City Tech Welcomes First Dominican Republic Scholarship Students by zwe12939

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									      City Tech Welcomes First Dominican Republic Scholarship Students
Brooklyn, NY -- April 12, 2006 -- “I miss my country, but I’m learning a lot and I do like it here.
Our group really has a chance to make a difference -- to leave a legacy about the importance of
cross-cultural communication.”

So says Jose Heriberto Martinez, one of seven students from the Dominican Republic who are
studying at New York City College of Technology (City Tech) as part of the new "Study at The
City University of New York (CUNY) Scholarship Program" sponsored by CUNY and the
government of the Dominican Republic.

Martinez and the other newly arrived Dominican students have had their transition to life and
college in New York eased by the large Hispanic contingent of students enrolled at City Tech.
Currently, nearly 28 percent of the student body self-identifies as Hispanic, with 227 indicating
they were born in the Dominican Republic and 810 indicating they are of Dominican descent. In
CUNY as a whole, there are more than 23,000 students of Dominican descent now enrolled in
degree programs.

Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Selma Botman, who has spearheaded the
project, expressed her appreciation to His Excellency Leonel Fernandez, President of the
Dominican Republic, and CUNY Trustee Dr. Hugo Morales for their strong support of the
initiation of the program. "This program is a symbol of CUNY's strong relationship with the
Dominican Republic," she says. "The Dominican students on the exchange are not only
performing superbly, they are also adding immeasurably to the life on our campuses. We are
delighted by their presence and proud of the work they are doing."

The seven Dominican students at City Tech, who were chosen in a national competition last
spring, receive a full tuition and fees scholarship plus a $300 per semester book stipend, courtesy
of the Dominican Republic Secretariat of State for Higher Education, Science, and Technology
(SEESCyT) and CUNY.

They are enthusiastic about being involved in the program’s language and cultural immersion
experiences and about being exposed to curricula on the differences and similarities between the
Dominican and American cultures. While they all share an interest in seeking ways to develop
channels of communication to reach out to other potential participants back home, they are quite
a diverse group with a wide range of goals and interests.

For example, Eduardo Tonos, age 22, says that becoming fluent in English is most important for
career preparation. “While Dominicans who have lived in the U.S. all their lives may have
mastered spoken English, many of them are still greatly in need of help with the written
language. All of us are working hard in that area.” Tonos is living in Brooklyn, majoring in
computer systems and looking forward to forming a Dominican Culture Club with the other
students from his country to share experiences and enhance communication.
Esther Mota, 17, the youngest of the participants, is living in the Bronx. “We are hoping to set up
a website,” she says. “That would be the best way for us to express ourselves, to let others know
how we are enjoying this experience.” Mota says that being part of the scholarship program
“helps me realize that it is time for me to stop being a girl and become an adult.”

Alberto Moreta, 27, also lives in the Bronx. He was in audio school in the Dominican Republic
when he received word that he was selected for the program. He says his fellow participants “are
currently in the creative process,” figuring out how best to alert the Dominican community back
home to the existence of the program. Explaining that his primary musical interest is playing the
guitar, Moreta says he hopes, eventually, to become a producer and, toward that end, is majoring
in entertainment technology at City Tech.

Martinez, 20, is also a new Bronxite, and is majoring in computer information systems. He says
that he and the other participants “have no problem” with the requirements that they maintain a
3.0 average and that they return to the Dominican Republic for two years after earning their
degrees. “After all,” he adds, “part of the program’s goal is for us to bring our knowledge and
expertise back home for the benefit of all.”

In addition to studying for their degrees, the seven City Tech Dominican students -- who also
include Victor Alcantara, Angel Esteban Garcia and Giselle Gonzalez -- are joining with their 36
peers based at several other CUNY colleges to have a fully-rounded educational experience.
According to Ana García Reyes, a special assistant to the president at Hostos Community
College/CUNY who was a member of the project advisory committee, these activities include
"meeting and interacting with some of the most notable intellectuals, scholars and artists of the
Dominican Republic and the Diaspora, and taking field trips to historical sites to support their
classroom research.”

Dr. Stephen Soiffer, City Tech’s special assistant to the president for institutional advancement
who is coordinating the Study at The City University of New York (CUNY) Scholarship
Program on campus, notes, “This is the broadest and most significant CUNY initiative designed
to build academic bridges between learning institutions in New York State and the Dominican
Republic. Its goal is to provide the Dominican Republic with a U.S.-trained, highly skilled
workforce, especially in the areas of leading technologies so that the country can be competitive
in a global marketplace.”

In addition to the CUNY Scholarship Program, the agreement also includes three other major
components: the Program for Student Exchange, the Program for the Teaching of English in the
Dominican Republic and the Program to Encourage Transfer Students.

The exchange program will enable students who wish to complete their degrees at their current
institutions, whether in the Dominican Republic or at CUNY, to study abroad for either a
semester or an academic year.

The teaching component will give CUNY students majoring in the Teaching of English as a
Second Language or a related field the opportunity to teach English for up to one year in the
Dominican Republic to students at various grade levels. The transfer program will allow CUNY
students registered in associate and baccalaureate programs and students in Dominican
universities registered in licenciatura programs to complete their degrees at a respective foreign
institution.

CUNY's Office of Academic Affairs expects to implement the new components in stages.
Presently, Fenix Arias, director of testing at York College, herself a Dominican and last year’s
project recruiter, and Assistant Dean Cheryl Williams, project coordinator, are in Santo Domingo
conducting an orientation for the incoming cohort of scholarship students and their families.
They are also meeting with SEESCyT officials to lay the groundwork for beginning the next
phase of the agreement.

“City Tech looks forward to welcoming an increasing number of exchange students from the
Dominican Republic over the coming years,” says Dr. Marcela Armoza, City Tech’s acting vice
president for enrollment and student affairs. “This is definitely a “win-win” program.”

New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of The City University of New York is a
recognized national model for urban technological education and a pioneer in integrating
technology into the teaching/learning experience. The largest public college of technology in
New York State, City Tech enrolls more than 12,000 students in 57 baccalaureate, associate and
specialized certificate programs. Another 14,300 students enroll annually in adult education and
workforce development programs, many of which lead to licensure and certification. Located at
300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, City Tech is at the MetroTech Center academic and
commercial complex, convenient to public transportation.

								
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