NYCHA SCHOLARS AWARDED FOR COLLEGE ACHIEVEMENTS

By Eric Deutsch

Another 10 NYCHA residents are getting some help with continuing their education at City University of New York schools. Scholarships of $1,000 each were handed out at the eighth annual NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program Awards ceremony on September 20.

Two of the winners this year are brother and sister — Moawia Eldeeb and Fatemah Eldeeb, from Queensbridge North Houses. "I had so many stresses, and this really takes some of the burden off," said Moawia Eldeeb, who has graduated from Queens College and now is pursuing a second bachelor's degree at Columbia University. "Our parents were stunned that we both won. It made their summer."

Jocelyn Cruz, an aspiring opera singer from Eastchester Houses in the Bronx, attends Queens College because it has a conservatory music school. But all of that commuting means she has to buy a monthly MetroCard; she said the money will help pay for that, along with text books and music sheets she needs for her degree. "To realize you can be educated, that you can come from nothing and go to something, it means dreams really do come true," Ms. Cruz said.

NYCHA's partners in this effort include CUNY and New York City Council Members Gale Brewer, Robert Jackson and Letitia James, as well as the City Councilís Brooklyn delegation. Since 2005, the NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program has awarded approximately $80,000 in scholarships to eligible NYCHA residents who are enrolled at CUNY colleges. In 2011, the program was expanded to include the Regina A. Figueroa Memorial Scholarship, which honors the academic achievements of NYCHA residents with disabilities who excel at CUNY colleges.

"I am very impressed not only with what youíve done, but what you plan to do, especially how you all talk about giving back to the community," NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea told the scholarship winners. "Be proud of yourselves."

David Liao, from Gowanus Houses in the Bronx, hopes to serve the community by becoming a doctor. A senior at Hunter College, he plans to apply to medical school. "I may want to go into a field that works on memory," Mr. Liao said. "My grandmother suffers from dementia. I could try to figure out why some people remember things and some don't."

The winners this year, shown from left to right, are Jocelyn Cruz (Queens College/Eastchester Houses); Aneta Swierzko (New York City College of Technology/Wald Houses); Alyssa Alicino (Baruch College/Gompers Houses); Misty Daiyan (Queens College/Queensbridge North Houses); Wynta Alexander (Bronx Community College/Strauss Houses); Nahjee Cook (John Jay College of Criminal Justice/Long Island Baptist Houses); Moawia Eldeeb (Queens College/ Queensbridge North Houses); and David Liao (Hunter College/Gowanus Houses). Not pictured are Fatemah Eldeeb (Hunter College/ Queensbridge North Houses) and Darren Lin (Baruch College/Bland Houses).

To be eligible, students must be authorized NYCHA residents; a full-time sophomore, junior or senior enrolled in a CUNY Associate or Baccalaureate degree program; have a minimum 3.0 GPA; demonstrate financial need; and submit a 500-word essay. A selection committee comprised of NYCHA and CUNY representatives selected the winners from 70 applications submitted this year.