Staff

Taruna SadhooTaruna Sadhoo

Campus Director

Taruna Sadhoo is the Campus Director of the Queens College CUNY Service Corps program, and has worked at Queens College since 2019. Currently, she is responsible for managing the CUNY Service Corps and Big Buddy programs within the Experiential Education Department. Prior to joining the CUNY Service Corps team at Queens College, Taruna was the Senior Director of Community Engagement at UNICEF USA. Within this role she was responsible for leading the development, management, and expansion of the organization’s community, youth, and volunteer mobilization strategies.

With a passion for international development and education, Taruna has taught in Guyana, Brazil, Ethiopia, and China.

Taruna also served as the Assistant Director of Student-Alumni Programs at Columbia University. Before working at Columbia University, Taruna spent three years at Queens College, City University of New York, as an academic advisor and coordinator of specialty advising – serving first generation and non- traditional college students on campus.

In 2011, the City Council of New York presented Taruna with a Proclamation for devoting her career to the empowerment of women and children. She holds a Masters in Higher and Post-Secondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA in Psychology from Queens College, City University of New York.

Taruna is a proud military wife and mother of Naomi, 2 years old and Ethan, 4 years old.

Riyahauna HeadleyRiyahauna Headley

Program Coordinator

Riyahuana Headley is a Queens College junior pursuing a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies with a minor in Cities and Social Medicine and a Master’s in Urban Affairs in the Accelerated Master’s Program. Her goals are to one day start her own organization that allows her to provide lower-income families with the resources they need to be successful in life including life skills, resources for education, and health and wellness resources. Some of her interests include reading, trying new recipes at home, being an activist in my community, spending quality time with her family and friends, and learning new dances. As a member of the Queens College community, she’s always looking for new ways to be an active member of her community.

She wants to become a mentor for the Big Buddy program because she knows the importance of having a mentor. Mentors play a significant role in our communities by guiding us on the right path and sometimes encouraging us to dream bigger and work harder towards our goals. Without the help of mentors, a lot of us wouldn’t be where we are today. Serving as a mentor is a privilege and a wonderful opportunity for personal and professional growth. When she completes the program, she plans to take the skills she learned and use them every day to continue her journey of personal and professional growth.

Nandita TalwarNandita Talwar

Program Coordinator

Nandita Talwar is a senior at Queens College pursuing her career in Psychology and Political science. Her long-term goal is to become a Clinical Psychologist and serve the community. Nandita carries tremendous leadership experience. She was cohort 7, Cuny Service Corp Student. She worked with a non-profit organization called youth builds as a social work intern. She helped the organization by outreaching and recruiting at different school events and fairs. Moreover, Nandita aims to give her best working as a Program Coordinator and a mentor in this prominent program.

The main reason she wants to be a mentor is not just only because she wants to inspire, support, and encourage Little Buddies but also bring out the best in Little Buddies by building a strong connection with them. In addition, the major purpose of her being a mentor is to help little buddies build trust within themselves so they are able to develop the capabilities and identify goals they carry within themselves. One of the main hobbies that interest her the most is writing poetry.

Sadia IshakSadia Ishak

Lead Mentor

Sadia Ishak is 19 years old and is currently majoring in Computer Science at Queens College. She is interested in English, Art, and physical education. She loves English because everyone has their own story from their point of view and there are multiple ways to write about one topic. Sports is also another thing Sadia enjoys doing, especially playing basketball and hula hooping. She did not mention this, but she is also interested in technology.

Sadia likes to create and design websites; it is fun and gives a chance to be creative. One of her goals is to be the CEO of Google; that is her dream job. Why? Because Google has various perks and benefits and the pay is not too bad, What can you do with 28.6 million dollars anyway right? In addition, she is proud of her input on designing a website and also proud of working out for three times a day since quarantine. One quirky fact about Sadia is she doesn’t like to dip her oreos in milk, she would rather eat them alone.

Jiovanna MelendezJiovanna Melendez

Lead Mentor

“Education is one of the most powerful weapons in which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

The value of an education, self-love, and passion is the very essence of life’s greatest gifts. Jiovanna is a current undergraduate of Queens College in pursuance of a degree in Psychology with a minor in Media Studies. She also studies nutrition and has been involved in yoga, swimming, and wilderness survival. Interests outside of academics include reading, yoga, mediation, journaling, painting, and advocacy/networking.

By having a variety of activities, she is able to rejuvenate her creativity. Thus allowing a balance of arts and academics in the sciences. All in all, she enjoys delving into new subjects to diversify her knowledge. After graduation, she hopes to begin a career that encompasses the ideals of mental and physical health for both children and adults of all backgrounds.

Luca XiaLuca Xia

Lead Mentor

Luca Xia is a rising sophomore at CUNY Queens College (Class of 2024). He is currently undecided but he is considering a path of an Education major, specifically, teaching English as a Second Language in a public school. It’s always been his passion to share experiences with others, including his journey as an English Language Learner.

Luca has served as a mentor at the Kessler Bridge Program during the Summer of 2021. It sharpened his communication skills and allowed him the opportunity to meet some brilliant upcoming QC freshmen. He volunteered as a Teacher Assistant for four years in high school, which was my favorite experience of all time. He got to build a mentor-mentee relationship with my favorite teacher. He trained Luca’s skill to stay organized and taught him the importance of staying in discomfort.

Luca was a bronze member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Program. He learned trail recognition, shelter building, and fire ignition. He has done numerous hiking trips with participants from other countries, which inspired his love of nature and greens. In his free time, he loves skateboarding to places he has never been to. He likes to draw because it calms my anxieties and enjoys journaling his thoughts and how his days went. Luca also loves to work out because it allows him to channel his negative emotions through various exercises. He loves mentorship because he has been a mentee for years! He has always been the one receiving the advice, but now he wants to be like his mentors.