America Needs You, Wants You To Succeed

First-Generation Students. Photo Credits:Gabriel Salas


Starting college can be a difficult and intimidating experience for many freshmen. The America Needs You (ANY) organization, with a virtual event held on February 3rd, aims to inform incoming freshmen they are not alone.

This virtual event was hosted by Paula Cohen, Assistant Director at Brooklyn Collge’s Magner Career Center via Zoom, along with Ilana Iskhakova, Brooklyn College alumni and current member of America Needs You. The aim was to inform Brooklyn College students and other future applicants of the benefits and impact being a member of ANY can have, for a successful college experience and for landing a job immediately after finishing college.

American Needs you is a non-profit organization started in 2009 whose mission is to fight for economic mobility for ambitious, first-generation college students by providing them many opportunities to enhance the professional skillset that they will need to meet their career goals.

“From college directly into a full-time job career as a Fellow,” Cohen said. “Our goal is that when you graduate you’ll be a full-blown professional.”

America Needs You aims to help their students in college by giving them an early start in opportunities such as early starts in internships, networking, presentation skills, interviewing, and being able to enhance and add to their resumes just in their first two years in college.

“ANY is here to support all their members regardless if you want to change your major because they want to help their members to graduate with their dream career path,” Iskhakova said.

To become a Fellow, applicants would need to have proof their parents/guardians have not graduated from college in any country, be a U.S resident or permanent resident, and most importantly applicants must be freshmen or in the process of graduating by the year 2025 with a Bachelors degree in order to be accepted into the program.

Robert Reffkin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, founded ANY in recognition of the unmet need for mentorship and career preparation for low-income students with a huge focus being those of students who would be the first in their household to be attending college.

Reffkin cites statistics that show only 21% of low-income first-generation college students are able to complete four-year college degrees, despite many having excellence in academics, due to the social and economic pressures and.

ANY as of 2016 had been able to expand their program to New Jersey, Illinois, and California to provide aid and assistance to many more students from low-income families.

“You are the future of this country, future innovators, future inventors, and the future of our society.’’ Cohen said.