Photo features Diversity Scholarship recipients from 2017 plus staff.
In 2012 the Murphy Institute launched a scholarship program designed to promote diversity in union leadership and labor education. The Joseph S. Murphy Diversity in Labor Scholarship program awards two-year scholarships of up to $30,000 for graduate students and up to $20,000 for undergraduate students. The scholarship is available to students applying to the M.A. in Labor Studies program, or the B.A. in Urban and Community Studies program with a concentration in labor studies.
This year, for the first time, the Diversity Scholarship is being celebrated as a signature program of the new CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. The 2019 fundraiser and awards gala will take place on Thursday, May 23rd from 5:30-7:30 PM at the School. Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, will be the guest speaker. The event will also feature the announcement of the 2019 Rising Leaders and the recipients of the 2019-20 scholarship awards.
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.
Awardees will receive:
• Up to $30,000 awarded over two years for graduate study
• Up to $20,000 awarded over two years for undergraduate study
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
Scholarship awards will be based on a national competition and are designed to create pipelines that will bring women and people of color to the forefront of the labor movement. Specifically, the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor is dedicated to the purpose of fostering new, diverse, and representative leadership in the labor movement and in the academic discipline of Labor Studies. To that end, applicants must be part of an underrepresented minority in the field of labor who have demonstrated a commitment to increase the participation of women and people of color in the field of labor.
Deadline Date for submitting the MA in Labor Studies or the BA in Urban and Community Studies Admissions Application
In order to be eligible for a 2019 Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor, new applicants for admission to either the MA in Labor Studies or the BA in Urban and Community Studies must have their complete admissions application submitted no later than February 19, 2019. In order to be considered for admissions, accompanying required letters of recommendation must be received no later than February 19, 2019 at 11:59 pm.
Scholarships and College Financial Aid
If awarded a scholarship, applicants must complete a 2019-2020 FAFSA form to determine the impact this scholarship opportunity may have on any other financial aid they may be applying for or receiving. Additional guidance for completing the FAFSA form will be provided to awardees by the CUNY SLU Financial Aid office.
Award Notification and Application
Awardees will be notified no later than April 15, 2019. All awards are for the 2019-2020 academic year and the first term award will be applied to each recipient’s incumbent balance in September 2019.
The period is now open to file an application for the Joseph S. Murphy Institute Scholarship for Diversity in Labor for Fall 2019 admission. Well qualified candidates should be encouraged to apply. The two-year Scholarship offers students enrolled on the graduate track up to $30,000 and, those enrolled on the undergraduate track up to $20,000.
Applying for the Diversity Scholarship is a two-step process. The first step is to apply and be accepted to an academic program by the deadline date indicated below. Graduate candidates must be first-time applicants, accepted to the MA in Labor Studies program (MALS). Contact Rob Callaghan at Rob.Callaghan@slu.cuny.edu At the baccalaureate level, candidates must be accepted to, or currently enrolled in the Urban and Community Studies program. Contact Cherise Mullings at Cherise.Mullings@slu.cuny.edu
Applications for the BA and MA programs are due: February 20th, 2018.Scholarship applications will be due one month later, on March 20th
If you’re seeking to make a difference, advocating for social justice in your 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:
Explore the dynamics of worker and community empowerment, urban life, and labor organizing
Strengthen your ability to advocate for labor rights, stronger communities, and social justice
Advance professionally and personally in a supportive environment
Receive up to $30,000 for graduate study or up to $20,000 for undergraduate study
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 (labor concentration) with 60 prior creditsand a minimum 2.5 GPA
Please visit the Murphy Institute website for more information:www.WorkerEd.org 212-642-2083.
Applications for the Diversity Scholarship are due March 20, 2018.For more information contact scholarship coordinator, Janet Leslie at 212-642-2083
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
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
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
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 HEREand 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 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
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
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.”
A conversation about workers, communities and social justice