. “She asked me for approval to attend winter intersession classes in Greece through Study Abroad, and during a busy time, got it all together,” Davis says.
While Mason was working toward her BA in Urban Studies at Queens College, she interned for New York City Council member Daniel Dromm and, as a grad student, for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She was selected to a CUNY assistantship program that provided a tuition waiver for several graduate-level classes; in turn, she worked an average of 20 hours a week at Queensborough Community College, advising students at the Center for International Affairs, Immigration and Study Abroad.
“I have a passion for American government and politics,” says Mason. “One of my career goals is to help people through government service. I’m especially drawn to the unique characteristics of New York’s cities and see stark differences between New York City and Albany, for instance. After this fellowship ends, I hope to continue to work for New York State.”
About Queens College
Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its nearly 20,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year in the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, as well as being ranked a U.S. News and World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Learn more at www.qc.cuny.edu.