2010 Myself Third Scholarship Winners

The Myself Third 2010 Scholarship Winners were honored in a ceremony held at The Graduate Center on June 15, 2010. CUNY administrators, many high school counselors and teachers, College Now staff and coordinators as well as friends and family members of the winners joined Mr. Robert Friedman, the scholarship originator, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and honored guest, Joshua Thomases from the Department of Education, in celebrating each student’s accomplishment.


The reception featured entertainment by the York College Blue Notes Alumni Jazz Band and the ceremony was moderated by John Mogulescu, Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Professional Studies.  The 2010 winners are listed in alphabetical order, along with the College Now program in which the student participated.


Natasha Bhalla

Natasha graduated from Richmond Hill High School, attended College Now @ York College, entered Queens College in Fall 2010.

I have been an active member of Key Club for four years, and was elected vice president this year. Through my constant involvement, I have learned the value of helping others. The past four years, I have [volunteered] with park clean-ups, at senior centers, participated in fundraisers for the Children’s Miracle Network and much more. I have also participated in the March of Dimes, Queens Cerebral Palsy, AIDS and Breast Cancer Walks. It is particularly important for me to support those who are suffering from these diseases as my father passed away from Lymphoma five years ago…. Serving those who may be less fortunate than myself has allowed me to view life in a different manner. I know the significance of giving back to my community and the importance of being an active member of society. This has inspired me to go forth and do more.


Shanti Doobay

Shanti graduated from High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture, attended College Now @ York College, and entered Hunter College in Fall 2010.

One specific activity I participated in that helped me grow into a better individual was volunteering as a tutor at the Boys and Girls Club. Through this experience, I learned about my strengths and weaknesses, and furthermore, I learned that working with children is not easy. It is important to act wise around children because they often imitate our actions or statements. It is equally important to earn their trust and respect by showing tolerance and understanding. I thought back to when I was their age and remembered how difficult it was for me to understand and learn new concepts… I was motivated to become an exemplary citizen [by showing] respect, leadership, patience, cooperation, tolerance, honesty and pride. These values inspire me because I believe that they should be reflected in every individual who chooses to become a leader or role model. I try to be a person who can learn from her mistakes and take a better step forward by learning something new each day and by simply doing as much as I can to help others.


Fatima Dorcelan

Fatima graduated from James Madison High School, attended College Now @ Kingsborough Community College, and entered Brooklyn College in Fall 2010.

I have come to realize that people today sometimes abuse what many others would consider a blessing. This country has given me so much; it has instilled in me a sense of humility. I have taken on volunteering within my community and my school, enriching the lives of others while enriching my own…. During the summer I volunteered to be a teacher for Vacation Bible School, a program created within my church. This was my first teaching experience and one of the most meaningful in my life. I taught children from the ages of 4 to 8 arts and crafts, music and storytelling, all within a religious basis.

Although I was expected to teach the children something they had never learned before, [they] taught me something I had not known about myself. I realized that I play an important role in these children’s upbringing. The experience I had volunteering was one that changed me for the better. It allowed me to put myself third in a generation that is used to putting themselves first. I know now that taking time out of my life to serve others really does make an impact. Not only do I bring joy to others, but I, along with millions, carry on the spirit our democratic society prides itself on: the spirit of service.


Yanxia Duan

Yanxia graduated from Francis Lewis High School, attended College Now @ Queensborough Community College, and entered Queens College in Fall 2010.

It is human instinct to seek our place in the world. Many find satisfaction in providing service to others and I have found that I am one of those people…. I started to do community service and internships at the beginning of my high school career. During my first year, I joined Key Club which is a community service-based club, and attended events such as the Breast Cancer and Diabetes walks, bike tours, etc. Through the club, I met wonderful friends with similar interests and concerns, and we have worked together for many years now. During my second year of high school, I felt the urge to find my way – a light [leading] to my future. That summer I decided to volunteer at a summer school for children between the ages of 4 and 12. By the end of this experience, it was almost painful to separate from them. Their smiles were the best reward I could have received…. To me, service is an everyday necessity. It is an act that not only brings joy to others, but to oneself as well.


Melissa Garcia Velez

Melissa graduated from Richard R. Green High School of Teaching, attended College Now @ Hunter College, and entered Lehman College in Fall 2010.

“What does it mean to be an American?” was the question for an essay competition in my fifth grade class. I remember writing vague sentences because I did not know what it really meant to be one. I had just emigrated from Colombia two year earlier, and was still attached to my Colombian roots and ideals. However, as the years progressed, I have come to unearth that the question was really asking what it means to live in a country where democracy reigns and freedom is felt. A citizen’s voice is actually heard, and although equality and justice may not always exist, people can fight for it. During my high school years, I have made it a priority to be involved in community service and provide others with the support and encouragement I have personally received….

Seven years have passed since this essay question.  Seven years to explore these values and what it means to live in a free and democratic society. Growing up in America has given me the chance to become educated and to think for myself. With high school coming to an end, I am looking forward to continuing my education because in this society, it is the key to my future success and the path to fulfilling my aspirations. My service experiences have been beneficial for both the pure gratification of giving back to my community, and because I have realized that I want to pursue a career serving others.


Neil Kamath

Neil graduated from Queens Vocational Technical High School, attended College Now @ LaGuardia Community College, and entered The City College of New York in Fall 2010.

A free and democratic society is what leads to the fastest rate of progress and technological advancement. Freedom allows individuals to believe what they choose, and not have beliefs forced upon them. It means they can openly share their beliefs and ideas with others without fear of repercussions. Freedom allows individuals to choose their own occupations and live their lives as best they can. Democracy allows people to choose their leaders, and impeach them if necessary. It places power in the hands of all people and not just a few individuals…. These values have lead to my interest in helping others.

I, like all individuals, have required assistance from others to be who I am today. My friends and family have always helped me when I needed it, and thus I feel it is my duty to help those who cannot get [similar] support. I volunteered for the information systems department at Elmhurst Hospital during the transition of patient information into new Unity Servers. I helped to test the new system by registering, transferring and discharging patients in the new server and reporting errors I found. This was important work because it helped to prevent delayed or improper treatment. I feel that in my work there and with the Mouse Squad at my school, I have helped others and gained skills that will be beneficial later on in life.


Silky Kataria

Silky graduated from Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, attended College Now @ Queens College, and entered Queens College in Fall 2010

Being able to help others, to be heard, to speak up, and to voice one’s opinion are the set of values that make a free and democratic way of life possible. A society where people respect each other and are always ready to lend a helping hand is what I believe in and what has inspired me to become involved in my community. Aspiring to become a doctor in the future, I know I have a long time ahead to accomplish this goal. However, this certainly does not stop me from doing something to better the society we live in. I have joined a volunteering service at New York Queens Hospital. Through this program I am able to chat with and lighten the day of individuals that have been awaiting someone’s presence all day long, just staring at the gloomy, grey painted walls. The patients are always grateful that someone has taken the effort to even stop by a minute just say hello…. You leave the room with a great smile on your face knowing that you have done something that makes their day a hundred times more worthy.


Karan Sharma

Karan graduated from Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical High School, attended College Now @ Queensborough Community College, and entered The City College of New York in Fall 2010.

I believe that in order to help the community, school and fellow citizens, a person should be able to work as part of a team. When there are more people working for the same cause, the results are more efficient and successful. In order to work as a team, communication is essential because all team members can contribute ideas. Along with this, tolerance is needed to be accepting of these ideas. Leadership is necessary because a team can come together for the same cause, but if there is no one strong enough to lead it, everything can fall apart. The most important value in a democratic way of life is freedom. It is extremely vital because this is what bonds everything together as one….

I have been a volunteer of the Glamour Gals chapter at my school since freshmen year. As a part of this organization I had an opportunity to bridge the gap between generations. We visited different nursing homes and gave makeovers to the elderly. I was chosen to become the leader of the first ever Conversations of Beauty project through Glamour Gals. The purpose of this project was to illustrate the views we and the elderly generation had on inner and outer beauty…. As the elderly revealed their perspective on their pictures we started to realize that they aren’t much different from us. This gave us a chance to bond with them and to bring a big smile to their faces.


Dawa Sherpa

Dawa graduated from High School for Environmental Studies, attended College Now @ Baruch College, and entered Baruch College in Fall 2010.

A democratic way of life holds many values such as a care for the common good, protection of the individual’s liberties, and equality for all. Our nation’s service of providing health care and social security for millions of Americans is a prime example of helping the needy. These values motivated me to contribute to my community by helping me realize that I too could make a difference in other peoples’ lives. Therefore, over my two months of summer vacation, I decided to make the summer meaningful for me by engaging in various volunteer assignments…. By simply volunteering a few hours every week, I learned that I could really have a big impact on the people at the Dorchester Senior Citizens Center. I feel that volunteering at the center helped me just as much as it might have helped the senior citizens. I learned that even the smallest act of helping could have an impact on an entire group of people. In retrospect, I feel grateful that I had the opportunity to help the senior citizens in my neighborhood.