Kate Featherston of the Cooke Foundation addresses students

Since 2006, Essex County College has had 17 recipients of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship, worth $40,000 a year for up to three years. Two members of the College’s Class of 2018, John Nwankwo and Leonardo Ruales, are the latest ECC recipients.


Only 47 transfer scholarships were awarded for 2018 out of the nearly 2,500 community college students who applied. Over the years, Essex has had the most Cooke transfer scholarship recipients out of the state’s 19 community colleges and two-year schools in New York, according to the Foundation’s Kate Featherston, Outreach and Partnerships Associate. In addition, Essex had the most recipients this year than any other two-year school in the New York City region, she added.


To assist students in the current application process, Ms. Featherston conducted an information forum May 9 on campus. About 30 students attended the session to learn more about the scholarships and the application process.


“This is the first step toward becoming a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholar,” ECC Professor Ladylease White told the students in attendance. Dr. White is also founder and coordinator of the College’s rigorous Honors Program, from which a number of past ECC Cooke recipients have come.


Ms. Featherston noted that since 2001, the Foundation has awarded some $200 million in scholarship money, “We are the largest community college scholarship provider in the nation.” She added that the scholarships allow students “freedom” of being able to concentrate more on academics as they continue their education at some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. Ms. Featherston said that whatever the Foundation award doesn’t cover is usually picked up by other scholarships the students receive.


She started off her presentation by showing a video featuring some past Cooke Foundation transfer scholarship recipients. One of the featured students was Sofia Medina, ECC Class of 2014, who transferred to Johns Hopkins University. Other past ECC recipients have transferred to such schools as Cornell, Brown, Georgia Tech, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.


Ms. Featherston outlined the application and selection process, which can take several weeks to complete. She said students must have between a 3.5 and 4.0 grade point average, adding the “average” Cooke transfer scholarship recipient has between a 3.7 and 3.8 average. For current students with sophomore status, the application process opens this coming August (with the exact date to be announced) and closes at 12 noon on a still to be determined date in October. Winners will be announced in April, 2019. Complete information on the scholarship program is available at: http://www.jkcf.org/scholarship-programs/undergraduate-transfer/


Students with specific questions can contact the Foundation at 1-800-941-3300 or email scholarships@jkcf.org


There is also graduate school money available for previous Cooke transfer scholarship recipients. Earlier this year, Diego Cruz-Burbano (ECC Class of 2013) received the Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarship, worth $75,000.


The Foundation also offers a wide array of resources for students.


According to Ms. Featherston, most of the transfer scholarship recipients graduate with a Bachelor’s degree within three years of transferring. She added that nearly 100 percent of all recipients do eventually graduate from a four year school. “We are certainly very proud of that success rate.”


She stressed that to be eligible for the transfer scholarships, students must not have attended a four year institution in the past.




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