Queensborough Student Recipient of Prestigious Phi Beta Kappa ScholarshipPublished: June 10, 2016
Vicky Chan, who graduated from Queensborough on June 3 with an A.A. degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a 2016 scholarship from the Phi Beta Kappa Association of New York (PBKNY). She is one of only two community college students in the New York City area to receive this prestigious scholarship.
The mission of PBKNY is to recognize the excellence of community college students in the liberal arts and sciences and to encourage students to broaden their horizons by continuing their education, scholarship and life-long learning outside of the classroom.
Professor Juan Carlos Vidal Moraga recognized Vicky’s excellence and offered to write the letter of recommendation for the PBKNY scholarship.
Vicky’s life story embodies the aspirational spirit of Queensborough students. She was raised in a single parent household in the diverse neighborhood of Elmhurst and felt the hardship of poverty. This, in turn, led to her interest in studying psychology.
“I experienced economic struggles and saw firsthand how income disparity in my community impacted the mental health of those closest to me,” Vicky said. “I wanted to reach out and help these people. When I discovered psychology at Queensborough, it was a natural fit.”
Professor Anissa Moody’s class, The Psychology of Women, was a revelation for Vicky. “It expanded my thinking,” she said. “I became more aware of the structures in society that create tensions, especially for women. I am so thankful for meeting Professor Moody and sharing this experience.”
As the mother of a 16-month-old daughter, Vicky understood all too well the challenges that women face. “I had to pause my education for two semesters and take care of my daughter. My husband stepped in and gave me the support I needed. I was really motivated to come back to Queensborough and finish what I started.”
Finishing what she started is still her objective. Vicky plans to continue her studies in psychology beyond Queensborough. “My ultimate goal,” she said, “is to have my own clinical practice and provide counseling and support for others.”
Vicky credits Queensborough as a key ingredient to her success. “When I began researching community colleges, Queensborough stood out. I learned about Queensborough’s reputation for excellent faculty and students who go on to achieve great things. The diversity of the student population reassured me that I would fit in.”
Indeed, Vicky did fit in—and quickly. “I became a Tiger Adviser, helping Queensborough Academies with enrollment and registration for incoming students,” she said. “My supervisor, Natalie Roopchand, was a great mentor.” Vicky also interned for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and visited Albany, meeting with New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky to share her experience as a struggling young mother in CUNY. “I explained how important it was for tuition to stay affordable, allowing people like me to make it and give back to society.”
Queensborough’s College Discovery Program was a critical part of Vicky’s success. “College Discovery really helped because it allowed me to focus on my studies,” she said. “They provided additional funds for textbooks and helped me register for classes. The counselors were very dedicated.
“I gave Queensborough my all and I got a great start to my education. I’m looking forward to building on this foundation, getting out there and making a difference!”
Vicky Chan has been accepted into The School of Arts & Sciences at Hunter College for the Fall 2016 Semester where she plans to continue her studies in psychology. The PBKNY scholarship, in the amount of $1,000 will be applied to this program. A further testament to her excellent work at Queensborough, Vicky is also the recipient of the Guttman Community College Transfer Scholarship, awarded to outstanding community college students who transfer to a senior CUNY college. She will receive a total of $4,000 toward the completion of her degree.
Vicky Chan is the third Queensborough student to receive the PBKNY scholarship. Former Queensborough graduates Paula Villacres (2013) and Mariyam Jalees (2011) are also recipients of this honor.