BOLD Scholars 2017-2019 (Cohort 1)

The inaugural group of BOLD Scholars from Ithaca College completed their 2 years in the BOLD program as of May 2019. Their Campus Impact Project for the 2018-2019 Academic Year: Engaging Mental Health in People of Color (EMPOC), was a huge success, and now exists as a student organization on campus. This cohort worked very closely with Dr. Belisa Gonzalez, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity. Dr. Gonzalez served as the faculty mentor for the 2017-2019 cohort and has continued as a key stakeholder on the BOLD Advisory Board.

These 9 women were selected from an applicant pool of over 100 candidates. The cohort began their BOLD experience when they traveled to NYC for a reception at the Hearst Foundation, Rutgers University–Newark, and upstate NY from October 6 – 8, 2017, for the first BOLD summit and retreat, where they met with the 80 BOLD Scholars across the country and over 50 highly successful professional women participating in panels, presentations, and round tables. 

Nabilah Abdalla


Nabilah graduated with a BA in Politics and began her fellowship in January 2020 at the Tompkins County Workers' Center. She helps to manage the Workers Rights Hotline and organize workers against unfair treatments, wage theft, discrimination, the living wage, and other issues surrounding workers' rights. The Workers’ Rights Hotline advocates for workers' rights by addressing their cases and organizing them based on the issues they face. The Worker's Rights Hotline has a client load of over 450 cases annually and has won judgments over $1,300,000 in wage theft.

Chasia Bambo


Chasia graduated in May 2020, with dual degrees in Biology and Accounting. After completing a summer internship as a Tax/Audit Intern at Deloitte, she was offered a full-time position there after graduation!

Hannah Cayem

Hannah Cayem, BOLD Scholar Alumna from Cohort 1, Headshot

After graduating from Ithaca College in December 2019 with degrees in Music Education and Vocal Performance, Hannah completed a Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship at The MusicianShip in Washington, D.C. in August 2020. The MusicianShip's mission is "to change lives by facilitating music lessons, experiences, and opportunities to benefit youth who need us most." Highlights of Hannah's fellowship include teaching in an after school music program, serving as a Program Manager for the The MusicianShip's 2020 Summer Program, and chairing the creation of The MusicianShip's first ever Annual Report, which can be viewed here. Hannah also wrote a blog about her fellowship, which you can read here. She is thrilled to start her journey in public education in fall of 2020 as she joins the Lansing Central School District as their Elementary Music Teacher!

Candace Cross

Candace Cross, BOLD alumna from Cohort 1, headshot

After graduating from Ithaca College with a BA in Public Health, Candace completed a year-long Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship at The Praxis Project in Oakland, California. Candace joined their team full-time in August 2020 as a Program Associate for Policy and Communication! During her time at Praxis, Candace has focused on health and racial justice policy, public health training and capacity building, and field organizing. 

Grace Elletson


Grace will be completing her Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship at the VTDigger in Vermont in September, 2020. During her time there, Grace has served as a general reporter covering politics and areas of public concern throughout the state of Vermont. Check out everything she has written here: https://vtdigger.org/author/grace/

Julissa Ramirez-Cruz

Julissa Ramirez-Cruz, BOLD alumna, Cohort 1, headshot

After graduation, Julissa completed a year-long fellowship at El Puente Leaders for Peace and Justice as their College and Career Coordinator. During her time at El Puente, Julissa focused on the College Access for All initiative by facilitating college access workshops for students and their families, and organizing and taking students on college trips. 

Avery Santiago


After graduating from Ithaca College with a BA in Sociology, Avery began a Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts in Florida. 

Kat Walsh


After graduating from Ithaca College with a BFA in Film/Photography/Visual Arts, Kat completed a Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship at New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT). During her time at NYWIFT, she worked with the Community Engagement Director to create content for the NYWIFT website and social media platforms, and worked with the team to plan large scale events.  

Check out some articles that Kat wrote during her time at NYWIFT:

After completing her Fellowship, Kat began a position at Black Public Media as a Social Media Manager. 

Laura Waxman


After graduating from Ithaca College with a BA in Environmental Studies, Laura began a Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship at UpRose in NYC as a Climate Justice Organizer. In her role, Laura has primarily worked on a solar project in the Sunset Park community which is NY state's first solar energy cooperative, as well as the Business Resiliency Project to encourage local businesses to use more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.