Queensborough Alum Honed Leadership Skills on Campus, in the Community and at the White HousePublished: August 10, 2016
(Caption: From Sanford Avenue in Queens to the Office
of the Vice President of the United States: Kyle Chin-How)
Kyle Chin-How graduated from Queensborough Community College in the spring of 2015 with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Kyle Chin-How is a natural leader. He first began demonstrating his leadership skills as a student at Queensborough Community College where his academic accolades included being one of three Queensborough students awarded a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. He also served as a Model Senator in the NYS Session Senate Project and as an intern with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).
Upon graduating from Queensborough in the spring of 2015, Kyle participated in the White House Summer Internship Program under the Higher Education Policy Director to Dr. Jill Biden. During his time in D.C., which has a very high cost of living, Kyle stayed with relatives in Southern Maryland, commuting five hours a day to and from the White House. He said that he has many wonderful, exciting memories of his internship experience but that his “highlight reel” was meeting President Obama and Vice President Biden. Kyle said, “It’s one thing to be a student of politics from a distance and another to meet world leaders in person and get a sense of the gravity of their power.”
He added, “They both had words of advice for us that I will never forget: Vice President Biden said that, ‘You should never question a man’s motives, even if he holds different views of the world than you.’ President Obama offered that, ‘We should worry more about what we want to advocate for and less about what position we’d like to find ourselves in.’”
Kyle was the only community college student in his cohort to participate in that summer’s White House internship. All of the other 121 students were from four-year colleges and universities including Harvard, Princeton and Yale.
Kyle also has many fond memories of Queensborough. He is especially proud of Talk Out Loud, a student public speaking group he established at Queensborough that encourages students to come together to discuss topics that have no bearing on ethnicity or socio-economic background.
“I became interested in politics when I came to QCC—to this diverse microcosm of the world—which resonated with my own background,” he said. “My parents emigrated from South America, and I’ve witnessed firsthand many immigration stories. Being at QCC galvanized my interest to create meaningful change on that front.”
Kyle, who is Asian, African American and Arawakan, was raised in Flushing by his parents who emigrated from Guyana to the U.S. in 1984. In 2013 he graduated high school, but soon after his mother lost her job. To help support his family, Kyle began working as a restaurant porter.
That fall, while still enduring nine-hour days at his job, Kyle enrolled at Queensborough as a full-time evening student majoring in Liberal Arts. Eventually Kyle was able to free himself of the long work hours, and in February 2015 he began to concentrate solely on his studies. In the process, he discovered his desire to pursue public interest law and became an advocate for public education and DREAM Act legislation.
The fall of 2016 marks Kyle’s senior year at The City College of New York in the Skadden, Arps Honors Program in Legal Studies where he is concentrating in political theory and government through CUNY's baccalaureate for unique and interdisciplinary studies, a program allowing students to individualize their undergraduate degrees. This past summer he interned at the firm’s general litigation practice.
“In a day and era in which our political system has become so paralyzed, my hope is to explore new and innovative ways in which legislators can forge compromise,” said Kyle.