News from LaGuardia Community College
If ever there was a moment to come to the aid of Queens and the neighborhoods that are home to many of our students, this is it. LaGuardia Community College is well prepared to assist low-income New Yorkers who lost their jobs because of Covid-19. We can provide access to college to older workers in need of new skills, and support the diverse immigrant communities of Queens. Unfortunately, there is no significant government financial aid for non-credit workforce-training programs. Most unemployed Queens residents desperate to re-enter the workforce have no means to pay for the education and training they need to get back on their feet. We are changing all of this. Please read about these efforts and more, below.
 
Wishing you a healthy and peaceful New Year,

Kenneth Adams
President
Professor Lucía Fuentes is a Pandemic Hero
For LaGuardia Biology Professor A. Lucía Fuentes, the coronavirus hit very close to home. Her husband died from complications of the virus, which she and their medical resident son contracted as well. Amidst her grief and recovery, she was determined to leverage the global pandemic into a learning opportunity that could also help prevent others from becoming ill. She guided her students in the creation of informational materials about Covid-19, and then translating the materials into the students’ native languages, namely Spanish, Chinese and Romanian. The students then distributed the materials throughout immigrant communities in Queens and internationally.  

New Scholarship Fund to Help Queens Residents Get Back to Work
Many unemployed Queens residents desperate to re-enter the workforce have no means to pay for the training they need to get back on their feet. We are changing all of this. Thanks to the LaGuardia Community College Foundation Board of Directors, we have a new scholarship fund for Adult and Continuing Education (ACE) students. The ACE Division has a long history of providing high-quality accelerated workforce training, professional certificate training programs, small business assistance, as well as high school equivalency, adult basic skills and NYC’s largest English as a Second Language (ESL) program. The average cost of a LaGuardia ACE Industry Certification course is $1,600. Our Foundation Directors have committed to raising $500,000 during the remainder of this fiscal year to support this new scholarship fund. This is an important step toward enabling LaGuardia to play a role in the economic recovery of Queens and helping New Yorkers impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Graduating Tomorrow’s STEM Workforce
Did you know? When it comes to graduating students with STEM degrees LaGuardia ranks third among 25 CUNY colleges and graduate schools - right behind City Tech and City College. Why? Our faculty are devoted to our students’ success, making them feel welcomed and providing mentorship. Our extensive support services—advising, personal librarians, LaGuardia CARES, the Foundation and others—help students overcome obstacles so they can focus on school and get to graduation.

Teaching During Covid
While the exhaustion and challenges around Covid are great, they are no match for the perseverance of our faculty. Michele Piso Manoukian, associate director of LaGuardia’s Center for Teaching and Learning and co-facilitator of Language across the Curriculum, asked faculty members to write about their reflections on teaching during Covid. Their moving and deeply personal words, written early in the pandemic, still resonate now—many months later. I hope you are as impressed by their deep commitment to forging and maintaining connections with our students during these extraordinary times, as I am. 

Fehim Hoti
Opportunities for International Students
I recently spoke with 19-year-old biology student, Fehim Hoti, an international student from Kosovo. Fehim is taking advantage of everything he can to make the most of his time at LaGuardia. He is a member of our Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society, CUNY Food Justice Leadership Fellowship, CUNY Research Scholars, and most recently, President’s Society—our unique leadership development program for high-achieving students. Not only is he gaining valuable leadership and industry experience through these activities, but many provide him with much needed stipends. Fehim has also received a Foundation scholarship.

Ongoing Fundraising to Prevent Student Hunger
With so many of our students unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic the support we provide to help them put food on the table for themselves and their immediate family members is vital. LaGuardia CARES provides students in need with gift cards and vouchers to use towards groceries and distributes non-perishable food items on campus once a week. In November, our Student Government Association came together with our Food Insecurity Committee of mostly faculty and staff to raise funds for LaGuardia CARES. Over $9,500 was brought in from 140 donations. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we will continue working to raise funds to reduce food insecurity within our community.

Student Showcase Concert at Home
On December 10, the LaGuardia Music Performance program presented the Fall 2020 Student Showcase Concert at Home. This is an end-of-semester online concert that celebrates the great artistic output of the students in our Music Performance and Music Recording Technology programs. It's a wonderful collection of 27 performances -- edited and produced for YouTube and other social media by students and faculty in the program. The full showcase is available here.
 
Tom Dempsey, Program Director and host of the showcase, working with colleagues Will Fulton and David Stott, created a sampler featuring four of the 27 performances. I think it makes a great holiday treat. If you like it, please share it with friends and family.

Happy Holidays!