Alumni Spotlight

September Alumni Spotlight with Jenny Coronel, MPA '16

sept 17 alumni spotlight

The opportunity to learn about and perform research on issues concerning immigration is a reason that many prospective students are drawn to the Marxe School. In this month’s alumni spotlight, alumna Jenny Coronel discusses her immigration-focused research projects with Professor Els de Graauw, her role as Excelsior Fellow at the New York State Office for New Americans, and more.

What is it like working with an expert like Els de Graauw on immigration?
Working with Assistant Professor Els de Graauw was a wonderful opportunity to perform cutting-edge research in the field of immigration. When I saw the Research Assistant position with Professor de Graauw, I was excited by the opportunity to pursue this very important topic to me under the guidance of an immigration scholar. Professor de Graauw was great to work with - very accessible, organized, and she taught me a lot about best practices in research methodology.

Your research focused on immigrant integration. Can you talk a bit about the goal of this research and what your findings were?
I worked on three different projects with Professor de Graauw. One project aimed to identify and interview all the existing state and city immigrant affairs offices in the country. In another project, in collaboration with Professor Shannon Gleeson of Cornell University, I helped analyze press on DACA and DAPA from four main newspapers in select cities. In the third project which was in collaboration with Erwin de Leon, PhD, I worked to identify immigrant serving community based organizations in New York City. Working on these three different projects offered me a multifaceted approach to understand immigration at a local, state, and federal level. I was transcribing interviews, coding articles, analyzing immigration articles, and more. Under the close guidance of Professor de Graauw, I was able to understand the importance of sound methodology, and this complemented my MPA studies at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.

Tell us about your role as Excelsior Fellow at the NY State Office for New Americans.
After graduation from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs in 2016, I started my placement as an Excelsior Fellow at the New York State Office for New Americans. I have been working on compiling statistics on immigrant and refugee populations throughout New York State, helping link our ONA network of “Opportunity Center” nonprofits with vital resources from New York State agencies, and also helped design a survey to identify the legal needs faced by the immigrant communities in New York State. Given the rhetoric on immigration from the federal administration, working in support of immigrants in New York State is especially meaningful to me – I feel very fortunate to work in an Office which strives to achieve the civic and economic integration of immigrants. In addition to my role in support of the Office for New Americans, I have also been working as a Language Access Assistant for the Department of State.

What drew you to the Marxe School?
The Marxe School is a great bang for your buck. Currently, I do not have any loans for my education because I was fortunate to receive research assistantships and a scholarship from the LCU Fund for Women’s Education. While at the Marxe School, I was able to take classes with great professors with ample experience in their field, and I made friendships with classmates who I admire. The Marxe School attracts a diverse student body from different professional backgrounds and in different stages in their career, and this was definitely an asset I valued in the classroom. Lastly, it’s a great location!