June 1, 2024


Past Recipients 


Nishat Hye 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Major: Nursing


Nishat Hye is entering her first year at St. John's University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She is a first-generation Bangladeshi-Muslim-American, holding the intersectionality of her identities near and dear to her heart.

Having the value of family ingrained in her from early on, through illness and prosperity, Nishat quickly realized how systems in place in America could be just as harmful as they are beneficial, especially to the undervalued and overlooked in our society. Whether through the United States' current healthcare system, with just 43.8% of physicians identifying as non-white and only 19.4% of RNs coming from minority backgrounds, or through the blatantly harmful acts of redlining, gentrification, and lack of environmental justice, she realized how pivotal the transition between high school to college to a career is for students like her and in becoming the change the world needs to see. 

Nishat is attending St. John's in hopes of becoming a nurse — realizing through her health struggles and education that the science of medicine feeds into the art of compassion, noting that a system without sympathy will continue to ignore the problems manifested by society's prejudices. As she embarks on her life in higher education, Nishat hopes to empower other young marginalized women to do the same, dismantle harmful stereotypes against her Bangladeshi-Muslim identity, and incorporate her marginalized experience into the picture.


"Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to do when I reached the point I am at today. Being a first-generation Bangladeshi-Muslim-American to my parents, who gave up their education early on to support their family, I felt that only being a doctor or engineer would step up to the sacrifices my parents' made to get us here. However, the pandemic got me thinking, and exposed me to a different field that truly does have my heart..."

Areas of Interest: 

Nursing, Climate Science, Sustainability


Michelle Neri 

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Major: Individualized Studies


Michelle Neri is an undergraduate student at New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Studies. Born and raised in New York City and whose family immigrated from Oaxaca, Mexico, Michelle identifies as a first-generation Indigenous person. They graduated as an Illustration major at The High School of Art and Design, and they identify as a non-binary person.


Michelle's Gallatin concentration combines several areas of studies that inspire and are of importance to them. Their concentration is titled Narrative and Representation in Visual Arts and Literature, which strives to develop stories through film, writing, and illustration that identify with a complex audience and bring inclusivity.


Although Michelle has lived in New York City their entire life and has not prominently experienced their family's cultural practices, they grew up in a diverse city that helped them discover and accept their identity. Michelle closely connects to their Indigenous identity despite being far from their parent's home and asks questions about revitalizing erased history. They hope their work and art will connect with youth discovering who they are and undergo educational journeys to understand their place in history.


"Arguably, the problem with storytelling is not its content but who tells it. That’s to say; there aren’t enough creators belonging to marginalized groups who get to tell their stories and go unheard. Even in fictional worlds where possibilities appear like manifestations, there are no traces of the dreams belonging to a marginalized identity.”

Areas of Interest: 

Visual Arts, Researching, Human Rights