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Committed to Graduate

March 23, 2011

Not every student finishes community college within two years.

In 1998, BMCC set out to change that.

Out in Two is a BMCC academic scholarship program designed to help students graduate within two consecutive years. The scholarship coordinator is student advisor Mary Quezeda.

The Spring 2011 Out inTwo Scholars are Marlene Arias, Thylo Ba, Joanne Johnson, Dana Smith, Yvette Soares, Taktsugu Tanda and Antonio Zorrilla, Jr.

Program requirements

In order to receive the Out in Two scholarship, students must be first-time freshmen,  be enrolled in an AA, AS, or AAS degree program excluding Nursing (NUR), Respiratory Therapy (RTT), Health Information Technology (HIT), Paramedic (EMT), and Engineering Science (ESC) and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their first semester.
After completing the application and interview process, and submitting an essay about why they desire a college education, accepted scholars receive a $1600 grant in each of their last three consecutive semesters, provided they meet all program criteria.

Out in Two scholars also receive early registration and will be assigned an academic advisor who will discuss their academic progress with them on a regular basis. 

They engage in community service, are provided financial aid advisement and are eligible to receive employment on campus as a tutor.

Honored on campus

The current Out in Two scholars were recently honored at the Hudson Room for their commitment and dedication to the scholarship. They received plaques and had a chance to network with other Out in Two scholars and alumni.

Coordinator Mary Quezeda first congratulated the scholars. “We are here to guide you as you work both on and off campus as a volunteer,” she said.

Greetings and congrats

BMCC President Antonio Pérez introduced himself to the scholars at their celebratory Luncheon.

“We value your commitment to BMCC and your desire to move forward, both academically and professionally,” he said.

According to Pérez, Out in Two launched in 1998, in response to a comment former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani made about the difficulties college students faced, primarily due to financial concerns and family obligations.

“At that time, I told Senior Vice President Dr. Sadie Bragg we have to do something to help students graduate within two years or less,” recalled Pérez. “They can obtain their associate’s degrees in two years, but they needed help.”

Pérez, says year that ten years later, he is pleased to see that Out in Two is still “going strong.”

“You’re a wonderful group and we’re all very proud of you,” he told the scholars.

Erwin Wong, Dean of Academic Affairs, echoed his sentiments.

“BMCC’s students are the college’s greatest commodity,” he said. “It’s a joy for us to help you accomplish your academic dreams. You will all produce great things.”

Words of wisdom

Alumna Leslie-Ann Reid-Bacchus (’10), former class valedictorian and current New York University speech therapy student visited the new Out in Two scholars.

Reid-Bacchus knows what it’s like to be an Out in Two scholar. After all, she was one.

“Out in Two changed my life for the better,” she told the scholars. “I am filled with pride and purpose—qualities I didn’t have before becoming an Out in Two scholar.”

Reid-Bacchus credits Out in Two for helping her overcome shyness, aggressively focus on her academics, and engage in community service.

“Out in Two gave me confidence,” she said. “When I worked as a nanny, I used to take children to the park and watch all the NYU students walk by. Now, I am one of those NYU students, and I couldn’t have done it without Out in Two. I was determined to graduate BMCC within two years—and I did. As valedictorian.”

Next steps

“I heard about this opportunity when I researched scholarships on the BMCC Web site,” said Business Administration major Antonio Zorrilla, Jr. “My father encouraged me to apply, and I am so glad I did. I want to finish BMCC in two years, move right on to Baruch, and hopefully start a career in accounting.”

Inspired by Reid-Bacchus’ speech, Yvette Soares wanted to test her own limits as a newly minted Out in Two scholar.

“This is something I want to do for myself, for my own fulfillment” says the Liberal Arts major. “I’m looking forward to my future.”


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  • Students pledge to obtain their degree within two years
  • Program launched as a response to the lack of community college students who graduated in the 1990s
  • Scholars receive financial compensation, function as a club, and engage in community service

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