Alejandra Moncayo Wins Newman Civic Fellows Award
Junior and biomedical engineering major Alejandra Moncayo of Smithtown, New York, is a 2013 recipient of the Newman Civic Fellows Award. The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors college student leaders who are working on finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country and are recommended by university or college presidents for their leadership and motivational qualities.
“Through her professional interactions with faculty, staff and community organizations, Alejandra can easily impress others as a highly motivated, hard-working student who will become a successful physician," said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD.
Outside of work in the classroom and lab, Moncayo may be best known on campus as the president of Stony Brook’s Oxfam America, a club that focuses on taking action against hunger, poverty and injustice. Moncayo oversees the club, planning its many events throughout the academic year.
She and her fellow students raise money for Oxfam America by making meal point donations from their Stony Brook University meal plans to those who are less fortunate. She also collects canned food donations for Island Harvest, a food bank located in Hauppauge, New York.
Moncayo was born in Quito, Ecuador, and came to the United States when she was 7. Two summers ago she used her vacation to volunteer at an organization in Ecuador that helps educate working children. “Children have to resort to selling candy or shining shoes on the street just to help out their families, starting as early as the age of 5,” Moncayo said. “These children are not getting the education or care they need to transcend poverty and have a better future."
“Three times a week, for a couple of hours a day, the students would leave their wooden shoe-shining kits in a cubby and take computer, math and English classes,” she added. The organization, Ninos con Destino, provided the kids with food and also gave them time to play and enjoy their childhood. I helped by serving food and assisting in the classes with homework.”
Every other Sunday, Moncayo helps out at a student-run health clinic, SB Home in Central Islip. She serves as a Spanish-English translator in order to help improve communication between medical students and patients.
Moncayo is also a member of the nationwide volunteer program Americorps, and must log 300 hours of service in an academic year. By early April, she had already met that goal.
In addition to all of her community service, she manages her time so she can excel at what she describes as a “challenging and captivating” major. Although biomedical engineering majors can apply their degrees toward the engineering, medical, pharmaceutical or research industries, Moncayo said that surgery and pediatrics are strong contenders for her future career path.
Stony Brook previously had a Newman Civic Fellows Award winner when Edrees Arzomand ’12, an applied mathematics and statistics and business management major from Farmingdale, New York, was selected in 2011.
By Glenn Jochum; photo by John Griffin