Ishrat Zahan, Valedictorian

Ishrat Zahan is a January 2021 graduate from Hostos Community College. Ms. Zahan, a Bronx resident, has actively contributed to the Hostos community and her neighborhood. While at Hostos, she served as the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) Ambassador and the President of International Narratives, which seeks to foster a more socially conscious and politically active student body. Ms. Zahan is the founder of Queering Zine and an organizer for CUNY for Abolition and Safety. In addition, she was the recipient of two scholarship awards at Hostos — The Bronx Element Leadership & Social Justice Scholarship and The Ramón Jiménez Memorial Scholarship of Social Policy.  
Ms. Zahan is currently a junior at Hunter College majoring in sociology and triple minoring in women and gender studies, Asian American studies, and public policy. She is a Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society member, a Peter F. Vallone Scholar, and a Mellon Public Humanities Scholar. After college, she hopes to blend her interest in gender, race, and postcolonial studies by becoming a sociology professor and dedicating her life to pursuing the liberation of all women of color.

Taisiia Smekalenkova, Salutatorian

Taisiia Smekalenkova will graduate from Hostos Community College’s Digital Design and Animation Degree Program in June 2021. As an immigrant from the Ukraine and a mother, she has worked hard to achieve her dream of becoming a designer and animator. Ms. Smekalenkova is currently working on an animation project in her Media Design and 2D Animation class at Hostos that documents the daily life of African children, particularly the Albinos and Talibe, who struggle to survive life on the streets. After graduating from Hostos, she plans to work for a couple years before pursing her Bachelor’s degree.