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Fifty-Ninth Commencement



Meet Members of the Class of 2024

Tenelle Mapp


Class of 2024
Tenelle Mapp

Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Tenelle Mapp came to the United States in 2002 to live with her mother and has been residing in Brownsville ever since. Her path to earning a degree has been somewhat of a rollercoaster.

Tenelle first enrolled at Kingsborough Community College in 2007, only to discover she was pregnant weeks later. “I was excited about becoming a mother, but the news came with new financial complications,” she recalls. “I decided to take some time off so that I could raise my child. When my job offered tuition reimbursement in 2019, I decided to enroll back at Kingsborough, taking night courses. Just as I was beginning to readjust to college, my mother fell ill, forcing me to take time out once again so I could attend to her health and wellbeing.”

And then the pandemic hit, and Tenelle lost her job. "The biggest challenge I faced was losing my job and the tuition reimbursement benefit," she shared. "But I found tremendous support through the scholarships I received, as well as working on campus as a student aide.”

The first in her family to attend college, she was determined to see it through. “As much as my high school diploma carried me and my family financially throughout the years, after the pandemic, it didn’t seem to be enough,” she recounted. “Jobs that I knew I was qualified for were not accessible to me because I didn't have the educational requirements. Securing my family is my top priority and the only convincing thing I needed.”

Tenelle had been employed as an enrollment coordinator for a charter school, where her responsibilities included keeping track of neighborhood events where the school could participate and advertise their services. “I began to develop strong relationships within the community and saw the need for change.”

Her passion for helping people and the desire to be part of the change led her to choose community health as her major. “Underserved communities and certain demographics of people face disparities on numerous levels,” she explained. “With the tools and knowledge I have learned through my educational journey at KCC, I hope to become a cornerstone in the community and help bridge those gaps.”

This time around, she was able to take daytime classes, which she felt made a big difference. “I was able to get the full college experience. I believe that is part of the reason why I was able to accomplish all I did these last two years.”

Talk about accomplishments: Sporting a GPA above 3.50, Tenelle was accepted into the Honors program. She also became actively involved in extracurricular activities like the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, where she was the public relations officer, the Caribbean Association Club, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. And, at this month’s awards ceremony, she received the Robert Lawrence and Karen Denard Goldman Community Health Endowed Scholarship Award.

Graduating with honors this June, she said she will miss EVERYTHING about Kingsborough. “The people I have met here have made my time at KCC enjoyable,” she mused. One such person is English professor Octovio Gooden, who had a significant influence on her. “He is patient and always available for his students. He was able to make me fall in love with writing and pushed me to open my mind and to expand beyond my limits.”

Tenelle transferred to City Tech in May, where she is pursuing a major in healthcare policy and management. Envisioning a career in public health, her dream is to establish a community-based organization providing legal aid, immigration services, mental health support, and food pantries to underserved populations.

For those just starting their college journey, Tenelle offers a piece of advice that has more than likely been a cornerstone of her own success: "Time management is important! Set aside dedicated time for your studies and to meet class deadlines."