2016 Myself Third Scholarship Award Winners

Myself Third: 2016 Scholarship Award Winners

On June 8, 2016, the Myself Third: Spirit of New York Scholarship ceremony was held at the CUNY Graduate Center to honor this year’s recipients.  Mr. Friedman, along with his wife Linda, were joined by Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs, John Mogulescu to present ten $4,000 Myself Third Scholarship awards and two $1,000 Alumni Spirit award to this year’s winners.  Also in attendance were several CUNY Administrators, a two Myself Third Alumni, College Now campus coordinators, high school teachers and liaisons, and the families and friends of all the winners.

The reception featured entertainment by the York College Big Band Alumni Combo and the ceremony was moderated by Jeanette Kim, Director of College Now and Deputy Director for Collaborative Programs.  The 2016 winners are listed in alphabetical order, along with the College Now program in which the student participated.

Spirit of New York Scholarship

Jose Daniel Benitez

jbenitez_websiteJose Daniel Benitez is a senior at Thomas Edison Career and Technical HS in Queens, and participated in College Now at Queensborough Community College. Jose will be attending Baruch College in the fall.

What motivated me to build up my community/fellowship by volunteering is knowing that knowledge in itself is power, that I can  give back to my community, and vice versa.  Giving back to the community is just as important as gaining knowledge and insight by doing programs and activities.



Alicia Michele Defonte

Alicia Michele Defonte is a senior at Tottenville HS on Staten Island, and participated in College Now at Kingsborough Community College. Alicia will be attending the College of Staten Island in the fall.

To me, living in a democratic society means to be able to vote for the government that you want. Everyone doesn’t have to agree, but the majority of the people’s decision does matter. I want to build a stronger community by contributing my time to activities within the community. All my experiences helping out in my community have made me view society in a good way. The good that people do by working together and helping one another will improve the quality of life in our society. My services and actions in the community help build a culture that opposes the extremism that exists in our society. It shows that different types of people can work together for a common cause. Even though people don’t share the same beliefs, they still work together to achieve something great.


Rashane Fernando


Rashane Fernando is a senior at Harry S. Truman HS in the Bronx, and participated in College Now at Bronx Community College, City College, and Laguardia Community College. Rashane will be attending The City College of New York in the fall

In a community, service can create strong connections between people and create a bond that enhances its unity. Service connects communities together and at the same time it empowers an individual—emotionally, socially, environmentally and sometimes physically, thus making us less vulnerable to bad influences such as extremism. Service has brought a new perspective to my present journey and personal growth. Service is about making oneself available to helping others when they most need it and when you do it with love there is so much that blossoms from it. All of this and more are possible because of the freedom and opportunity America has given me. Many take these freedoms for granted, however, I have not.


Gloria Hernandez

ghernandez_websiteGloria Hernandez is a senior at International Leadership Charter HS in the Bronx, and participated in College Now at Lehman College. Gloria will be attending City College in the fall.

I wanted to demonstrate that teenagers can do great things and be positive role models. I have always aspired to make a difference in my community, which is why I began tutoring my neighbors since the fifth grade. I knew I needed to reach out to a larger population of students in my community, so I tutored a class of summer students at my previous elementary school during my freshman year of high school. Volunteering has become more than a passion it has given me a long-term goal of working for the United We Dream Organization to advocate for the rights of undocumented students like myself. In America, all immigrants, not just Hispanics, come to the United States to live a life of more opportunities. This is why I am proud to say that my selfless acts have in multiple ways contributed to my community and to my city as well.


Krutika Khatri

kkhatri_websiteKrutika Khatri is a senior at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in Queens, and participated in College Now at Queens College. Krutika will be attending City College in the fall.

Tragedies that are committed by acts of terrorism show that our world is divided in several ways. Together as communities, we must rise to stand against these terrorizing groups to provide to them that we will not be weakened. Using acts of selflessness, we must rise to fight against the division, hatred, and insecurities that are inflicted by those who try to oppress us. In the United States, I am privileged to go to school without anyone restricting me and I am able to apply and attend a university for higher education in any field that I would like to. As a woman who lives in a free, democratic society, I have the privilege to prove to the world that I can be successful.


Qian Liu

Qian Liu is a senior at Williamsburg Preparatory High School in Brooklyn and participated in College Now at the New York City College of Technology.   Qian will be attending Brooklyn College in the fall.

The idea of “The American Dream” is not only well known, but has a deep rooted meaning within my family. By having this opportunity in the United States, I’m experiencing “The American Dream” first hand; an opportunity I was afforded because my parents migrated to the United States where opportunities are endless. The support I received throughout the years has influenced me to want to give back and help others. Since I understand how difficult it is for someone to migrate to a new country with a language barrier, I often utilize my ability to help others who are in need. I believe that my services and actions within my community has helped, and will continue to help, open people’s minds about cultural differences and slowly change negative extremist views about people [who] are different.


Arsela Sana Mallick

amallick_websiteArsela Sana Mallick is a senior at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, and participated in College Now at Queensborough Community College and Queens College. Arsela will be attending City College in the fall.

I have a photo of the First Amendment written in chalk on the ground of Union Square in my phone.  To me, this privilege to be able to say what I want and believe in what I want is special to me because the past generations in my family did not have it.  Witnessing the rights of the First Amendment written on the floor in chalk in Union Square is just one example of the free expression that I get to experience and participate in society every day.  My grandparents were a huge influence in my interest to volunteer for seniors.  My volunteer experience has modified the way I perceive society in that it has presented me with a different side of it.  It prompted me to learn about social work, different types of people, and the relationship between age groups.


Jose Francisco Martinez

Jose Francisco Martinez is a senior at the Comprehensive Model School Project 327 in the Bronx, and participated in College Now at Lehman College.   Jose will be attending City College in the fall.

Giving back to the community has always been something important to me since community has been my light in the dark tunnel of my life. I was motivated to be involved in the volunteering program in my school because of the fact that I was once the student who sought help from people to complete homework and understand math and reading. I felt that volunteering offered a great opportunity to implement values that were essential for me as a young student to succeed and to become the hard working student I am today. I was able to learn that in our society, we need to help people realize that education is the way we can change the world and that sometimes the work of the teachers goes underappreciated. The strength that comes to a community through service shows that when we take some time from our day to give back to our communities, we are literally building better futures.


Xiomara Perdomo

xperdomo_websiteXiomara Perdomo is a senior at the Academy of Finance and Enterprise in Manhattan, and participated in College Now at Baruch College and Laguardia Community College. Xiomara will be attending City College in the fall.

To me, democracy is a door.  A door leading to many opportunities.  My motto has always been “create the life you want”.  This would not be possible if democracy did not provide freedom.  Democracy means accepting everyone for who they are and granting them the power to create change.  For this reason, I decided to volunteer in my school and in my community.  In addition, volunteering makes a difference in the lives of others.  Volunteering has made me realize that everywhere you go someone is in need of something.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are people full of hate and violence.  Doing volunteer work shows others that there is hope.  It demonstrates that there are people that are not only selfless, but willing to do anything to help others. 


Garmen Xie

gxie_websiteGarmen Xie is a senior at Midwood HS in Brooklyn, and participated in College Now at Brooklyn College.  Garmen will be attending Brooklyn College in the fall.

My parents have always taught me that I should cherish my well-being and to let my good qualities be present in other people.  Selflessness and commitment to helping others will leave you feeling more happy and useful because no one who was selfish was ever happy.  My experience has also taught me that reaching out for help is not a bad thing.  My innate love for teaching and my parents have helped pave the way for me in helping the less fortunate and building my community.  Volunteering has glued my heart to becoming a teacher, and opened a path for the Chinese community to become involved in their free society. 


Myself Third Alumni Spirit Award Recipients: and received a Myself Third Scholarship last year.

Nabila Ahmed

nahmed_websiteNabila Ahmed is currently a science major at City College

People from college think much differently than high school students. In order for me to become a successful student, I had to move out of my comfort zone and collaborate with strangers. The result helped me to become a versatile group member, know how to perform well in a team. Talking to my fellow classmates helped me develop an open mind… I would advise newly enrolled students to not be afraid to ask questions and definitely go visit professors during their office hours. This will help establish a better professional relationship with their instructor, and develop better communication skills that can take one forward in life. Volunteering personally made me a stronger person as it has taught me to be patient, and put my best foot forward. These experiences has strengthened my leadership abilities and has brought a sense of greater insight to the community around me.


Tasnuva Hoque

thoque_websiteTasnuva Hoque is currently an engineering major at City College

My first semester at CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering has been very challenging and exciting at the same time.  The transition from high school to college was the biggest challenge, overcoming which was a big part of learning.  Challenging classes and a demanding college environment inspired me to transform both as an academically and personally mature individual.  I got a phone for the first time in college.  This piece of information might sound very simple and trivial to anyone, but to me this “phone” happened to be one of the most significant.  My phone became my biggest source of distraction.  I have a college counselor with whom I discussed all these difficulties…and [she helped] me manage my ‘time and phone’ smartly.  I learned that failure is a part of life but bouncing back is the aim in life.