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Our JFEW Scholars impress us endlessly with their ambition and drive. Their creativity and tenacity are an inspiration, and we are so proud to celebrate their stories and successes. If you are a current JFEW Scholar and would like to share your recent accomplishments, please email us at info (at) jfew (dot) org!


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Congratulations to JFEW/SUNY graduate, Erika!

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, June 11, 2018


Our JFEW Scholar Erika Esquivel recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo! During her time at Geneseo she was honored at the annual Leadership Awards and Recognition Ceremony where she was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the campus community. 

Erika gave us some advice for incoming freshman. She says, "The most meaningful lesson I learned at SUNY Geneseo was to always shoot your shot. You have to take a chance and open doors for yourself, don't expect a door to open on it's own." 

Congratulations on your accomplishments, Erika! We can't wait to see where you'll go next. 

Tags:  SUNY Geneseo 

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Congratulations to our JFEW/SUNY Scholar, Druzell

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, June 11, 2018


JFEW Scholar Druzell Smith recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo! Druzell says that her experiences at Geneseo completely pushed her out of her comfort zone because she was so far away from home. She says of her experience, "College was a completely different ball game; every class, professor, and semester brought a new and different challenge. If there was one thing I wish I knew [freshman year] it would be that the people around you could be your biggest support. Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors and get advice from them. Talk to your peers and see what they are doing to be successful. Get help if needed and if and when you fall just remember that the most important thing is to get up dust yourself off and keep going." 

Druzell says that her most proud accomplishment while at Geneseo was starting the Give Back Book Drive on campus. She had the idea for the book drive her Junior year after realizing how many old textbooks she still had that were in good shape. She realized that if she created a place where people could donate their old books for future students to utilize she could greatly help fellow students and peers who might struggle to afford their textbooks each semester. She says, "The program was one of my most meaningful accomplishments because there were times when I struggled to obtain my textbooks. I am happy that I was able to do something that would help people for years to come. My advice would be to try and make a difference, whether big or small do something that will help those around you." 

Druzell, you are an inspiration to us all! 


Tags:  SUNY Geneseo 

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Congratulations to JFEW/SUNY graduate, Allyson!

Posted By Jamie Spence, Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Our JFEW/SUNY Scholar Allyson Schmelzer recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo! We asked her a few questions, so that she could share some of her wisdom:


What was the most meaningful lesson that you learned while in college? "The most meaningful lesson I learned in college is that knowledge truly is power and every experience and opportunity you can take advantage of, you should. Never be afraid to put yourself out there and always work hard to try and achieve your goals."

What do you wish that you knew when you were a freshman? "I wish I had known that it is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to put yourself out of your comfort zone. This is how you become a stronger person both academically and personally."

What was your most proud accomplishment during your time in college? "My most proud accomplishment during my college career is hard to determine, I have had many moments that made me proud of myself. One of the big ones would be getting accepted into the JFEW SUNY program."


We are so proud of you Allyson, and we can't wait to see where you'll go next!

Tags:  SUNY Geneseo 

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JFEW Scholar Sofia Villalon is connecting her community through food

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, October 30, 2017
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2018


Sofia, a senior at SUNY Geneseo, was recently awarded the Frank Vafier ’74 Ambassadors Grant in Leadership, and with it she brought to life the Credo Kitchen.

The Credo Kitchen brings local immigrant and refugee chefs to the SUNY Geneseo campus in order to bridge cultural gaps, and foster a community of love, acceptance, and learning. So far the Credo Kitchen has featured chefs spanning from Ethiopia to Pakistan, and more! Sofia believes that, "Food can be used as a political tool, and a tool for love and learning. If we use food strategically it can be an important part of our peace process." Check out this video about the Credo Kitchen’s first event!

Sofia was also invited to attend the 10th Annual Clinton Global Initiative conference to represent SUNY Geneseo this October.  Sofia says that the sessions she attended taught her a lot about how to facilitate conversations surrounding a variety of social, educational, and political issues.

Sofia says, “Whatever I do moving forward, it will be something that I’m passionate about.” Sofia is adamant about finding experiences that will enrich her, and give her new opportunities to learn. She is looking for opportunities to continue to use the culinary arts as a way to bring about social and political change, and to foster a community of inclusion and acceptance.


** You can find updates on Sofia’s Credo Kitchen by following her Facebook page, Credo Kitchen: destination dinners!

Tags:  SUNY Geneseo  SUNY International Relations Scholar 

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