“There are only two colleges on St. Lucia, and one is a medical college,” says accounting major Chadrick Frederick, explaining why he left his Caribbean home and enrolled at BMCC.
“I used to go to New York City for vacations and to visit family,” he says. “The first time was in December and it was so freezing. It was my first time seeing snow.”
Moving from a quiet West Indies island to one of the world’s most dense urban centers created a kind of “culture shock,” he says. “Everyone is rushing everywhere, here.”
On the other hand, many facets of New York feel like home.
“I played soccer in high school and still play,” he says. “I made it to the roster of the BMCC team, but couldn’t play because I was busy with the accounting club and my studies.”
“Busy” is an understatement
Besides being VP of the Accounting Club—“I’m always recruiting members, trying to keep it active”—Frederick is a BMCC Foundation Scholar and member of Phi Theta Kappa, led by Professor Alex d’Erizans.
“He helps us with projects to increase retention rates for students, and achieve their higher education degrees,” says Frederick, who tutors fellow students in economics, and through the BMCC VITA Program, gained IRS certification to provide free tax preparation out of the Carver Federal Savings Bank in East New York, Brooklyn.
Another opportunity came about “thanks to my accounting professors Sydney Askew and Joel Barker,” he says.
This past July, along with accounting major Demson Salmon, he joined about 30 other community college students from around the country to attend the five-day Accounting Scholars Development Program through the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.
“We had guest speakers and did resume building, mock interviews, visited accounting firms in the area and did exercises on team work and communication,” says Frederick.
“It’s beautiful there. The altitude is different. And I learned a lot about internal auditing, which is a new option for me.”
Because of that experience, Frederick pursued a CUNY Service Corps internship to assist with internal auditing at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
“I was visiting my family in St. Lucia, and they Skype-interviewed me for the internship,” he says.
Winning the Kaplan Scholarship
Probably Chadrick Frederick’s biggest news is having been named this year’s Kaplan Scholar, through the Kaplan Educational Foundation.
“I was asleep when they called,” he says. “At first I thought I was dreaming. I told my mom and we celebrated with a get-together at home.”
Fredrick lives with his family, including two sisters, ages nine and four.
“I want to be role model for them,” he says, and explains that through the Kaplan Leadership Program, he’ll attend leadership sessions at their Hudson Street office, six blocks from BMCC’s main campus.
Kaplan scholars receive academic advising, college tours, mentoring from corporate leaders and other benefits—including financial support.
“The scholarship will cover tuition for Chadrick’s last year at BMCC, and then cover the tuition gap—what’s not covered by financial aid—and provide other scholarships at whatever four-year school he transfers to, for up to $10,000 a year,” says Kerry Watterson, Director of Development at the Kaplan Education Foundation.
Kaplan scholars also receive a stipend, he says, “and we provide them with a laptop; we cover their books and travel for holidays, so they can get back home and see family, and recharge.”
A future entrepreneur
"Accounting comes natural to me. I used to help my grandmother manage her income and budget, back in St. Lucia,” says Frederick.
“She was a vendor, selling snacks, pastries; food she would buy or make herself, and local juices—mango, lime, tamarind.”
That experience “gave me the idea of having my own business,” he says.
“After earning a Masters in Accounting degree, I’d like to open a taxation firm, and we could also offer a service with volunteers doing free tax preparation. I could tutor accounting students to do returns like I did, using software the IRS provides.”
In the meantime, he’s getting to know New York City from a college student’s perspective.
“BMCC sends out email blasts, and lets us know about all kinds of free stuff to do,” he says.
“I went to Stomp, the musical, and I think I’ve been to Six Flags four times.”
He also visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens with the new cohort of Kaplan Scholars.
“We’re estimating we’ll spend about $80,000 for each student,” says Kerry Watterson, “from now through the time they graduate with a bachelors degree.”
This investment is based on more than grades alone.
“In general, we look for students who exhibit great leadership potential, who are giving back to their communities, excelling academically, and with a little extra nurturing through our program, can go on to make greater impact on society,” Watterson says.