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Kid surrounded by people shooting a basketball

Institute for Justice and Opportunity at John Jay College
Mapping the City University of New York 
April 2020

The University’s Commitment to Students Impacted by the Criminal Legal System

Since its inception, CUNY Explorers expanded the College Access for All Initiative to include students in District 79 schools, the New York City Department of Education’s Alternative Schools District. District 79 schools provide secondary school programming to students in juvenile justice settings, substance use treatment facilities, and mental health treatment facilities. Students in District 79 schools can be enrolled in temporary or involuntary programming.

The District 79 schools included in the College Access for All expansion include Restart Academy and Passages Academy. Both schools enable students who have been arrested or incarcerated to attend school. Through the CUNY Explorers program, several CUNY institutions have prepared campus visits for Restart and Passages Academy students. CUNY Explorers works to identify campus tour guides and guest speakers with lived experience in the court and criminal legal systems who can speak about their experiences and transition to college.

You can read more on the study conducted by the Institute for Justice and Opportunity here!

The Knight News
Vol 25, Issue 8
May 8, 2019

CUNY Explorers: Inspiring Generations to Attend University

If you’ve ever seen a group of 30 or so middle-schoolers around campus, with faces beaming with excitement and awe, then you have probably seen CUNY Explorers at work. As the name implies, it is a CUNY-wide program, operating in roughly 15 of the CUNY institutions, including our very own Queens College.

Program coordinator and former QC student herself, Jaclyn Eng, describes that the mission of CUNY Explorers is to expose middle school students to the ins-and-outs of a college education so that every child walks away feeling like college really is for them and motivated to pursue their dreams.

An important goal of CUNY Explorers is to make sure that middle school children know that it is never too early to start thinking about college and that they can take action, even now, to turn their dreams into reality. As Mejia said, “programs like CUNY Explorers are necessary for a better transition between levels of education because of its supportive nature between generations.”

CUNY Explorers is always looking for enthusiastic and passionate QC students to work as Visit Guides. Anyone looking for more information should contact the program coordinator, Martha Superti, at

Click to read more! The Knight News