2018-2019 First-Generation/Low-Income Student Advisory Board

Kania Rimu

Born in Queens to Bangladeshi parents, Kania is a junior from New York City studying Neuroscience & Behavior with a Cellular Concentration and an interest in public health. She is an Athena Scholar and has been working in the Silver Neurobiology laboratory to study the circadian rhythm. She volunteers with Student Health Outreach Program (SHOUT), ASPCA, and St.Lukes Hospital. Kania is currently working on a public health project with fellow FGLI Advisory Board member Magdalen Kwarteng at the Mailman School of Public Health. During her spare time, she likes to binge on several Netflix shows, talk to new people and explore the city,

As a low-income First-Generation student, she understands the difficulties of navigating a college campus and often felt alone. She is excited to join the FGLI Advisory Board because it gives FGLI students the ability to voice their ideas towards creating a stronger FGLI community. Ultimately, through this opportunity, Kania would love to improve accessibility for textbooks, mental health assistance and much more for all!

Magdalen Kwarteng

Magdalen is junior at studying Neuroscience at Barnard College. She was born in Verona, Italy to  Ghanaian parents but moved to America when she was young. Magdalen is an office assistant at ResLife (Come say hello if you have a chance!) and currently works in the Don Hood lab, researching the advancement of diagnostic tools for glaucoma and other retinal diseases. She also volunteers in the emergency department at CUMC and is currently working with fellow FLIP Advisory Board member Kania Rimu on a public health project with professors at the Mailman School of Public Health. In her free time, Magdalen enjoys playing the piano and watching shows on Netflix and finding new baking recipes.

Magdalen joined the Advisory Board because she wants to help FGLI students who are not from New York and thus don’t have access to the state-funded programs available to New York State residents. She also wants to help make Barnard a place that's comfortable to everyone and give every Barnard student the tools and resources to thrive and be successful here.  

Kaoutar Afif

Kaoutar Afif is a sophomore from NYC studying political science. She is particularly interested in migration, refugee displacement, and a wide array of human rights issues.

She works at the Barnard FLIP Library and has been previously involved in Barnard SGA, CMI (Columbia Mentoring Initiative), and Wbar. In her free time, she really enjoys thrifting clothing and curating outfits. She is extremely excited for all the work the FGLI Advisory Board will do.

Tamima Sultana

Tamima Sultana is a first-year student at Barnard College. She decided to join the FGLI Advisory Board because she shares the same experiences as many first-years who are still navigating their way through their first semesters of college and believes it is empowering young women to pave their own paths and motivating those around us to do the same.

As a member of FGLI, Tamima will strive to promote unity, provide support, and encourage first generation and/or low income students through various events and opportunities through which we would be able to grow and flourish within the Barnard community.

Susu Rawwagah

Susu Rawwagah is a sophomore at Barnard from Fayetteville, Arkansas, likely majoring in political science. She has been involved in various organizations on campus, including SGA, WBAR, and the Columbia Daily Spectator, where she is currently a Deputy News Editor.

She hopes to tackle issues like textbook affordability and food insecurity on campus. She also hopes to raise awareness about the challenges that first-generation and low-income students face on campus.  She enjoys creative writing, thrifting, and talking about her love for Arabic music.

Megan May Rivera

Megan May is a first-generation sophomore from Jersey City, New Jersey. She represents her Filipino-American identity proudly as the external public relations officer of Liga Filipina of Columbia University.

She is passionate about creating designs for her bullet journal and embraces her love for children by working for the Barnard Babysitting Agency and tutoring elementary students in the Bronx for Reading Partners, a children's literacy non-profit. Although she has yet to declare her major, Megan May hopes to pursue education reform in the future to help ameliorate school systems and generate more resources for first-generation students like herself.

Vanessa Alvarez

Vanessa is a first-generation American, first-generation college student, and  first-year at Barnard College (though she hails from Davie, Florida). When she isn’t dressing her cat in winter sweaters, she’s either reading the latest feminist manifesto or studying Comparative Literature and Philosophy.

She is an associate editor for the Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism, as well as an activist both on and off-campus, organizing within groups such as Student-Worker-Solidarity and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Vanessa aspires to supplement her labor in activism with translating texts between Kichwa, Spanish, and English.

She believes establishing a FGLI Advisory Board is important towards fostering a stronger sense of community among first-gen and low-income students on campus and she believes that students have to be each other’s biggest, most unapologetic advocates.