Meet Lehman’s First ‘Bronx CUNY Scholars’


Twenty-three Lehman students are among the 74 CUNY students selected as the first group of “Bronx CUNY Scholars.”

The new scholarship fund was launched in February by CUNY’s three Bronx colleges—Lehman, Bronx Community College, and Hostos Community College—with the goal of supporting qualified students at any of the three colleges who demonstrate financial need. Preference is given to Bronx residents.

The donors include “Dr. Bronx” Elias Karmon, who is the fund’s founding philanthropist, and more than a dozen other private and corporate sponsors.

Alex AboagyeAlex Aboagye ‘08

Nursing student Alex Aboagye credits the birth of his first-born child with motivating him to pursue his dreams. With most of his family already in the medical field, nursing was a natural choice. He attends classes full-time and twice a week participates in an internship at Bronx Lebanon Hospital. He plans to become a family nurse practitioner.

Elías AlcántaraElías Alcántara ‘08

As a first-generation American, Elías Alcántara knows just how challenging it can be for new immigrants to navigate through a country's social and political systems. Growing up, he was called upon to explain and translate to his parents everything from doctor's notes to the ins and outs of the New York school system. These experiences as his family's advocate inspired him to seek a career in law. As a political science/philosophy major, he has been actively involved in Lehman's student government and is the current president of CASA. He also has completed an internship in the State Attorney General's office as a mediator between consumers and businesses, and landlords and tenants. Last year, he studied abroad in London. Alcántara is both a SEEK student and a member of the Lehman Scholars Program. He plans to complete an internship in Chile at either a newspaper or law firm, with the goal of becoming a lawyer.

Damier BrowneDamier Browne ‘08

For Damier Browne, the Bronx CUNY Scholarship represents an opportunity to repay his aunt for her financial support. The anthropology/biochemistry major attends classes full-time and volunteers as an occupational therapist at the Hutchinson Metro North Occupational Therapy Associates. He says he has always been interested in helping people and finds that occupational therapy merges two of his interests: understanding people and figuring out how their bodies work. Browne earned his associate’s degree in computer science from Bronx Community College and is applying to graduate schools.

Keisha BurrellKeisha Burrell ‘08

A hospital emergency room is a fast-paced, high-adrenaline environment that requires staff to be alert, efficient, and quick on their feet. It’s just that energy that drives nursing major Keisha Burrell. She spends one day a week doing clinical rotations at North Central Bronx Hospital and credits Nursing Professor Mary Tesoro with preparing her to meet the challenges of her field. She says she was drawn to nursing because she enjoys meeting and caring for people. Like all nursing students, she finds she has very little time for anything but studying. “My goal is to use my skills as a nurse to give back to the community, especially the Bronx community which I feel taught me the art of nursing,” she says.

Victor CanalesVictor Canales ‘08

Victor Canales is proud of his Latin roots. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he moved to the United States at age 12, but distance did not lessen his love for his country or its language. Canales, a Spanish major, has made learning everything about Latin culture the focus of his life. Inspired by one of his high school teachers, he plans to pursue a career in teaching, first in a high school environment and eventually at a college or university. He currently teaches in an after-school program.

At Lehman, Canales is on the Dean’s List and is a member of the SEEK program, where he works as a tutor and has found his greatest supporters—Tutoring Coordinator Jerome Farnett and Counselor Dorothy Arthur. He says that “there are many people in my life who have supported and encouraged me, but first and foremost is God, followed closely by my family.” Canales plans to pursue his master’s degree in Spanish at Lehman.

Cynthia Cintron Cynthia Cintron '08

Social work major Cynthia Cintron recently began an internship in the Family Service Unit of the Administration for Child Services (A.C.S.), where she is receiving training on providing preventive services to families. Cintron is in the first group of social work students to be included in A.C.S.'s Child Welfare Scholarship/Internship Program, which includes guaranteed job placement after completing the program. Once she has earned her degree from Lehman, she plans to work as a caseworker in A.C.S. and pursue her master's in social work with advanced standing. "I find working with children and families and helping them to improve their lives very rewarding," she says, crediting Professor Richard Holody (Sociology and Social Work) with influencing her decision to attend Lehman and to pursue this particular career field. Cintron earned an associate's degree in human services from Bronx Community College.

Rosemary GarciaRosemary Garcia ‘08

Business administration major Rosemary Garcia works one full-time job as an insurance agent, a part-time job at a hotel on weekends, and attends classes full-time. Since she has always been good with numbers, the field of business seemed like a logical choice for a major. Her goal is to someday own and operate her own company. After graduation, she hopes to land a job at a bank where she will be able to help others achieve their financial goals.

Meridith KnightMeridith Knight ‘09

After helping her father struggle with a terminal illness, Meridith Knight decided that nursing was the path for her. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, she had earned a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from Christopher Newport University. But unlike nursing, psychology did not give her the hands-on experience she wanted. She is specifically interested in treating childhood diseases and in working with pregnant women to ensure that they and their children receive the proper care and nutrition to lead healthy lives. Knight counts her family as her greatest source of support, but at Lehman it’s Professor Damaris Yamoah (Biological Sciences) who has guided her through the field’s more challenging hurdles. "Prof. Yamoah has a way of teaching microbiology, anatomy, and physiology that makes you want to know more," explains Knight. "She keeps students on their toes." Knight hopes to become a midwife.

Tung LyTung Ly ‘08

One thing biochemistry major Tung Ly knows for sure is that if you’re not passionate about what you do, you likely won’t be happy doing it. Ever since he was a small child, he knew that he wanted to study medicine, but his parents had other plans for him. At their request, he earned a degree in business in his native Vietnam. When he arrived in the United States in 2002, he saw another opportunity to continue his education and follow his dream. This time he decided on a career as a pharmacist. He still has dreams of becoming a doctor someday, but for now he is satisfied with his choice.

Truong NgoTruong Ngo ‘09

Chemistry major Truong Ngo plans to become the seventh pharmacist in his extended family and is grateful to Professor Iraj Ganjian (Chemistry) for advising and encouraging him along this path. A native of Vietnam, Ngo emigrated with his family to the United States in 2003. After studying English for one year at Bronx Community College, he enrolled in Lehman and succeeded in making the Dean's List last semester. Ngo has worked as a chemistry tutor in the Science Learning Center and also tutored Bronx high school students—work he finds rewarding because it allows him to give back to the Bronx.

Ebelechukwu NnoliEbelechukwu Nnoli ‘08

A double major in anthropology and biochemistry, Ebelechukwu Nnoli plans to attend SUNY Downstate Medical College after graduation to pursue an M.D. degree. He is particularly grateful for the advice and encouragement of Professors Iraj Ganjian (Chemistry) and Martin Muntzel (Biological Sciences) and that of Dr. Clarence Branch, Lehman’s premedical advisor. “I thank God for this honor,” Nnoli says. A native of Nigeria, he is a McNair Scholar and a member of Golden Key Honor Society and also has served as a Lehman College Senator. He works part-time as a call center representative for the City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Yesenia OrtizYesenia Ortiz ‘08

Music major Yesenia Ortiz taught dance, voice, and drama for ten years before enrolling in Hostos Community College. There, she directed and performed in student productions and received numerous awards and scholarships, including a CUNY Leadership Award, a Wallace Edgecombe Scholarship, and an ASPIRA Scholarship. Transferring to Lehman after earning her associate’s degree, she has continued to perform, this time in student recitals, while training with Professor Jacqueline Bergland (Music) to perfect her vocal technique. She plans to pursue a doctorate, teach, and direct and write musicals. Ortiz is particularly proud of her selection as a Bronx CUNY Scholar because it was earned while raising her son, Jon-Paul. She will use the scholarship to help pay for a personal computer.

Mark PeartMark Peart ‘08

Emigrating to the Bronx from Jamaica in 2002, Mark Peart credits one of his high school teachers for the passion he feels about his two major fields—mathematics and physics. At Lehman, he has been inspired by Professor Christopher Gerry (Physics and Astronomy) and has worked with him on research projects. He also competes on Lehman's tennis team and works as a tutor in the Math Lab. Considering a career in either academia or actuarial science, he plans to use his scholarship to help pay for his tuition.

Diana RamirezDiana Ramirez ‘08

A native of Colombia, political science major Diana Ramirez settled in Queens six years ago to live with her mother and attend college. After earning an associate’s degree from Hostos Community College in 2005 and carefully evaluating all the CUNY colleges, she decided that attending Lehman College was her "destiny." She plans to work for a human rights organization and may attend graduate school to study either law or international relations.


Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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