Three Economics Majors Admitted to Competitive Program at Columbia University

January 5, 2020

Three Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Economics majors—Batyah Sneiderman, Rony Vasquez and Erika Carreon— have been accepted to Columbia University for the Spring 2021 semester. Over the years, several BMCC Economics majors have been accepted to the Ivy League institution in upper Manhattan, but this is the first time three students have been selected in the same semester.

BMCC is the only community college in the CUNY system where students can earn an associate degree in Economics. Professors from the Economics department supported the students throughout the application process. They are still awaiting news on scholarship funds.

“This points to the strength of the BMCC Economics program,” said Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice department chairperson Sangeeta Bishop. “We also have articulation agreements with six senior CUNY colleges. Some of these colleges have reached out to us to initiate the articulation agreements. Our graduates are doing extremely well.”

Bishop said several BMCC graduates have joined undergraduate or graduate level Economics programs at senior colleges and are about to graduate and move on to jobs in both the public and private sectors. Others are considering Ph.D. programs.

Erika Carreon, a returning student, whose family has experienced food and housing insecurity, said the BMCC Economics program opened her eyes to the ways society can improve the economic system so that works better for all people.

“I felt really uncomfortable going back to school but BMCC helped me feel more confident by providing support and a sense of community to pursue higher education,” said Carreon, a first-generation college student who was born in Manilla, Philippines.

“In ten years, I hope to be doing something that marries my passion for equal rights, psychology and economics,” said Carreon.

Rony Vasquez, who grew up in the Bronx, served in the U.S. Navy for seven years. He says the G.I. Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program will help him cover his expenses at Columbia.

Vasquez says he chose BMCC because of the flexibility it offered while he was on active duty. The BMCC veteran’s community welcomed him with open arms and his professors understood the position he was in during the early days of the pandemic.

“Professor Aldo Balardini stood out the most to me, during my first semester,” said Vasquez. “My interest in Economics grew immensely because of his macroeconomics class. “I found it so interesting how many of the things we discussed in class became more relevant during the pandemic. As the world shifted, the discussions we had shifted as well.

Vasquez said classes such as Feminist Economics with Professor Bishop, opened his eyes to things issues surrounding gender inequality. Also, he says Labor Economics with Professor Christine Farias enabled him to think outside the box and seek solutions to economic issues surrounding education, immigration and welfare.

“Our faculty are exceptional and our students are obviously smart and resilient, so that even in the midst of a global pandemic they have managed to do well,” said Bishop.

  • Batyah Sneiderman, Rony Vasquez and Erika Carreon admitted for Spring 2021
  • BMCC Economics program has several articulation agreements with senior colleges
  • BMCC only community college in CUNY with Economics program

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