Three BMCC students, Science majors Norbesida Bagabila and Melanie Poggi, and Animation and Motion Graphics major Jasmaine Brathwaite, have been named this year’s Kaplan Scholars.
This is the tenth year that BMCC has worked with the Kaplan Educational Foundation to help low-income Black, Latino and Native American students transfer from associate degree programs to exceptional four-year colleges.
“Kaplan not only provides scholarship, they also provides academic supports such as tutoring, career counseling and workshops in communication skills,” says Sussie Gyamfi, BMCC Scholarship Coordinator. “They give the scholars a stipend, and help them with the cost of books and application fees to their next college or university. 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 their website, you will see that BMCC has had a long and productive relationship with this important organization."
“We’ll be meeting with the Kaplan staff once a week,” says Brathwaite. “They mentor us to become really good candidates for top schools in the country, and they help us apply for private scholarships to transfer to those schools once we graduate from BMCC.”
Melanie Poggi, who grew up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, says she hopes the Kaplan experience will help mold her into a more effective leader.
“Many of the young people in my neighborhood aren’t being guided into becoming doctors or lawyers. I’m hoping to someday share my knowledge and set an example for other young people on the Lower East side,” said Poggi who adds “ my goal is to someday be a reconstructive surgeon.”
At age 20, Norbesida Bagabila moved by himself to the United States from Burkina Faso in West Africa. When he came to New York City, most people told him to work hard, save money and then move back home, he says.
“But school was my thing,” said Bagabila, who taught himself English during his first months in the city.
Now in his freshman year at BMCC, Bagabila is hoping the Kaplan experience helps further mold him into a "world thinker." He hopes to be an example of what a young person can be if they set their goals high and push themselves to achieve them.
“I want young people in my home country to not be afraid of taking big steps like I did,” said Bagabila, who plans to someday study to become a cardiac surgeon.