GUYDA Student Spotlight


Jewell Christian Stewart

Jewell Christian Stewart is an experienced student advocate, committed to community involvement and academic rigor. As an active member of various social and service organizations, he hopes to use his extensive scholastic, co-curricular, extracurricular, and extensive work experience, to serve an organization in administration, law, or law enforcement.

Jewell Christian Stewart is currently a student in the Honors College as an aspiring attorney and judge in his senior year at the nationally ranked Hofstra University located in Long Island. He is studying Law, Political Science, and Rhetoric.

Jewell attended Malverne High School where he graduated with high honors and served as Head Drum Major and Saxophone Section Leader for championship-winning Pride of Malverne Marching Band, Captain of Public Relations for the Robotics Team, Vice President for Model United Nations and Debate Team, Jazz Ensemble Guitarist, played Varsity Lacrosse, and was a member of the Audition- Only Select Choir.

He received a Provost’s scholarship and was accepted into the New Opportunities at Hofstra program that offered another half-ride scholarship including room and board at Hofstra University Honors College. He has been selected as Vice President of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity Inc., Captain of the Speech and Debate Team, a Student Government Association senator,  a member Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Vice President of Pi Kappa Delta Public Speaking Honorary, Member of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, a drummer in the Symphony Orchestra, member of Dean Advisory Board, NAACP, and also as a tour guide, and was selected to be royalty in the Homecoming Court.

He is the most decorated member of the Hofstra Speech & Debate Team with over 40 national, regional, and state speech accolades. He was placed within the top 24 college competitors in the nation competing in intercollegiate forensics in three separate speech events and has been ranked as high as 16th in the nation. He is also the current New York\New Jersey Oratorical State Champion in Prose Interpretation. He was chosen to speak as an honoree for the Black Student Union's Annual Black Excellence Award Dinner for unique contributions to the Hofstra community. Jewell was selected by the Dean of Students and the Commission on Presidential Debates to serve as the stand-in for Lester Holt, the moderator of the 2016 Presidential Debate between President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Type in “Hofstra presidential debate” into google and look closely, you will see Jewell seated center stage in photos where Lester Holt is not pictured. He received maximum Secret Service clearance to work on the debate hall stage with CPD personnel and moderated mock debates filling in for Lester Holt and served as a Media & Communications Volunteer.

Jewell worked for 1 year as a Legal Office Assistant at Hofstra University’s Office of the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel for the lawyers who represent his University. He then worked as Student-Teacher at the Agape Leaders Institute in New York City where he Instructed high-school students within scholastic programs on the study and practice of public speaking, rhetoric, and debate. Jewell also worked as a Litigation Paralegal at the international Law Offices of Napoli Shkolnik Attorneys at Law as a direct assistant to the partnered attorney in charge of pharmaceutical malpractice litigation and teaches speech and debate at the Rikers Debate Project.

Jewell is a member of the Student Conduct Review Board of faculty and selects students to hear and review cases of community standards violations and disciplinary infractions of students at Hofstra University. He is also a sworn elected Board of Trustees member for the United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd where he is trusted with administrative, property, and community affairs as well as church security and liability. For the past seven years, he attends church almost every Sunday and serves as a drummer at the United Methodist Church and even occasionally as a Lay-Minister.

He is also a cardholding member of Mensa International, the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world. This is a non-profit honor organization open to people who score in the top 3 percent on a standardized, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test.

He thanks his grandparents Cheryl and Egar Stewart, for their unwavering support of him and remain faithful and prayerful toward him. He hopes to continue to make them proud as he serves in the high reaches of the legal profession worldwide and hopes to one day contribute to legal education in Guyana.


Alexine McCalman

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"My name is Alexine McCalman. I love to travel overseas in my spare time. Travel is great, especially because it gives me an opportunity to donate school supplies to underprivileged students, through an awesome organization called, “Pack for a Purpose”. After completing my graduate studies, I would love to return to teach at some of those schools. I see the gestures of volunteering and donating, as giving something back to society, which is a cornerstone of GUYDA. Some of my musical skills were tapped into, as I performed at GUYDA’s Annual Father’s Day Brunches.


For All, I say, “Thank you.”


Akiya Henry

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Akiya Henry was only nine years old when she performed at GUYDA’s Father’s Day Brunch for the first time. She has continued to sing every year since and is well received by this organization.  Akiya is currently studying Music and Business at The State University Of  New York at Fredonia, where she is a Junior. Akiya would like to thank GUYDA for their support and contributions over the years, and for granting her a scholarship that helped with her tuition.


Cassandra McCalman


My name is Cassandra McCalman. I graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Childhood Special Education, at Pace University. Yes, I want to be a teacher of students with special needs. After undergraduate studies, it was a harrowing quest for me to decide what I was going to do next. This was so, especially because of my being of Guyanese parentage, and for whom, a good education meant everything. Therefore, it was the eureka moment and being guided by destiny, when I ran into my former preschool teacher who knew me and probably saw what I was destined to be. She settled my vacillation between mental health counseling and teaching. The program is very difficult and my favorite letter grade “A” is the only one that has been showing up every semester. I know that I am riding on the shoulders of generations of teachers, like my grandmother who was a colleague of Mr. Stewart, in Guyana. 


I am a part-time student at Pace while teaching at a preschool where I interned as an undergraduate student. My students at the preschool have developmental delays and I have been making use of my music to help them to learn. My participation in the annual Father’s Day Brunch that was hosted by GUYDA, has helped me to realize much of my musical skills and more..... I had to select a musical piece that was going to connect with my life, mixed and probably critical audience - it had to strike a familiar note. Learning, practicing, and perfecting its notes were vital to its effective presentation because knowledge negates fear and nervousness. Many of the skills that I have acquired in preparation for those live audiences are still ablaze in my heart as I subconsciously apply them to my graduate studies. Indeed, numerous presentations and long research papers all demand the best of oneself, much of it I have acquired during my time as an avid supporter of GUYDA.

Thank you for the opportunity


Jason Patterson

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I began playing the piano at GUYDA’s Annual Father’s Day Brunch when I was about 13 years old. The opportunity to perform in front of a large audience of Guyanese-Americans connected me to my parents’ homeland in ways I had never experienced before. My presence was welcome with much attention, love, and genuine investment in my future. Every year since, I have been able to update this community with news of my progression through high school and college, culminating in my attainment of a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, in the Spring of this year. I would like to thank the members of GUYDA for many words of encouragement that have guided me to where I am today.


Pretima Melville


As I reflected on my life, I would like to acknowledge a wonderful group of individuals who came together and formed the organization currently known as GUYDA. I started out actively volunteering which included doing sign-in sheets in the secretary office and running little errands during Father's Day Brunch. This experience helped to shape me in a positive way. My mom, Minette Melville is also a member of this organization.

I am now the holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Strayer University in Washington DC and am currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Public Administration, with the hope of one day being able to start my own organization and be able to help the individuals who need it the most.


Adrian McCalman


My name is Adrian McCalman and I am currently a junior studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester. Armed with this degree, my dream of discovering or participating in the discovery of cures for diseases that plague developing countries, such as Guyana, would become an achievable goal. The source of this vision comes from having vacationed in that beautiful land of my parents’ birth, named Guyana. There I saw the well, from which their zeal to acquire the best education for their children sprung. I listened to stories about my great-grandfather, McAndrews who owned a school on the Corentyne. Academia is a dominant factor in my bloodline. Thus, making my ancestors and my parents feel accomplished and proud, will be my contribution as shown by my firm dedication to my studies.

I am very interested in cell and tissue engineering, especially the research that is its concomitant.  A search for vaccines to cure diseases will be my forte.

My view of the world has been enhanced through my travels. Last semester I studied in Australia and vacationed in Bali and Japan. This experience has helped me to learn more about myself and has enabled me to view critically the trajectory of my academic and ambitious path. In addition to that, I have learned to depend on myself and found the value of improving oneself.

My other passion is listening to music, specifically hip hop. Throughout my pre-college years, I endeavored to learn to play the saxophone well. GUYDA was a very helpful outlet for this passion and my desire for proficiency to grow. I loved that I was able to express myself and entertain people at the same time. Every year after my solo performance, my heart was warmed to see the smiles of approval on the people’s faces. My degree is also for those people.