FI Spotlight: Lauren Melendez

As Director of the CUNY Peer Leaders Program (CPL) and Admin Specialist of the Futures Initiative, Lauren Melendez directs and oversees the CPL program housed under the Humanities Alliance and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that teaches CUNY undergraduate students leadership and mentorship skills that they in turn use to create pathways for Humanities based scholarship with a core component on a culture of care and social justice. In her role as administrative specialist, Melendez provides academic and administrative support to the Futures Initiative.

What excites you about working with the CUNY Peer Leaders?
It is a privilege and joy to work with the different undergraduate students from across the various community and senior colleges because of the brilliant students that I get to work alongside every year. I enjoy being able to Direct a program within CUNY that gives the students access to student centered skill shares and to incorporate their voice into the program. As a certified Professional School Counselor I also ensure the program has an embedded culture of care and wellness component that is crucial to the times we are living in and especially relevant to the marginalized and underrepresented students within CUNY.

Why does your work with the CPLs matter for CUNY?
My work within the CUNY Peer Leaders program(CPL) ties in well with CUNY’s mission of providing first rate educational opportunities to students in which we strive and pride ourselves in doing within this program. Accepting students into the CPL from various disciplines across the 25 CUNY campuses allows our students to learn about social justice topics, and humanities based education but also allows them to have a more inclusive experience with their peers across the different campuses with CUNY’s model of being one University. Also exposing undergraduate students to the CUNY Graduate Center also helps these students envision what their future could look like and what opportunities may be available within the Graduate school trajectory.


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309