May 6, 2013 | Student Feature
(New York, NY): First-year students Gibsy Lino and Samuel van der Swaagh are each slated to receive a Student Leadership Award from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Frank D. Sanchez at the Excellence in Leadership Award Ceremony. This award is given to students who have displayed outstanding leadership within their respective CUNY college communities through academic and service-related activities during the 2012-2013 academic year. The ceremony will take place on Friday, May 10, 2013, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Richard Harris Terrace, located at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Vice Chancellor Sanchez and other distinguished guests will be in attendance to honor the students.
Gibsy Lino chose The New Community College at CUNY because of its small size and its collaborative and integrated model. She maintains 3.8 GPA and is very supportive of the College’s mission. Gibsy has represented the College as a student leader at its first Foundations for Excellence (FoE) Retreat and offered valuable insight and feedback in discussions and strategies about advancing the college’s collaborative model. In addition, Gibsy volunteered with New York Cares, an NCC Community Partner, on MLK Service Day for Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts in the Rockaways. Dressed in a hazmat suit, she climbed 10 flights of stairs with tools in hand to rip out dry walls and clean out debris left from the storm. Unmindful of her own danger and discomfort, she expressed her disbelief that victims were still living in dismal conditions months after the hurricane. Gibsy notes that “the experience was very touching but at the same time it was amazing.”
Additionally, she is a student leader in many other college activities: she was selected the team leader for her City Seminar group to lead a discussion on immigration; she participated and was recognized in the Economic Ventures Entrepreneurship workshop; led many discussions in the College’s What’s Trending in the News Forum; and is currently nominated by faculty and staff to be a Peer Mentor. In her own community, she volunteers at outreach centers and works with cerebral palsy patients and children in foster care. For these reasons, Gibsy intends to earn an Associate’s Degree in Human Services at The New Community College in 2014 and hopes to attend Lehman College to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.
Samuel van der Swaagh, a member of the inaugural class of The New Community College, maintains a 4.0 GPA and is very active in co-curricular activities on and off campus. He represented the college at the MSNBC Town Hall meeting, “Education Nation,” where students were invited to discuss the issues affecting them and their proposed solutions. Sam has been selected to participate in What’s Trending in the News, a school forum that examines social and political trends as reported in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post. He is always leading group discussions and participating in college service activities, and is a member of the Student Government Club that will produce Fast Times, the College’s first student newspaper. Most recently, he was elected to serve as a Senator in the Student Government Association, as well as hopes to be a Resource Peer Mentor in the next academic year.
Although Sam is legally blind, he has learned to work around his visual impairment by concentrating on the details of objects. As a result, he engages in detailed analysis of scientific and cultural information. He appreciates how the College accommodates his special needs, and uses New York City as a laboratory by integrating it in the curriculum. On track to earn his Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts in 2014, Sam intends to attend Cooper Union because of his passion for science and visual arts. To this end, he is excitedly developing his e-portfolio for his next college career. His strong interest in the visual arts has afforded him the honor of participating in the Noguchi Museum’s Make Your Mark program as well as an internship with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has had several of his works included in exhibitions around New York City.