Tag Archives: diversity scholarship

Introducing: 2017 Diversity Scholarship Recipients

In ceremonies held last month at the CUNY Graduate Center Elebash Recital Hall, a total of six students were awarded The Murphy Institute 2017 Diversity in Labor Scholarship.  The scholarships are made possible through donations from unions, businesses, and individuals, along with a matching grant from the CUNY Chancellery. 

Get to know a bit about this year’s scholarship recipients below. Congratulations to all!

Xhoana Ahmeti
New York City, NY

L-R_Janet Leslie/Staff, JSMI; Xhoana Ana Ahmeti/Scholarship Recipient; Arthur Cheliotes/President, CWA, Local 1180.
5th Annual Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversty in Labor, Reception & Awards, Thursday, May 25, 2017, at CUNY Graduate Center.

Xhoana Ahmeti is an entering graduate student pursuing her MA in Labor Studies. Coming to the U.S. from Albania, Ahmeti’s parents found work in service and hospitality jobs. Ahmeti went on to become a first-generation college graduate, earning her B.A. in Public Policy Studies and Geography with minor concentrations in Economics and Environmental Sciences and graduating magna cum laude from DePaul University. 

In 2016, Ahmeti participated in Murphy’s Union Semester program and completed an internship in the Political Department of the Property Service Workers Union, SEIU 32BJ, raising her interest in labor policies. It was then that she developed a new understanding of the challenges facing women in the male-dominated skills construction trades. She was thereby inspired to co-found the Caucus Against Sexist Oppression (CASO), a fledgling non-profit organization that supports women as they move into the skilled trades sector.

This spring Ahmeti is enrolled in a pre-apprenticeship program with Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW-NYC) while attending classes at the Brooklyn Institute of Social Research. Concurrently, she volunteers with the Retail Action Project (RAP) of RWDSU, where she works alongside a team of organizers on emerging nationwide union campaign efforts. She aspires to one day become a journey-level electrician.

Maria Sol Aramendi
Long Island City, NY

L-R_Janet Leslie/Staff, JSMI; Maria Sol Aramendi/Scholarship Recipient.
5th Annual Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversty in Labor, Reception & Awards, Thursday, May 25, 2017, at CUNY Graduate Center.

Maria Sol Aramendi will enter the Murphy Institute’s M.A. program in Labor Studies this fall. Aramendi received the Albert Neumann Award, named in honor of an educator and writer who died in Auschwitz. Born in Argentina, Aramendi earned her B.A. in Architecture from Universidad Nacional de Rosario in Santa Fe, Argentina and a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in Studio Arts from CUNY’s Queens College. Her road to labor studies began with the arts and has progressed with the realization that her instincts drive collaborative engagement or, as she puts it: “a cross-pollination of the arts, law, immigration, and labor.”

Aramendi’s arts program, Project Luz, is a result of this multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, providing Spanish-language platforms for Latino immigrants to express themselves while navigating social and economic realities. Aramendi refers to herself as “a social practice artist,” and Project Luz is offered under the auspices of six institutions and organizations in the metropolitan area, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Queens Museum.

Over the years, Aramendi has worked for New Immigrant Community Empowerment, an organization providing legal services for jornaleros—or day laborers. She has collaborated with the National Day Laborer Network and the Standing Up for Dignity: Women Day Laborers in Brooklyn Project. In concert with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, she formulated an Immigrant Workers Dignity Workshop, and, with the Blade of Grass Foundation, received a fellowship to help develop a smartphone app to assist day laborers track their day-to-day workloads, a project that received attention from The New York Times.

Bianca Lynn Garcia
Brooklyn, NY

L-R_James Steele/Faculty, JSMI; Bianca Garcia/Scholarship Recipient.
5th Annual Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor, Reception & Awards, Thursday, May 25, 2017, at CUNY Graduate Center.

An entering graduate student in Labor Studies, Bianca Lynn Garcia earned her B.A. in History from Columbia University, where her research centered on the science of mass mobilization and strategic nonviolent disobedience. This spring, she was presented Murphy’s Morton Bahr Award, named for one of the world’s most influential union leaders and worker education activists.

Garcia, who has deep roots in her African American and Dominican culture, joined the staff of UNITE HERE in 2014, serving as site coordinator for the organization’s summer internship program, Organizing Beyond Barriers. Today, she is a Senior Research Analyst at UNITE HERE and is on track to lead UNITE HERE’s Airport Group.

Garcia has strong research skills, learned in the classroom and on the job, and leading to her capabilities as a strategist in political engagement and worker mobilization. Her expansive knowledge of community-based and global public sector practices also led her to initiate a collaborative campaign between UNITE HERE and a public sector union in Greece, resulting in a published study: A Look at the Privatization of Greece’s Fourteen Regional Airports: An Analysis of European Competition Policy.

Jorge Maldonado
Flushing, NY

Jorge Maldonado/Scholarship Recipient.
5th Annual Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversty in Labor, Reception & Awards, Thursday, May 25, 2017, at CUNY Graduate Center.

Jorge Maldonado earned his B.A. degree with a double major in Sociology and Psychology at New York University’s College of Arts and Science on a full scholarship, and will enter the M.A. program in Labor Studies this fall. Maldonado, who was born in Ecuador, credits his parents for encouraging his academic progress as well as civic-mindedness. Growing up, he participated in a number of community-based, grassroots, and nonprofit organizations including, Palisades Park Board of Education and Community Food Advocates, which provided outreach to the community under the auspices of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

As an undergraduate, Maldonado immersed himself in campus activities, including the NYU-John Jos Lab for Social Justice, helping to conduct theoretical research on political behaviors. A star athlete, he competed in track and field, while serving as senior captain of the Men’s Cross Country Track & Field Team and working for the NYU Athletics Department. In his senior year, in addition to setting his personal-best in the 10,000m, he became a founding member of NYU’s Democratic Socialists of America Chapter with the goal of developing strategies for expanding social justice, political education, and on-campus activism.

Maldonado’s scholarly interests center on comparative research on labor movements in the U.S. and Latin America. He hopes ultimately to pursue a PhD in Sociology in order to “analyze the barriers presently facing labor and eventually develop proposals on how to overcome them,” while, he explained, he also “want[s] to remain active in politics and contribute to grassroots organizing.”

Onieka O’Kieffe
Brooklyn, NY

L-R_James Steele/Faculty, JSMI; Onieka O’kieffe/Scholarship Recipient.
5th Annual Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversty in Labor, Reception & Awards, Thursday, May 25, 2017, at CUNY Graduate Center.

Onieka O’Kieffe is the recipient of a $30,000 Murphy Institute Diversity in Labor Scholarship, supporting her studies toward an M.A. in Labor Studies at The Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies. She completed her B.A. in Urban and Community Studies this spring at The Murphy Institute,.

O’Kieffe was spurred to activism after an episode at a former job revealed a policy of discriminatory employee credit checks. Resolved to protect fellow workers, she participated in a Retail Action Project workshop offered by the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU) at The Murphy Institute, after which she worked with the New Economy Project, serving as a lead surveyor for CUNY’s in-depth research study about unfair retailer practices. The study and companion survey resulted in “Short Shifted,” a 2014 report about the NYC retail industry. Today, she continues as an activist and media spokesperson for RWDSU today, appearing on CNN’s Situation Room and testifying before the City Council of New York. She played a key role in the passage of legislation to amend the City’s Human Rights Law, making the request or use of an applicant’s credit history unlawful in employment decisions, and now serves on the Board of the Center for Frontline Retail.

Cyprian Springer
Brooklyn, NY

L-R_Janet Leslie/Staff, JSMI; Arthur Cheliotes/President, CWA, Local 1180; Henry Garrido/Executive Director, DC 37; Cyprian Springer/Scholarship Recipient.
5th Annual Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversty in Labor, Reception & Awards, Thursday, May 25, 2017, at CUNY Graduate Center.

Cyprian Springer is the recipient of a $20,000 2017 Diversity in Labor Scholarship / 1199WEIU Basil Paterson Scholarship Award toward his undergraduate studies at Murphy.  He will begin his studies toward a B.A. in Urban and Community Studies with a concentration in Labor Studies this fall. 

Springer, an active member of Local 375 of District Council 37, The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), was recently elected as a delegate for the Civil Service Technical Guild, Local 375. Despite his workload and union responsibilities, he is determined to balance a full undergraduate course load. Dr. Janet Leslie, Coordinator of the Murphy Institute Scholarship program, noted that the selection committee was impressed by Mr. Springer’s application including his strong statement that “quality work creates quality living.”

Event: Diversity Scholarship Awards & Reception (5/25)

The annual Joseph S. Murphy Diversity in Labor Scholarship, Awards & Reception will take place May 25, 6-8:30pm at the CUNY Graduate Center, Elebash Recital Hall at 365 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016.

Join us as we introduce our 2017 scholarship recipients, who will commence their studies in the 2017-2018 academic year. We’ll also be honoring rising labor and community leaders whose efforts to win rights for under-represented workers have been marked by extraordinary dedication and commitment: Modesta Toribio of Make the Road and Kendall Fells of Fight for $15.

Modesta Toribio, Senior Organizer, Make the Road New York

Modesta Toribio is a Senior Organizer at Make the Road New York. In that capacity, she directs the organization’s Workplace Justice project, which organizes workers to fight against daily abuses they face on the job. In her work, Modesta advises workers about their rights on the job and mobilizes support for coalitional campaigns, including the Fight for $15 and movements against wage theft.  Modesta started as an organizer with the WASH New York campaign, which sparked the fight to improve working conditions in the car wash industry throughout New York City. In June 2016, she helped workers in four New York and New Jersey car wash establishments win $1.6 million in a wage-theft law suit. Since then, her work has contributed to changing the lives of countless exploited workers. Modesta’s work has been recognized in the mainstream media, including The New York Times which celebrated her work with “carwasheros” in our community. Modesta holds a Degree in teaching from the Technological University of Santiago (UTESA) in the Dominican Republic. In addition to putting limitless hours into her work for social justice, Modesta Toribio is also raising two children.

Kendall Fells, National Organizing Director, Fight for $15

Kendall Fells is National Organizing Director of Fight for $15, the movement of fast-food, home care, child care and other underpaid workers fighting for $15 an hour and union rights. In 2012, Kendall trained a team of new community organizers who helped to mobilize the first-ever strike of fast-food workers, which took place in New York City. Months later, he helped to organize a second New York City strike, which brought twice as many workers onto the streets as the initial walkout. These two strikes ultimately sparked a broad movement for $15 an hour and union rights that has spread to 320 cities around the U.S. and 40 countries. That movement has been embraced by the Black Lives Matter movement as well as by unions around the country.

Fight for $15 has been extraordinarily successful in convincing voters, politicians, and corporations to raise pay. Since 2012, Fight for $15 has spurred wage hikes for 22 million underpaid workers, including more than 10 million who are on their way to $15 an hour. Kendall Fells has appeared as a spokesperson for Fight for $15  on numerous news outlets, including  MSNBC, CBS News, and Fox News.

Donations and tickets purchases can be made here.

Diversity Scholarship: Spring 2017 Symposium

By Janet Leslie

On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, the Murphy Institute hosted the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor Spring 2017 Scholar Symposium. Michelle Akyempong, Vice President of Legislation & Political Action for District Council 37, Local 371 attended as this term’s special guest.

Since the inception of the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship program, symposiums have been held at the start of each Fall and Spring term, allowing the program’s budding scholars to interact with practitioners, researchers and scholars in the fields of labor and urban studies.

To this end, we invite prominent members of these fields to join us for a roundtable talk, where they share reflections about their personal challenges and conquests on their educational and/or professional journeys. Past guests have included: Kitty Krupat, labor activist, organizer and associate director, emeritus JSMI; James Steele, labor studies adjunct faculty JSMI; and Ydanis Rodriguez, district 10 – NYC council member. We thank each of the past presenters who have truly inspired us to our better selves and willingly and generously shared their time with our scholars. Continue reading Diversity Scholarship: Spring 2017 Symposium

Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor

To be eligible for the scholarship, you must apply and be accepted into one of our qualifying MA or BA academic programs.

MA or BA application Deadlines:  February 6, 2017

For information about the MA and BA admissions or to RSVP for an Open House:

• Graduate students should contact Laurie Kellogg, Labor Programs Specialist, at 212-642-2055; 718-440-1550 or at Laurie.Kellogg@cuny.edu.

• Undergraduates should contact Cherise Mullings, Enrollment Specialist, Urban Studies, at 212-642-2059 or at Cherise.Mullings@cuny.edu.

Please attend an Open House at 6 pm on October 6th or October 27th at The Murphy Institute, 25 West 43rd St., 18th Floor, NYC.

Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

The Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) is pleased to announce the third year of their national scholarship competition, which is dedicated to supporting diversity in leadership in the labor movement and in labor studies.

Apply Today!

Application Deadline is: February 27th, 2017

If you’re seeking to make a difference, advocating for equity within the community, workplace, or the world, then the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor will help you achieve those goals. As a scholarship recipient, you will:

  • Earn an MA in Labor Studies or BA in Urban and Community Studies
  • Advance professionally and personally in a supportive environment
  • Explore the dynamics of urban life, community empowering, and labor organizing
  • Strengthen your ability to advocate for labor rights, stronger communities, and social justice
  • Receive up to $30,000 for graduate study or up to $20,000 for undergraduate study

Eligibility Requirements

  • For graduate scholarship: First-time entering students in the MA in Labor Studies degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • For undergraduate scholarship: First-time entering students or continuing students in the BA in Urban and Community Studies degree program, with a concentration in Labor Studies and a minimum 2.5 GPA

For eligibility information and to apply, please click here or call /email Janet Leslie at 212-642-2083.

Application deadline is February 27, 2017

Calling All Applicants: 2016 Diversity Scholarship

To be eligible for the scholarship, you must apply and be accepted into the MA in Labor Studies program.

MA in Labor Studies Deadline:  March 15

Please contact Laurie.Kellogg@cuny.edu  212-642-2055 for more information

Open House dates: Feb. 25, March 1, March 9

Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

The Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) is pleased to announce the third year of their national scholarship competition, which is dedicated to supporting diversity in leadership in the labor movement and in labor studies.

Apply Today!

Application Deadline is: April 15, 2016.

If you’re seeking to make a difference, advocating for equity within the community, workplace, or the world, then the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor will help you achieve those goals. As a scholarship recipient, you will:

  • Earn an MA in Labor Studies or BA in Urban and Community Studies
  • Advance professionally and personally in a supportive environment
  • Explore the dynamics of urban life, community empowering, and labor organizing
  • Strengthen your ability to advocate for labor rights, stronger communities, and social justice
  • Receive up to $30,000 for graduate study or up to $20,000 for undergraduate study

Eligibility Requirements

  • For graduate scholarship: First-time entering students in the MA in Labor Studies degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • For undergraduate scholarship: First-time entering students or continuing students in the BA in Urban and Community Studies degree program, with a concentration in Labor Studies and a minimum 2.5 GPA

For eligibility information and to apply, please click here or call /email Janet Leslie at 212-642-2083.

Application deadline is April 15, 2016.