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LaGuardia in The Times

LaGuardia Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY), is regularly featured in The New York Times—indisputably among the leading newspapers worldwide.

Following are highlights—articles written by Ginia Bellafante, Elizabeth A. Harris, David W. Chen, Alex Vadukul, among additional New York Times journalists, which have shed light on the successes and struggles of LaGuardia students, a majority of whom have family incomes of less than $25,000 annually. Additional articles have spotlighted LaGuardia’s accomplished faculty, given LaGuardia President Gail O. Mellow a national platform to spread understanding of the role of community colleges in higher education, and more.


New York Times Publishes Photo Essay by Faculty Member Maureen Drennan

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Bath Beach. Credit Maureen Drennan

The New York Times published a photo essay by Maureen Drennan, assistant professor in commercial photography at LaGuardia Community College, in the Sunday Times on April 22, 2018.

Following is an expert from the piece, titled, “Touring the Rust Belt of New York City.”

“You have ideas about a project,” said Maureen Drennan, “but then when you go out there and shoot, things change.”

The idea… Ms. Drennan said, was to document the Rust Belt of New York City: an industrial wasteland that would stand as “a microcosm of the larger Rust Belt of the Midwest,” where once-vital factories gave way to hulking wreckage and the anger that animated the 2016 presidential election.

Read the full article: New York Times Publishes Photo Essay by Faculty Member Maureen Drennan.

Alcohol Derailed His Life. Now He Drives Barflies Home.

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Carlos Nin lost jobs, a marriage and a home because of his drinking. Credit: Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

“Carlos Nin stays awake well into the night, keeping the same late hours he had as an alcoholic. His evenings are spent in the familiar company of barflies, revelers and party seekers. Except Mr. Nin is not their companion. He is their ride. As an Uber driver in New York City, he frequently chauffeurs intoxicated customers.… In February, he enrolled in classes at LaGuardia Community College to acquire his license with the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.”

Click here to learn more about LaGuardia’s Taxi & For Hire Vehicle Driver Institute.

Read the full article: Alcohol Derailed His Life. Now He Drives Barflies Home.

A Young Poet Loses His Rhythm and Finds His Voice

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Hermes Rosa Jr., 20, outside the apartment he shares with his mother and four siblings in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Credit: Amr Alfiky for The New York Times

Hermes Rosa Jr. “dropped out of the 11th grade in 2012, after what he described as a manic episode in his principal’s office during which he broke down in tears, left the building and went home.… The four years that followed were dark; he ‘tapped out of life,’ he said.… In September, Mr. Rosa started as a full-time student at LaGuardia Community College, where he plans to focus on video and media arts. That same month, he wrote a poem called ‘Precious Language’ about self-realization and the power of words. ‘Ambitious, fictitious, reminiscent of yesterday or perhaps a better day,’ he read aloud. ‘I wish there was more to see and less to say.’ As he continued, his words crescendoed and his voice strengthened: ‘I’m just me and who I choose to be.’”

Read the full article: A Young Poet Loses His Rhythm and Finds His Voice

Apprentices Need Expert Eye. So Does Trump’s Plan for Them

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Destina Garcia, a community health worker with Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, on her way to a home visit with a client in the Bronx. Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Destina Garcia, a community health worker at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, recently completed a new Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Program at LaGuardia Community College. The program is a partnership between LaGuardia, NYC Department of Small Business Services through the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, the Training Fund, and the 1199SEIU UHWE Funds.

… “Using apprenticeships, the program trains people to become community health workers… Gail Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College, says programs like Destina Garcia’s apprenticeship create a career ladder for low-income workers by bringing the college, union and employer together.

… Ms. Garcia completed her apprenticeship in June and has continued on with Bronx-Lebanon as a community health worker. She is also a member of 1199 S.E.I.U. and plans to use union-funded tuition assistance to pursue a bachelor’s in social work at the Lehman campus of CUNY…”

Read the full article: Apprentices Need Expert Eye. So Does Trump’s Plan for Them

New York Times Op-Ed by LaGuardia President Gail Mellow: The Biggest Misconception About Today’s College Students

(The New York Times) Permanent link

Kelsey Wroten - New York Times

“You might think the typical college student lives in a state of bliss, spending each day moving among classes, parties and extracurricular activities. But the reality is that an increasingly small population of undergraduates enjoys that kind of life.

Of the country’s nearly 18 million undergraduates, more than 40 percent go to community college, and of those, only 62 percent can afford to go to college full-time. By contrast, a mere 0.4 percent of students in the United States attend one of the Ivies.

The typical student is not the one burnishing a fancy résumé with numerous unpaid internships. It’s just the opposite: Over half of all undergraduates live at home to make their degrees more affordable, and a shocking 40 percent of students work at least 30 hours a week. About 25 percent work full-time and go to school full-time.…

… At LaGuardia Community College in New York, where I am president, 77 percent of students live in households making less than $25,000 per year.…

… Community colleges need increased funding, and students need access to more flexible federal and state financial aid, enhanced paid internships and college work-study programs. Improved access to public supports, like food stamps and reduced public transportation fares, would also make a world of difference.…”

Read full article: The Biggest Misconception About Today’s College Students

To download a PDF, please click here.

A Journey From ‘Real World’ to Homeless Shelter — and College

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Preston Roberson-Charles, a student at LaGuardia Community College who was homeless for two years. Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

Preston Roberson-Charles is studying economics at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens. Well spoken and charming, he wears gray Warby Parker glasses and keeps his jeans fashionably rolled at the ankle. Not exactly the stereotype of a homeless person. But for two years, until last December, he lived in New York City’s shelter system, hostels and on friends’ couches.

Read full article: A Journey From ‘Real World’ to Homeless Shelter — and College

Behind the Problem of Student Homelessness

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Students 4 Students, a shelter founded by U.C.L.A. students, has housed eight homeless students long term since opening in October. They expect to expand in a few months. Credit Louis Tse

It’s difficult to know exactly how many students are homeless, or are dangling dangerously close to it, in part because of the enormous stigma surrounding the issue. But new research shows how pervasive a problem it is — and one that some educators believe is growing… when a student ends up homeless, it can be exceedingly difficult to stay in school and thus break the cycle of poverty…

The average family income of students at LaGuardia Community College, part of the City University of New York, is $26,000, according to Gail O. Mellow, its president, who says that helping students navigate the issues surrounding such poverty is central to keeping them in school. At LaGuardia, students have access to a food pantry and help applying for public benefits like food stamps, among other services.

“We’re not a social service agency; we want to educate students,” Dr. [Gail O.] Mellow, [president of LaGuardia Community College] said. “But in order to do that, they can’t be hungry and they can’t be homeless.”

Read full article: Behind the Problem of Student Homelessness

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