Hagedorn Award for First Generation College Students in Urban and Environmental Studies
Meet the 2016 Winners!
Honfai Kan. My name is Honfai Kan and I was born in Hong Kong. Being the first generation college student helped me realize the value of a college education. I decide to major in Urban Studies because I am interested in public policy, and I hope to participate in community affairs in the future. After graduating with my BA in Urban Studies, I planned to pursue my master degree in Urban Affairs in Queens College. It is sad to see how our society is being divided, and racism and classism are still big issues in America. By studying different social and urban issues, I truly believe that as long as we work on it together, we can have better solutions for these problems in the future. I really like studying in Urban Studies, because I have met lots of passionate people in different classes. I learned a lot from my classmates, and I hope that we can achieve a just society in the future.
Reshad Hai. Before I was an Urban Studies major, I was studying Civil Engineering. I completed two years before I switched. Urban Studies was an area of study that appealed to my dual interests in the built environment and social justice. I immediately felt purposeful in my first couple of major-related classes such as Urban Poverty. I would be eager to get my hands on the reading because I found it so fascinating. For class, I wrote about my experience attending a march against police brutality and my professor wanted me to publish it in the school’s writing journal. I have become more aware of the social issues occurring around me because of this change of study. I am now vice-president of the Urban Studies Club and I am actively involved in raising awareness about social justice on campus. I am working for the Queens Memory Project at the Queens Library as part of CUNY Service Corps. The work I am the proudest of was helping teenagers document the history of Ridgewood. I worked with teenagers from the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council and I taught them how to catalog photos of the neighborhood given to us by donors and conduct interviews with local residents. I basically taught them how to do my job and it felt very empowering knowing that teenagers were interested in documenting the history of their neighborhood.
Norman Jeong. In the end, Queens College was the best choice for me as it provided the quality education I wanted for the price. Taking a Poverty and Affluence class the first semester changed my outlook on the way I say society and grabbed my interest with the possibilities it held on making an impact with my job and career. Even though I initially chose it to fulfill my general education requirements, it eventually became the cornerstone for the rest of my college education. My curriculum also exposed me to the need for social justice and tackling issues that were relevant and meaningful to people. My short and long term career goals were inspired by this semester’s NYC Politics class with Councilman James ‘Jimmy’ Vacca. Professor Vacca taught the importance of community participation and the necessity of his job and advocating for the constituents and for the community. This has inspired me to consider perhaps running for a public office, however that looks like in the future. I would also like to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health or Public Administration. From having an uncertain future to having a clarified future with the span of my time at Queens College and majoring in Urban Studies has really allowed me to succeed.
Amir Khafagy. My name is Amir Khafagy and I’m a Egyptian- Puerto Rican American who is a proud student of Queens College. I am the first in my family to attend college and I will be the first in my family to graduate college. This is a big personal achievement for me because for much of my academic career I wasn’t always the best student I could have been. Studying and juggling multiple low wage jobs in order to support my self has proven to very difficult. My commitment to social justice has given my the proper motivation I needed to make school my number one priority. I believe that my major in Urban Studies can prepare me for the challenge of improving working peoples lives in any way I could. I have always wanted to be able to make the fight against inequality, racism, poverty and exploitation central to my life. By studying the historical causes of many of the social and urban issues that we find in our world today we then can begin to develop permanent solutions to these problems, such as finding a way of eliminating poverty in our life time. After graduating I would hope to be part or create a organization that would help make poor and working class people believe that what might seem impossible today can truly be possible tomorrow.
Karen Mejia. My name is Karen Brigitte Mejia. Both of my parents are from Colombia and have instilled in me the importance of education and attaining a degree from a young age. I am absolutely enthralled to receive a scholarship that will help me attain a degree in Environmental and Urban Studies Spring 2015. My college journey started at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2010. I had always wanted to become a homicide detective (chief eventually) but I had a change of heart. I found myself more concerned with issues effecting my community (Queens, NYC, humanity, Mother Earth) in a grassroots way. I decided to transfer to Queens College and here, I have truly had a rewarding learning experience where I’ve been able to connect with likeminded people through courses and met some great role models. I find myself saying “WOW, I truly love what I’m studying!” I aspire to raise awareness, unity and power against climate change and injustices – within the people; especially our youth. I intend to do so first through my Peace Corps two year service starting in September 2015 then I am open to the possibilities life may have in store for me.
Rosanna Spicer. After graduating with my BA in Urban Studies, I will be applying to Masters in Public Health programs with a focus on Epidemiology. I’ve always been passionate about public health issues and specifically the research into health disparities in the United States that affect low income and people of color. Urban Studies is an excellent background to have for going into the field of public health because it emphasizes the practice of recognizing cause and effect relationships between social health crises and systems that cause and exacerbate them. Access to quality healthcare is a social justice issue! Urban Studies challenges the idea that illness and poverty are a pathology of the individual and more closely examines how systems work to create inequality. Re-imagining a healthier society starts with critiquing the public policy, laws and systems in place that contribute to health disparities.
- Lucy Cerritos
- Marissa Testani
- Mariah Chaudry
- Songyi Ee
- Orson Barzola
Faculty Course Grants:
Course Grants for Experiential Learning Activities
- These grants support course-specific activities foster an experiential learning environment, up to $500/semester.
- All full and part time instructors are eligible to apply.
- Download the Experiential Learning Course Enhancement Application for further instructions.