Malithi has proven to be one of Wagner's model students, exemplifying what it means to be a civic leader on and off campus. She embodies the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts, constantly finding ways to apply her learning, and reflect on her experiences. Malithi was introduced to civic engagement through her participation in the Port Richmond Partnership Leadership Academy (PRPLA), a college readiness program with civic engagement components created by Wagner College in partnership with Port Richmond High School.
Malithi has volunteered since her high school years through the PRPLA program, engaging in issues of immigration, food insecurity and tutoring for elementary school children. Now as a junior at Wagner and a Bonner Leader, she aligns her passion for health and science with mentorship through an initiative called Peer Health Exchange, which aims to provide health education through a peer mentorship. In addition to mentoring herself, Malithi is in charge of recruiting and training peer mentors who then teach at local high school in Staten Island.
Through my involvement in programs like PRPLA and Bonner I have come to understand the true differences between providing a community service and being civically engaged. I have volunteered with Make the Road NY, El Centro del Immigrante, Generation Citizenship, Healthy Neighborhoods, and my favorite Peer Health Exchange. With my involvement in these programs I was able able to view, learn, and understand differing experiences from differing lenses. This perspective changes to the "for" the community to "with" the community. And that shift is the difference between short-term and long-term solutions of social issues. Through my civic interactions with various communities I understand that many aspects of our society influence our health, and the lack of knowledge serves as the starting point down an unhealthy lifestyle. With Peer Health Exchange I am able to work on eradicating just that. Pipelining health knowledge through the education and conversations with high school students in low-income communities works towards equipping them with the comprehensive health knowledge they lack.