Young Latinas Leadership Institute Scholarships Awarded to Five CUNY Students

Five outstanding young women, all freshmen at The City University of New York, have been named recipients of the first Young Latinas Leadership Institute Scholarship.

The students were awarded $1,000 for four years to be used toward their college tuition. In addition to the scholarships, as inaugural participants in the Young Latinas Leadership Institute, the young women will be paired with prominent Latina professionals as mentors and will be invited to all conferences and seminars sponsored by 100 Hispanic Women.

The scholarships were presented by Shirley Rodriguez Remenski, president of 100 Hispanic Women, which sponsors the Young Latinas Leadership Institute, at a Hispanic Heritage Month reception at Hunter College on November 21. Speakers included Diana Lam, deputy chancellor for Teaching and Learning of the New York City Department of Education, and President Jennifer J. Raab of Hunter College.

The scholarship winners are:

Yesenia Garcia, a student of Mexican and Puerto Rican background at Hunter College, has an ultimate career goal in mind—computer technology. She plans to major in computer science and computer engineering. Inspired by watching a technician fix her computer many times when she couldn’t, she wants to get into a field “where a person could find out how to do things on their own.” Aware that computer technology is mainly a male-dominated field, she plans to “go against the odds…to show that women can be leaders and can do anything they set their minds to.” At Norman Thomas High School, Yesenia won awards and a scholarship, was active in the Honor society, chairperson of the Intellectual Affairs Committee, and developed her leadership skills as a volunteer in the East Side House Settlement Youth Leadership Program. She is a resident of the Bronx.

Nicole Caruso, 17, is a student in New York City College of Technology’s BA program in Human Services. Of Cuban heritage, Nicole graduated from John Dewey High School with the most awards in her graduating class, including ones for achievement in English, Spanish and Japanese Studies. She was a member of the Arista Honor Society for six years. She volunteered as a tutor in Biology, with Junior Achievement in a local elementary school, and for many hours in her church. School has always been so important to her she has not missed a single day since the third grade. Nicole loves working with children and hopes to work in a hospital or children’s agency. She is a resident of Brooklyn.

Luissa Christina Chevere, a student at Lehman College with a Puerto Rican and Dominican background, has been inspired by her mother, an elementary school teacher for over ten years. Luissa is considering being a child psychologist, and her mother is her role model and strongest supporter. As an excellent high school student at the Wings Academy, she did community service in a nearby elementary school. She is a resident of the Bronx.

Lavinia L. Solano, a College of Staten Island student with a Puerto Rican background, has a completely clear career goal in mind—to be a successful fashion designer/entrepreneur with a clothing boutique that markets to plus-sized teenagers. Bursting with creative ideas, she is thinking about a second career as well: painting murals, something she has already done for family and friends. Lavinia has worked as a clown at children’s parties and taught the children painting and crafts, is on the youth staff at her church, and would like to serve as a future role model by mentoring elementary school children. Her own biggest role model she says is her mother who earned a Master’s of Science degree while working full time and raising a family. For now she is focused on getting a business degree because “management and marketing skills are essential for an entrepreneur, especially for a young Latina woman.” She is a resident of Staten Island.

Enita Lauren Rivera, a Baruch College student of Puerto Rican heritage, plans to major in hotel management, and eventually open her own hotel in Miami Beach that will express her ideas of how a hotel should look, feel, and serve. She has her eye on internships in the hotel industry over the next four years and eventually a Master’s degree in Hotel Management. As a Latina, she said, “I want to set an example for all young Hispanic ladies that we should no longer be looked at as minorities and statistics but as emerging leaders in business and society. I want to show that we can be powerful figures in the world and we have nothing stopping us.” Enita is a resident of Manhattan.

The scholarships are made possible through the generous support of Avon, Con Edison and United Way.

More than 86,000 Hispanic students are enrolled at The City University of New York, half of them pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. More than 62% of those students are women.