Sophomores Oscar Guzman and Tiffany Coke are just two out of nine Lehman students to be accepted into the New York Needs You Fellowship Program—a two-year program aimed at helping first-generation students from low-income families earn their degrees and prepare for entry into the workforce.
Both Guzman and Coke are enrolled in Lehman’s SEEK program, where they learned about the New York Needs You Fellowship. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Guzman immigrated to New York at age seven with his family. They settled in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, where Guzman says he grew up sheltered from the world beyond his immediate vicinity. That all changed when he chose to attend the Walton Campus in the Bronx for his high school education.
Before attending the Walton Campus, Guzman says, he was shy and uncomfortable socializing outside his usual circle. Slowly, he began to make friends who opened him up to diverse perspectives and ideas. As he matured, he found that he had a knack for listening to his friends and offering advice and soon became the go-to person for support among his peers. By his junior and senior years at the school, he knew that a degree in psychology and a career in counseling might be right for him.
Since enrolling at Lehman, Guzman has taken his first general course in psychology and says he’s now more interested in learning about the field and honing in on a specific area of study. He looks forward to taking advantage of the New York Needs You Fellowship’s mentorship service as well as its internship opportunities.
Born in Jamaica, Coke spent much of her childhood in Michigan before moving to Brooklyn with her mom during her junior year of high school. She settled on Lehman after her high school guidance counselor recommended the College for its small size. She says she fell in love with the campus after visiting for the first time and decided to attend.
Coke plans to be a medical doctor, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She wants to be an advocate for preventative health care and help people learn about their bodies and how to properly take care of them. She’d also like to teach future doctors and someday open a non-profit clinic focusing on women’s health.
Like Guzman, Coke is eager for the New York Needs You Fellowship’s support. She looks forward to finding a mentor who can guide her in her academic and career paths.
The two-year Fellowship Program includes two summer internships and a $2,500 professional development grant. In addition, students can participate in career development workshops.
The other Lehman students selected for the program are Britna Bennett, Donya Lewis, Marlene Mendoza, Nazmun Nahar, Orevaoghene Obaro-Best, and Chinwe Okoye Oyibo.