Skip to main content Skip to footer content

Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

 KCC students Sumaya Jashim, Nawel Messaoudi, and Reuben Petit-Noel

 KCC students Sumaya Jashim, Nawel Messaoudi, and Reuben Petit-Noel

Three Kingsborough Students Named Semifinalists for Coveted Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Kingsborough Community College (KCC) students Sumaya Jashim, Nawel Messaoudi, and Reuben Petit-Noel were among the 459 nationwide semifinalists selected by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for its highly competitive Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. They are all first-generation college students. They join 25 other CUNY semifinalists, chosen from a pool of more than 1,600 applicants attending 194 community colleges in 37 states, plus Washington, DC, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The finalists will be announced in May.

This scholarship aims to help community college students who have demonstrated exceptional academic ability, leadership, and service transfer to top four-year institutions and avoid student debt. The highly competitive scholarship includes up to $55,000 per year to attend any four-year accredited undergraduate school in the U.S. and pursue any area of study. Awards, which are last-dollar funding after all institutional aid, vary by individual based on the cost of tuition and other grants or scholarships they may receive.

Finalists will also get individualized help adjusting to a four-year school and planning for a career. They will also have access to opportunities for internships, study abroad experiences, graduate school funding, and a network of over 3,100 fellow Cooke scholars and alumni.

This comes at a time when only about a third of students starting in community colleges transfer to four-year schools, and only 16% earn a bachelor’s degree within six years. The Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship represents a unique opportunity, providing crucial support for transfer students to overcome these barriers and successfully attain their bachelor’s degrees. “In light of the challenges that hinder many community college students from achieving their goal of earning a bachelor’s degree, our Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship makes the journey more achievable and helps to eliminate the threat of student debt,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

"All of Kingsborough is extremely proud of Sumaya, Nawel, and Reuben," said Kingsborough Community College President Suri Dutch. "Being named semifinalists for such a prestigious scholarship is an incredible achievement. These three embody so much of what makes our student body special – they've excelled academically while taking on leadership roles and overcoming obstacles. It's also a real credit to the amazing work our faculty and staff do every day to help our students succeed. I can't wait to see what bright futures await these semifinalists! We'll be rooting for them as they move forward in the scholarship process."

To learn more about the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship and see a list of this year’s semifinalists, visit

Meet The KCC Semifinalists

Brooklynite Sumaya Jashim is a first-generation student who aspires to become a healthcare executive and improve American healthcare. “I see my studies as a tool to shape my career, as I aspire to apply my leadership to healthcare in particular,” she shared. “My intended major is neuroscience, as it is an exceptionally diverse and flexible field and will allow me to do whatever I wish to.”

While at Kingsborough, she took part in the CUNY Research Scholars Program (CRSP), which pairs associate degree students from seven CUNY community colleges and three comprehensive schools with faculty mentors and funds year-long research experiences to encourage undergraduate participation in authentic research and increase persistence in STEM disciplines. “Through CRSP, I've honed not only my research prowess but also my ability to multi-task, write well, and efficiently analyze data in various contexts.”

Nawel Messaoudi is an immigrant from Tunisia and the first in her family to attend college. She had originally intended to become a nurse but discovered a passion for the study of bacteria after taking a microbiology class. She earned her biology degree with honors from Kingsborough Community College in January 2024 and was named to the Presidential Scholar List. She plans to transfer to Columbia University, Princeton, or Hunter College to pursue a degree in computational biology. A two-time participant in the CRSP program, her ultimate goal is to discover a cure for type 1 diabetes using pancreatic beta cells. Nawel was active in several student organizations and college committees, including serving as Kingsborough’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter president, Student Government Association senator, and member of the Achieving the Dream Student Success subcommittee.

Being named a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship semifinalist is very significant to Nawel. “As a female immigrant, a non-traditional student, and a mother, I find education the utmost pursuit despite its challenges, particularly financially. If I received the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship, I could continue my education without the financial burden,” she shared. English is Nawel's third language, which has made navigating the application process for schools, scholarships, and internships challenging. "The college advisement that comes with the scholarship makes being a JKC semifinalist an even more valuable opportunity," she added. "With this scholarship, I could pursue my goals and make meaningful contributions to science and the community. I'm very grateful for this chance and can't wait to see what it brings.”

Born and raised on the small island of Nassau in the Bahamas, Reuben Petit-Noel is a first-generation college student who has overcome financial challenges and the ordeal of making his way through the college application process unaided to pursue his dreams. He had to stop out of college for almost two years due to the cost. He now volunteers for nonprofit organizations that assist undocumented youth in navigating the college application process. “It's rewarding to help them find colleges that will support them throughout their unique journey as dreamers in the United States.”

Reuben is the president of the Undocumented and Unafraid Club, where he provides support and resources to fellow students who may be struggling to find assistance due to their immigration status. He is also an active member of the campus community, engaging with students and encouraging them to attend events that foster a sense of belonging and self-expression.

The biology major has been fascinated with the origins of life from a young age. “Biology offers a structured platform for me to unravel the mysteries of life, from the molecular mechanisms within cells to the ecosystems that sustain diverse forms of life,” he shared. “Studying biology not only satisfies my intellectual curiosity but also equips me with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue my aspirations.”

He hopes to transfer to NYU, where he plans to pursue a double major in biology and political science with a minor in journalism and public policy. He would ultimately like to become a trauma surgeon and work with organizations like Doctors Without Borders to provide medical aid to those in need.

“Being chosen as a Jack Kent Cooke semifinalist has reassured me that taking that leap of faith to move to the U.S., despite my fears and uncertainties, was indeed worthwhile,” he shared. “I wouldn't be in this position if I hadn't taken that chance. I'm incredibly proud of myself for not giving up and for being recognized by such a prestigious scholar community.”


Related Articles

Kingsborough Community College Celebrates 59th Commencement, Marking 60 Years of Educational Excellence

Friends and family celebrated the more than 1,700 students who graduated from Kingsborough Community College on June 18, 2024.

Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders: Kingsborough Community College and PTPS Program Build Pathways to Public Service

KCC has partnered with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Pathways to Public Service Program (PTPS).

The Aspen Institute Names Kingsborough Community College is a Semifinalist for Prestigious 2025 Aspen Prize

Kingsborough Community College has made the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program’s list of semifinalists for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, making us eligible to compete for $1 million in shared prize funds. (We’re the only semifinalist from New York State!)