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CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson, Resident Scholarship recipient Miguel Acosta, VC for Student Affairs Dr. Frank Sanchez, and NYCHA Chairman John B Rhea. (Photo by Leticia Barboza)
NYCHA’s Best and Brightest CUNY Students Earn Scholarships

Completing their studies and earning their degrees will be a little bit easier now for 11 NYCHA residents who attend City University of New York (CUNY) colleges. This year’s winners of the NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship received their $1,000 awards at a ceremony on Sept. 15.

“This scholarship will help me achieve and excel in my goal to become a nurse,” said Miguel Acosta, a resident of Mitchel Houses who attends Hunter College. “It will help me buy the books I need.”

Mr. Acosta made the decision to become a nurse after his son was hit by a car a few years ago.  He has one semester remaining in his coursework to receive his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. He then plans to attend graduate school so he can become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Ti-Anna Lee (center), a 2011 Resident Scholarship winner with CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations Jay Hershenson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Frank D. Sanchez, & NYCHA Chairman John B Rhea. (Photo by Leticia Barboza)

The NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program was established in 2005 to support the efforts of NYCHA residents in their pursuit of higher education.  The Resident Scholarship Program awards $1,000 scholarships every year to eligible residents who are enrolled at a CUNY college.  Recipients can use the money to pay for tuition, books or other education-related expenses.  This year’s scholarships were funded in part by grants from New York City Council Members Robert Jackson and Letitia James.

One of the scholarships, the Regina A. Figueroa Memorial Scholarship, goes to a disabled NYCHA resident.  Ms. Figueroa, who spent most of her life in a wheelchair, lived at Throggs Neck Houses, was a graduate of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and worked at NYCHA for 10 years.  She passed away in 2010.

Ti-Anna Lee, a single mother of two, is entering her final semester to receive an associate degree in Nuclear Medicine from Bronx Community College.  “I can better focus on school and my children.  Receiving the scholarship came at the right time,” said the University Avenue Rehab resident.

Ms. Lee plans to enter a clinical program next spring after she graduates.  Her goal is to be a nuclear medicine technologist who works on radiation treatment for people with cancer.

“When I hear about the contributions you already have made and the struggles that you have overcome to be sitting here tonight, it speaks volumes about what NYCHA is all about,” NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea told the scholarship winners.  “I am really proud and touched that there is so much quality in our city and in public housing.”

This year’s winners were spread across a wide demographic of boroughs, ethnicities and, as Mr. Acosta pointed out, ages.  “I’m 51 years old.  It’s never too late to go to college,” he said.

The other 2011 NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship winners are Christina Chaise (Hunter College/Ravenswood Houses); William Dean (Borough of Manhattan Community College/Grant Houses); Taffney Eustache (New York City College of Technology/Penn-Wortman Houses); Christine Ho (Hunter College/Washington Houses); Sara Lewis (South Jamaica Houses/Queens College); Yessenia Mejia (Woodside Houses/Queens College); Hui Bin Pan (Baruch Houses/Baruch College); Virgilio Rivera (Kingsborough Community College/Nostrand Houses); and Heriberto Vega (Hostos Community College/Amsterdam Houses).

By Eric Deutsch
Sept. 16, 2011

View photos of the 2011 Resident Scholarship Program Reception (Flickr)
Watch video of Chairman Rhea's remarks (YouTube)
Meet the 2011 NYCHA-CUNY Scholars (PDF)
NYCHA/CUNY Resident Scholarship Program