From WCC to Harvard

Westchester Community College student named Jack Kent Cooke Scholar

Bianca Braun of Shrub Oak  became the 11th student in Westchester Community College history to win the highly competitive Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This scholarship provides selected students with up to $40,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

Braun came to WCC in large part due to its lowest-in-the-county tuition but also for its Honors College, which provides guaranteed tuition coverage and substantial textbook stipends from the WCC Foundation. Honors College scholars have access to specialized cocurricular programming, including study abroad and internship opportunities.

“I am so grateful for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s generosity,” Braun said in a statement. “This support will enable me to start my studies at Harvard University in September, where I can further pursue my goal of becoming a child psychiatrist and helping children who have been mistreated or suffered other forms of trauma. I never imagined this would be my path when I moved here from Germany when I was 18. WCC has established a solid educational foundation upon which this scholarship will help me build.”

“The entire Westchester Community College community is very proud of Bianca’s accomplishments,” said WCC President Belinda S. Miles. “Bianca fully embraced the WCC experience, participating in extracurricular activities, taking advantage of all that our Honors College has to offer, and excelling in her studies. It is great to see that her enthusiasm, her dedication and her perseverance during this difficult year have been rewarded with the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship and acceptance to Harvard University. 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.”

In addition to financial support, new Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of Cooke Scholars and alumni.

Today, nearly half of the students pursuing college choose to attend two-year institutions. Research commissioned by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation found that community college students who transfer to selective institutions have equal to or higher graduation rates as students who enrolled directly from high school or transferred from four-year institutions. Yet, at the nation’s top colleges, only 5% have transferred from a community college. The Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship seeks to increase the number of community college students completing their education at top four-year institutions.

For more, visit and look for our conversation with WCC President Belinda S. Miles in August WAG, out Aug. 1.

edited by Georgette Gouveia

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