Five Minutes With: Sara Arcia, Graduating Class of 2016 and president of the SocioLights, the Sociology Department’s Student Club

Each issue of our newsletter includes an interview with a current student or member of our alumni network (which spans the globe). This issue features Sara Arcia, class of 2016 and president of the Sociology Department’s Student Club, the SocioLights.

Sara Photo

Sara, tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to the Colin Powell School:

Sara: I am the youngest of three children and the first to go to college immediately after high. I was raised by a single mother and have an older brother and sister, who are all super supportive of me. I come from a working class family and was raised in the Bronx. College was really tough for me at first because I didn’t have anyone around who I could get advice from on what college would be like or how to navigate the application process. I wasn’t extremely confident when I sent my college applications because I didn’t have anyone to give me pointers on what was most important. When I came to City College for my campus visit, I really enjoyed the campus feeling and immediately felt a connection and started to imagine myself attending classes here.

After all of your time here on campus, you must be excited to start the next chapter of your life. Tell us a little about your plans and who has inspired you as you start to plan?

Sara: After graduation I hope to work for a non-profit organization that is focused on helping low-income families, especially in the area of education. My main goal is to obtain a Master’s degree in the Sociology of Education. When I think of this goal a few professors that inspired me come to mind: Prof. Norma Fuentes-Mayorga, Prof. R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy, and Prof. Stephen Ruszczyk. I have learned so much from them and they have been extremely helpful in advising me in my studies and future endeavors.

You’re the president of the Sociology Club (The SocioLights) and, with your faculty advisor, Professor Gwen Dordick, you have worked to make great strides in building a strong network among your peers. We know that one of the most important things a school can have is a strong student club base. Tell us why you wanted to be involved and what you hope to leave to the next generation of SocioLights:

Sara: My involvement with the SocioLights club began during my junior year when I shared a class with the former president, Alejandro Lazaro, of the club. When I heard about the club I was thrilled because I know many other departments have student clubs but had no idea that the Sociology department had one. I decided to join and I really wanted to network with a lot of people from different backgrounds and learn new things through other people’s shared experiences. Now, being a part of the club for some time I really want to establish a community for future sociology majors and minors so they will have a place to pull resources from, to connect them with other people inside and outside the school, and so they have a sustainable support system to help them along their journey.

Sara, we’re at the end of our interview, but tell us, what types of projects are the SocioLights working on and how can students get more involved:

Sara: The club has a few projects that are important to use, including our public events series which was designed to connect students with professionals who majored in sociology as a way to help them learn about the many ways they can use their degree as they build their careers. We’re hoping more students will consider remaining in the field as they consider graduate degrees in the future.

A Note from the Colin Powell School: 

Student clubs are a driving force on this campus. Without the work of these clubs, and the leadership shown by our students, the life of our school would look a lot different.

To learn more about how to become involved in one of the many clubs on campus, visit: CCNY Student Clubs and for our alumni and friends of the Colin Powell School, if you are interested in learning how you can help support the work of our clubs, including offering mentoring, internship opportunities, or to support our public programming designed to enhance the role our students play on campus, please email:

Photo caption: Beatrice and Sara Arcia



Alumni Profile: Savanna Washington ’10

“Is there a place for me in the Powell Center?” I get this question from prospective students frequently, but none ask with more frequency than the students studying Media Arts.  They wonder aloud if it is possible to successfully connect their passion for film, television, and performance with their interest in policy and service. That is when I tell them about Savanna Washington(Graduate Powell Fellow ’10).

Before CCNY and the Powell Fellowship, Savanna studied Communications at Michigan State and Film at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She eventually found her way to the to the City College of New York where she studied Media Arts and found a new home as a Colin Powell Graduate Fellow.

Savanna came to the Powell Center as a self described activist filmmaker searching for a subject.  She remarks, “I look to use my work to affect public policy positively and to assist undeserved populations.” In short, Savannah wants to give voice to the voiceless.

At the April 23, 2010 “Korean Reunification Regional Peace and the 2010 Decade” conference Savanna found one of her issues. After a day of conversation led by some of the worlds foremost experts on Korean reunification, she felt compelled to address the humanitarian crisis in North Korea. Recalling that day Savanna notes, “At that moment, quite a few of the people I needed to talk to were in the room.”

Never resting, Savanna has kept many irons in the fire – she recently finished shooting another documentary Greening of the Bronx and last spring she traveled to Cyprus to participate in a conference that confronts the media’s role in escalating and deescalating conflict. She is about to enter post-production on her North Korea documentary, and would like to extend her thanks to the Korea Society for their help and support throughout the project.

We look forward to following Savanna’s progress; whatever she chooses to address, be it issues of environmental justice or the challenges facing the Korean peninsula, Savanna will undoubtedly amplify and expand the conversation. – Colin Dixon

Colin Dixon is the program coordinator for student leadership at the Colin Powell Center. Read more about him and our other contributing authors.