Graduate School Application Fund

For our Urban Studies and Environmental Studies majors who are applying to graduate programs, we have a small fund to help defray the expense of application fees and test preparation classes (e.g. GRE, LSAT). Please contact the Department Chair, Professor Tarry Hum, at for details on qualifications and how to apply.

Each May, we select a graduating student for each of our five named awards that recognize excellence in academic achievement, community leadership, and engaged research.

Graduate Address by Jasmine Olivera at the 2019 Spring Commencement Ceremony

Jasmine Olivera with Professor Sherry Baron at graduation.

Jasmine Olivera, graduating Urban Studies major, delivered the Graduate Address, which is Queens College’s equivalent of the valedictorian speech at the 2019 Spring Commencement. Read the text of Jasmine’s speech.

Hagedorn Award for First Generation College Students

Urban and Environmental Studies Majors who are among the first generation in their family to attend a four-year college in the United States are eligible for this award. Students wishing to apply for this award must fill out an application that includes two essays. Please check our News and Events page for Application Announcements and Deadlines!

Mikel Haye
2019 Awardee: Mikel Haye







Jeanefer Jean

My name is Jeanefer Jean and I am a senior at Queens College majoring in Urban Studies and minoring in Cities and Social Medicine. The faculty in Queens College and in the SEEK Program has helped me throughout my journey and shaped me into the woman I am today. Even though at times it may have been tough, they always encouraged me and pushed me to keep going. The Urban Studies courses have significantly influenced the ways in which I now see the world and whatever profession I pursue; it will be one in which social justice issues and the need for equity are central to its mission.

2019 Awardee: Jeanefer Jean







Shannae Johnson

My name is Shannae Johnson, a junior that major’s in Urban Studies and minor’s in Environmental Studies. Queens College has been my only home in the pursuit of my first bachelor’s degree since I moved to the United States in 2016. The faculty members here have been very personable and accessible, making my adjustment period fairly easy. Also, it has been very thrilling encountering other Urban Studies students who are devoted and especially helpful towards me. Through this, I am able to pursue my passion for development and growth of our cities and the communities within them. My goal specifically is to use my degree to make New York City more livable and sustainable for all.

2018 Awardee: Shannae Johnson




Matthew Edel Award for Academic Excellence

Ryan Douglass receives Matthew Edel Award.

This award is for graduating majors who demonstrate overall excellence in their urban studies coursework.

Matthew Edel established the Department of Urban Studies at QC in 1971.  Dr. Edel was an internationally respected Marxist economist who brought a well thought out theoretical perspective toward the problems that plague cities.  One didn’t have to agree with him to admire his attempt to give coherence to the myriad facts and theories that surrounded discussions of urban life in the 20th Century.   Dr. Edel a sophisticated vision based on a firm understanding of life as real people lived it, combined with knowledge gleaned from many of the other social sciences.  His life and career were tragically cut off far too early.

2019 Awardee: Ryan Douglas

Paul Davidoff Award for Community Service

Khaleel Anderson receives Paul Davidoff Award.

This award is for graduating majors who are actively engaged in community services and/or planning initiatives on campus or in Queens neighborhoods.

Paul Davidoff was an urban planner and a member of our faculty from 1982 until his death in 1984. Davidoff founded the practice of advocacy planning which promotes equity by engaging those typically marginalized or excluded from official planning processes and decision-making. In addition to his contributions to urban studies and planning theory, Davidoff’s planning practice challenged discriminatory zoning and land use policies and regulations.

2019 Awardee: Khaleel Anderson


Herbert Bienstock Award for Outstanding Research

Jasmine Olivera accepts Herbert Bienstock Award.

This award is for graduating students in the Urban Studies BA or Urban Affairs MA program for an excellent research project or paper.

Herbert Bienstock joined our faculty in 1979 after serving for 35 years in the Regional Office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He made statistics come alive in press conferences that made him a New York celebrity. At Queens College he displayed a deep sense of mission to teach and to help young people to think critically and to care about the future of their world.

2019 Awardees: Safraz Alli & Jasmine Olivera


Martin Eisenberg Award

Aracelia receives Martin Eisenberg Award.

This award is for graduating majors who demonstrate leadership and activism in urban or labor issues.

Martin was a community organizer and a fierce advocate for racial and economic justice. Before he became a sociologist, he worked for decades at the United Community Center in Brooklyn, which provided programs and services for residents in Brownsville and East New York. After earning his PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center, he taught in the Urban Studies Department and was revered as an energetic and devoted teacher.

2019 Awardee: Aracelia Cook


Marcia Bayne Smith Award

Sharon Palmer receives Marcia Bayne Smith Award.

Marcia’s family and friends established this award to recognize an MA in Urban Affairs for their commitment to African American or Afro-Caribbean women and their communities through excellence in a related research project or coursework.

Professor Marcia Bayne-Smith had many professional roles: social worker and administrator, researcher and author, international consultant, teacher and mentor. She did all of this with boundless energy, passion and compassion. Her scholarship explored the intersections of class, race, gender, immigrant status and access to health care as they affected health outcomes. She taught about these issues in her classes and consulted on them for government and foundations in the US and internationally. As a community health activist, Professor Bayne-Smith worked tirelessly on behalf of immigrants and especially, immigrant women of color. She was a founding member and the first Chair of the Caribbean Women’s Health Association.

2019 Awardee: Sharon Palmer

In Sharon Palmer’s MA Final Project entitled The Genesis of an Exodus, Sharon interviews upwardly mobile black Brooklynites on the various psychological and social issues and challenges that face them in navigating housing decisions in gentrifying Brooklyn.

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