NEW YORK, June 26, 2007 — Corvena Francis, a senior majoring in Psychology at The City College of New York (CCNY), was one of 25 undergraduates nationwide awarded the 2007 Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color.

A native of St. Catherine, Jamaica, who now resides in the Bronx, Ms. Francis is the first City College student to receive the prestigious Fellowship and only the seventh from The City University of New York (CUNY) system since the program’s inception in 1991. “It was extremely competitive and I’m grateful to God for being selected,” said an ecstatic Ms. Francis.

Fellows were selected for their commitment to education, children and youth, and teaching in the public schools. Each will receive up to $22,100 over a five-year period that begins this summer. The Fellowships also cover full-time graduate study and will end upon completion of three years of public school teaching.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund invited applicants from a select group of 27 colleges and universities that included Duke, Brown, Howard and Princeton as well as CCNY. These schools were chosen for the overall quality of their undergraduate programs and their commitment to educating minorities and improving teaching in public schools.

Ms. Francis, who graduated from Shortwood Teachers College in Kingston, Jamaica, and taught high school in her home town before entering CCNY, plans a career in public education in the United States after graduate school. “My goal is to become a principal, and thanks to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship this is something that I should be able to achieve with less expense, in a shorter time span and with greater enthusiasm,” she said.

As part of the Fellowship, Ms. Francis is conducting a summer project at the Children’s Storefront, a K-8 institution in Harlem. At the end of the project, Ms. Francis will give a presentation on her experience at a summer workshop for all the Fellows and their mentors, August 2 — 5 in Washington. Her mentor is Dr. Leonard Lewis, Director of the CCNY School of Education’s Learning Resource Center. “My seven-week project is to introduce children at the school to different cultures so that they may be able to understand the people around them and their way of life,” she explained.

Miriam Añeses, Director of the Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color program, said the Manhattan-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund was honored to play a role in encouraging and assisting students of color to become teachers in the public school system. “Our fellowships give outstanding students such as these an opportunity to be education leaders,” she added.

The Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color initiative is a key component of the Charles E. Culpeper Human Advancement program. The Fellowship recognizes the vitally important role of education in human advancement and seeks to increase the number of highly qualified teachers of color in K-12 public education in the United States. Each year the Fund awards up to 25 fellowships to students of color who plan to enter the teaching profession. Since the program’s inception, the RBF has awarded fellowships to 325 students.

For more on the 2007 Fellows and the Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color, visit

About the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Founded in 1940, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund encourages social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. The RBF’s grant-making is organized around four themes: Democratic Practice, Sustainable Development, Peace and Security, and Human Advancement.

About The City College of New York

For 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 13,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, the Grove School of Engineering, the Center for Worker Education and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.

Contact: Jay Mwamba, 212/650-7580,