In spite of the challenges presented by COVID-19, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) has recognized more than 180 students from New York City’s public high schools and presented each with a $5,000 Albert Shanker college scholarship.
This year’s class of extraordinary students includes future civil engineers, neuroscientists, and nurses. Coming from different backgrounds and boroughs, each has had to adapt to the realities of learning in a world with coronavirus.
Fort Hamilton High School’s Katie Castrianni wanted to follow in the footsteps of her aunt and grandmother by pursuing a career that provides care to others, so she decided to become a nurse. Also inspired by her Advanced Placement English teacher, Nikki Marotos, Katie is an advocate for social justice in health care. She will attend the Pace University Honors College of Nursing.
Born in Egypt and raised in Brooklyn, Staten Island resident Sumeh Abdella is one of four children. Inspired by family friends and encouraged by Curtis High School physics teacher Alia Jackson, Sumeh wants to be a civil engineer for the City of New York. He will attend the City College of New York's Grove School of Engineering.
High School for Environmental Study senior Pamela Anderson has major plans for her future. The captain of the handball team and program director of the honor society, she intends to earn a doctorate in neuroscience. Encouraged to learn more about the field by her junior year mentor, Yuka Bell, she is eager to begin her studies at Cornell University.
The annual union-funded Shanker Scholarship awards — named in memory of the president of both the UFT and its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers -- each year provide almost $1 million in scholarships to academically excellent and financially eligible New York City high school seniors and post-graduate students. Since 1969, the program has provided more than $50 million in scholarships. UFT President Michael Mulgrew said: “The Shanker scholarships are another demonstration of our members’ deep commitment to their students.”