New York, May 9, 2006 – An African immigrant who works to support his family in Togo and a young mother who networked her way from a job at a coffee shop to an internship at an investment bank are two of the Kaplan Educational Foundation’s first five Kaplan Leadership Scholars. The program is designed to help high-potential community college students complete their associate’s degrees, transfer into and complete a bachelor’s degree and eventually become leaders in their professions and communities.
“Many community college students have great promise but face tremendous barriers,” said Jonathan Grayer, Chairman and CEO of Kaplan, Inc. “There are remarkably few scholarship programs to meet the unique needs of these students. The Kaplan Educational Foundation has selected an exceptional group of scholars and will provide them with resources and support to remove obstacles and help them reach their full potential.”
The Kaplan Leadership scholars are:
Keisha Carrington, a native of Barbados, plans to become a pediatric physician. She works at K-Mart and at a Queens after-school program to help finance her education. Keisha is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and the Honor Society of Black Student Scholars at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC).
Bolaji James,an ophthalmic dispensary student and aspiring entrepreneur, plans to earn a master’s degree in business administration and open a chain of optical stores. The native Nigerian is a student at New York City College of Technology and a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He has also been selected to serve on the CUNY Black Male Initiative Taskforce, charged with developing strategies to alleviate the under representation of black men in higher education.
Ebony McIntosh, a business administration major at BMCC and aspiring C.P.A., would like to start a foundation for at-risk youth. During her freshman year, she networked her way into an internship at Lehman Brothers through one of her regular customers at Starbucks. This spring, the New York native returned to Lehman as an operations analyst intern. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and serves as a student government representative.
Hamissou Samari,a liberal arts major, managed to finish high school and start college in his native Togo despite losing his parents and working to support his siblings. He came to the U.S. two years ago knowing little English and enrolled in college. He plans to pursue a career in international law and would like to reduce crime by encouraging education among young people. Hamissou, a student at BMCC, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and has been nominated for the National Dean’s List.
Martha Santos, an early childhood education major from Ecuador, hopes to one day open a day care center that provides individualized learning programs for children, social services for families and educational opportunities for adults. She is active in student government, serves as a peer mentor and recently launched BMCC’s first Spanish-language magazine. She also works at Jumpstart, a non-profit early education organization, where she tutors low-income children.