Jay-Sheree Allen, a native of Jamaica, describes coming to America at the age of 11 as a culture shock. However, with the help of family, friends and mentors she has adjusted to New York and is now finding a way to mentor other women. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Pre-Medical Studies and a 3.5 GPA.
Jay-Sheree came to CCNY by accident, after transferring from NYU, but describes it as fate. Coming to CCNY opened up a new world for her. It exposed her to mentors such as Dr. Joe-Joe McManus, former executive director of the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy, and Karen Witherspoon, vice president, government and community affairs. They opened her eyes to new possibilities and taught her “it’s okay to step into the rest of the world.”
Fortunate to have a strong support system in her life, Jay-Sheree wants to provide the same for other women. With this idea, she founded WEST (Women of Excellence, Strength and Tenacity). This 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization coordinates a mentoring program for 4th and 5th grade girls at Harriet Tubman Learning Center (PS 154), hosts six general meetings per year, participates in community service projects and relevant social events and conducts an annual Women's Empowerment Conference. The 2nd Annual WEST Conference, held this past April at City College, drew 352 attendees.
Jay-Sheree’s ultimate goal for this program is to create a medium where women can lose the fear of asking questions and inspire others with their stories of struggle and success.
“We, as women, don’t realize we are holding each other back by not sharing our stories with each other,” she explains. “WEST creates a comfortable environment for women to say ‘This is how I made it, and you can make it too!’”
After graduation, Jay-Sheree will be moving to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue her MD degree at Meharry Medical College. Integrating her goals with WEST and her medical degree, Jay-Sheree aspires to find a way to help women lead healthier, happier lives.
“We, as women, don’t realize we are holding each other back by not sharing our stories with each other.”
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