Cassandra Domingo didn’t say anything at first when her advisor and professor told her that she won the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, the premier community college transfer scholarship in the nation.
Worth up to $40,000 a year, the scholarship is a really big deal – and Domingo, of Johnson City, almost didn’t apply. It seemed like too much of a long shot, she recalled. Her psychology professor, Dr. William Altman, convinced her otherwise.
“Don’t say no for them,” he counseled, and she submitted the application.
This year, the Cooke Foundation selected 55 outstanding community college students from around the nation from a competitive pool of nearly 3,000 applications from among roughly 4 million students potentially eligible for the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. All of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars not only have financial need but exceptional records of academic achievement as shown by grades, leadership skills, awards, extraordinary service to others and perseverance in the face of daunting personal adversity.
The Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from community colleges to baccalaureate institutions.
In addition to Domingo, SUNY Broome student Heather Coggin of Harpursville and alumnus Werley Scott Paul of Haiti were finalists for the scholarship, itself a high academic honor.
Domingo, a Liberal Arts major, has a few transfer schools she is considering, including the University of Rochester and Cornell University among others. After earning a bachelor’s in psychology, she hopes to eventually transfer to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to eventually become an aeronautical psychologist, a field she learned about during her studies at SUNY Broome.
While at SUNY Broome, she conducted research projects on tutoring and its impact on student success, and presented her results at both national and international conferences.
“The SUNY Broome academic community offers its highest congratulations to Cassandra, who is among just 0.000014 of students in the nation to receive this prestigious scholarship,” said SUNY Broome President Kevin E. Drumm. “She is a shining example of the opportunities offered by a community college education and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors. We are just so proud of her.”
When she was finally able to speak after learning she really did win the scholarship, Domingo’s first words were “thank you.”
“It’s really going to make a difference. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money and I wasn’t sure I would be able to go to college,” she said. “I never thought I would transfer out to Cornell or the University of Rochester. It’s really amazing to have this opportunity.”
Cooke Scholarships fund the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad and opportunities to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni. In addition, after earning a bachelor’s degree, each Cooke Scholar may be eligible for a scholarship for graduate school worth up to $50,000 a year for up to four years.
“Our Undergraduate Transfer Scholars have a proven record of accomplishment at elite colleges and universities and have gone on to successful careers in many professions,” Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy said. “This is among the most prestigious scholarships in the country and we are extremely proud of the talented students who have been selected.”