NEW YORK, September 14, 2006 — Freshmen Akia Caine, Christopher Bandera, Sheena Dorvil and Jason Grant, all aspiring physicians and/or medical researchers in the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at The City College of New York (CCNY), today received prestigious Lois Pope Annual LIFE Unsung Hero Scholarships. Mrs. Pope, the Florida-based philanthropist and President of Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), presented the awards, which each carry a $25,000 stipend, at a ceremony in the CCNY Faculty Dining Hall.

This is the ninth year that Mrs. Pope has presented scholarships to incoming Sophie Davis freshmen who have demonstrated academic excellence and selfless community service in high school.

“These four individuals have shown both excellence in their studies and selfless volunteerism outside of the classroom,” Mrs. Pope said. “Their commitment, paired with their stellar qualities, will continue to distinguish them, not just in their chosen professions, but more importantly as they strive to make profound contributions to the betterment of humanity.”

The LIFE Unsung Hero Scholarship program is an extension of Lois Pope’s vision for rewarding and encouraging young people who put extraordinary effort into helping others. LIFE is a non-profit organization that is guided by the firm belief that young people are our most valuable resource and that learning from hands-on community service opportunities is an important and lasting way to educate, motivate and improve community life. One of Mrs. Pope’s inspirations for creating the LIFE Foundation was an article she read in a Florida newspaper about a young man who had collected over 2,000 pairs of shoes for needy children.

For over 30 years, the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at CCNY has served to open the door to a medical career for promising young people, many from groups underrepresented in medicine. The School offers a combined seven-year B.S./M.D. program. Students spend five years at CCNY where they complete a B.S. degree and the curriculum content of the first two years of medical school. They then transfer to one of six cooperating medical schools to complete their M.D. degree. More than 1,600 students have gone on to earn their M.D. degrees from the School’s cooperating institutions.

Brief bios of the 2006 Pope Scholars follow:

Akia Caine: Ms. Caine distinguished herself in various academic and extracurricular pursuits at Stuyvesant High School, where she took a number of elective and advanced science courses that reinforced her interest in medicine. The Staten Island resident, who lost her mother two years ago, wants to work in a hospital, preferably in an underrepresented area, because she wants to give back to the community. A thespian, she acted in both musicals and drama at Stuyvesant, including a lead part in “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Christopher Bandera: From Woodside, Queens, Mr. Bandera received a National Merit commendation and was named to the Order of the Owl, reserved for students at Regis High School with the highest academic records. A scholar-athlete, he played baseball for Regis and community teams and still found time to mentor in REACH, a program that pairs volunteers with economically disadvantaged junior high school males. Mr. Bandera developed an interest in medicine when his mother battled a serious health condition. His experience as a volunteer patient escort in the pediatric division of Memorial Sloane-Kettering Hospital reinforced that interest.

Sheena Dorvil: Among Ms. Dorvil’s accomplishments at the Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead was making the Honor Roll and induction into the National Honor Society. She also earned membership in honor societies for math, science and French. Ms. Dorvil ran for Sacred Heart’s cross country and winter track and field teams. She also volunteers as an advocate for the New York City Coalition for Hunger and had spent three summers volunteering as a patient aide, first at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre and then at the Franklin General Medical Center in Valley Stream, which heightened her desire to pursue a medical career. She lives in Elmont, Long Island.

Jason Grant: At Brooklyn Technical High School, Mr. Grant’s work as a Biomedical Science major earned him awards for projects submitted to the New York City Science and Engineering Fair and kudos from the teaching staff as a “blazing intellect in the sciences.” His projects also were placed in the New York City Olympics of the Mind Competition. As a participant in the Center for Excellence in Youth Education Program, Mr. Grant spent two summers at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center, where he worked in a Microbiology laboratory. He lives in Brooklyn.

Contact: Jay Mwamba, 212/650-7580, jmwamba@ccny.cuny.edu