Westchester Community College Student Named Jack Kent Cooke Scholar

Carolina Mendoza of New Rochelle became the fourteenth student in SUNY Westchester Community College history to win the highly competitive Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This scholarship provides only 60 selected students nationally with up to $55,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

Carolina came to SUNY WCC in large part due to its lowest-in-the-county tuition, but also for its Honors College, which provides guaranteed tuition coverage and substantial textbook stipends from the WCC Foundation. Honors College scholars have access to specialized co-curricular programming, including study abroad and internship opportunities. Carolina majored in Liberal Arts Honors Concentration with the intent to study architecture so she can produce sustainable homes in low-income areas.

“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship is truly life-changing,” said Carolina Mendoza. “This scholarship will help me achieve the dreams I thought were impossible: I can continue my education of becoming a sustainable architect which I’m incredibly grateful for. SUNY Westchester Community College has provided me opportunities and support that have transformed me into the person I am today. I will never forget this generosity.”

“The entire SUNY Westchester Community College community is very proud of Carolina’s accomplishments,” said WCC President Dr. Belinda Miles. “Carolina fully embraced the SUNY WCC experience, participating in extracurricular activities, taking advantage of all that our Honors College has to offer, and excelling in her studies. In her time at SUNY WCC, Carolina exhibited the dedication and perseverance that is the hallmark of so many of our students, and it is fitting that she has been rewarded with this esteemed honor. We are excited to see her join the distinguished list of WCC alums to achieve this highly competitive award. We look forward to the wonderful achievements she is sure to accomplish in the years ahead.”

In addition to financial support, new Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of Cooke Scholars and Alumni.

Today, nearly half of the students pursuing college choose to attend two-year institutions. Research commissioned by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation found that community college students who transfer to selective institutions have equal to or higher graduation rates as students who enrolled directly from high school or transferred from four-year institutions. Yet, at the nation’s top colleges, only five percent have transferred from a community college. The Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship seeks to increase the number of community college students completing their education at top four-year institutions.