April 7, 2021
Three of the 91 college students selected nationwide to receive 2021-2022 Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) scholarships are enrolled at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY).
Psychology major Amanda Amezquita, Nursing major Dominique Talley and Criminal Justice major Kimberly Vega are also the only CUNY students selected for the study abroad program.
The scholars will probably have the option of deferring their scholarships up through Summer 2022, an accommodation FEA is weighing as it responds to travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For the students, studying abroad is part of a continuum that began even before they entered college.
Amezquita says that from the age of 14, she participated in National Model United Nations, an extra-curricular activity in which students role play to simulate UN committees.
“We debated about multiple problems that affect the international community,” Amezquita says. “In the process, I had the opportunity to research the Czech Republic and I fell in love with the country’s culture and the opportunities it provided when it comes to the humanities and science. I know it will be an unforgettable experience to travel there.”
FEA scholar Vega hopes to travel to Legon, Ghana and plans to volunteer in after-school programs and orphanages.
“I have a passion for helping others,” says Vega. “I grew up living with four sisters and I recognize the privilege of having a big family I can rely on; it is like having my own community of influence and encouragement. I would love to have the opportunity to be there for someone who does not have a support network.”
She also hopes to work with a University of Ghana student who has been trained through a peer support program and CIEE, a nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization.
The University of Ghana student, Vega says, “would help me get settled and connected in Legon socially and academically. By building a relationship with a peer, it would allow me to learn about Ghanaian culture through a friendship and personal connection.”
Talley’s goal through the FEA scholarship is to travel to Peru.
“Through this experience, I would like to gain leadership and other great skills that would be helpful throughout my career and life,” Talley says. “I will learn about different cultures and the information or resources related to their healthcare systems. It will be useful to compare the cultures of New York and Peru and to contribute resources for the people in both communities.”
If their trips abroad are deferred to Summer 2022, the three scholars might complete their associate degrees at BMCC before they travel.
Amezquita is looking at graduation from BMCC in Spring 2022. “I want to be a neuroscientist,” she says, and plans to transfer to a senior college and enter a bachelor’s degree program in psychology or applied psychology, with a concentration in neuroscience. Her goal is to then earn either a Ph.D. or Psy.D.
Vega plans to graduate in Fall 2021, and transfer to a bachelor’s degree program at New York University, Fordham University or John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. At BMCC, she has participated in the Pre-Law Society, and intends to pursue a career as an attorney.
Talley plans to graduate in Spring or Summer 2022, and wants to earn her Registered Nurse license and work in a public school. At BMCC, she has been a member of ASAP, where her mentors included staff member Ahmed Wing. She also took part in America Needs You (ANY), where her mentor was staff member Amy Wang.
All three scholars—Amezquita, Talley and Vega—are first-generation college students. Vega and Talley grew up in New York City, and Amezquita grew up in the Dominican Republic before moving to the United States in 2017.
The mission of the FEA is to provide scholarships and support to students who are underrepresented among U.S. study abroad programs. “We believe the value of education abroad is so great that no barrier—financial, curricular or personal—should be insurmountable,” FEA states in its vision statement.
Now a global pandemic is among the barriers FEA programs can overcome, through the option of deferred participation.
“These students are inspirational as they have not lost hope for study abroad despite the challenges of the pandemic,” says BMCC Experiential Learning and Study Abroad Manager Jessica Levin. “I am very hopeful they will be able to use their award in the future and have an amazing international experience.”
- Three of the 91 college students selected nationwide to receive 2021-2022 Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) scholarships are enrolled at BMCC
- Psychology major Amanda Amezquita, Nursing major Dominique Talley and Criminal Justice major Kimberly Vega are also the only CUNY students selected for the award
- They will probably have the option of deferring their scholarships up through Summer 2022, due to pandemic-related travel restrictions