News from LaGuardia Community College
Big news to report this month: a generous donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) recently made a $5 million contribution to the LaGuardia Foundation! This is the largest gift ever to the college. Okay, there’s a catch. It’s a challenge grant. To get the $5 million we have to raise $10 million by December 31. We can do it – indeed, to help our LaGuardia students we must do it. Think about it: Living in the Queens neighborhoods hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, our students have confronted the loss of loved ones, jobs, and income. LaGuardia students want to stay in school to gain the skills and earn the degrees that will get them well-paying jobs, but it is hard to make college a priority if you have lost your job and are struggling to pay the rent. Can you help? For information about the $15 million LaGuardia Challenge, please visit laguardia.edu/challenge.
 
Thank you,
 
Kenneth Adams
President
LaGuardia Student Wins National Scholarship for STEM Majors
Veronica Martínez Castro is the first LaGuardia Community College student named a Goldwater Scholar, one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships for STEM majors in the United States. Outstanding students from two- and four-year colleges compete for the scholarship, designed for those interested in pursuing research careers in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. A native of Ecuador, Veronica is one of a small, elite group of 2021 Goldwater Scholars selected from America’s community colleges.
Faculty Leadership in Critical Disciplines
In recent weeks, LaGuardia professors organized two conferences for educators and students from New York and beyond. Under the leadership of Professor Holly Porter-Morgan (Environmental Sciences), the inaugural CUNY Conference on Climate Change Education, C4E, united environmental science experts from around the world, including author and climate activist Bill McKibben, who gave a keynote address. Thanks to the tireless efforts and advocacy of Professor Ana María Hernández (Latin American Studies and Spanish-English Translation), the NEH Latin American/Latinx Studies Symposium, “Building Bridges”, brought together scholars from CUNY and the U.S. to explore connections between Caribbean and Africana Studies and Latin American/Latinx Studies.
Standing Firmly Against Asian American Hate Crimes
LaGuardia’s Asian Heritage Celebration—held every Spring to coincide with Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month—is focusing this year on the alarming rise in threats and physical attacks against Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic. In collaboration with community-based organizations and cultural institutions that empower New York City’s Asian American communities, including the Asian American Federation, Chhaya, and Sapna NYC, LaGuardians are coming together to explore the impact these deplorable acts are having on our communities and examine how we can help put an end to them. My gratitude to NYC Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis for giving the keynote address at our “Asian American Communities in NYC in the Pandemic Era” conference.
Congratulations to Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, Zilla Tofte
Mechanical engineering major Zilla Tofte was recently selected as a 2021 Jack Kent Cooke Scholar. Zilla is one of just 72 winners selected from a nationwide pool of 1,300 community college students who applied for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. As a winner, Zilla will receive up to $40,000 per year for three years to complete her Bachelor’s degree, and potentially earn a graduate degree as well.  Zilla, who is from South Africa, credits her LaGuardia professors for helping her realize her knack for problem solving, and finding her passion for environmental and engineering science.
Celebrating LaGuardia’s 49th Graduating Class
We have some terrific speakers lined up for our Virtual Commencement Celebration on Thursday, June 17, 2021, beginning at 1:00 p.m. More than 2,000 students are expected to earn their Associate degrees. Viewers will be able to watch via laguardia.edu/commencement.
Thanks to our Volunteers!
We recently asked LaGuardia faculty and staff to volunteer for our Student Call Campaign to contact students to see how things are going for them and help them connect with college resources to address issues they are dealing with in their personal lives. In total, 138 volunteers spoke with 1,295 students—delivering the message that the college cares about them, that they belong at LaGuardia, and reminding them that solutions are often available to help them address issues they may be facing.
Erratum: Click here to access a free, downloadable report from the Advising Success Network that features a case study (pg. 20) about our First-Year Seminar (FYS) program. Through FYS, first-year students get introduced to college resources, reflect on their academic and professional goals, and connect with faculty, advisors and fellow students in their major. An incorrect link was published in the April newsletter.