Lehman students Krystal Perez and Imani DuBois are recipients of this year’s Latino Trendsetter Scholarship, given to students who have demonstrated strong leadership skills at work and in class. The two were honored at the 11th Annual Latino Trendsetter Awards and Scholarship Gala, held recently at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.
After years of balancing full-time work with being a full-time student, Perez, a social work major, is looking forward to graduating next spring. It’s been a tough road for the Bronx native, but Perez is nothing if not highly motivated.
Growing up, Perez saw first-hand how the city’s social work agencies worked—four of her relatives went through the foster care system. All around her she saw friends, family, and neighbors struggle to move up and out of poverty. Her goal is to help people, especially children, find resources that will keep them on the right path.
“I really believe that the earlier you intervene in a person’s life, the more successful you will be at helping them,” explains Perez. “I work hard and I push myself because I want to be able to do this for someone else. I want to be a voice for the people.” Perez is currently applying to various graduate programs in social work, and hopes to continue her studies after graduation.
In the meantime, Perez is a social work intern at the Northside Center for Child Development. She’s also an intern at 100 Hispanic Women Inc., where she serves as an administrative assistant, overseeing the company’s scholarship program. It was her supervisor who recommended her for the scholarship. “I was surprised and honored when I heard the news,” says Perez. “You work hard, and it feels good to be recognized.” Her long-term goal is to open a home for homeless youth.
Imani DuBois is a Florida transplant. She traded the state’s palm trees, sunny skies, and year-round warm weather for New York’s grey and chilly winters. But, it wasn’t a hard decision to make. She comes from a long line of Lehman graduates, all of whom encouraged her to apply, and she often visits her grandparents who live in the Bronx. For the past four years, she’s been spending her summers as an intern at Bronx Lebanon Hospital, where her grandmother works as an administrator.
As an entering freshman, DuBois is not required to declare a major, but she says psychology has been her passion for some time. At Bronx Lebanon, she worked in the Bronx Community Action for Prenatal Care Initiative program, where she was able to shadow a psychologist who worked with children who suffered from emotional disorders. The experience stuck with her.
Recently, she’s become interested in nursing and has been taking pre-required courses in nursing through the College’s Freshman Year Initiative. She’s considering the field of psychiatric nurse practitioner. “Right now, psychology is still my first choice, but I also want to work in a field where I can be the most useful and have the most impact,” says DuBois. It was her supervisor at the hospital who recommended DuBois for the scholarship.
“It was unexpected,” says DuBois, “but it was really an honor to go to the gala and see and meet so many successful Hispanic people. It really was inspiring.”
DuBois is also an avid volleyball player whose dedication and leadership is as present on the court as it is in the classroom. She was named Volleyball Rookie of the Week three times during the Lightning’s women’s volleyball season.
As scholarship recipients, both Perez and DuBois received a monetary award to be used toward their studies.