CUNY Conference Spotlights Scholarships That Support A High Achieving, Diverse Student Body

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Supporting the inherent strengths of one of the nation’s most diverse student bodies – as well as the potential of an increasingly globalized workplace – The City University of New York this year highlights competitive scholarships for high academic achievers that promote diversity in undergraduate and graduate study.

Faculty speakers at a Nov. 13 CUNY-wide conference on prestigious scholarships include chemistry professor Paris Svoronos of Queensborough Community College and associate professor Alyshia Galvez of Lehman College, who directs CUNY’s Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute. University Provost Vita Rabinowitz and LaGuardia Community College president Gail O. Mellow will give remarks. The keynote speaker is Harvard Medical School student Zujaja Tauqeer (Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, ’11), who won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University.

Chancellor James B. Milliken has described CUNY as on the path to become “the leading public urban university in the world, where our students receive an outstanding education from talented faculty and are prepared to compete successfully with graduates from the best universities anywhere.  Scholarships that support the richly diverse student body of CUNY are an essential way of providing access and preparing our students for success.”

CUNY students “start with an enormous advantage, studying in one of the most diverse institutions anywhere; the majority are students of color, most are women; 40 percent were born in another country; and 40 percent speak a language other than English--nearly 200 languages in total.   Our students learn in a rich environment unmatched anywhere, which is one the great assets of CUNY,” Chancellor Milliken added.

The conference is an invitation-only, morning-long meeting for the faculty and staff at senior and community colleges who inform, recruit and support talented students in securing scholarships. They include scholarship directors, honors directors and special program directors. In previous years, the focus has been on transfer scholarships, scholarships for public service, and scholarships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Among the scholarships that will be discussed are those from the American Association of University Women, the Women’s Forum of New York, the American Chemical Society Scholars Program, the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies Becas Scholarship Program, the federal Rangel Graduate Fellowship and the USAID Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship.

Keynote speaker Zujaja Tauqeer and her family had to flee her native Pakistan because of religious persecution after vandals destroyed her parents’ rural medical clinic; they belong to the Ahmadi branch of Islam. During her Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England – perhaps the most coveted in academia – she finished a master of science degree and is close to completing a doctorate analyzing public health policy in South Asia.

The conference is Nov. 13, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at LaGuardia Community College, E Building, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Long Island City. Interested reporters should contact University Director of Communications and Marketing Michael Arena at