2022 Commencement

VALEDICTORIAN
INDEEVARI KUMARASINGHE

Indeevari Kumarasinghe, B.A. Urban & Community Studies, is a Principal Administrative Associate II at New York City HRA, Office of Quality Assurance & Fiscal Integrity. During her 12 year career with the City of New York, she has also served as an Eligibility Specialist at Medical Insurance and Community Service Administration. She also worked as a Certified Application Counselor for the New York State of Health Market Place and as a Clerical Associates III at New York City HRA, SNAP Fair Hearing.

Indeevari was born in Sri Lanka, where she completed high school in BioScience. Her passion to participate in community projects led her to join the Ministry of Youth Affairs of the National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka and the International Association of Lions Clubs District 306A Sri Lanka.

Indeevari says that by being a city employee, she continues to follow in her parents’ footsteps but on a different continent: In Sri Lanka, Indeevari’s mother was a public school teacher, and her father was a government transit worker.

SALUTATORIAN
TANIA CALDWELL

Tania Caldwell, B.A. Urban & Community Studies, participated in SLU’s Community Leadership Semester program in the spring semester of 2020 and subsequently enrolled in the B.A. in Urban & Community Studies program. Tania is a recipient of the 2020 Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in 2020. She subsequently participated in CUNY Women Public Services program and received a fellowship at the office of New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

Tania served as secretary of the SLU student union this semester and represented SLU as a delegate to the City University Student Senate. She will continue her service to the School as Co-Chair of the Student Union in the Fall 2022 semester, when she will begin the Master’s program in Urban Studies.

In addition to being a student leader at SLU, Tania is a mother, wife and full-time employee, She currently is a community outreach assistant at the Korean American Family Services Center, working with the Latin immigrant community in Queens.

STUDENT SPEAKER
VIOLETA GOMEZ-URIBE

Violeta Gomez-Uribe graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies. Violeta is a past recipient of SLU’s Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor. And, in 2021, she was recognized for both her academic achievement and community activism with the National Society of Leadership and Success Award.

Violeta served most recently as Deputy Director of Outreach in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, where, during the height of the pandemic, she supported the efforts of a multiagency immigrant COVID-19 vaccine outreach campaign that placed vaccine buses in the most disenfranchised neighborhoods, conducted outreach that lead to over 200,000 newly vaccinated New Yorkers, and organized vaccine information town halls in 13 languages granting thousands of New Yorkers vaccine information directly from prominent health experts and physicians.

Born in Toluca, Mexico, Violeta traces her family lineage to the Otomi, an indigenous people inhabiting the central Mexican Plateau. A DACA recipient, she settled with her family in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, at the age of 15. Like so many other “Dreamers,” Violeta grew up with a strong desire for education, intent on achieving academic excellence at each step up the education ladder. Along the way, Violeta became a socially conscious activist, rallying to protect the most marginalized members of her community. In a speech delivered at the New York Coming Out of the Shadows rally in March 2011, Violeta delivered a stirring declaration: “My name is Violeta and I am undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic, but mostly I am a dreamer.” Since then, Violeta has earned a reputation as a forceful immigrants’ rights leader in New York. With a deep
commitment to issues of equity and social justice, as well as to movement-building, she has volunteered with Sanctuary Homes and with Get Organized Brooklyn. And she worked as a volunteer on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign for Congress.

Presently, Violeta serves as a board member at Hand in Hand Domestic Employers Network, a national network of employers of nannies, house cleaners, and home attendants working for dignified and respectful working conditions that benefit the employer and worker alike. She is a member of Social Service Employees Union Local 371.

Violeta is dedicated to helping others rise and creating “pipelines for other immigrant women of color.”

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD RECIPIENT
KERWIN SIMON

Kerwin V. Simon earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban and Community Studies, and a Master of Arts Degree in Urban Studies, class of 2021. Kerwin’s career in healthcare began at NYC Health + Hospitals, where he worked first as a Rehabilitation Technician, then as Coordinating Manager and finally in his current position – Assistant Director. As Assistant Director, Kerwin is involved in several projects that focus on improving patient care and is a proud member of CWA Local 1180.

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