"They move mountains for us.”
This is how communication studies major Anne Gorin describes her professors at BMCC, and classmates Ryan Bias, Daniel Murphy and Juliette Perez are quick to agree.
All four students attended a workshop last fall that addressed one mountain in particular, transfer scholarships.
The event was put together by Senior Academic Advisor Allana Hankey-Thomas, along with communication studies professors Vincent Cheng and Sandra Poster, and Chair of the Speech, Communication and Theatre Department, Hollis Glaser.
“The goal is to get the students to prepare way in advance for their transfer from BMCC to a four-year college,” says Hankey-Thomas.
The workshop also featured BMCC communication studies alumna Jennifer Cachola, who received a CCTOP, or Community College Transfer Opportunity Program scholarship to attend the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University (NYU).
She’ll soon be joined there by Gorin, Bias, Murphy and Perez. All four applied and were awarded the CCTOP scholarship to NYU and will start classes there in Fall 2014.
Though Ryan Bias, Anne Gorin, Daniel Murphy and Juliette Perez are all attending the Steinhardt School at NYU, their diverse goals show the breadth of career options a communication studies major can pursue.
Working now as a bartender in an Italian restaurant near NYU, “I want to be an interpreter for the United Nations,” says Anne Gorin, who was born in France and lived in Barcelona, Spain before moving to New York City.
“I have a passion for language,” she says, and speaks five of them: French, English, Spanish, Catalan and Mandarin.
Her classmate Ryan Bias grew up in West Virginia and wants to be “a radio personality,” he says. “I also want to be a journalist. I’ve had some articles published in narrative.ly, an online magazine, and I’d like to do more.”
After first staying in a youth shelter in New York City, Bias found a job—“I was taking out the trash in a health spa, and now I’m a manager”—and enrolled at BMCC. When he joined the communication studies program, “I found a group of students who care about their classes and feel like family,” he says.
Daniel Murphy grew up in the Marlboro housing project in Coney Island, and after both his parents passed away, he moved to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and gained custody of his sister, who is now a student at BMCC, as well.
Once at NYU, he intends to continue managing the restaurant where he worked throughout his time at BMCC. “I want to do pre-law, and eventually go to law school and concentrate on constitutional law,” he says. “They have a dual program at NYU where you get a Ph.D. while you’re getting a law degree.”
Juliette Perez was inspired to seek a higher education when her father passed away and she learned she was going to become a parent, herself.
“I knew I had to become the best self I could be,” she says, and enrolled at BMCC “in order to give my daughter a good life and serve as a good example.”
Having started BMCC as a science major, she soon realized, “communication is my strength.” Now, she says, “I want to do international communication; perhaps in advertising or business. I would like to advise clients on how to conduct business, across cultures.”
What it takes to shine
The generous CCTOP scholarship—combined with smaller Pell, TAP and Phi Theta Kappa grants—will enable all four students; Juliette Perez, Daniel Murphy, Ryan Bias and Anne Gorin to attend NYU, a prestigious private college, without accruing staggering debt.
“They get over 55,000 scholarship applications a year,” says Anne Gorin, and Juliette Perez adds that once they are enrolled at NYU, they must maintain a 3.5 GPA, take at least 12 credits per semester and complete their bachelor’s degree within two years.
“If anyone can take the best advantage of this exciting opportunity, it’s these outstanding students,” says BMCC Communication Studies Professor Sandra Poster.
“I’m not saying it will be easy for them—they’ll have serious academic responsibilities and will be holding down jobs to make ends meet—but they have what it takes to shine: They’re smart and resourceful; they’re excellent communicators and students, and most of all, they have the drive to succeed and make a positive change. They are amazing, and they make us so proud.”