Courtesy of LaGuardia Community College
LaGuardia Community College student Matthew Wilson juggles his studies with an internship and two children.

Two LaGuardia Community College students were recently selected as 2019 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars.

Matthew Wilson, 38, and Sukhrob Abdushukorov, 22, are two of only 61 community college students from across the U.S. selected for this prestigious and highly competitive scholarship, which provides up to $40,000 per year toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree.

“We are incredibly proud of Matthew and Sukhrob on their selection as 2019 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars, which not only reflects their individual achievements, but also the dedication of our faculty and staff who mentored them and supported their applications,” LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow said. “Too many low-income students, who disproportionately make up student populations at community colleges, are unable to finish their bachelor’s due to financial burdens. It’s especially meaningful that Matthew is pursuing his college studies in his late 30s while raising two children, with support like this from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, parents who want to make better lives for themselves and their families, and are able to do so.”

With the selection of Wilson and Abdushukurov, LaGuardia has had 11 Cooke scholars since 2006, three of whom also received Cooke Graduate Scholarships. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need.

“Matthew and Sukhrob are remarkable in their own way for their drive, resilience and intellectual talents; their Cooke success is truly inspiring,” LaGuardia Community College Honors Program Director Karlyn Koh said. “Also inspiring are the many meaningful support networks, opportunities, and advising and mentoring avenues found at LaGuardia, all of which have lifted these scholars closer to their dreams.”

Wilson, a film and television major, came to LaGuardia through the CUNY Fatherhood Academy which helps fathers get on track with education and employment. He has an 18-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter and secured a competitive internship spot at NBC. Wilson has been accepted at Queens College and York College and he is also considering Columbia, NYU, and Long Island University as transfer options to pursue his passion for moving images.

Courtesy LaGuardia Community College

Abdushukurov is a psychology major born in Uzbekistan who speaks English, Uzbek, Tadjik, Russian and German. He moved to the U.S. three years ago, and shortly thereafter, he began his academic journey at LaGuardia. In his future career, he plans to use psychology to develop an interdisciplinary approach to education. He has applied to Amherst, Swarthmore, Cornell and Wesleyan, among other four-year colleges.

“Our recent ‘Persistence’ report highlights the vast potential and achievements of community college transfer students, who go on to outperform their non-transfer peers at selective four-year institutions,” Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Executive Director Seppy Basili said. “In an era where many high-achieving students often begin their higher education journey in community college, the foundation is committed to enabling these transfer students to pursue their academic dreams at the nation’s top colleges and universities.”

Nearly 1,500 students applied for the 2019 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The recipients selected represent 18 different state and have a median household adjusted gross income of $28,000 and an average GPA of 3.93.

“I thank the many at LaGuardia who worked so hard to nurture and support not just these Cooke scholars, but also the other talented and motivated students who applied for the Cooke scholarship this past year,” Koh said. “The work of sustaining a culture that empowers all students, including the high-achieving ones, is the labor of many.”

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