Self-portrait of Lisa Sheridan
Every year, students who are within 30 credits of graduating are invited to apply for the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship. The scholarship provides full tuition until graduation. To be considered, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, enroll for a minimum of 6 credits, and demonstrate financial need. As part of their award requirements, ACE Scholars mentor newly-admitted undergraduate students and act as ambassadors for the school. To fulfill the duties of the scholarship each recipient writes an essay about their ACE experience. The Kiosk will be publishing these essays every Wednesday that classes are scheduled.
The following essay is by Lisa Sheridan, who is in the Communications and Media BA program.
The Scholarship Extends Its Reach
Last year, the ACE Scholarship broadened the pool of students eligible for the program. The previous eligibility requirement was that students must be within 20 credits of graduation to qualify for ACE. Now, thanks to the generous endowment, the scholarship has been extended to students within 30 credits of graduation. As luck would have it, last spring semester I hit that 30 credit mark. So I became eligible for this very generous scholarship. I owe a special thank you to founding donor Alan Fishman.
The Power of Why
Funny enough, I almost didn’t get the ACE Scholarship because I had credits from a PLA Learning portfolio that didn’t get transferred to my transcript. My records showed me within 33 credits of graduation instead of the requisite 30. So the initial review of my transcript appeared as if I didn’t meet the criteria. My application for the scholarship didn’t make the first cut.
However, one of the most important lessons I learned as a student is the power of self-advocacy. When I questioned the decision, there was a second review of my records, which revealed the discrepancy. Ultimately, the updated credits meant the decision changed in my favor. I won the ACE Scholarship after all. I will be sending a link of this article to my mentees because I often speak about the importance of a carefully phrased “Why?”
The Mentor is the Student
Because the ACE extended the time frame involved with the scholarship, I can develop a deeper relationship with my mentees. I stay in touch with students who worked with me last semester. One of my mentees from the previous semester was elected to the Student Association. I wrote a recommendation letter for another student’s scholarship application. My mentees teach me not to lose enthusiasm and drive.
This semester, my mentees are strong and independent. They tackle their challenges as adult learners with confidence. A new student, Kathy Bootsri, even started writing for The Kiosk within her first few weeks of enrolling! Next year, Ms. Bootsri will be the publisher of The Kiosk. Although this semester none of my mentees are in my discipline of communication and media, I have been so proud to watch them advance as powerful learners in their fields.
How ACE Pays It Forward
This morning I learned that ACE Scholarship’s name is actually an acronym: Achieve College Education. That ACE goal goes doubly true for my family. In the Spring ’20 semester, my son Kashmir and I will both be first-generation students at the same time! Because I am a single mother without much help from child support, the ACE scholarship will help both me and my son achieve our degrees.
Thank you to our board of trustees and all the people who support our CUNY SPS Scholarship programs. The impact is immediate and real.