Rosen Fellows Propose Their Own Creative Projects

May 18, 2011

Would you like to produce a rare play by an influential writer and stage it in the East Village?

How about attending CUNY’s student exchange in Paris to participate in a dance program you designed yourself?

Or maybe you’d prefer to assist an acclaimed filmmaker with his next movie?

These are exciting adventures that three of the first nine Rosen Fellows will be embarking upon this summer. Thomas James Lombardo, a junior working toward a bachelor’s degree in art history, received his award to produce playwright Don Nigro’s Seascape with Sharks and Dancer. Jenée Whitehead, a junior pursuing a BBA with a marketing concentration and a minor in small business entrepreneurship, won hers to finance her study abroad in Paris. And Nick Lerman, a member of the CUNY Baccalaureate program concentrating in cultural literary and visual media studies, won his to study directing under renowned filmmaker Ramin Bahrani.

If you have a dream or an unrealized goal, the Rosen Fellowships—which debuted this year with an endowment from Florence Rosen, ’59—can transform your idea into a life-changing experience.

“The Rosen Fellowships are different from most award programs we see,” says Evelyn Guzman, director of scholarships and honors recruiting at Brooklyn College. “You don’t have to be a 4.0 student. You just have to be interesting—with a creative idea and the determination to put together a winning proposal.”

She adds: “And the student’s in the driver’s seat.”

Students, in addition to the three already named, are:

  • Elizabeth Cusick who will travel to South Africa to study the effects of HIV treatment on child development;
  • Isabelle Jagninski who’ll teach students at an alternative community high school in New Orleans, exposing them to resources and conversations around gender;
  • Adele Kibbe who hopes to learn basic excavation techniques within the multicultural framework of a Peruvian-American nonprofit corporation with the aim of becoming a field archaeologist specializing in plant remains;
  • Eric Carlsen who wants to become a community organizer and food activist and will travel across the country, collecting data and knowledge within the urban agriculture movement;
  • Sheran Sharafi who plans to travel to Israel to work at a law firm to learn more about the court systems of different countries and expand her knowledge of international law and politics; and
  • Mubashir Billah who will study young Arabs in the Middle East to learn more about their attitudes and concerns, in hopes of proving that not all such young people are burgeoning terrorists.

These nine Rosen Fellows will return to college next fall to present the results of their projects, says Guzman.

The Rosen Fellowship provides a stipend of up to $5,000 to finance a project, and the Office of Scholarships provides proposal writing workshops, information sessions, interview preparation, and one-on-one feedback on applications.

Details of the second round of Rosen Fellow awards will be announced in the fall.


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