Long Island City, NY—A LaGuardia Community College student who took the leadership and computer skills he learned in the United States Marine Corps and went on to become an outstanding scholar and campus leader has been selected as a Kaplan Educational Foundation Scholar.
Aaron Hudson, a resident of Queens, was one of five community college students in New York City to receive this highly competitive scholarship. The program, which was established two years ago, focuses on students enrolled in associate’s degree programs who have high academic and leadership potential but who might not realize their potential due to limited resources, support, and guidance.
The program is a unique scholarship in that it not only provides its students with financial support throughout their college experience, but also with academic assistance in the form of individual and group tutoring through the completion of his bachelor’s degree, leadership development training, and cultural enrichment.
“The Kaplan Foundation Program will be my springboard to achieve my educational, professional career, and personal goals,” said Aaron. “Just as the program has raised its goals and standards to reach out to the community, it will help me to do the same.”
Before gaining acceptance to the program, Aaron had carefully laid out his academic and career course: obtain an associate’s degree in network systems administration, go directly into the workforce, and hope that his employer had a tuition assistance program that would help him work toward a baccalaureate degree in business.
Now, the goal is the same, but because the financial burden has been lifted he plans to immediately pursue his bachelor’s degree in either information management systems or business information, and, ultimately, secure a position in a financial company.
“I know a lot about computers,” said Aaron. “I can fix them and build them, but I also think it is important to have a business background. By combining the networking background with a business-related major it will allow me to be useful in today’s economy.”
Aaron began his educational career at LaGuardia in the fall of 2005, shortly after completing his contract with the Marines. “At the time my unit was being shipped to Iraq but my commanding officer told me, ‘you are about to be a father. Go and be a family,'” he said.
Aaron began his civilian life as a student at LaGuardia. With a background in computers, he enrolled as a computer networking administration major and immediately established himself as an outstanding student.
“There are students, and then, there are students,” said Professor Avis Anderson of the Computer Information Systems Department who was one of Aaron’s instructors. “While I believe that each student is special and has some special attribute, Aaron continues to astonish me with his commitment to learn, communicate, share, and grow.”
Aaron has also made his mark as an effective student leader. He joined the honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, where he serves as vice president of student recruitment and retention. As a result of his efforts in that position, the chapter received two PTK awards for high enrollment and new members. He is also is a student-parent board member for the college’s Early Childhood Learning Center where his four-year-old daughter, Melina Rose, is enrolled.
Aaron was to have graduated this spring but the Kaplan program has asked him to extend his stint at LaGuardia for one more year so that it can groom him for his advanced degree and future career. To prepare him for the required standardized college exams and the academic rigors of a four-year institution, Aaron will receive individual and group tutoring. When he is ready to apply to colleges, a counselor will guide him through the process. To build his leadership skills, he will attend regularly scheduled workshops. And to broaden his cultural experiences, the program will have him participate in theater outings and museum tours.
“When I complete this program, I will be ready for what the world has to offer,” said Aaron. “I want to be the one that colleges chase down to offer scholarships, and the one employers are ready to recruit.”
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LaGuardia Community College, part of the City University of New York, is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges. Its vibrant and culturally diverse student body, representing 159 countries and speaking 110 languages, has established LaGuardia as “The World’s Community College.” The college provides a broad array of academic, workforce development, and continuing education programs to over 41,000 students. LaGuardia is located in the heart of western Queens. To learn about our exciting college, please go to www.laguardia.edu.
For more information, please contact
Randy Fader-Smith at (718) 482-5060 Randyfs@lagcc.cuny.edu