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When you make a gift to Kingsborough Community College you are making an investment in the future. Your gift will provide critical financial support for students and enrich their college experience.

We are proud to present a selection of scholarship recipients who explain how your investment in their future allowed them to pursue their education at Kingsborough. We invite you to meet our students:


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Student Profiles
 Marlene Babb-Charles

Marlene Babb-Charles | Nursing Major
May and Samuel Rudin Book Fund

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that there are no second acts in American lives. Clearly, he had never met Marlene, who is enjoyed her own second act now as an aspiring nurse. When the economy crashed eight years ago, Marlene's real estate business floundered, but she used this crisis as a chance to finally pursue her dream of a nursing career. She chose Kingsborough as her new launching pad, and has since had an unforgettable experience. "This journey was not easy; I know my fellow nursing graduates would agree that it took a lot of hard work, determination, and perseverance. There were many times throughout this process where I had to lean on all my resources: my faith in God, family, friends and even just crossing all my fingers and toes. But I was never alone in this struggle, for I had nursing facility at Kingsborough who never gave up on me. Thank you! I am forever in your debt."

 Candy-Lynn Best

Candy-Lynn Best | Biology Major
Dr. Carol Biermann Endowed Scholarship Award for Excellence in Biological Sciences

Originally from Maryland, Candy endured more hardship before her 16th birthday than most people do their entire lives: "I had a chaotic home-life, and there was so much violence in my high school that my parents pulled me out after just ninth grade." Shortly afterwards, she was diagnosed with scoliosis, which to this day afflicts her with severe and chronic pain. Years later, she moved to New York to live with her boyfriend and to give her education a second chance: "I had not been at any school in years! But from the very beginning, everyone at KCC was so helpful." Gradually, Candy overcame her fears and blossomed into a standout student; she is the vice president of KCC's STEM Council, a student ambassador, and has had her work published in the Honors' journal Distinctions. After graduation, she hopes to attend either Brown University, Smith, Mount Holyoke, or College of Staten Island. "KCC's Professors made me believe, for the first time in my life, that I mattered," Candy says. "I started out so shy and lacking in confidence, but they showed me I could be so much more."

 Deidre Broner

Deidre Broner | Liberal Arts Major
Professor Ellen S. Fine Endowed Scholarship Award for Excellence in the Field of Research and Nazi Holocaust Studies

When Hunter College did not work out, Deidre looked to Kingsborough as her "plan B," not knowing just how much it would exceed her expectations. Though her main interest is in healthcare, she has had the opportunity to take a wide array of courses at Kingsborough, including one on the Nazi Holocaust: "this topic had fascinated me since a young age, and Professor Richard Tomback is such a passionate, engaging instructor." For the course, Deidre wrote an illuminating essay on Rudolph Hess, the notorious commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and was awarded the Professor Ellen S. Fine Endowed Scholarship for her efforts: "I sought to answer the question: 'where did Hess come from, and how did he become such an infamous historical figure?' Being recognized for this essay has been the highlight of my academic career so far." An honors student and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Deidre also works part-time as an EMT outside of her classes. After she graduates this spring, she goes on to Adelphi University, where she will pursue her B.S.N. in Nursing.


 Victoria Cortes

Victoria Cortes | : Nursing Major
Ambrose Monell Foundation Scholarship

Victoria's love for medicine hits very close to home; when her third child was born prematurely, she spent weeks in the hospital, where she gained a profound appreciation for the nursing profession. "Before then, I had never once considered entering the healthcare field," she says. "But afterwards, I felt moved to 'pay it forward' with my own career." At Kingsborough, she has thrived as a nursing student, and greatly appreciates how approachable the faculty are and how they make their subjects relatable to everyday life. And thanks to her scholarship from the Ambrose Monell Foundation, the hardworking mother of three was able to afford several expensive textbooks required for her nursing major. "When a donor helps out a KCC nursing student, they aren't just helping one person," she says, "they are helping the countless patients that he or she is going to encounter as a nurse."


 Araz Garayev

Araz Garayev | : Computer and Information Systems Major
Richmond County Savings Foundation Scholarship

Growing up in Azerbaijan, Araz was surrounded by fellow techies: "all of my friends wrote code, my father-in-law was a web developer, and my brother-in-law was a computer programmer." Small wonder, then, that he would go on to enroll as a Computer and Information Systems major when he arrived at Kingsborough. Rather than find himself pigeonholed, though, Araz has enjoyed the diverse courses offered at KCC: "I really enjoy my English 12 course, and my Theater course has even given me some acting ambitions!" Like many Kingsborough students, though, he found himself struggling to afford tuition earlier this year, so he was very grateful for the scholarship he received: "It came at such a critical time. My wife and I were expecting our first child, and my academic expenses were through the roof." Currently holding a 3.9 GPA, Araz looks forward to graduating from KCC, continuing his studies, and one day becoming a software or app developer.

 Brandon Gibson

Brandon Gibson | Biology Major
Presidential Scholarship

"When I was an undergrad at University of Southern California," Brandon says, "I felt as if something was missing from my life." Recognizing this dilemma, he made a drastic change by moving to Brooklyn, where he has since done everything from waiting tables and bartending to working as a Cisco network engineer. Yet he would find that missing piece just down the hall from his apartment: "My neighbors were dentists, and in talking with them I realized that my true passion was helping people within the medical field. I would have a chance to bring smiles to people's faces quite literally" This led Brandon to pursue Biology at Kingsborough, where the formerly adrift student is now thriving at the very top of his class. He credits professors like Daniel Kane, Tina Orsini and Sunny Scobell for pushing him to his full potential, and has also taken part in the CUNY Research Scholars Program. All of the hard work and soul-searching has paid off, for this Fall, Brandon will be enrolled at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to begin the process of becoming a pediatric dentist.

 Nicholas Mancini

Nicholas Mancini | Liberal Arts Major
Dr. Frances Kraljic-Curran Liberal Arts Scholarship Gladys Brooks Foundation Scholarship for Student Leadership & Academic Excellence Award

Nicholas is passionate about service. An army veteran, he served in Afghanistan before returning to his native New York: "I really enjoyed my military experience, but by then I was eager to jumpstart my college education." After learning that Kingsborough had been named a "top 4" community college by the Aspen Institute, Nicholas enrolled in courses and went on to distinguish himself as a top student. He has also made his mark outside of the classroom, serving as a team leader for New York Cares, working on local environmental relief efforts, and running toy drives. These extracurricular efforts helped Nicholas become one of this year's recipients of the Gladys Brooks scholarship, which recognizes students who display extraordinary leadership. This Fall, he is bound for Columbia University, and he hopes to one day work for the FBI specializing in counterterrorism: "A lot of students at KCC have limitless potential, but lack the financial resources to get ahead. Scholarships like these can make a world of difference."

 Clarissa Mota

Clarissa Mota | Theatre Arts Major
Charles Jacobs Scholarship for Performing Arts

Before she attended Kingsborough, Clarissa caught the acting bug just around the corner at the Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences. Already familiar with the KCC campus, she nonetheless discovered a new world on the KCC stage, earning a starring role in the play "Blood Wedding" and the title role in the recent musical "Violet." She represented Kingsborough at the annual American Theater College Festival last Fall, where she was a finalist; she will go to the festival again this Fall as an Irene Ryan nominee: "Kingsborough has one of the strongest theatre departments in the state, and it feels like I'm in a very close-knit family of dedicated artists." After graduation, she intends to continue her studies at either Julliard or Brooklyn College, and one day hopes to become a theater teacher herself. No matter where her talents take her, she will always be grateful for the help she received along the way: "my scholarship came at a time of personal turmoil and financial uncertainty; it helped me stay in school and continue on my path."

 Michael Player

Michael Player | Business Administration Major
National Grid Scholarship and Internship

A Brooklyn, NY native, Michael has quickly emerged as an elite student at KCC. He credits much of his discipline and focus to positive influences at home: "In high school, I had a lot of classmates who I would describe as 'knuckleheads,' and they often tried to pull me into their crowd. Thankfully, I could always rely on my mother and sister for support and guidance." This past spring, Michael was selected as Kingsborough's 2016 National Grid Scholar and Intern after a long and highly-competitive interview process. The internship will run for eight weeks this summer, and he is excited to have the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience with an elite company: "I can't wait to get started! It is such an amazing opportunity and I am proud to represent KCC." After Kingsborough, Michael plans to continue studying business and one day work as an investment banker.

 Christian Polanco

Christian Polanco |  Media Arts Major
Post New York Alliance Scholarship

Christian will be the first to tell you that he was not always the most diligent student: "I was very disengaged in high school, and I felt my natural creativity wasn't being channeled very effectively." Fast-forward to today, and he is firing on all cylinders as an aspiring filmmaker here at Kingsborough: "professors like John Acosta have given me a great foundation of skills to build on." Commuting two and half hours every day from Queens to KCC, Christian is highly motivated to earn his degree, and he hopes to go on to study film at Brooklyn College after he graduates. This past year, he also saw his hard work pay off when he received the Post New York Alliance Scholarship, an award that goes to exceptional media arts students. "This scholarship was very helpful for me financially," he says, "but it also had a psychological impact. It showed me that there are people out there who believe in students like me."

 Marie J. Soto

Marie J. Soto | Culinary Arts Major
Rhoda Polly Alumni Emergency Scholarship

13 years ago, Marie made the difficult decision to give up her law studies in Haiti to move to the United States: "I felt that I had to put my dream aside so my daughter could have educational opportunity in America." Since then, though, she has discovered a new dream as a culinary arts major in Kingsborough. "Food does not have a language, a race or an age," Marie says, "and if you can cook well, the opportunities are endless." When she is not in the classroom, this honors student works on campus as a barista for Panda House. Yet earlier this year, she found herself in dire financial straits. Thankfully, she was able to stay on track due to the Rhoda Polly Alumni Emergency Scholarship: "I will never forget the feeling of opening the mail and getting that scholarship. There are a lot of hardworking students like me at Kingsborough, and it is heartening to know that there's help available." Her post-Kingsborough ambitions include opening her own restaurant and writing a memoir on her fascinating journey.

 Brian Suckie '14

Brian Suckie '14 | Business Administrator Major Currently attending Columbia University
WAVE Scholarship

Brian emigrated from Jamaica to New York in the summer of 2010. For two years, he worked two minimum wage jobs to support himself and his family back home. Unfortunately, what he was making simply wasn't enough, so he quit both jobs and enrolled in Kingsborough in 2012: "Though I went into Kingsborough with modest goals, I left with big dreams." At Kingsborough, Brian emerged as an Honors students, while also representing his college at BusinessToday's 2013 International Conference; he was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, CUNY Service Corps., and the A.S.A.P. Program. Today, he is completing a degree at Columbia University in in Sustainable Development. Brian remains tremendously grateful for everyone at KCC who helped him along the way: "Professors at Kingsborough don't just teach—they inspire students to push beyond what they think is possible. Today, I am very thankful not only for the skills and knowledge I acquired at Kingsborough, but for learning to believe in myself."

 Michelle Yedin

Michelle Yedin |  Journalism and Print Media Major
Joan De Freitas Endowed Scholarship Award

A star high school student, Michelle had thought herself on a fast-track to the Ivy Leagues, interviewing at Brown, Columbia, Princeton, U Penn, Yale, and others. Imagine her crushing surprise, then, when every one of those elite universities slammed its doors on her: "It felt like everything I had worked for was for nothing." This made Kingsborough feel like a humiliating fallback, yet Michelle would gradually uncover a whole new world of possibilities there. "I had fully bought into the 'community college stigma' at the time," she says. "But in the end, being a student at Kingsborough has changed my life, my perception of myself, and my perception of the greater world around me." Today, Michelle is an honors student, the editor-in-chief of Scepter (KCC's student newspaper), and recently had the experience of a lifetime as one of 50 students chosen nationwide to take part in the White House "College Reporter Day." She is also particularly grateful to be this year's recipient of the Joan De Freitas scholarship: "not only does this scholarship recognize my journalistic achievements, but it will also help pay for my tuition at George Washington University this Fall."



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