Nine LaGuardia Community College Students Named Semi-finalists for Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Nine LaGuardia Community College Students Named Semi-finalists for Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (March 14, 2024) — Nine students from LaGuardia Community College/CUNY have been selected as semi-finalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The announcement was made on March 14 in a press release issued by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

LaGuardia students who were named as semi-finalists are: Mateo Andino, Computer Science major; Antonett Gardner, Human Services: Mental Health major; Lawrance Gomes, Accounting  major; Shekinah Glory Kantono, Business Administration major; Chaw Nandar, Engineering: Civil Engineering major; Angelina Ojeda, Human Services: Mental Health major; Amena Shamia, Biology major; Md Siddique, Computer Science major; and Minghao Zhang, Fine Arts major. In 2023, 7 LaGuardia students were selected as semi-finalists; and Liberal Arts major Min Young Kim was selected as one of 60 students nation-wide who received the scholarship.  

The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship aims to help community college students who have demonstrated exceptional academic ability, leadership, and service transfer to top four-year institutions and avoid student debt. The award, which is last dollar funding after all institutional aid, can provide as much as $55,000 per year for two to three years to complete a bachelor’s degree at any accredited four-year undergraduate institution in the U.S.

This year, the Foundation selected 459 semifinalists from a pool of more than 1,600 applicants, who attend 194 community colleges in 37 states, plus Washington, DC, and the Northern Mariana Islands. This comes at a time when only about a third of students starting in community colleges transfer to four-year schools, and only 16% earn a bachelor’s degree within six years, according to the Foundation.

The finalists for the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship will be announced in May.

“In light of the challenges that hinder many community college students from achieving their goal of earning a bachelor’s degree, our Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship makes the journey more achievable and helps to eliminate the threat of student debt,” said Seppy Basili, Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in a press release issued by the Foundation. “The exceptional pool of talent among this year’s chosen semifinalists from community colleges showcases the vast potential within these institutions and we look forward to learning more about these students during the final stage of our application review.”

Dr. Alexis McLean, Vice President for Student Affairs says the College is “beyond proud of these students’ accomplishment. Their selection is a testament to their hard work, and the unwavering dedication of our faculty and staff.  This illustrates that community colleges are a conduit to a number of life-changing opportunities, and that contrary to popular belief, we can and do enroll the country’s best and brightest.”

Dr. Karlyn Koh, Professor of English, said, “I feel it is a personal achievement for each of the semi-finalists, and also an achievement for the college as a community that enables students to challenge themselves in the classroom, and outside of it through research opportunities, internships, and other co- and extra-curricular activities.

Dr. Koh said the Cooke scholarship program recognizes not just talented scholars, but those who demonstrate perseverance, and who seek to use their academic strengths to empower and uplift others in the larger community.  “These semi-finalists provide a snapshot of the dynamic range of students who arrive and thrive at the college despite having to navigate complex life situations,” she said. “LaGuardia can be a key that opens new doors.”

The Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship offers unparalleled support to community college students. In addition to the generous financial support, selected Cooke Transfer Scholars will receive educational advising from the Foundation’s Deans of Scholar Support to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year school and preparing for their future careers. They will also have access to internship opportunities, study abroad experiences, graduate school funding, and the invaluable connection to a robust network of more than 3,100 fellow Cooke Scholars and Alumni.

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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.


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