My journey to who I want to be was not an easy one, and it is far from over. I am a twenty-seven year old woman who is still getting to know who she is. At times I feel as if I am losing a marathon, and other times I feel that I decided to take the scenic route. I started Kingsborough in 2006 right out of high school. My parents wanted me to major in something practical and since I was good at science I chose that field. Science was not my thing and because I was unaware of my options and health issues I left Kingsborough.
Throughout my years on sabbatical I have had many jobs. I was a nanny and found my love of children doing that. Being a nanny lead me to becoming a camp counselor. I stood with the camp for five summers and eventually moved up to a supervisor position. This job lead me to one that was a complete ream. My time on Disney Cruise Line was an amazing experience. I was travelling the world and getting paid to experience things that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. I realized on the ship that I loved training people. I looked into a shore side Disney job in recruiting, but unfortunately I needed a degree in Human Resources.
When I got off the ship I began event planning for Amas Musical Theatre, a non-profit Off- Broadway organization that provided me with my training as an adolescent. I also began performing and consulting for New York City Housing Authority. I loved these jobs, but wanted something steady and all the jobs that were salary based told me I had all the experience but no degree. In December 2014 I was offered the position of Academy Director at Amas Musical Theatre. I felt as if I came full circle in the company. I still knew that I wouldn't be taken fully serious without my degree, but I was afraid that I ruined my chances of that all those years ago.
I re-enrolled in Kingsborough for the Spring 2015 semester with a different attitude. My mind was completely focused and I was terrified I would be too rusty. I still didn't have a career plan so I went to a career advisor in C102 and joined Career Quest. They were extremely helpful and I now have a focus on my career goals. I am a Social, Conventional and Enterprising woman. I worked with Bridget throughout the entire program. We worked on my resume, interview skills and helped me focus a bit more on my goals. She spoke to me about getting involved with different programs in the school to boost my resume. She gave me the confidence and help I needed to continue on with my education.
So far I have aced all of my classes. My parents are thrilled but most of all I am happy. I have joined the Society of Leadership and Success, Phi Theta Kappa, I received an A for my Honors Contract and I am getting the support that I need from the ASAP program. My plan is to work in Post-secondary administration as an academic advisor once I finish my Undergraduate degree.
I enjoyed learning about myself and life skills so much that I signed up for a Career Counseling course. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Bridget would be instructing the class. She provided me with the names of people who majored in I/O Psychology so that I may ask questions.
I have more doors open than I realize and a clearer head on my shoulders. The Career Development Center is a hidden treasure at KBCC. I am so happy that I decided to walk into the office and ask about their services. I hope and highly recommend my fellow students to utilize this office. It is not only a place to edit your resume, or look for scholarships it is a place to help find yourself. Again I am extremely happy with the work the career advisors and am thankful for everything I have learned from them.
My name is Merquisha Auguste. I moved from St. Lucia to the United States as an international student. Because we are not afforded the same privileges as students' native to the United States, I have faced many challenges. However, becoming a student at Kingsborough Community College provided me with some of the greatest opportunities to achieve my personal and professional goals.
When I first started my college experience I was a shy and quiet individual who always kept to myself. One day I came upon a flyer about an opportunity to become a Career Peer with the Office of Career Development. At first, I thought it was an advertisement for a job and was excited by the prospect of gaining a much needed form of income. When I got a call from the Office of Career Development inviting me in for an interview, they explained that is wasn't a job opportunity but an opportunity to work closely with students. Although I was really looking for a job, I decided to go for it as the position could possibly help me in ways I was not expecting.
Icompleted the interview and nailed it. Marisa Joseph, the individual who interviewed me, was fantastic and made me feel comfortable. After completing the interview, I was offered the opportunity to interview for another position within the office. That interview was also successful and I was offered both positions; one as a volunteer (Career Peer) and the other as a paid student aide. That's where I built my foundation and the staff are really good people they go all out in helping students and make sure their college life experience is amazing.
Being a career peer and student aide helped me develop both personally and professionally. I conducted workshops, assisted students with creating resumes and cover letters. Through these opportunities I developed communication skills, participated in a paid internship and most importantly, I am no longer the shy person I was when I initially joined the team. This office has a lot to offer including internships, scholarships, career opportunities and much more. I believe each student should take advantage of the services provided by C-102 because you never know where life will take you. I learned so much from being part of that office and am forever grateful for each and every one of them. To name a few people who helped me to successfully accomplish the first half of my college career were: Kim, Marisa, Melissa, Bridget, Javon, Leigh, Roberto,and Nympha. Like I said, grasp every opportunity this office has to offer you because you will never regret it I didn't. After graduating from KCC, I went on to pursue my education further. Currently, I attend City Tech and will earn a Bachelor's Degree in Radiologic Technology and Medical Imaging in hopes of becoming a Radiologic Technician.
Q: What motivated you to pursue applying for this internship? What have been your greatest influences? What do you think has contributed to your success?
A: The motivation to apply to the NYNY Fellows Program came as a result of the support structure, and the Personal and Professional Development that the program provides, as well as the Program's commitment towards community development.
My greatest influence has been my mother. Being a teenage mom, I saw first hand the struggles she went through having to work and go to school in order to provide. But despite her struggles, she never complained, she kept working hard, while believing that one day her hard work will eventually pay off. These are qualities I adapt and live by.
I think my work ethic, commitment to excellence, and my belief that failure is not an option, regardless of the circumstances, has been the key to my success thus far. But none of this would be possible without the help of my family, my professors, and the great people at ASAP, and the Office of Career Development. In particular Heidi Yu, Kwesi Samuels, Natasha Lauriston, and Professor Pestano, I thank you all!
Q: What does this fellowship mean to you and your future? A: This Fellowship means a lot to me, and my future. It will give me the ideal opportunity to grow and develop both personally and professionally, it will also provide me with the right support structure, through mentorship and various work shops for me to become a more rounded individual, with the skills and expertise required to compete in the competitive field of business.
Q: What do you intend to do once you graduate from Kingsborough Community College? What are your career goals? A: After graduating from Kingsborough Community College, I intend on continuing my education at a four-year college, where I will work towards my Bachelors Degree and ultimately my MBA. With my goal being to help people, my long-term career goal is; founding and operating a not-for-profit organization focused on community development, and the development of Education and Healthcare within the Third World.
Q: Do you have any words of advice to other students? A: My advice to other students would be to work hard, and to always believe in one's self regardless of the circumstances, because hard work coupled with persistence will eventually yield success.
Q: What does the special program NYU CCTOP Scholarship mean to you? A: NYU's CCTOP scholarship program has been one in a myriad of financial supports to help me in attending NYU. It has also held special significance in my life. It has allowed me to experience a new academic environment which has pushed me to grow as a scholar and as a person. NYU and the CCTOP scholarship program have blessed me with wonderful opportunities. I am grateful for my school, teachers and friends, all of which have been major supports in my journey to and through success.
Q: What have your experiences in the program been like so far? A: At NYU, I am majoring in social work. The experience has been one that has been gratifying, rewarding, challenging, and yet humbling all at the same time. I love that I am helping people. I am working with at-risk adolescent youth who have behavioral or emotional problems. I co-facilitate a life skills group and an academic group for our participants. Interning at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research has helped in cultivating my professional self as far as being a social worker/clinician. I have had an amazing experience for the past 2 years working in two high schools, helping, guiding and watching our youth participants grow into young leaders of tomorrow.
Q: How has the opportunity shaped your career or personal goals? A: CCTOP and NYU has shaped my personal goals in that I want to learn everything I can to ultimately be the best I can in my field of work. It has helped me to fight for social injustices I see for inner city youth and to empower marginalized and oppressed people. It also has helped me to reach out and educate people by making them aware of the society in which we all live in and the changes that need to be implemented. Through my experiences at NYU, I have been able to cultivate self awareness as an individual and as a clinician. I want to one day open my own practice to counsel individuals and families and also open my own nonprofit organization to help inner city adolescent youth. Ultimately I want to give back to communities by helping to cultivate our future leaders.
Q: What kind of connections have you made through the program and how have they impacted your life? A: I have made all kinds of connections at NYU, all of which have been in my corner rooting me on for my further success. My connections at NYU have pushed me out of my comfort zone to grow beyond what I ever thought for myself; they have challenged and stimulated my mind so that I can be a solution-driven, forward thinker. Most of all, they have been one of my supports in always allowing me to be my most authentic self in every situation.
Q: What is your advice in approaching the application process for your program? A: My advice for approaching the application process for the NYU CCTOP Scholarship program is to be yourself. NYU has a diverse student body, and they are looking to gain real people with real experiences. Try your hardest, and your efforts will definitely pay off. Remember, only you are the narrator of your own story and only you have your own unique vision. The way you sing and dance and play is all part of your story, so tell it the way you want it and have fun!!
Q: What has obtaining an internship been like for you? How has the Career Development Center helped you in your search for an internship?
A: Getting a internship especially The Walt Disney internship was really a good experience for me. I've learned so much through obtaining this internship and I've gained experience that could last me a life time. The career development center, specifically career counselor Ms Natasha has helped me in many ways. Natasha not only gave me the courage to go after the internship but she also prepared me and taught me the proper steps in being successful in obtaining an internship.
Q: What were some of the greatest challenges you faced while interning? How did you overcome those challenges? A: Being on time was always a big issue for me, so time management was a big challenge. However being responsible and not losing myself to several distractions around me was key. To overcome those challenges I set my alarm clock two hours ahead of time and my roommate would always wake me up to make sure I would make it to work on time. As far as being responsible goes I just remembered what was more important…My internship that would be the highlight of my future or a party that would highlight my present.
Q: What doors of opportunity have been opened for you as a result of your internship? A: As a result of me completing the internship at Walt Disney theme park. It opened the door for me to work at Luna theme park located in Coney Island. Where I went on to be a ride operator and Entertainer for the park.
Q: What was the most important thing you learned from this internship experience? A: Most important thing I learned while interning for Disney. When it comes to running a business, a successful one at that. Everyone has a role to play and each role is important as the next. Communication and teamwork is key to running a very successful business.
Q: What advice would you give to other students just starting their internship search and/or experience? A: The most important thing to remember when starting a internship, is it's not about the money. If you go after a internship for the money then your already wasting your time. A internship is about the experience and networks you can gain while interning. It's about going head first into a field you know little about but you know that this is your passion and your willing to give it your very best because in the end its all worth it. If your starting your internship, please don't make the mistake of treating it different from a regular job because the pay is low or there's no pay at all. A internship is as or even more important than a regular job.
Q: Why do you think it is important for students to visit the Career Development Center? A: I think it's very important for students to visit the career development center because it offer 's a series of skills that will one day become very important to have. So why not get a head start to learn and apply these skills to ones advantage asap! Most importantly the career development office is a office that main focus is to better and further the life of a student.
Words of Encouragement for the NYNY Fellowship
Q: What is the New York Needs You (NYNY) Fellowship to you?A: New York Needs You (NYNY) is a community, which promotes the advancement of professionalism for my peers and myself. New York Needs You's community is resourceful, with a fountain of opportunities, which has enabled me to gain experiences and training to become fit for the legal field. My perspective has changed from seeing NYNY as just a program to NYNY being my family.
Q: What have your experiences been like?A: The experience I have had with New York Needs is always exciting, yet it is challenging. I have the privilege to be in many prestigious environments, such as the American Express building, Skadden Arps, and Goldman Sachs. I have learned and practiced skills to land opportunities for jobs, internships, and scholarships. The work is rewarding. NYNY allows me to expand my horizons in different ways as well. I attended performances on Broadway and had opportunities to meet with celebrities and sports persons. In addition, I have become more aware of the importance of "repetition". It is the exercise of any repeated activity, which may raise your consciousness to your mistakes. Identifying your mistakes will enable you to make a positive difference in your life. If given the opportunity, I would do it all over again from the top.
Q: How has NYNY shaped your career or personal goals?A: NYNY has placed me in positions to being a voice for others while enhancing the skills needed for law school and to becoming a lawyer. I have worked on a project, where my peers and I, researched and interviewed, both students and staff on factors which cause community college students to graduate in four years and cause others to drop out. After my group and I gathered all sources of information, we had drawn up a proposal. We presented before an audience 50 professionals, and now, our project is being used for a pilot program. In addition, I spoke in front of an audience of 650 professionals at New York Needs You's 2011 Benefit Dinner, which had taken place at Cipriani. It was a wonderful experience. Through these experiences I have gained confidence, and I now know I can handle any task I used to think of as daunting.
Q: What kind of connections have you made through NYNY? How have they impacted your life?A: Being an NYNY Fellow, I have made connection with lawyers and educators. They have helped me successfully secure a housing scholarship. Also, my mentor and I have a strong bond. He helps me research internship opportunities within the legal and government field. My writing skills have also improved with his coaching and feedback. I am encouraged to continue to progress. I was also able to build a bond with Baruch's Chancellor of Student Affairs. I am working with him, to bring an exciting opportunity, which would allow Baruch students to have an impact on students in high schools across New York City. I feel more strongly about law school and becoming a lawyer. Moreover, I am inspired to utilize my experiences in NYNY to give encouragement and share resourceful information to others.
Q: What is your advice in approaching the NYNY application process?A: I highly recommend that students apply for this program. It is awesome! Reach out to your professors and advisors, who know you well, so you may receive a recommendation that describes you best. Be sure to draft your responses to the short answer questions, as soon as possible. Take advantage of the Writing Center at Kingsborough to perfect your responses, grammar, and to clarify your thoughts. In addition, reach out to professors, advisors, and staff within ASAP and on-campus to help you with your application if you are stuck or need guidance. Live for today; seize the opportunity today! It is yours.
Q: What motivated you to pursue applying for NYNY? What have been your greatest influences? What do you think has contributed to your success?A: I applied to the NYNY Fellowship because I know how beneficial it is to broaden my network as much as possible. Although it is of great importance to have the skills and capabilities to do well in my prospective field, having a vast network of people that can aid in my success makes it that much easier to excel in my field. My greatest influences have been my mother who taught me how paramount it is to always take initiative and all of my peers, advisors, and instructors that make everyday a learning experience in and out of the classroom.
Q: What does this award mean to you and your future?A: The NYNY Fellowship will be another stepping stone towards my goal of being a music writer/journalist. Moreover, it means that I will essentially be surrounded by like-minded peers who value education as much as I do and are aware of the doors it opens.
Q: What do you intend to do once you graduate from KCC? What are your career goals?A: Once I graduate from KCC, I will be transferring to a CUNY school, most likely Brooklyn or City College, to pursue a BA in Journalism. I ultimately want to become a music journalist and write for a music magazine and/or have my own column.
Q: Do you have any words of advice to other students?A: One word—initiative. I firmly believe that good things happen to those of us that have the eagerness and insatiable hunger for success. Network as much as possible with people in your prospective field. I have even asked my Journalism professor for tips, advice, and information about her collegiate journey. Be open to unpaid opportunities. Although you do not gain anything monetarily, the long-term gratification is well worth it, as well as the contacts. For those of you that are not fortunate enough to have a huge network (or any network, for that matter) like myself, begin to build contacts with the right people who will ultimately help you with employment. Lastly, be open-minded and receptive to the advice given to you by your advisors, utilize the resources they offer as much as possible — they want to see you succeed!
Q: Tell us something about yourself.A: I take my education very seriously. I know the only way to success and independence is establishing a good education. I want to be in a place one day where I can help my community and be a role model for the younger generation. Keeping my grades up and applying for internships are the stepping stones leading to a brighter future.
Q: What motivated you to pursue applying for this fellowship? What have been your greatest influences? What do you think has contributed to your success?A: My greatest motivation, influence and contribution to my success is my mother. Sometimes I'm tired, I don't want to go to school, study or even go to work. My mother can tell when I'm tired and she pushes me to get up. "Tinesi, I know you're tired but you're working toward your future, and you want a fabulous life for yourself so get on up!" My mother is my best friend and is the greatest support system I have in my life. She helps me make those life changing decisions. I honestly wouldn't be who I am without her.
Q: What does this fellowship mean to you and your future?A: This award is one of the greatest I have ever received! It's a great feeling to be awarded for working hard and caring for others. I know this award will open doors for me someday in the future. That's the best part of receiving this award.
Q: What do you intend to do once you graduate from KCC? What are your career goals?A: Once I graduate from Kingsborough I want to attend Long Island University program for pharmacy and minor in journalism or creative writing. I want to open my own pharmacy one day and write a novel. Writing has always been a part of my life.
Q: Do you have any words of advice to other students?A: My words of advice to other students is when you are stressed or overly tired and have an assignment, wait when you're feeling better to do it (meaning you can't wait until the last minute to do it). Sometimes you can't do your best when stressed. Time management is also very important when you're a college student working a part-time job, applying for internships and if you want a social life. It's important to know what works best for you and stick to it!
First of all, I was so surprised that I was selected for this award. I want to say thank you to all C-102 counselors because many of them, especially Heidi, provided effective advice, help, and suggestions to me.
As I am an immigrant in the United States, being an NYNY Fellow is an honor. When I was in my hometown, Hong Kong, I decided to move to the U.S. and wanted to complete my college degree. Furthering my education and career goals motivated me to pursue this opportunity.
Q: What motivated you to pursue applying for this fellowship? What have been your greatest influences? What do you think has contributed to your success?A: The motivation of applying this honor is that I want to obtain a bachelor's degree. By concentrating on my studies and furthering my goals, I sought this fellowship opportunity. The C-102 office enhances my study in Kingsborough. By visiting C102, I can always get plenty of advice on how to succeed in college, how to organize a resume, how to apply for internships or fellowship programs like NYNY, and how to contribute to the school and the society, such as doing volunteer activities. Thus, by getting help from C-102, I feel that I am mapping my road to college. Without the influence of the C102, the way of reaching my goal would have been more difficult and unclear.
Q: What does this fellowship mean to you and your future?A: The experience of getting the award means a lot to me. Two years before, I felt I was just a simple student. I did not have much self-confidence because of my English proficiency. As an immigrant, it was not easy for me to speak English. I did not believe that I would do great in college. When I was informed that I was selected as an NYNY Fellow, I felt so happy. I will continue to put all of my effort into my studies because being selected as a NYNY Fellow just proves the effort of my past. If I do not keep applying my effort, there will be no award in my present or in my future.
Q: What do you intend to do once you graduate from KCC? What are your career goals?A: After graduating from Kingsborough, I will transfer to other four year colleges to continue my degree. I will probably change my major in finance or economy because I plan to be a financial investor in the future.
Q: Do you have any words of advice to other students?A: Try what you want to do because there will be an opportunity for success. However, if you do not try, there is always no opportunity for success.
2011-2012 Kaplan ScholarMajor: Mental Health
For more information on the Kaplan Foundation, visit kaplanedfoundation.org
2010-2011 Kaplan ScholarMajor: Mental HealthCareer Goal: Medical Doctor
2010-2011 Kaplan ScholarMajor: Liberal Arts
Career Goal: Midwife & Youth Advocate
For more information on the Kaplan Foundation, visit kaplanedfoundation.org
2010-2011 Kaplan ScholarMajor: Pre-Nursing/Liberal ArtsCareer Goal: Medical Surgeon
2010-2011 Kaplan ScholarMajor: NursingCareer Goal: Cardiologist