SUNY Chancellor King Announces Two SUNY Students Awarded Prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

May 17, 2024

The Highly Selective Scholarship Goes to the Nation's Top Community College Students Seeking to Complete their Bachelor's Degrees

Winners from Suffolk County Community College and SUNY Westchester Community College Selected

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced two SUNY students have been awarded the highly competitive Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Joseph Gonzalez, Suffolk County Community College, and Carolina Mendoza, SUNY Westchester Community College, will be provided with up to $55,000 each year to earn a bachelor's degree. This year, 459 community college students across the country were selected from a pool of over 1,600 semifinalists by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

"SUNY's community colleges serve as excellent springboards for students who are seeking to continue their higher education journey to increase their social mobility," said SUNY Chancellor King. "This highly selective scholarship is all about supporting student success and powerfully advances educational equity. Being selected as one of the nation's top community college students is no easy feat and I congratulate Joseph and Carolina for being awarded this prestigious scholarship."

SUNY Board Trustee Eunice A. Lewin said, "My sincere congratulations to Joseph and Carolina for earning this life-changing opportunity through their hard work, talent, and dedication. This tremendous opportunity is proof positive of the excellent education SUNY's community colleges provide to the students of New York every day."

The scholarship provides selected students with comprehensive support to guide their transition from a community college to their four-year college transfer destination, individual advising through their baccalaureate study, and networking with fellow Cooke scholars and alumni through planned events, a mentoring program, and social media. Additionally, Cooke scholars may apply for additional support from the Cooke Internship Stipend, Conference and Travel Stipend, and Graduate Scholarship programs.

Suffolk County Community College President Edward Bonahue said, "We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Joseph for achieving this remarkable honor, which reflects not only his exceptional accomplishments but also brings great pride to Suffolk County Community College."

Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship Recipient and Suffolk County Community College Student Joseph Gonzalez said, "It is an honor to receive this award, which will assist me as I continue my education. I only had a GED when I came to Suffolk. Everything I have accomplished has been because of this school and its amazing staff and faculty."

SUNY Westchester Community College President Belinda Miles said, "The entire SUNY Westchester Community College community is very proud of Carolina's accomplishments. Carolina fully embraced the SUNY WCC experience, participating in extracurricular activities, taking advantage of all that our Honors College has to offer, and excelling in her studies. In her time at SUNY WCC, Carolina exhibited the dedication and perseverance that is the hallmark of so many of our students, and it is fitting that she has been rewarded with this esteemed honor. We are excited to see her join the distinguished list of WCC alums to achieve this highly competitive award. We look forward to the wonderful achievements she is sure to accomplish in the years ahead."

Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship Recipient and SUNY Westchester Community College Student Carolina Mendoza said, "The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship is truly life changing. This scholarship will help me achieve the dreams I thought were impossible: I can continue my education of becoming a sustainable architect which I'm incredibly grateful for. SUNY Westchester Community College has provided me opportunities and support that have transformed me into the person I am today. I will never forget this generosity."

The winners are among 18 students named as semifinalists that represented seven SUNY community colleges. They are:

Columbia-Greene Community College

  • Michael Liddy

Genesee Community College

  • Rion Kojima

Jamestown Community College

  • Maysa Bayramova

Onondaga Community College

  • Alex Espitia-Casallas

Rockland Community College

  • Jonathan Galdamez Paguay

Suffolk County Community College

  • Thomas Doczy
  • Sabrina Franco
  • Jennifer Gomez Mancia
  • Joseph Gonzalez
  • Shakya Jeudy
  • Zacahry Teeter
  • Mikhail Walters

SUNY Westchester Community College

  • Alicia Greco
  • Carolina Martins Soares de Oliveira
  • Carolina Mendoza
  • Eduarda Moreira
  • Vaughn Robinson
  • Jessica Sabau

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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