Queensborough students Equipped with New Skills in Global Leadership

Published: January 23, 2024

Ashley Tobar Briones

Ashley Tobar Briones, who enrolled in August 2022 in the Dual-Joint A.S./B.A. degree program in Criminal Justice, will head to John Jay this spring semester, where she will major in International Criminal Justice with a minor in law.

The heightened cultural knowledge, curiosity, and empathy she gained in the Global Leadership Program has equipped her with skills that will enhance her area of study.

“The Global Leadership Program was such an amazing experience,” said Ashley, who was Student Government Secretary, peer mentor and member of the Lambda Sigma Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.   

Ashley is a resident of Flushing, Queens, considered the most diverse community in America. “I was so lucky to be a part of the program this fall semester. It gave me an opportunity to connect with fellow students from all over the world—students like me,” said Ashley who arrived in the U.S. from Ecuador ten years ago.

“The program equipped me with heightened self-awareness to step out of my shoes and learn about other life stories, challenges, and ideologies. These skills will help me with my own culture shock going to a four-year college.”

Ashley says she will look back at her experiences at Queensborough with fondness. “My professors were welcoming, and I could tell they enjoyed their roles as mentors. Student success comes from within but also from the top. President Mangino, faculty, and staff are involved and encourage students to get the most out of their education so they can move on to have successful lives.”

“My advice to students is to take advantage of this culture of care. Search for what you want –acknowledge your identity and remove self-limiting thoughts.”


Jake Jacobo

Jake Jacobo’s academic journey is a winding road of life experiences that finally landed him as a full-time student in his second semester at Queensborough. He described his experience in the fall 2023 Global Leaders program as an affirmation to stay involved and keep pushing for success.

“I really felt empowered by the program and am so grateful to Bette (Lampeto Efthymiou, Ed.D. Student Life International Student Manager/DSO/CUNY Immigrant Student Success Liaison) for her encouragement to join the program.”

“Each week a professor spoke to the class on different topics. There was an event centered on layers of empathy and the intention to connect with people on a level of respectful disagreement.”

Jakes' journey to Queensborough began right out of high school in 2009 when he enrolled as a Liberal Arts and Sciences major. “I am the first in my family to go to college and I feel a special responsibility to make my mother proud. She has sacrificed so much for me to get ahead and change my life.”

Jake wanted to honor his mother’s wishes and pursue his passion for medicine.

“I thought I was ready for college but was weighed down by personal issues—a family member had a substance abuse problem; I underestimated the two- and one-half hour commute from Brooklyn and my full-time job, needed to help support my family, drained me of energy to study. I was going through the motions and felt lost.”

He stayed for two years and withdrew in 2011 deciding to take time off and continue to work. One day a friend shared some stories of people pursuing careers in the medical field and his dreams of becoming a doctor came rushing back.

Jake, now in his 30’s, returned to Queensborough a decade later in the spring of 2023. “I am more grounded than I was at 17. This time I was methodical in my decision to return to school and determined to participate in programs like the Global Leaders program which has inspired me to stay on track and get my degree.”       

Jake is also in CRSP (CUNY Research Scholars Program). He is taking prerequisites to start in the Fall 2024 nursing program cohort and completing his degree in June 2026, hoping to sit for the NCLEX. As an RN, he aspires to work at an ICU while continuing his education to earn his Bachelor of Science in nursing. Once professionally qualified, he plans to pursue his degree as a nurse anesthetist.


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