Skip to main content

2019 SoLII Scholarship Recipient Profiles

Spring 2019 Recipients

Brittany Buckheit

Brittany Buckheit – Michael J. Grant Campus

Farmingdale State College - Nursing
Brittany has been a nursing assistant at the St. Francis Cancer Institute for over 6 years, where she loves to provide care to her patients. She intends to continue her education towards becoming an Oncology Certified Nurse, a goal of hers since 2013. While at Suffolk County Community College Brittany was a proud member of Phi Theta Kappa as well as a part of the COL 295 Service Learning course where she was involved in multiple events to support the Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk (VIBS) and the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless.

What advice would you give to future SoLII/NYSPTS applicants?
 "Anything is possible, through a little hard work, persistence and determination. You can do amazing things where ever you are in life. Have faith and believe in yourself, and know the little steps you take towards your dreams today, can create a wonderful future tomorrow. SCCC has many opportunities to offer you, don't be afraid to be yourself and share your ingenuity and individuality with the SCCC community."

Jennifer D'Ambrosio

Jennifer D'Ambrosio – Ammerman Campus

St. Joseph's College - Sociology
Returning to school after being in the workforce for more than 10 years is no easy feat, but Jennifer managed to attend school full-time, work, complete her certification in alcohol and substance abuse counseling, and be the caregiver for her mother. She actively volunteers with several organizations including participating in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk with her mother every year, working in various fundraising capacities for the foundation, and this past year she led a group of 20 women to knit pink scarves to be distributed at the walk. She intends to take her compassion, patience, and knowledge of psychology and mental illness to build a career as a probation officer or counseling liaison to help those who have mental illness or substance abuse avoid relapse and re-incarceration.

Amanda Del Giorno

Amanda Del Giorno – Michael J. Grant Campus

St. Joseph's College - Child Study
Amanda hopes to become a kindergarten teacher one day, and her experiences working with children at the after-school program and summer day camp at the Great South Bay YMCA have only reinforced her desire to do so. Outside of the classroom, she helped run the Red Cross Blood Drive and supported the “Take Back the Night” lantern making project.

Other than financially, how has winning a SoLII/NYSPT Scholarship affected you?
It has made me realize that you should truly never give up on your dreams. If something is important to you, pursue it.”


Fall 2019 Recipients

Timothy Atchison

Timothy Atchison – Michael J. Grant Campus

Stony Brook University - Psychology
After spending nearly a decade in the workforce after high school, Timothy threw himself into his studies at Suffolk County Community College. While earning a perfect 4.0, he was a student scribe (taking notes for students with disabilities), Peer Mentor, and winner of the prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. After obtaining his undergraduate degree from SBU, he plans on pursuing his PhD and becoming a mental health therapist.

Who/what inspires you?
“Everywhere I look around me at Suffolk County Community College, there is someone or something that inspires me. There is an undeniable feeling that the faculty of this school truly, honestly want their students to build a strong foundation for their futures, and every student who puts the effort in is met with support and encouragement.”

Jerome Bost

Jerome Bost – Eastern Campus

St. John's University - Government and Political Science
As a non-traditional student, Jerome came into Suffolk County Community College with a diverse set of skills that he immediately put to use not only in the classroom, but in the larger community. He served first as an SGA senator and Vice President, and then was elected by his peers to two consecutive terms as the Student Trustee at Suffolk County Community College from 2017-2019. Jerome was also a member of the PTK and ASL Honor Societies, and became a Get There From Here scholar and SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipient. 

What are your long-term career goals?
"I am excited about collective bargaining, and advocacy for workers’ rights. I know unequivocally that my purpose in life is to practice law with a concentration in labor relations."

Victoria Constantine

Victoria Constantine – Ammerman Campus

St. Joseph's College - Child Study with a concentration in mathematics
Victoria has always wanted to be an elementary school teacher because she is passionate about helping others become the best versions of themselves. At Suffolk she was an active member in Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), fundraising and putting together Thanksgiving baskets, as well as being an integral part of the PTK team that focused on raising awareness about recycling campus-wide.

What advice would you give to future SoLII/NYSPTS applicants?
“I would tell them to be truthful to themselves, they should be honest in their essays and share both the good and the bad. Being open and honest is the only way to go about the application. The difficult times in life that are far from perfect are often the moments that make us grow the most and help shape who we are as individuals.”

Justin DeRosa

Justin DeRosa – Eastern Campus

St. Joseph's College - Secondary Education, Social Studies
As a future educator, Justin realizes how important it is to advocate for one’s self as a student. At Suffolk County Community College he wasn’t shy about talking to his professors, visiting the writing center, or spending time at the library, which he credits with helping him with his success at Suffolk. When he isn’t busy with schoolwork, he can be found coaching a travel baseball team, painting rocks for the Center Moriches Rocks kindness movement, or fine-tuning his fantasy football lineup.

What are your long-term career goals?
“My ultimate dream as a teacher is to have a student tell me that I inspired them.”

Patrick Felician

Patrick Felician – Ammerman Campus

Farmingdale State College - Geographical Informational Systems
A first-generation college student, Patrick took the opportunity to explore career options while at Suffolk County Community College. He discovered that he enjoyed discussing higher-level scientific concepts, and taking a Geography 101 course inspired him to investigate the field of geography and geographic information systems. As a young and charismatic GIS Analyst/Technician, he would like to help raise awareness of how our actions affect the natural systems we depend on.

 What course at Suffolk County Community College inspired you the most?
“Geography 101 inspired me to investigate the field of geography/GIS. I was fascinated by the amount of jobs and industries that integrate a form of geography.”

Raimy Fernandez

Raimy Fernandez Portorreal – Ammerman Campus

NYIT - Architecture Technology, Construction Management
Moving from the Dominican Republic by himself and having to learn English didn’t stop Raimy from earning a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Scholarship in 2018. Raimy has always had a passion for creating and building along with a love of technology, so pursuing a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in architecture are the perfect goals to blend his passions. He intends to focus on designing and educating others about “green” buildings to make construction less destructive for our planet.

Besides winning this scholarship, what achievement in your life are you most proud of?
“Every little rock I put together into a pile to be the best version of myself is an achievement that I'm proud of. From moving to the USA on my own when I was only 17, becoming a USA citizen, getting my first car, to enrolling and eventually graduating from Suffolk.”  

Lindsey Hernandez

Lindsey Hernandez – Michael J. Grant Campus

St. Joseph's College - English Education
This Honors Program student’s experiences working with her ESL peers in high school inspired her to become an English as a New Language (ENL) teacher. At Suffolk County Community College she had the opportunity to work with students with disabilities in the Student Services Center, and now she is planning on minoring in Spanish at St. Joseph’s and continuing on to obtain her Master’s in Bilingual Studies. Over the past two years she has worked as passionate volunteer with Habitat for Humanity; she has done an Alternative Spring Break collegiate build in Delaware for the organization, and usually tries to contribute to at least two builds a month.
What course at Suffolk County Community College inspired you the most?
“My Advanced Expository Writing class inspired me the most at SCCC. It was my professor’s mastery in not only the art of writing, but the art of teaching, that sparked a creative joy in my work.”

Zianna Dickran

Zianna Khachaturian – Michael J. Grant Campus

LIU Brentwood - Social Work
As the Event Coordinator of the Chemical Dependency Club, Zianna was instrumental in organizing a toy drive that provided hundreds of toys to children whose parents were in treatment for substance use disorders. Also, during her final semester she secured a 270-hour internship at an in-patient rehabilitation facility for substance use disorder, where she now works full-time as a counselor. After receiving her degree from LIU Brentwood, her goal is to become the clinical director of a substance use disorder facility.

Describe yourself in two sentences or less.
“I’m living proof that giving someone a second chance in life can make all the difference.”

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine – Ammerman Campus

LIU Post - Economics
Lauren worked three jobs while going to Suffolk full-time, successfully completed over 40 credits of Honors classes, earned a 4.0 GPA, and still managed to find time to be involved on and off-campus. This academic powerhouse and future CEO was an avid member of the Honors Club, PTK, and Business and Accounting Club on campus, and has been a top volunteer at the Smithtown Animal Shelter for the past three years.

Who inspires you?
“My mom inspires me to be the best person I can be.  She passed away when I was 14 years old and I always do everything with the thought that she is watching over me.”

Corianna Lipira

Corianna Lipira – Ammerman Campus

Stony Brook University - Social Work
As a recipient of both the Get There From Here scholarship and the 2019 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, Corianna was a major presence on campus. She spoke with potential incoming students as an Orientation Leader, and led her fellow students as the secretary of the Student Government Association, and member of the Community Service Club and Undocumented Student’s Task Force. Corianna plans to obtain her Juris Doctor Degree and become a prisoner’s rights attorney to advocate on their behalf and change laws that prevent them from reentering society with dignity.

Why did you choose this major/concentration?
“I chose this major because I want to act as an advocate for others. I recognize that I can use my voice and my skill set to make a positive change in the life of another, and I feel that it is my purpose to do so.”

Jose Lovos

Jose Lovos – Eastern Campus

LIU Post - Business Administration
One of Jose’s proudest achievements while at Suffolk County Community College was to accept the invitation to become a part of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society. Through his position as the VP of Scholarship for PTK, he grew as a leader, mentor, friend, and scholar, and was able to take part in PTK Feeds NY among other initiatives. He credits his father with inspiring him to work hard without complaining and to never quit, qualities he hopes to pass on to others on their college journeys when he becomes a college dean.

Other than financially, how has winning a SoLII/NYSPT Scholarship affected you?
“Thanks to the SoLII, I will have the opportunity to live on campus at LIU Post and have the traditional college experience, while still receiving a top notch education.”

Sydney Mackenzie

Sydney Mackenzie – Eastern Campus

Stony Brook University - Molecular Biology
Growing up Sydney always had an interest in biology, and after learning more about a hereditary genetic disorder in her own family she became inspired to become a genetic counselor. Interestingly enough, Sydney also has a license in cosmetology, and she actively uses her skills as a stylist to volunteer at multiple charitable events. Most notably, she offers nail and hair services to young women at the Southampton Fresh Air Home for physically challenged youth, which puts on an annual prom.

What advice would you give to future SoLII/NYSPTS applicants?
“When you’re filling out your application, speak in your own voice. Yes, make sure your essays are professional and scholarly, but be honest with yourself and have fun with them. Don’t doubt your abilities and when you think you’ve made everything perfect, do one more draft.”

Jay Mauro

Jay Mauro – Eastern Campus

Five Towns College - Musical Theatre
Returning to college after a 25-year hiatus was daunting, but undeniably the right choice for Jay to pursue his passion to be on stage. This gifted artist was a part of the Suffolk team that brought the original musical “THAT Night Before Christmas” to life, and he has even performed at world-renowned Carnegie Hall to support Hope House, a ministry that is near to his heart.

What are your long-term career goals?
“To use my God-given gifts combined with what I learn for a purpose, not just a paycheck. I’m not sure how that path is going to unfold but I believe if I pay attention, take risks, and follow my heart, the possibilities are endless.”

Shannon Mellas

Shannon Mellas – Eastern Campus

Adelphi University - English
Inspired by her grandmother’s intelligence and grit, Shannon came into her own at Suffolk, presenting at the 2018 Creative Writing festival and being chosen as the Eastern Campus commencement ceremony student speaker. As a part-time student, she maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA and contributed three poems to the East End Elements literary magazine of Suffolk County Community College, all while being a full-time caregiver for her elderly grandmother.

What are your long-term career goals?
“While reading is my companion in life, writing is my soulmate.  I’m a shy person and I’ve always felt that I’m most myself in writing.  I have a particular penchant for storytelling, which is why my goal is to become a published novelist someday... As an author, it’s my hope that I’ll be able to give back some of the hope and light I’ve found in books.  I want to use my words to help others find their voice.”

Christopher Ottusch

Christopher Ottusch – Michael J. Grant Campus

Hofstra University - Computer Science and Cyber Security
When he wasn’t in class maintaining his 4.0 GPA or working at his full-time job, Chris volunteered his time with The Refuge food pantry as well as educating lower income schools and communities about basic finance and banking skills for the Community Reinvestment Act. His long-term career goal is to help educate consumers on how to protect their information in such a vulnerable digital age.

Who inspires you?
“The person who smiles with the less fortunate and who can see the suffering in greed, who offers knowledge in spirit to those that seek it.”

Fatima Parvez

Fatima Parvez – Michael J. Grant Campus

LIU Post - Medical Imaging
Inspired by the advanced technology and her Human Anatomy classes, Fatima’s goal is to launch her own medical practice dedicated to saving lives through imaging. As the first in her family to attend college in the United States, this Pakistani native made the most of her time at Suffolk County Community College, becoming a Peer Mentor, Vice President of the Muslim Student Association, and Social Media and Marketing Senator for the Student Government Association on the Grant Campus. She also initiated and coordinated the very first interfaith dialogue at Suffolk.

Describe yourself in two sentences or less.
“I am highly motivated by my goals and my dreams. I love to look at the brighter side of things, take new opportunities and accomplish phenomenal deeds with a full spirit.”

Kayla Renyolds

Kayla Reynolds – Michael J. Grant Campus

St. Joseph's College - Child Study
As a transfer student, Kayla applied to and was immediately accepted into the Honors program, where she earned the J. Robert Fisher Memorial Honors Scholarship. As a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the Honors Club, and Aspiring Teachers’ Club, she was part of the initiative that spent time with the young children at the Michael J. Grant Campus’ Kid’s Cottage, teaching them about the five senses through crafts and other activities.

Why did you choose this major/concentration?
“Ever since I was a child, I knew that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I would practice teaching my stuffed animals and give them math problems “to do” and I would grade them. Special education is very near and dear to my heart because I have a cousin with Down syndrome. Growing up around him, I’ve always known that I wanted to help those with special needs.”

Jesly Rodriguez

Jesly Rodriguez – Ammerman Campus

St. Joseph's College - English Education
As a member of the National Honor Societies for math, science, and art in high school, Jesly continued her academic excellence at Suffolk County Community College by becoming an active member of the Honors College and maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. She also taught ESL students language skills and computer skills at the Ammerman Campus language and reading labs, and was recommended as a tutor for the campus Writing Center. She plans to become an English teacher that her students can trust and count on for help to reach their full potential.

Edward Rodriguez

Edward Rodriguez – Michael J. Grant Campus

SUNY Old Westbury - Accounting
With a natural inclination towards numbers, calculations, and problem-solving, Edward changed his career focus from professional baseball to accounting. Once he found accounting at Suffolk County Community College Edward flourished, becoming a member of PTK and the Business Club, volunteering at beach cleanups and open houses, and participating in countless other college events as a member of the Student Government Association.

Besides winning this scholarship, what achievement in your life are you most proud of?
“Being in the position I am today: only the second person in the family to graduate from college, with the ability to support myself… It was a miracle that I even made it through high school, I couldn’t imagine myself being in my current situation two or three years back.”

Melissa Smith

Melissa Smith – Michael J. Grant Campus

Molloy College - Social Work
As a mother of two, working four jobs and offering her time to people in need, starting college was a challenge for Melissa. The sheer determination and will to succeed which she learned from her father helped her not only achieve her dream of graduating, but also motivated her to finish Suffolk County Community College with a near perfect GPA. Suffolk has been a very important stepping stone for Melissa to realize her goals and continue her education with Molloy. 
What advice would you give to future SoLII/NYSPTS applicants?
"Make your time at Suffolk a priority above all. Do your absolute best and accept nothing less from yourself. Make yourself proud."

John Michael Torns

John Michael Torns – Ammerman Campus

St. Joseph's College - Secondary Education; Mathematics
This father of two and future math teacher dreams of being a role model and mentor to guide today’s youth down the right path. At Suffolk County Community College he was a stellar Get There From Here Scholar who was involved in intramurals, the chess club, and BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ.) He was also an orientation leader and student tutor in the math learning center on the Ammerman Campus.

What advice would you give to future SoLII/NYSPTS applicants?
“Utilize all the learning centers and your professors. You will find that everyone on campus is there to support you.”

Michelle Wilcox

Michelle Wilcox – Eastern Campus

St. Joseph's College - Accounting
As a Get There From Here scholar, peer mentor, and the President of three honor societies at Suffolk County Community College (Phi Theta Kappa, Alpha Beta Gamma, and Alpha Sigma Lambda), Michelle has left an indelible impression on the Eastern Campus. She organized the PTK Feeds NY Thanksgiving Food Drive and 2018 Cedar Beach Polar Plunge among many other initiatives, and somehow found time to volunteer at a local animal shelter. It’s no wonder she was chosen as the recipient of the Outstanding Student Leader Award and SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. After she obtains her MBA in Accounting, this natural leader plans on becoming a future controller and CFO of a company.

Describe yourself in two sentences or less.
"I’m the person who will not quit until the job is finished. The leader I am today has learned that once I accomplish something, I have the willingness and eagerness to share that knowledge with others, and I do exactly that!"


Our past SoLII scholarship recipients!

  2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011