Career Services Announcements
Oct 28 2013
2014 Alternative Spring Break in Ecuador - Meet the Participants!

Congratulations to the participants of NYIT's 2014 Alternative Spring Break in Ecuador! Read about the ten students and three faculty/staff members who spent their spring break in Portoviejo and Puerto Lopez, Ecuador, building organic gardens for communities in need.  At the end of this incredible ten day experience, over 20 raised pots of vegetable/fruit plants were planted. If you would like to learn more about NYIT’s 2014 Alternative Break Program in Ecuador, please contact Rosalia Davi at

NYIT Student Participants

Christa Ciano

My name is Christa Ciano and I am a third year Social Work major here at NYIT. I will be graduating in May 2015 with a Bachelor degree in Social Work. Upon graduating, I aspire to work in the field of mental illness and substance abuse. A fun fact about me is that I used to be a fashion design major at a different college and still enjoy knitting and sewing clothes.  I applied for the Alternative Break trip to Ecuador because I believe that it will give me the opportunity to grow as an individual through the interaction with a new community of people.  It will also allow me to provide my services to others on a more global scale.  My primary goal is to benefit the Ecuadorian community and to build upon my character in doing so.

Kristel Yee Mon

I'm Kristel Yee Mon, a senior at NYIT's Manhattan Campus majoring in Biology, and am also an international student from the Caribbean island of Trinidad & Tobago. The Alternative Spring Break Program to Ecuador was the perfect combination of a new travel experience for the greater good of another person or persons; a trip with a purpose.  I can't wait to not only visit a new country (cross that off my bucket list!) but also learn new skills outside my norm, while most importantly helping the people of Ecuador. Fun fact: I love waterfall hiking and mountain climbing - I've done it for years in the Caribbean!

Ronny Perez

Hi, I’m Ronny Perez and I’m a senior majoring in Computer Science because I love technology, but I’m also really creative. The reason why I applied for the Alt Break trip to Ecuador is because I was born and raised in a developing country just like Ecuador and I’d like to see how they cope with their everyday life. The thing I’m most excited about is learning more about another Latin country and their culture and see the difference and similarities between the culture here in the US, and also Dominican Republic my country of origin.

Andriana T. Xenophontos

My name is Andriana T. Xenophontos and I am a Pre-Med student at the Old Westbury campus, currently in my third year. I am fluent in Greek and Spanish, and am the founder of NYIT's first Greek and Cypriot club. I am so happy to be given the opportunity to go to Ecuador on this Alternative Spring Break trip. Volunteering is really important to society because you get to improve not only your local community, but the global community as well – by being able to give back and help others in need. Not only will I be participating in this huge community service event, but I will be able to get the opportunity to meet and help new people; learn more about the agricultural and environmental sciences and about the Ecuadorian culture and lifestyle; and most importantly, help the people and communities of Ecuador!

Jaishel Linch Bennett

My name is Jaishel Linch Bennett and I’m a Behavioral Science/ Social Work major. I am currently in my junior year here at New York Institute of Technology hoping to graduate in 2015. A fun fact about me is that I love to cook and all my friends say I am pretty good at it. I applied for the Alternative Spring Break trip to Ecuador because it’s always been one of my dreams to go overseas and be the helping hand to someone who might need it. I am most excited in meeting different people in Ecuador. I hope to build life-long connections with the people we meet, and I’m looking forward to learning about the Ecuadorian culture in the short time I’m there.

Askhat Abdubekov

Hi my name is Askhat Abdubekov and I am an Engineering Management student, class of 2016. I’m originally from Kazakhstan and I enjoy boxing and playing guitar in my free time. My expectations from the Alternative Spring Break program is to get more life experience, travel to a new country, become familiar with a new society, and add experience to my resume.

Tiffanny Terceros

Hello my name is Tiffanny Terceros. I am a Communication Arts major and a member of the class of 2015. I enjoy making cards for my friends to brighten their day. I applied to alternative spring break because I wanted to help people in the international community. I am very excited to go to Ecuador because it is a homecoming in a sense for me, since I am half Ecuadorian. I hope to learn more about my cultural identity and gain a deeper appreciation of my Ecuadorian roots.

Arooj F. Chaudhry

Hi my name is Arooj F. Chaudhry and I’m a senior majoring in Health Sciences. My most fun fact is that I took on the daring challenge of jumping out of an airplane before and gone skydiving! I applied for the Alternative Spring Break trip to Ecuador because of my previous experience on the last spring break to Peru. The whole process was completely humbling, as well as life changing, and I know I would love to commit to something of that nature all over again. I am most excited about learning more about the culture and exchanging some of our culture with them as well. I hope to teach the citizens of Ecuador something new, while retaining some new knowledge from them in return. I am most excited to make a positive change in the lives of others.

Rafael Martinez

Hello everyone, My name is Rafael Martinez. I'm an Information Technology Major who is currently an Upper Junior. A fun fact about me is that I’m in a Latino Fraternity, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Look us up ;) I applied to the Alternative Spring Break to Ecuador because Latin America is a topic/area I feel very strongly about. After becoming a member of my Fraternity I noticed how much injustice truly goes on in Latin America so I have dedicated myself to fighting for the improvement of Latin America as well as the people who come here and are very rarely represented in the greater image of the United States. What I'm most excited about my trip to Ecuador, is that I will get to talk to members of the communities in Ecuador that we’re visiting, and get to know them better. I’m also excited to help in a very hands-on way.

Ashfiyah Chowdhury

My name is Ashfiyah Chowdhury, and I am a Life Science/Biology major student pursuing my junior year at NYIT. I love the science field, and my greatest ambition in life is to become a physician. I applied to the Alternative Break Trip to Ecuador program because I want to be a part of the environmental effort that reaches out to communities in need across the globe. In the course of this program, I am excited to try something new, and learn how to adapt to various working environments.

NYIT Staff/Faculty Trip Leaders

James O'Rourke

My name is James O’Rourke and I am a graduate of New York Institute of Technology. My title is now Painting Foreman for the Facilities Department on the Old Westbury Campus, but I began my career on the Buildings and Grounds crew over 33 years ago.  Over the course of my employment at NYIT, I have worked in many different areas and have developed an understanding of the needs of the school and the students within.  I have worked closely with staff, faculty, and students on many projects, including gaining accreditations in the Schools of Engineering, Architecture, Interior Design, and Health Professions. These projects and programs include, but are not limited to, my involvement with the Solar Decathlon Competition based out of the Old Westbury campus. Our team placed tenth in the nation, and I am proud to have worked side by side with students and faculty at the National Mall in Washington D.C. to accomplish such an impressive objective so successfully.

At a young age, I enjoyed gardening at home with my parents, and as a teen I maintained a garden at my family’s restaurant.  Now as an adult, and having been employed at NYIT since 1980, I find myself enjoying the opportunity to maintain gardens on campus and be involved with creation of the Intergenerational Community Project. I take great pleasure in gardening and I am very happy to have been selected to share my love and knowledge of gardening with the global community through the Alternative Spring Break 2014 trip to Ecuador.

Annessa Babic

I’m Annessa Babic, and I received my PhD from Stony Brook University in 2008.  Prior to that I earned my bachelor’s at Kentucky Wesleyan College and my Masters of Arts at New Mexico State University . . . somewhere along the way I’ve lived in nine states and been to five countries and developed a hybrid southern accent which is not representative of where I’ve lived the longest (NYC).  These days I live in NYC, and I wouldn’t trade it for much of anything.  I’ve been with NYIT since circa 2010, and for a little more than a year now I’ve been the coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Studies program at the Old Westbury campus.  Aside from working with students, I’m actively writing and adding to the multiple layers of scholarship.  My most recent book, Comics As History, Comics As Literature, came out in December 2013.  Things coming out this year are “Accessing Benefits, Benefiting the Veteran: Veteran’s Benefits, Budget Cuts, and a Strained System” from the 2012 European Association of American Studies proceedings, a co-written piece about Turkish bridal culture, an article on Turkish feminism, and  writings merging tourism, environmentalism, and meaning for social growth.  

My third book is due to review sooner than not . . Writing and teaching is chaotic, but I wouldn't trade the life.  And, among the writing, I also ran a literacy council a few years ago.  Community growth, sustainability, and support (i.e. giving back) are not only part of what I write about, but they are also a way of life.  Every little action has an impact, and great or small . . . aide reaches far and wide.  Aside from work, I'm fond of running.  I run like a stinking turtle, but I still do.  I'm training for my fifth half marathon and first full marathon.

Rosalia Davi

My name is Rosalia Davi and I am the Assistant Director of Experiential Education at NYIT Manhattan. I support students in their search for an internship, job and/or life experience. In addition to meeting with students individually, I conduct workshops in Career Services and teach courses in the Interdisciplinary Studies program. Topics that I cover include how to find and make the most of an internship, create and enhance your online presence using LinkedIn and other social media, and general job search strategies. I love working with students and supporting them as they discover what it unique about them, and how they can achieve the personal and professional goals they set for themselves. This trip to Ecuador is an opportunity for me to experience a new culture and re-connect with what's important in life - community, service, and food!

My undergraduate degree is in Sociology from SUNY Stony Brook, and I have a dual Masters degree in Gender and Cultural Studies and Communications Management. I love to cook, eat, talk, travel, dance and sing karaoke (if I can get anyone to go with me). I'm married to Rosario Davi and we live in Astoria, Queens - though the dream is to move to Italy and open an eco-tourism business!!

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