by Polly Bresnick on July 29, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
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!”
by Nathan Schiller on June 23, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
I was raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn, along with my three sisters and brother. I witnessed issues such as addiction, domestic violence, and gun violence damage many of the families around me. During those years, I was also lumped into stereotypical assumptions of character based on my ethnicity and what neighborhood I called home. The discrimination that I experienced and my environment are reasons I am enrolled in MCNY’s Human Services degree program today. My first attempt at college was in 2004. The transition from Leon M. Goldstein high school to John Jay College was not easy. I was 17 years old, fresh out of high-school, and full of anxiety. Reasons for dropping out of John Jay were: 1. Confusion, 2. Enrollment in courses I was not interested in and 3. The inability to juggle the demands of work, school, family and my social life. Subsequently, I spent my time quitting every job that hired me because there were no opportunities for growth. I also completed training programs along the way, which I felt would broaden my horizons. Although I did well, I exited each program with an overall sense of unpreparedness and lack of sufficient work experience. I decided to return to college because a degree is necessary for me to achieve the level of success I desire. My first college experience was a culture shock. I felt like I was doggy paddling my way through my classes, barely able to keep my head above the water. The second time around, factors that have contributed to my success at MCNY are: accepting feedback, having clear goals, utilizing available resources, and learning how to manage my time. In addition, the faculty continuously challenges me to raise the bar of my own expectations. I have learned not to be ashamed to ask for help, to take charge of my learning; revisiting the basics often is necessary, and achieving a balance is difficult but possible.
by Yasmine Alwan on June 12, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, I was selected with five other Haitian students to come to New York and study Emergency and Disaster Management at MCNY to help Haiti for future disasters. I was very excited because it was one of my dreams to study in the U.S. But when I took a seat in class, I could barely understand what was said because the way I used to pronounce words was completely different from the way there are pronounced in the United States.
During that first week, I submitted my first assignment for my writing class to my writing professor. She gave me back the paper and said that she was not able to grade because she did not understand it. At that moment, I felt I was going straight toward failure in that Master’s program. I could read in the professors’ eyes that we were a casting mistake.
During our welcoming ceremony at Borough Hall, I made a speech that made everyone clap their hands. At that moment, I realized my chance to succeed in the program was not over, but I was at the beginning of a challenging journey. I knew my failure would have been a failure for my country and giving up was not an option. It was one of the greatest challenges of my life. Therefore, I decided to read more, take ESL classes, make the MCNY library my new home, and go to the LEC to improve my writing. At the end of the semester, I had an A for my writing class. And now, I just finished my first novel: I Dare You To Try It, that will be published soon. Thanks to LEC.
I was shy because of my accent, but Prof. Motola advised me to speak up. So I became more confident in my presentations. Some professors especially Prof. Chuck Frank and Prof. Mick Maurer, challenged us regardless of our origin, which built our capabilities. The college also organized a trip to Chile where we gained more knowledge and skills in disasters. I was very proud of my 3.83 total GPA.
What really makes MCNY special is the way the staff empower students with knowledge, skills, and self-confidence. A special thanks to God, my family, the Council Member, Matthieu Eugene, and MCNY. It was a wonderful experience for me at MCNY. The MCNY staff (admission, financial aid, registrar, LEC, etc…), my classmates, and my professors were amazing.
by Polly Bresnick on June 10, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
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.
by Nathan Schiller on May 16, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Last year, Moe Zin Win was a high school student at the National School of Myanmar. One day, MCNY representatives visited his school and gave a seminar about the business program. He knew he would get a good education in the U.S., so he decided to leave his family and come to New York — despite not knowing a single person here. People had told him that New York City was the major city of America, and he was very excited, figuring there would be lots to do and he would never be bored. He was right about that, but he also thought the city would be clean and was surprised to find the transportation system as dirty as Myanmar’s! Although he misses aspects of his home — the warm weather; the Burmese food; living in a big house instead (now he shares a small apartment, in Elmhurst, Queens, with a friend from Myanmar who attends NYU) — he likes living in New York and studying at MCNY.
by Yasmine Alwan on May 12, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Written by Mr. Radcliff, Jr. for the LEC blog.
Living in the Now
I would be lying if I were to say I didn’t enjoy my past lifestyle of drinking and drugging and then acting a fool while under the influence.
Yes, it began as a social thing, but ended terribly as I look back.
If you were to ask me today if it was by coincidence, pure luck, or a change from within myself that had awakened me to reality, I would have told you that it was neither one of these, but God intervening.
First of all, I don’t believe in luck.
Second, coincidences come and go.
And third, the only change I counted on had to be silver coins and/or green bills in order to get that next drink and/or drug.
I wasn’t quite sure whether I was ready to take on college after I completed a treatment program. I mean, sure, I had already obtained my G.E.D. diploma, as well as, a CASAC-T, but I could not remain abstinent from my addiction.
It took 8 years, a loss of some good friends that died from drug and/or alcohol addiction and finding myself homeless, that I cried out to my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, for forgiveness and a way out of living prodigal.
I didn’t know Human Services, the course I chose, would involve so much, but through rigorous studying, and with the help of my class instructors, my classmates and the resources the college offers, I can say I did kind of good in Purpose One.
As I made mention earlier about luck, coincidences and how neither one of these words had any effect on my life, I do thank God for giving me the opportunity for the chance of making a life for myself.
I’ve come to the realization that the world never promises you a rose garden, for you have to put in the work, and as my father once told me, and I quote, “Nothing comes to a dreamer, but a dream,” unquote.
Now, I don’t know just how far I’ll be going in college, but I do want to at least obtain my Associate’s degree in Human Services. As I mentioned earlier, expecting the unexpected is what keeps me focused.
by Polly Bresnick on March 13, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
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.
by Nathan Schiller on February 27, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Purpose 1 Business student Saroja Sherpa is originally from Nepal, where she lived for 24 years. While working for CARE International and the Peace Corps, where she was a junior secretary, she learned about the progressive ideas and values of American culture. In particular, she was affected by the idea that women should have no shame in being able to work in society. Eventually, her husband came to the United States, where they thought their son would get a good education. She followed the family soon thereafter, moving to New York City and babysitting (she loves children and even had another son, who is now a teenager). As a babysitter, Saroja began to build her fluency in English by reading children’s books with kids. But, for about a decade, she suffered from a lack of confidence, as she saw how much Americans studied. Ultimately, she decided to get a GED, after which she went to an adult learning center in Brooklyn. The first day there, her teacher, who was 84 years old, gave the class Chinua Achebe’s book “Things Fall Apart.” Saroja read it faster than all her classmates, and enjoyed doing so (she loves reading), which convinced her she was finally ready for college. She enrolled in the Professional Business College, did well, finished quickly, and discovered that all of her credits transferred to MCNY. So here she is!
by Yasmine Alwan on February 26, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Bahareh Ehsasiyan was born in Tehran. Because of her father’s political views, her family left Iran when she was baby and they immigrated to Germany. Her parents did not know German when they arrived and they had to start “from zero.” Since she was a child, she had a dream to come to America – of coming to a new culture like her parents. She did not get good grades in English though, which proved to be an opportunity much later when she realized that she could come to the US to study. So she came to MCNY, although she found herself fearful to come without her family, to not know the language well and to feel unfamiliar with new expectations. She has decided to speak only English with her German friends even though they want to only speak German; she googles every word she doesn’t understand when she’s reading – which can take a very long time! She is very proud of the fact that all of her grades are A’s. She says, “Sometimes, you have to take a risk – even if you fall, you have to get up and fight – to live for your dreams.”
by Polly Bresnick on February 1, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Winston is from Surinam.
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.