May 28, 2019
Preparing for college can be an overwhelming experience for many high school students; however, Sebastian Miezgiel was able to take advantage of a program that helped him not only prepare for college, but ultimately prepared him to graduate from Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) on May 31.
Manhattan Early College School for Advertising (MECA) is a partnership between Borough of Manhattan Community College, the New York City Department of Education, The City University of New York and industry partners from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s).
MECA students begin taking college courses with BMCC professors in the 10th grade, and over a six-year period, earn a high school Regents Diploma and associate degree, free of charge, from BMCC. Miezgiel is the first MECA student to graduate from BMCC and he says his experiences were rewarding on many levels.
“We took our first college class in sophomore year which was Speech,” Miezgiel says. “We actually started taking college classes in the BMCC campus during our junior year of high school which gave us a little insight on what it is like being a college student. There were even some actual college students in our classes which really helped with the immersion. The program helped us learn how to be college students before we became college students. The responsibilities, the professor and student dynamic, the courses, all things students need to learn when going into college.”
MECA students engage in a project-based curriculum that blends art, technology and creative problem solving, and benefit from insights shared by advertising and media professionals who view their presentations, and mentor them in special projects. They also benefit from small class size, job shadowing and working with BMCC students who tutor them in math and other areas. MECA students have the option to stay at MECA for up to six years and graduates are ready to enter a wide range of careers and are strong candidates for four-year colleges.
“I am overwhelmed with joy to have Sebastian as the program’s graduate,” says Gregory Bryant, Early College Liaison BMCC/MECA. “Sebastian’s success is a true testament that by taking full advantage what the early college initiative offers to students, you can graduate with a high school diploma and complete an associate degree in less than six years. Sebastian’s success is also a testament to the program and how much it helps and support students to be successful. Sebastian not only completed both his high school and college degree requirement, but he was also involved in a variety of internships related to the field of advertising.”
“I have had some great professors, some of who knew of my position (in MECA) and some that didn’t,” says Miezgiel, who is from Queens, NY. “Nearly all of them treated the same way as any other college student, which I preferred, and those that didn’t always treated me with respect.”
Miezgiel will be graduating with an associate degree in Multimedia Programming and Design. He said he chose this major because he wanted to follow his passion for learning web design and how to create websites. Miezgiel, whose parents are both from Poland, will be majoring in Computer Information Systems (CIS) at Baruch College starting in the fall. Miezgiel said his internship led him to choose this major.
“During my last semester at BMCC, I interned at CUNY Central in tech services,” he says. “This greatly increased my interest in the CIS field and is something I will definitely pursue in the future. Over the summer I will also continue working for CUNY Central through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). They decided to keep me around as they liked my work. Afterward, I plan on working in that field to pay off my tuition at Baruch.”
Miezgiel says he recommends the MECA program to other students and encourages them to reach out to professors who can provide guidance.
“Most issues that incoming students have is lack of communication between the student and the professor,” he says. “Talk to your professors! Most professors are very understanding of certain situations and will always try their best to help. They’re there to help you learn, not hold you back.”
Bryant says he hopes other students will learn from Sebastian’s experience and become inspired.
“Sebastian was very dedicated to his academic success both in his high school and in college,” Bryant says. “When he needed assistance or support, he asked for it and when he met a challenge, he worked hard to overcome any challenge he was met with. I hope other students see that by working hard you can achieve anything.”
- MECA students begin taking college courses with BMCC professors in 10th grade
- MECA students engage in project-based curriculum that blends art, technology and creative problem solving
- Sebastian Miezgiel graduates with an Multimedia Programming and Design degree