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June 2018

2018 Annual Awards Night

Our biggest night of the year was the biggest so far. On June 11, an audience of 200 gathered in New York University’s Grand Hall to welcome the ten members of the ninth Scholarship Plus class, bringing our total number of scholars to 64. After gathering over some light refreshments, scholars, families, graduates and friends of the program — new and old — moved into the auditorium for a ceremony in which the latest class was introduced, and they in turn each introduced his or her Teacher Who Makes a Difference. At the end of the ceremony, the just-graduated members of our most recent class of college graduates were introduced, most of whom were with us, while others were shown in photographs.

Biographies of each of our current class of ten — tied with last year’s group as the largest class in Scholarship Plus history — are below, as is the list of Teachers Who Make a Difference.

Here are this year’s college graduates: Muska graduated from the City College of New York Honors program, majoring in Political Science/Philosophy with a minor in Community Change Studies; she is seeking a paralegal position, and intends to apply to law school. Kevin graduated from Stanford, where he majored in computer science; he will be working for Salesforce this summer, and then joining Google as a software engineer. Lhamo graduated from SUNY Binghamton, majoring in physics with independent research on lasers and optics; he will travel to India this summer, and then return to New York for job hunting. Malik will graduate in December from Middlebury with a pre-med degree in neuroscience, and be applying to MD/PhD programs. Karen graduated from CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College; she will be working for a year a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, then entering medical school at SUNY Downstate Medical College. Natalia graduated from Yale, where she specialized in neurobiology; she won a postgraduate fellowship, and will be conducting pediatric brain cancer research in Berlin and also applying to MD/PhD programs. Fabien received his degree from CUNY’s Brooklyn College; he will be studying to be a physician’s assistant, on his way to his eventual goal of becoming a medical illustrator.

The Teachers Who Make a Difference: Mohammed nominated Joachebeth Tingson, a math teacher at Manhattan Center for Science and Math. Ebrahim selected Modupe Olatunji Anuku, his English teacher at the High School for Service and Learning at Erasmus. Gil honored Mariela Regalado, director of college counseling at Mott Hall Bronx High School. Michael named Cara Hill, an English teacher at Packer Collegiate Institute. Faria selected Jessica Kane, director of college Counseling at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens. Arianna picked Nurah Ahmad, college counselor at Democracy Prep Harlem High School. Anijah chose Carl Sievert, math teacher at the Professional Performing Arts School. Joselyn honored Jason Zanitsch, her A.P. English teacher at the High School for Public Service. Javier selected Jessica Torres-Cordero, college counselor at the High School of Computers and Technology. Solei honored Ayumi Nagano, quantitative research teacher and head coach of the cross-country and track teams at Millennium Brooklyn High School.

Congratulations to all!

Photos by Skyler Reid

Front row, members of the Class of 2018: Ebrahim, Mohammed, Michael, Joselyn, Gil, Faria, Arianna, Anijah, Javier and Soléi. Back row, Teachers Who Make a Difference: Modupe Olatunji Anuku, Joachebeth Tingson, Cara Hill, Jason Zanitsch, Mariela Regalado, Jessica Kane, Nurah Ahmad, Carl Sievert, Jessica Torres-Cordero and Ayumi Nagano.


Mariela Regalado photographs Gil, her Mott Hall Bronx High School advisee, who will be attending Columbia, along with Emely (SP ’17), a sophomore at the School of Visual Arts, and Leticia, a member of the second Scholarship Plus class who is now studying for the bar exam.


Melanie Rosen Brooks, Scholarship Plus co-founder and director, addresses the 200 attendees.


Introducing the members of the new class were Leticia, a member of the class of 2011 who is a graduate of Harvard and of the New York University School of Law and Sino, a Vassar graduate who was a member of the class of 2012.


Soléi introduces her Teacher Who Makes a Difference, Millennium Brooklyn’s Ayumi Nagano.


Joselyn embraces Jason Zanitsch of High School for Public Service, her Teacher Who Makes a Difference.


In the first row, Teachers Who Make a Difference continue giving support.


Brenda Williams-Butts, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at New York Public Radio, which hosts a number of scholars as interns each summer, welcomes the latest class.


Leticia presents presents Anijah with a University of Southern California pennant.


Dorje, just graduated from Binghamton University, was one of the new graduates introduced.


Leila Shakkour, a longtime Scholarship Plus supporter, and Faria, a member of the newest class.


Ebrahim with his Teacher Who Makes a Difference, Modupe Olatunji Anuku of H.S. for Service and Learning at Erasmus.


Floyd Norris and Joyce Purnick talking with former New York Times colleagues Max Frankel and Terry Pristin and her husband Ron Silverman, all generous supporters of Scholarship Plus.


Anna Antoniak, senior director of Scholarship Plus, hugs Roselkis, a member of last year’s class, as Kathleen and Ernest Abrahamson, at left, and Kate Fenneman Stokes, Scholarship Plus executive director, look on. 


Smiles at the Welcome Table: from left, Nicolas Leguillow, Victor Rodriguez, Kandace Rodriguez, Jayson Jones, Amar Ramroop and Anna Antoniak. Jayson and Amar are longtime supporters of the program and members of the Associate Board.


Well-dressed: Tasmia, a member of last year’s class who is now at N.Y.U.’s Tandon School of Engineering, with Elira, a member of the third Scholarship Plus class who is now with a financial organization.


Pennants Flying:  Top row, from left: Ebrahim, Gil, Michael, Faria, Anijah and Soléi. Bottom row: Mohammed, Arianna, Joselyn and Javier. Supporting cast: At left, Melanie Rosen Brooks, co-founder and director; at right, back row, Kate Fenneman Stokes, executive director and, bottom right, Soma Golden Behr, co-founder and senior advisor.

Next: Special Feature: Scholar & Staff Conversation