Graphic Illustration by Milan Fredricks
Every year, students who are within 30 credits of their degree completion 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 each Wednesday.
The next essay in this series is by Kimberley Alexandre. Kimberley is a Human Relations major and will graduate in Spring ’19.
My modified Cinderella Story
By Kimberley Alexandre, ACE Scholar
Yes, I said Cinderella story because that is exactly how I felt every time Daralee Schulman popped up into one of my classrooms. My first encounter with Daralee was as a recruiter for the Bachelor of Arts in Human Relations at the CUNY School of Professional Studies program. On that day, Daralee Schulman changed my life for good. I returned to school as an adult learner ready to embrace the new challenges of becoming a student again. Daralee became my CUNY SPS fairy godmother. The second time Daralee Schulman reappeared in my classroom, Schulman once again changed my life by telling the students to apply for a scholarship through CUNY SPS. I took my CUNY SPS fairy godmothers advice and now I am an ACE Scholar recipient. The ACE Scholarship has given me an opportunity to pay it forward by encouraging others who are starting the same journey I once took two years ago.
Receiving the ACE Scholarship is the only reason I was able to finish my last semester at CUNY SPS. The best part of receiving the scholarship was becoming a mentor to three amazing students. I remember the first day I met my mentees and how nervous they were at returning back to school. I realized at that moment, so many of us adult students must feel the same way. Questions like, “Will I be able to keep up?” or “Am I going to be able to complete school with everything I have on my plate?” are some of the questions my mentees asked. I learned through the ACE Peer-Mentor program that, yes you can keep up, and yes, school is challenging and you will not be alone through this journey. You will receive the encouragements needed to keep going and your mentor will show you some paths you can take to help you transition back into student mode.
The ACE Peer-Mentor program also taught me a valuable lesson about looking out for others, even if they tell you everything is alright. Both my mentees and I have learned to have open conversations and not be afraid to express what hardships we are facing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and most of all, if you learned something new that can help others, spread the word. Sometimes we don’t want to burden others; at the same time, we know we need some help, some words of encouragement to push us along. The ACE Peer-Mentor program has given me an opportunity to gain more experience in ways of becoming a better leader. Most of all, the program showed me to never give up, even if your situation looks bleak. Someone like Daralee Schulman, Zeita- Marion Lobley, or Anthony Sweeney will show up and help you achieve your dreams.
I am grateful for the support and lessons I received through the ACE Scholarship. I hope many others will achieve my modified Cinderella Story by also receiving an ACE Scholarship award. My degree completion is next month.