Five Outstanding BMCC Students Named Kaplan Scholars

(L-R, Kaplan Scholars Quinland, Williams, Maroulis, Smith and Boadu)

December 17, 2020

Five Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) students—Engineering Science major Samuel Boadu, Business Administration major Sulay Restrepo Maroulis, History major Johann Smith, Computer Science major Chanthea Quinland and Liberal Arts major Jon Williams—have been named this year’s Kaplan Scholars.

This is the fourteenth year BMCC has been working with the Kaplan Educational Foundation to help underserved students transfer from associate degree programs to exceptional four-year colleges. Kaplan Scholars receive a comprehensive array of financial and academic support, transfer admissions advising and leadership skills development.

“They give the scholars a stipend, and help them with the cost of books and application fees to their next college or university,” said Sussie Gyamfi, BMCC Scholarship Coordinator. “We selected outstanding students for this honor, who will thrive as they are challenged to excel academically, while giving back to their respective communities. If you look at the Kaplan alumni profiled on Kaplan Educational Foundation website, you will see that BMCC has had a long and productive relationship with this important organization.”

About the scholars

Samauel Amoako Boadu

Samauel Amoako Boadu was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa and arrived in the United States in 2018. After passing his high school equivalency exam (GED) he was accepted into BMCC and eventually decided to major in Engineering Science.

“BMCC has always been a second home to me since it has always provided all the resources I need to help facilitate my student life and experiences,” said Boadu. “The road has often been muddy and rough, but with the help of some of my professors I have been able to pull through.”

He says he is especially grateful to English Professor Chamutal Noimann, Science Professor Joanna Giza and Mathematics Professor Yevgeniy Milman. Boadu said he hopes to someday become a chemical engineer, concentrating either in plants or healthcare.

“I want to establish NGO (non-governmental organization) Projects that will help inspire the hope in the disadvantaged communities in my country so they can dream and work towards that goal as BMCC has helped me do,” said Boadu.

Sulay Restrepo

Business Administration major Sulay Restrepo grew up in Antioquia, Colombia. At age 18, she left her homeland and immigrated to the United States where she learned English and eventually enrolled at BMCC.

“As the Vice President of the Finance and Banking Club at BMCC this semester, I was also part of the winning team for the Fed Challenge competition at the New York Fed,” said Restrepo, who is grateful to Business Management Professors Ioannis (Yanni) Tournas and Julian Schroeder for helping her build teamwork skills, as well as Business Administration Professor Kenneth Levin who encouraged her growing passion for Economics.

Restrepo is working towards a career in global investment banking and wants to open her own firm. She also studied abroad in Spain with Modern Languages Professor Aiona Inigo Restrepo plans to incorporate travel into her future career.

“I see myself being able to give back to the community,” said Restrepo. “Never forgetting my roots, I want to encourage kids in Colombia to go to school and to dream big.”

Johann Smith

History major Johann Smith was born and raised in Hartford Connecticut and later moved to Bloomfield. He said his BMCC professors have prepared him for his next step at a four-year university by constantly pushing him to do his best work.

“One professor in particular that I have had the pleasure of learning from was Social Science, Human Services and Criminal Justice Professor Erik Freas,” said Smith. “I was in his World Civilization and History Research and Methods classes. Being a student in his classroom was like going back in time. We had in-depth discussions and related the past to the present.”

Smith says he plans to earn a Ph.D., most likely in a field of study related to the human body, perhaps kinesiology.

“I want to have my own practice or facility where I treat patients and athletes. I would also like to have a project where I give back to my community through sport, health, travel and mindful practices,” said Smith.

Chanthea Quinland

Computer Science major Chanthea Quinland grew up on the small Caribbean island Antiqua. She said she is appreciative of the support she has received at BMCC through programs such as BLA and Degree Under Three and the IMPACT peer mentor program.

“I also met professors such as Computer Information Systems Professor Mohammad Azhar, who provided many opportunities for students to get experience through projects and Hackathons,” said Quinland. “As a peer mentor I learned the importance of leadership and helping others. These are skills I know I can take with me to my four-year college as well as in life and be able to navigate anything that comes my way.”

When Quinland thinks about her future, she not only sees a successful career in cybersecurity, but also contributing to and being active in her community.

“I would love to work in application security and help promote online safety,” said Quinland. “A major dream of mine is starting my own non-profit organization to teach STEM education outside the classroom to children in Antigua.”

Jon Williams

Liberal Arts major Jon Williams grew up in Houston and says programs such as ASAP and the NYU GUIDE Gallatin program have provided support including academic advisement.

“My advisor Ahmed Wing always made time for me and listened to my short-term and long-term goals,” he said.

Williams said English Professor Tiffany Williams helped him master his writing skills while Mathematics Professor Jenna Hirsch and Political Science Professor Heather James, helped him build confidence.

“They saw my potential and made me feel comfortable going to office hours whenever I struggled to understand a particular topic,” said Williams.

Williams said he sees himself eventually graduating from Yale Law School and becoming a public interest attorney.

“I hope to run nonprofit organizations that cater to the LGBTQ community,” said Williams. ”I feel it is salient for youth to see a positive reflection of themselves in society and not be forced to assimilate into heteronormative behavior out of fear of being discriminated against.”

  • Kaplan scholars receive comprehensive array of support and academic advisement
  • BMCC has had a long, productive relationship with Kaplan Educational Foundation
  • Scholars share how BMCC has supported their academic careers

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