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Nine City Tech Students Named ‘Teachers as Leaders Project’ Scholars

City Tech TALP scholars, from left: Joseph, Taiwo, Soodeen, McCalmont, Sealy and Emmanuel.
Photo credit: M. Forsten/City Tech

Nine City Tech Black Male Initiative (BMI) students have received Teachers as Leaders Project (TALP) scholarships – the largest number of students from the same City University of New York (CUNY) college to earn the awards for this semester.

Geared to cover student tuition and education-related expenses for the fall 2010 semester,
the scholarships are being offered with the generous support of the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and the Schott Foundation for Public Education.

In addition to the monetary awards, the students participate in New York State Teacher Certification Examination (NYSTCE) workshops as well as those in career development, public policy and clinical education. In addition, they are mentored by current and former New York City public school teachers.

Most of the current City Tech TALP scholars who were part of the program in previous semesters have passed all three teacher certification exams. The others, whose majors range from applied mathematics, computer systems, liberal arts and sciences, and human services, will attend workshops this fall and then take the NYSTCE.  

The Fall 2010 City Tech TALP scholars are Salim Arfaoui, Marlon Bailey, Evita Belmonte, Andrea Emmanuel, Gemma Hyacinth, Travion K. Joseph, Mark McCalmont, Sherma A. Soodeen and Michael Taiwo.

For many of these students, the $2,500 scholarship, renewable for up to eight semesters of full-time study, is their only source of funding.

“The program has been a stepping stone to my career,” says Mark McCalmont, who is graduating this fall with a bachelor’s degree in education. “All of the activities we participate in are preparing us to be good teachers. I don’t know how I would get through college without it,”

Having already passed all three certification examinations, McCalmont plans to teach high school math and technology-related subjects. Through TALP, he has already gained invaluable experience in the field. Besides his required internship, he recently tutored 9th and 10th grade students enrolled in a CUNY summer program. 

“The scholarship helped keep me and my family afloat so that I could maintain my status as a full-time student,” explains Evita Belmonte, also graduating this fall with a bachelor’s degree in education. Belmonte, who has passed all three teacher certification exams, is already consulting for an education organization. “My goals are to use my knowledge and experience as an education advocate to help my community, especially by helping to teach teachers to teach.”

City Tech alumnus Kurt Sealy was part of the TALP program while a student here and continues as a TALP scholar at another CUNY college, where he is pursuing a double major in political science and English. His short-term goals are to work in the areas of youth and curriculum development. Further in the future he hopes to earn a PhD in political science and go into politics. He gives back to his alma mater by volunteering in the City Tech BMI office.

“The CUNY TALP staff should be applauded for being so responsive and helpful,” he says. “The internship experience was invaluable for me; as part of it, I visited some Brooklyn public schools and saw first-hand from how the pupils related to me that they have a need for compassionate, black role models. And that’s exactly what the TALP program is producing.”

Other City Tech TALP scholars interested in earning advanced degrees are Andrea Emmanuel, who wants to become an English professor and writer after earning a PhD, and Travion Joseph, an applied mathematics major at City Tech who wants to study physics or engineering.

Two of the more junior City Tech TALP scholars are Sherma A. Soodeen, a human services major and mother of four children between the ages of five and 14, and Michael Taiwo, a nursing major, who plans to teach medical math.

As a TALP scholar, Marlon Bailey, who has passed all three certification exams, went to Germany and learned how that country’s education system works. “I found similarities between the German system and the Caribbean system I was raised on,” he explains. “The experience was an eye-opener for me, like so much of the TALP program has been. We’ve been given so many opportunities. I can’t thank the CUNY BMI and City Tech BMI people enough.”


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