Damon Horowitz, who teaches college-level philosophy courses to inmates at San Quentin State Prison, discusses “right,” “wrong,” and the intersection of real life experiences and Socrates. His inspiring Ted Talk is less than five minutes long, but it leaves a lasting impact.
Virginia Maldonado has lived in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn her whole life. In addition to being a student in the Business Administration Bachelor’s program here at MCNY, Virginia works as a home health aid. After raising nine children, she attests, her work in the home healthcare service has given her the opportunity to continue to deepen her sense of patience.
Studying for her Associate’s degree was challenging work, and her vocal cord seizures added to the struggle. After completing her AA, Virginia felt she’d never return to school. But it wasn’t long before she started to miss being in school, and when she visited MCNY, she knew it was the right fit. Someone she spoke to here had reviewed her transcripts, and upon seeing how well she did as a business student, urged her to enroll in the Business Administration program at MCNY. The fact that this person believed in Virginia instilled in her a confidence that helped her decide to enroll here and continue to achieve academic success in the field of business.
When she first started here, Virginia felt like she was cranking her brain up like an old engine. It was challenging! But it was so satisfying to get positive feedback and realize, “Wow! I’m really doing this! I wrote this essay! I prepared this Business Plan! I’m doing this!” She has not allowed her age to get in the way of her education.
The teachers and students Virginia has encountered here have opened doors for her and inspired her to make positive choices about her education. With their help, she’s developed effective learning strategies that have helped her reach her goals, she’s felt motivated to pick up the phone and get things done. She has felt empowered to not allow obstacles to stand in the way of her success.
In addition to feeling motivated by her teachers and fellow students, when Virginia encounters challenges, she thinks of her nine children. It’s important to her to be a model to them, and to prove to them by example, that it’s never too late to advance your education. She hopes that her own perseverance will help her children believe in themselves and not get discouraged by their age or any other obstacles. Her oldest son is currently working with an outreach program to educate young people about reproductive health and substance abuse, and he plans to stay with the program and enroll in college through a scholarship they offer their employees. Virginia is very proud of him, and she smiles, reminded by his success and her own that “age ain’t nothing but a number!”
In this thoughtful and funny interview, award-winning Dominican-American writer Junot Diaz discusses his own writing process, the importance of revising and rewriting, his whole-hearted support of young writers of color, and his predictions about the zombie apocalypse.
In his dynamic and humorous Ted Talk, former Denver Broncos running back Reggie Rivers discusses how to achieve goals through focusing on behaviors that are within our control. It provides some interesting food for thought when considered in the context of the Purpose-Centered Education model of MCNY and the LEC’s goal of setting the groundwork for you to take charge of your education!
Clarita was born in Pereira, Colombia. She lived there into her adult years, and earned a masters degree there in Educational Administration. Throughout her years of eclectic professional experience in Colombia and here in the United States, she has worked as a teacher, a public health educator, a city government interpreter, and a chauffeur! Her sculpture has been commissioned by various institutions, and she has been awarded various recognition for her other art work. She came to MCNY with a desire to further develop her professional skills and contribute to the fascinating field of emergency and disaster management. As English is her second language, she still struggles a bit with pronunciation, but she does not let that impede her from engaging enthusiastically with her studies and following her curiosities with tireless passion. She practices her pronunciation by repeating new words aloud until they become more familiar. Though challenging and frustrating at times, this practice is important to her because she wants to ensure that her speaking ability matches her level of intelligence – it’s important to her, as it is to everyone, to be understood! She loves New York City and is passionate about being involved in the city’s emergency and disaster management in meaningful ways that make a difference.
In 2007, Darryl was in a coma for five days after a terrible car accident. He had multiple surgeries on his mouth because every tooth was shattered. He was embarrassed because he felt as if he’d lost his smile. He would cover his face when he talked, afraid that he’d be judged when people saw that he didn’t have any teeth. At the time he hated commercials that showed people smiling. Eventually he learned to cope with these challenges, and he’s not ashamed anymore. He enrolled at TCI in 2012 and received an Associate Degree in Human Services in 2013. That year, he was dealt another severe blow; this time it was Hurricane Sandy. He was living in Staten Island, and he woke up to five feet of water in his house and one wall completely gone. He felt very alone, and he didn’t know what to do. He was placed in temporary housing tents. He continued to attend school, but it was difficult because he didn’t have the resources that most students had (computer, iPad, Kindle, etc.). During this time, he resisted asking for help. He went out of his way to help others, but when it came to asking for help for himself, he didn’t know how. He currently attends MCNY for a Bachelor Degree in Professional Studies. He was recently informed that he’s eligible for Phi Theta. He sees this not only as an incredible honor, but also as a “light at the end of the tunnel.” He has an internship at Housing Works, and he loves it. He’s experienced the staff at MCNY to be very passionate in their work to help students achieve their goals, and he appreciates their support very much. After being at MCNY for a little while, he now knows people care; this has motivated him to apply for the master’s degree program.
This short, light-hearted article, “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do,” offers some real and humorous tips for how to produce your best writing. Topics covered include: dealing with writers block and procrastination, using punctuation confidently, and being patient with yourself. The article is a great reminder that writing can be hard, but that the first step to good writing (especially in the early stages of free-writing and drafting) is to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously.
Winston Pengel speaks seven languages! He was born in Amsterdam and spent his childhood in Surinam. His mother lived in Holland, and his father lived in Surinam, so he traveled a lot between South America and Europe. Growing up, he was always fascinated with American movies and culture. The Black Panther movement in Harlem excited him; he loved the music of Earth, Wind, and Fire; and he was a big fan of Jim Kelly movies. When he was in his 20s, he assisted a fellow countryman with processing his papers for the man’s move to America. The man was very grateful and gave Winston his phone number, insisting that Winston call him if he ever found himself in New York City. After completing his time in the military, Winston boarded a plan to Miami. From Miami, he took a bus to a cold and rainy, but nonetheless thrilling, New York City. Winston didn’t know anyone in the city, so he decided to use that phone number he’d been given years before. The man he’d helped graciously assisted Winston to settle into his new life in The Big Apple. Winston has lived in New York City for over 20 years. He’s three years sober, and he applies his past experiences in his work with recovering addicts. He’s 53, but he feels like he’s 23. He has bright and fiery energy, and he’s determined to excel here at MCNY.