YatnaYatna Vakharia

Yatna left her home country of India at 19 to join her husband, who was working in New York at the time. While the move hadn’t been a permanent one, she decided to stay for her two children, wanting them to grow up in a consistent environment. She volunteered throughout their educational lives, receiving awards for her work at the schools and becoming the PTA president. While tutoring her own and neighboring children, she discovered she had a knack for education and got her GED, enrolling in a community college to become a math teacher. Her success there led her to Columbia University, where she is working toward her degree and preparing to change the world one student at a time. Although she originally stayed in the United States for her children’s sake, she has taken advantage of opportunities available to women here and as a teacher will inspire future generations of girls to do the same.
 

DaphnieDaphnie Sicre

Born in Ecuador to Peruvian and Spanish parents, Daphnie was raised in Spain and moved to the United States when she was 15 to live with her grandmother and flee a turbulent custody battle. Being passionate about theater, racial politics, and activism, she has brought them together in her Educational Theater doctoral work at New York University and through teaching at the high school and college levels. Daphnie inspires her students to think of the role that their racial and national identities play in shaping who they are and how their activism can transform their lives, as well as society. As a theater director who has staged over 30 professional and high school productions, she is drawn to plays that explore race and gender, using performance as an invitation for the audience to transform their lives and the lives of those around them.
 
 

Mel listening at tableMelainie Rogers

Melainie grew up in Australia, in a small town outside of Melbourne, where her family has lived for over seven generations. Not only was she the first in her family to attend college, upon graduating she moved to Japan, navigating life in a place where she couldn’t even read the alphabet. She came to the United States to attend New York University’s Clinical Nutrition Master’s program, after which she opened her own practice, melainie rogers nutrition. Aside from addressing dietary concerns, her practice provides clients with holistic, emotional treatment to lead them back to health. A lifelong supporter of women’s rights, Melainie overwhelmingly hires women, creating a safe female space for staff and clients alike. Having lived most of her life away from her native Australia, she has created a family of American and fellow immigrant friends who look after each other and find connection through exploring their cultural differences.
 

TebohoTeboho Moja

Teboho was born in South Africa, where she was active in the anti-apartheid movement and in rebuilding her country once Nelson Mandela came into power. She first came to the United States with her family as a Fulbright scholar in 1982 and moved back and forth between both countries before settling down in New York, where she is a clinical professor of higher education at New York University. Like many immigrants today, Teboho inhabits both cultures, traveling back and forth between the States and South Africa, where her mother, children and grandchildren live. Her ability to feel at home in both countries and to blend the values and ideals of these two cultures to form her own way of living and thinking is something she brings into her classrooms, her activism, and her personal relationships, helping those around her also widen their own views and perspectives.