Two LaGuardia Community College Students Awarded Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Long Island City, NY—June 22, 2015— LaGuardia Community College students Xavier Medina and Nathan Weiss have been awarded the prestigious 2015 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This generous scholarship is awarded to the nation’s top community college students, providing up to $40,000 per year for completion of their bachelor’s degrees at four-year colleges or universities.

“We’re so proud to have two students awarded the outstanding Jack Kent Cooke scholarship this year. Xavier and Nathan represent the academic rigor happening at LaGuardia and community colleges nationwide,” said President Gail O. Mellow. “The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has increasingly recognized the need for elite colleges to tap community colleges for bright and diverse talent.”

This year, 90 recipients were chosen from over 2,000 applications from across the country. Awardees were chosen by a selection committee of admissions professionals, and selection was based on exceptional academic ability, financial need, persistence leadership and the desire to help others.

“Community colleges hold some of best untapped talent in the nation, but often these students need financial resources, guidance, and support in order to take the next step and earn bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees,” explained Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Harold O. Levy. “The Cooke Foundation has always been committed to identifying the best of the best in community colleges across the country, and this year we have an extraordinary group.”

Xavier Medina, who was a Liberal Arts, Social Science and Humanities major at LaGuardia was accepted to NYU, Fordham, Sarah Lawrence, City College and Columbia. He will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Columbia in the fall.

“The award was absolutely life changing,” Medina said. “If you had asked me two or three years ago, I never would have thought I would be applying and going to Columbia. And being able to get an undergraduate degree without debt is amazing.”

Nathan Weiss, an economics major while at LaGuardia, will complete his bachelor’s degree in Finance at Baruch College. He’s currently interning at Bank of America Merrill Lynch as an analyst in their mergers and acquisitions group.

“Winning this scholarship means more to me than words can describe. Not only does it facilitate me being able to continue my education, but it also alleviates the financial pressure exerted on myself and my family,” Weiss said. “I cannot thank the foundation enough for choosing me as one of the JKC scholars; I feel very fortunate and am even more motivated to challenge myself moving forward.”

The next application cycle for the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship Program will run from late September to early December. Rising sophomores and recent community college graduates (within the last five years) are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

“We believe our program makes a difference, but we’d also like to see more and better partnerships between community colleges and four-year schools, particularly selective institutions, as well as resources before, during, and after transfer,” said Levy. “As President Obama has said, we need to change the way we think about community colleges as they will be critical to developing the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”

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LaGuardia CommunityCollegelocated in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.


The Jack Kent CookeFoundationis dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. By offering the largest scholarships in the country, comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from 7th grade to graduate school, the Foundation is dedicated to ensuring high-performing, low-income students have the support necessary to develop their talents and excel educationally. In addition to its scholarship programs, the Foundation provides grants for innovative, high-impact initiatives that benefit such students. By doing so, the Cooke Foundation seeks to use its resources to end the Excellence Gap, the disparity between the number of low and high income students who reach the top levels of academic performance. Founded in 2000, the Foundation has awarded $130 million in scholarships to 1,900 students and over $80 million in grants.