Thirteen Baruch students win prestigious fellowship and scholarship awards



Marziya Hasan, Copy Editor

Among 60 CUNY student winners, 13 Baruch College students were awarded prestigious scholarships and fellowships.

“We could not be prouder of the students who earned coveted awards and scholarships,” CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said. “We wish our student honorees all the best as they move forward in their education, their careers and their lives. Their success exemplifies the University’s historic mission, and we look forward to their future endeavors, which promise to make the world better, smarter, safer and kinder.”

Two Baruch students won the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, while 11 Baruch students won the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship.

According to a CUNY report, these two awards had the largest number of CUNY student recipients this year.

The Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship is funded by the Watson Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Its goal is to provide students with experience in their field, while gaining perspective to grow as people and future leaders.

The fellowship provides three years of fully-funded internships to undergraduates. The winners from Baruch, Bricen Fisher and Bruno Santos Rodrigues, started their internships in April 2021 and will continue to be Watson fellows until 2023.

Rodrigues said he was genuinely surprised when he won.

“I got the award, and I was like ‘oh my god!’” he said. “It was a big day for me. We went to dinner.”

The fellowship also allows its recipients to work abroad at least once in the three years they participate.

Rodrigues, originally from Brazil, entered into the fellowship with an amount of cultural knowledge on which he will expand upon when working abroad.

“Besides working in the U.S., I will work in one more country,” he said. “So, having this additional cultural experience is going to be amazing for me as a person as well as a professional.”

The fellowship not only offers recipients an experience abroad, but also helps them grow in the field they are studying.

“I told her that I aspire to be a consultant in the future,” Rodrigues said when referring to his supervisor. “And she gives me tips on how to approach the problems with work at IIE with a consultant mind.”

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a scholarship where up to $5,000 is awarded to undergraduate students that are children of active-duty service members.

The scholarship gives students the opportunity to study or intern abroad. Funded by the U.S. Congress, its recipients gain relevant knowledge and leadership skills to further their education.

Eleven students from Baruch were winners of this award: Ashley Mendez Castro, Aaron Chee, Frieda Cohen, Nishat Farhana, Faraz Hameed, Sydney Sarway, Nicole Tarasiuk, Lisa Wu, Sandy Xia, Jennifer Xue and Amy Zheng.

For Xue, despite the usual “degree of uncertainty” that came with this application, she felt confident because of the assistance she received from Baruch.

“The process was not as difficult or as confusing because I have been fortunate enough to receive guidance and support from both Baruch’s study abroad office and National Fellowships Advisor Valeria Hymas,” she said.

She will be using the scholarship to fund a study abroad experience in China. When asked why she made this choice, Xue had two reasons.

“I am an American born Chinese but grew up speaking mostly English,” she said. “I felt bothered by the fact that I was so disconnected from my Chinese heritage. I speak conversational Chinese but still struggle to express myself clearly.”

In addition to language, understanding China’s culture also played a large part in her decision.

“Because of my interest in Chinese culture and my previous experience studying abroad in Beijing, I am considering working in China after graduating from Baruch,” she added. “Being able to once again fully immerse myself in the local Chinese culture will help me improve my language skills and gain more firsthand knowledge of the country that is familiar yet so foreign to me.”

Xue shared how the Gilman scholarship will help her further her study as an international business major and Chinese minor.

“While there is nothing wrong with doing business in China while only speaking English, as there are English-speaking multinational companies based there, I would prefer to learn about China’s culture, language, and business etiquette while studying abroad,” Xue said. “Receiving the Gilman scholarship helped me get one step closer to studying abroad, and I believe the experience will be unparalleled.”