Quinnipiac University
Quinnipiac University Sawhney Leadership Program

Multicultural Education

Sawhney Leadership Program

The Sawhney Leadership Program aims to expand leadership development and corporate immersion opportunities for historically underrepresented students in higher education. Participants work collaboratively with partners across campus and in the regional business community to expose students to multiple examples of leadership and prepare them for entry into the workforce.

What is the Sawhney Leadership Program?

The Sawhney Leadership Program prepares our fellows for their future careers by hosting leadership development workshops, engaging with successful alumni, building relationships with faculty and staff, immersing participants in corporate settings and developing a community of supportive, goal-oriented peers.

Sample session topics include:

  • Self Inventory - Locating Yourself in the World

  • Understanding Your Leadership Style

  • Building Interpersonal Skills for Workplace Success

  • The Language and Culture of the Professional/Corporate World

Meet the Sawhney Leadership Fellows

Tamara Anderson ’23, MAT ’24

Hometown: Waterbury, Connecticut

Tamara is an English and education major at Quinnipiac. Since her junior year, she has served as editor-in-chief of Montage Literary & Arts Magazine. She has also worked as a resident assistant and helps first-year students through the QUEST mentoring program. Additionally, she has a work-study role as a donor relations assistant in the Office of Development & Alumni Affairs. After completing her MAT program and student teaching in Connecticut, Tamara hopes to work in elementary education.

Olivia Barrios-Johnson ’23, MS ’24

Hometown: Bronx, New York

Olivia is a journalism major enrolled in the 3+1 program with a minor in sociology. While at Quinnipiac, she has served as a resident assistant and has worked for Quinnipiac Productions as a host of the YouTube show Curl Talk. Additionally, she participated in the "For the QUlture" magazine, Q30 TV shows and other student-produced media. Olivia is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Over the past summer, Olivia interned at the Black Westchester Magazine as an article writer and also was an intern at a media and commerce company called TOGETHXR. An avid traveler, Olivia hopes to secure a job in the journalism field after graduation that incorporates her passion for new places.

Kayla Bedford ’24

Hometown: Cheshire, Connecticut

Kayla is a nursing major with a minor in global public health. She has been a part of the orientation leader staff for two years. At present, she is the secretary of the Multicultural Leadership Council and a general board member of the Black Student Union and Student Programming Board. In addition, she serves as a volunteer at the Food Bank of Connecticut and the Diaper Bank of Connecticut. After graduation, Kayla hopes to take a gap year to travel to different countries before getting a nursing job. Her eventual goal is to attend graduate school to become an advanced practice registered nurse.

Alicia Bocanegra ’23

Hometown: Wanaque, New Jersey

Alicia is a health science studies major at Quinnipiac. She has served as a representative on the Multicultural Student Leadership Council for the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students for the past two years. She also has worked as a microbiology laboratory assistant making media, maintaining reagents in the lab and cleaning glassware. A Psi Chi International Honor Society fellow, she also has acted as a Student Language Exchange Partner helping students in Nicaragua to learn English. She plans to take a gap year after graduation to continue shadowing and working before applying to PA school.

Jasmine Cherry ’24

Hometown: Queens, New York

Jasmine is an economics major with minors in business and data science. At Quinnipiac, she has assumed a variety of leadership roles as the co-chair of community outreach for the Big Event and as a member of the residence hall council. Jasmine plans to earn her master’s in business analytics before starting to work as a financial advisor.

Khushi Dagli ’24

Hometown: Ahmedabad, India

Khushi is enrolled in the Entry-Level Master's Physician Assistant dual-degree program at Quinnipiac. She has participated in the Global Partners Program with the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement and also served on the executive board for Students for Environmental Action, Relay for Life and the Psychology Club. After graduation, Khushi plans to work in a fast-paced clinical setting while pursuing work that provides medical care to the LGBTQ+ communities. She also hopes to pursue her MPH to learn more about global healthcare and policymaking.

Emily Diaz ’24

Hometown: New York, New York

Emily is a political science major with minors in Latin American studies and women and gender studies. She has taken on a variety of leadership roles at Quinnipiac, serving as president of the Latino Cultural Society and treasurer of the Indigenous Student Union. She was also a peer mentor in the First-Year Immersion program and continues to work with first-year students as a QUEST mentor throughout the academic year. Additionally, Emily worked as a research fellow for the Quinnipiac University Interdisciplinary Program for Research and Scholarship and was the recipient of a research grant from the M&T Bank Women in Business Center. She is currently living in Washington, D.C., working as an intern for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. After graduation, Emily plans to earn a PhD in political science.

Grace Ford ’23

Hometown: Hamden, Connecticut

Grace is a sociology major at Quinnipiac. At present, she is a peer catalyst for First-Year Seminar in the Learning Commons and a student ambassador in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She was a morale captain for QTHON and has held a number of officer positions within her sorority. In addition, Grace is a member of several leadership honor societies within Fraternity and Sorority Life. Grace also completed an internship at Dunbar Hill Elementary School in Hamden. After graduation, she hopes to pursue her MSW and work at a school in Boston or perhaps Boston Children’s Hospital.

Kinshu Gupta ’24

Hometown: Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Kinshu is a computer science major with minors in data science and finance. He is involved on campus as the president of the Quinnipiac Computing Club, overseeing various club events including the club’s semi-annual hackathons and multiple computing events. He was also instrumental in organizing the first industry-sponsored event with M&T Bank. In addition, Kinshu is a research assistant for Quinnipiac’s Office of Academic Innovation and Effectiveness, where he contributes to building predictive models of student success that inform the university’s strategic initiatives, accreditation and policy. After graduation, Kinshu plans to pursue a career within the technology and finance industries.

Ashley Hong ’23, MOT ’25

Hometown: Stratford, Connecticut

Ashley is enrolled in the entry-level dual-degree BS in Health Sciences Studies/Master of Occupational Therapy program with minors in psychology and biology. Active on campus, she is the president of the Asian Student Alliance and has held leadership positions as a resident assistant and a board member for the Honors Ashley is also a member of Pi Theta Epsilon and Psi Chi Honor Societies and serves as a peer-catalyst mentor. After graduation, Ashley plans to continue sharing her Asian culture through the creation of TikTok videos while completing her education in the Master of Occupational Therapy program.

Destiny Howard ’23

Hometown: New York, New York

Destiny is a criminal justice major with minors in theater and political science. As a transfer student, Destiny rediscovered her love of theater and wrote an original script that was accepted in the theater program’s 2022 New Play Lab. She credits the experience with developing her leadership skills and storytelling abilities with behind-the-scenes knowledge in producing difficult material. Her time at Quinnipiac has also inspired an interest in social justice issues. After graduation, Destiny plans to pursue her acting career and hopes to launch a business that will also give back to the community. Her future goals include expanding her social justice involvement, specifically as it relates to the criminal justice system for minorities.

Genesis Iscoa ’23

Hometown: Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Genesis is a political science major with minors in women and gender studies and law in society. She is the vice president for both the Quinnipiac Democrats and the International Student Association. In the past, she has served as a multicultural and identity senator for the Student Government Association and as the student liaison for the Latino Cultural Society. She was previously a student board member on the Academic Integrity Board and worked as a legal intern for an immigration law firm. After graduation, Genesis plans to enroll in a graduate program related to international affairs with a concentration in Latin American studies.

Anesu Mhene ’23

Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe and Budapest, Hungary

Anesu is a legal studies major with a minor in business. She has held numerous leadership roles in student organizations and other on-campus groups at Quinnipiac, including serving as president of the Multicultural Student Leadership Council, as an orientation leader, as a technology support supervisor and as one of the first-year student mentors in the QUEST program. Upon graduating, Anesu hopes to attend law school and pursue a career with a multinational firm.

Riya Miller ’23, MS ’24


Hometown: The Bahamas

Riya is enrolled in Quinnipiac’s accelerated dual-degree BS in Biology/MS in Microbiology (3+1) program with a minor in chemistry. Their time on campus has included serving as a volunteer tutor at Ridge Elementary School and assuming leadership roles as secretary of the student chapter of the American Society for Microbiology and as a 2022 QUIP-RS fellow. After graduation, Riya plans to pursue their PhD in social evolution with a focus on conservation biology and/or ecology with the goal to become a university lecturer focused on research and education. Riya hopes to conduct research that will raise awareness and promote creative ways to save the environment and native pollinators.

Amari O'Connor ’24


Hometown: Springfield, Massachusetts

Amari is a theater and game design major with a minor in women’s and gender studies. During their time at Quinnipiac, they served as the director of New Play Lab and a panelist for the LGBTQ+ Teach-In while participating in the annual LGBTQ+ and the Student of Color Leadership Retreats. Amari is also a member of the Honors Program and was named public relations chair of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance. They were also appointed assistant director of the musical “Bulgaria! Revolt!”. After graduation, Amari plans to work on building their professional resume while pursuing directing, playwriting and game design, specifically in narrative or art design. Through their work, Amari hopes to explore the representation of minoritized communities and social justice issues through a creative lens.

Genesis Paulino ’24

Hometown: Lynn, Massachusetts

Genesis is a double major in sociology and women and gender studies. At Quinnipiac, she has served as vice president of the Latino Cultural Society and as a mentoring committee member of J.U.M.P. Nation. She also worked as a research intern at City University of New York’s Dominican Studies Institute. After graduation, Genesis plans to earn her master’s degree in refugee and migrant studies in Latin America and the Caribbean. She also intends to apply for a Fulbright scholarship so she can continue to conduct research in the Dominican Republic. Her professional goal is to become a professor and further her research after earning a PhD in sociology.

Aja Pedroza ’23, MBA ’24

Hometown: Randolph, Massachusetts

Aja is enrolled in the Quinnipiac accelerated dual-degree BA in Criminal Justice/MBA (4+1) program with minors in psychology and business analytics. Her on-campus activities include serving as a peer catalyst and orientation leader alongside employment at the Quinnipiac University Bookstore and the Quinnipiac Polling Institute. She has also participated in a professional internship with the Adult Probation Office of the Boston Municipal Court. After completing her MBA, she hopes to explore new business opportunities in addition to working full-time in the Boston Municipal Court. Aja's long-term goals include earning field experience before pursuing positions at the CIA or FBI.

Marcus Pierre ’24

Hometown: Brockton, Massachusetts

Marcus is a criminal justice major and political science minor. He’s also a chapter member of the National Society of Leadership and Success at Quinnipiac and a member of the Criminal Justice Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma. He’s active in the Criminal Justice Club, the Political Science Club and the Black Student Union. He has served as a student manager for the men's basketball team and recently completed an internship with the police department in Braintree, Massachusetts. After graduation, he hopes to earn a master’s in cybersecurity and work as a federal agent for the FBI.

Donald Pressley ’23

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Donald is a psychology major at Quinnipiac. He has served as the finance chair for the Multicultural Student Leadership Council, a member of the fundraising committee for J.U.M.P. Nation and as a peer mentor for the First-Year Immersion program. After graduation, Donald plans to earn his master’s degree in clinical psychology. He aspires to one day hold a PhD in the field.

Owenea Roberts ’23, MS ’24

Hometown: Pembroke, Bermuda

Owenea is a 3+1 accounting major with a minor in finance. She has been deeply involved with the Student Government Association at Quinnipiac and now serves as its president. Previously, Owenea served as the vice president for finance and as a multicultural and identity senator. Owenea is also a member of Beta Alpha Psi, an audit intern at KPMG in Bermuda and a participant in the KPMG Global Advantage Program. After she graduates, Owenea plans to earn her CPA and CITP certifications. Her goal is to become the CEO of a reinsurance company and to help guide the next generation of Bermudian business professionals.

Cameron Rodriguez ’23

Hometown: Bronx, New York

Cameron is a double major in English and law in society. She is a second-year resident assistant, a Quest mentor and an honors mentor. She also works with area schools as a member of QUADS (QU Advancing Diversity in Science) and has served as an orientation leader and a spin instructor. Cameron is currently interning at a local personal injury law firm in Cheshire, Connecticut, where she will work full-time as a paralegal after graduation in May. She hopes to attend law school in the future and eventually become an attorney herself.

Dewayne Smart ’24

Hometown: Harlem, New York

Dewayne is a biology major with a minor in chemistry at Quinnipiac University. An active member of the community, Dewayne volunteers his time at the local community center and has worked as a youth camp counselor. During his time at Quinnipiac, he gained professional experience through an internship with a veterinarian hospital. After graduation, Dewayne plans to continue his education and pursue his career goal to become a veterinarian.

Chizahra Uzohue ’23

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Chizahra is a double major in political science and law in society. During her time at Quinnipiac, she has served as a resident assistant, a student ambassador, a program coordinator for Naturally Me, a justice of the Student Government Association, a DEIA co-pillar leader for the Honors Program, the director of diversity and inclusion for the International Student Association and the social events chair of the National Society for Leadership and Success. After graduation, she plans to enroll in law school to earn her JD and eventually work as a human rights lawyer helping others in need.

Sebastian Vacco ’23

Hometown: Bronx, New York

Sebastian is a civil engineering major at Quinnipiac. He is involved on campus as a resident assistant for the Engineering and Computer Science Living-Learning Community, as president of the Quinnipiac Association of Minority Engineers and as secretary for the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. With an interest in the construction business, Sebastian has participated in several internships during his time at Quinnipiac in positions as a project engineer intern with Gilbane Building Company and a construction management intern with MAST Construction Services. After graduation, Sebastian plans to pursue a career in construction engineering and earn his professional engineering license.

Christy Valentin ’23

Hometown: Randolph, Massachusetts

Christy is an athletic training major at Quinnipiac. She has held a variety of leadership positions on campus and is the president of Quinnipiac Christian Fellowship. Dedicated to helping create inclusive communities and serving as a resource for students, she serves as a G-Board member for the Latino Cultural Society and has also been a resident assistant for three years. After graduation, Christy plans to earn her master’s degree in social work. She hopes to work as a high school athletic trainer in an underserved community and create programs promoting community wellness.

Aashman Verma ’24

Hometown: Chandigarh, India

Aashman is a double major in international business and computer information systems. He has served as vice president of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization at Quinnipiac, where he founded Blockchain@QU and also serves as a member of Rotaract India. Aashman’s professional goal is to work in mergers and acquisitions. He also has an interest in the blockchain industry as well as risk management and consulting.

Daisy Zapata ’23, MS ’24

Hometown: Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Daisy is in the accelerated dual-degree BS in Biology /MS in Molecular Cell Biology (3+1) program with a minor in global public health. She is president of the Tau Phi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and a member of both the Biological Sciences Honors Society and the Greek National Honors Society. Daisy served as a residential assistant for the first-year Live Well Living-Learning Community. Her experience includes internships at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and The University of Utah’s Genomics Summer Research for Minorities Program. She also traveled to Bolivia to study universal health care. After graduation, Daisy plans to pursue her PhD in public health and become an advocate for under-resourced populations.

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