John Jay College Senior Nicolas Montano Wins Prestigious Marshall Scholarship to Study in the UK

Nicolas Montano, a senior in the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has been awarded a prestigious British Marshall Scholarship  to study in the United Kingdom.  He is the first John Jay student – and one of six CUNY students to have ever received a Marshall Scholarship since the program’s inception.

Marshall Scholarships provide high achieving students from the United States with the opportunity to pursue studies at the graduate level in the United Kingdom.  Only forty students are selected annually for this highly competitive award.  The Scholarships are named in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall.  According to their mission statement, the Scholarships “commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan and express the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts.”

“We are proud and thrilled about Nico’s monumental achievement. He will serve as an inspiration not only to his peers but to future John Jay students. In a sense, all of the College community – his mentors, staff advisors and classmates – will share in his historic journey,” said President Jeremy Travis.

“I decided to attend John Jay because of its mission of educating for justice. No other school I looked at had justice as its primary focus. Now, I am really excited and proud to represent John Jay and to take with me all that the College stands for and to have an impact in another country and institution,” said Mr. Montano.

Upon completion of his undergraduate degree in Psychology of Juvenile Delinquency and International Criminology next spring, Mr. Montano, 20, will head to England to begin two graduate programs – a master’s degree in Research Methods in Social Policy and Sociology at the University of Liverpool, followed by a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The Marshall Scholarship will cover tuition costs and all living expenses for his two years abroad.

While at John Jay, Mr. Montano’s research and volunteer interests have focused on youth and community justice.

“The innovative work that he has already done toward exploring novel, community-based solutions for at risk-youth who live in high-crime neighborhoods places him among the future leaders in this field,” said Professor Ric Curtis, chair of John Jay’s Department of Anthropology, for whom Mr. Montano served as a research assistant on a project on youth and crime in the South Bronx.

Winning the Marshall Scholarship is yet another accomplishment in a young life filled with many milestones. Mr. Montano won the Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship in recognition of his academic excellence and was selected as a scholar in the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program. He is a John Jay-Vera Felllow and a New York Needs You (NYNY) Fellow.  This year, Mr. Montano participated in the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Latino Leadership Initiative Program. He was a student in the John Jay College Honors Program and is a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society.

“He has demonstrated academic ability and work ethics that are indicative of a successful graduate career,” said Professor Jana Arsovska of the Department of Sociology.  In the spring semester, Mr. Montano will collaborate with Professor Arsovska on her research project, Culture, Migration and Transnational Crime.

Mr. Montano was inspired to be a fierce advocate for justice at an early age. His family was personally affected by the civil war that ravaged El Salvador in the late 20th century.  Growing up in Spring Valley, NY, he also witnessed the consequences of poverty, limited educational opportunities and the absence of youth support systems. At the age of fourteen he joined ASPIRA – a national organization dedicated exclusively to developing the educational and leadership capacity of Hispanic youth.  He eventually became the president of the ASPIRA chapter in Spring Valley. He has served as a mentor to other youths through his internships at the South Bronx Community Connections for Youth and at Common Justice, a project of the Vera Institute of Justice.  While on family trips to El Salvador, he also has helped to teach English and enhance youth outreach programs.

“An integral part of who I am and what I represent are my parents. Having witnessed their struggle to make a better life for my sister and me, I learned and embraced their heritage. Being taught the values they hold dear to their hearts, I was able to mature into the young man I am now. Without their guidance and love, I would have never made it so far,” said Mr. Montano of his parents who share in his excitement.

Looking further ahead, Mr. Montano plans to earn a Ph.D. to continue his passion for research and academia. At the same time, he plans to remain active in the world of practice and youth-oriented community service.

An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law.

Contact: Doreen Vinas-Pineda for more information at 212-237-8645.