Four Lehman Students with Disabilities Get a Little Tuition Help from Former CUNY Chancellor

July 24, 2014 11:40 am Student Affairs, Student Awards, Students

During his 14-year tenure as CUNY chancellor, Matthew Goldstein, left, was a champion for disabled students.

Four students from Lehman College’s Student Disability Program have been selected to receive the Matthew Goldstein Scholarship, which provides financial aid to students with disabilities for one year. Melissa Prieto, Mike Ramon, Jason Idelson, and Cynthia Carire were each selected for their strong academic record and persistence in overcoming obstacles.

A senior majoring in psychology, Cynthia Carire is living with multiple sclerosis, but she doesn’t let the MS and its challenges get her down. “I dream for a living,” says Carire. “Despite the rollercoaster of my life, I am someone filled with dreams that I’m trying to hold on to and keep alive.” She does this by staying optimistic and sharing her own struggles and triumphs with others through her blog, which focuses on helping and inspiring people living with MS.

Mike Ramon was in his forties when he decided to return to school. After years of being passed up for promotions or missing out on job opportunities because he didn’t meet the educational requirements, he decided it was time to return to the classroom. He confesses it wasn’t easy at first. “I really struggled in the beginning with taking notes and organizing my thoughts, but the staff at the Student Disability office really helped me,” explained Ramon.

Senior Cynthia Carire was awarded the Matthew Goldstein Scholarship for Disabled Students for her strong academic record.

Today Ramon is a member of the Golden Key Honour Society and the vice-president of the social work club. “My financial situation is not great, and I would not be able to finish my degree without the help of the Matthew Goldstein scholarship,” says Ramon. He will graduate in January 2015 with a degree in social work.

Jason Idelson is a lower senior majoring in recreation therapy. After finishing up with some courses in the fall and an internship during the spring semester, he will graduate in spring 2015.

“We are very pleased that these Lehman students are among the very first in CUNY to be recognized for their dedication and outstanding academic performance,” says Merrill Parra, director of the Student Disability Services program at Lehman.

The program aims to promote independence, self-awareness, self-determination, and self-advocacy for students with disabilities. In addition to counseling, the office provides classroom resources, collaborative services, and sensitivity workshops.

The Matthew Goldstein Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities provides crucial financial support to them. Established by CUNY’s Board of Trustees in June 2013, the scholarship is named for CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, who stepped down in June 2013. During his 14 years of service to the University, he was a devotee of access and opportunity for CUNY’s students with disabilities.