Yarik Munoz
Yarik Munoz ’26 Lands Internship with NYS Assembly

Degree: B.S. in Criminal Justice 
Programs: ACEStudent Council (Vice President)
Mentors: Makeda Jordan, Professor Oscar Montesdeoca, Professor James Ditucci-Cappiello, and Professor Rafael Acevedo Cruz
Internship: Office of New York State Assemblyman Steven Raga
Hometown: Maspeth, NY

“Last semester, I went to the Career and Internship Fair with my resume in hand. I walked around, spoke with different employers, and learned about the unique opportunities available. Then I met New York State Assemblymember Steven Raga. He asked about my career interests and what I hoped to get out of the fair. I handed him my resume and a few weeks later I got an email asking me to come in for an interview. I’m now in my second semester interning as the Community Affairs Liaison in his office,” says Yarik Munoz, who is the Vice President of Student Council and an ACE student. “Working with Assemblymember Raga has been amazing. He’s an awesome mentor and has provided me with an incredible opportunity to serve the public.” Assemblymember Raga continues to be impressed with Yarik’s commitment to community service and understanding of important district issues. “Yarik’s proactive approach and ability to connect with our constituents has significantly enhanced our office’s outreach and effectiveness. His enthusiasm and genuine care for the well-being of our community members exemplifies the kind of leadership and compassion we need in public service,” says Raga. “I’m confident that Yarik will continue to make impactful contributions in his future career.”

Why John Jay?
John Jay was the only college I applied to. It was my dream school. Initially, I wanted to work in law enforcement and become a police officer. I knew John Jay was the place that could help me excel in the criminal justice field. On top of that, the guidance and financial support the ACE program provided sealed the deal for me. As a Latino and a first-gen student, ACE has provided me with a roadmap to success and a real sense of comfort, dedicated advisement, and validation.

Were there any specific people at John Jay who put you on the path to success?
All the professors at John Jay are genuinely amazing and supportive. What I’ve loved most is learning from industry professionals, people who are working in roles we all hope to be in one day. I’ve been taught by police officers, parole officers, an air marshal, and lawyers. They opened my eyes to these fields and showed me how to apply the lessons I’m learning at John Jay out in the world. 

Makeda Jordan has worked one-on-one with the Student Council ensuring we have everything we need to reach our goals. As Vice President, her mentorship is something I value greatly. I’m able to bounce ideas off of her and she’s always ready to support us.

My Corrections 101 professor, Oscar Montesdeoca, immersed us in the correction experience to help us better understand the system. He engaged the class in thought-provoking conversations and even brought in the director of the correction cadets (CEEDS) to speak with students.

Professor James Ditucci-Cappiello served as a parole officer, and in the classroom, he goes the extra mile for students. He’s so animated that his lessons are memorable. He doesn’t just teach; he’s entertaining and informative, sharing his first-hand experiences and what he’s learned throughout his career.

Latin American and Latinx Studies Professor Rafael Acevedo Cruz encouraged me to look at things from multiple perspectives. He emphasized the importance of seeing the whole picture and valuing different points of view, thinking critically, understanding where all parties are coming from, and learning about their history and life experiences before making a decision. 

What kind of work do you do at your internship?
I work with constituents, serving as a liaison between them, city agencies, and community initiatives on behalf of the assembly member’s office. Getting to interact with people on the ground level and hearing about their concerns and issues is essential because we aim to help resolve or meet their needs. 

That can look different depending on the day. Let’s say a constituent says they have a pothole issue. I can contact the Department of Transportation on their behalf and alert the DOT of the problem. If we’re at a community event and a constituent has questions about a program, I can answer their questions. Or, if a constituent calls the office and they only speak Spanish, I can translate. 

New York State Assemblymember Steven Rag and Yarik Munoz
(left to right) New York State Assemblymember Steven Raga and Yarik Munoz '26

What are some of your favorite moments thus far in the role?
Helping a mom apply for the SNAP program so she could provide food for her family. A lot of times, people don’t understand what forms they have to fill out or comprehend the process, so being able to help guide her was affirming for me. I’ve always wanted to help people, and as a Community Affairs Liaison I can uplift many.

Ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
I see myself earning a Master of Public Administration and working as either a school administrator or in a public official’s office. I really love working with constituents and being able to help people thrive.