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Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) Awards Annual College Scholarships to Twelve NY College Students That Have Excelled Under Challenging Circumstances

Recipients Honored for their Success Battling Adversity in Communities Across the City

Press Release – July 28, 2016 (New York, NY) — The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) presented 12 New York college students with a $2,000 scholarship at the 2016 annual College Scholarship awards breakfast held at its headquarters in Manhattan on July 27, 2016. Recipients are college juniors and seniors who were selected for their individual abilities to excel despite challenging circumstances. These young adults are individuals who have been identified by FPWA’s member agencies and have demonstrated a commitment to furthering their education.

FPWA CEO and Executive Director Jennifer Jones Austin, Chief Strategy and Program Officer Wayne Ho, and Director of Member Initiatives Vanessa Leung kicked off the program by welcoming the recipients. Program Manager Blanche Centeno-Hatwood presented the awards to the 12 recipients with representatives of the member organizations that referred the scholars, who spoke about each student’s unique qualifications and background. These included Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cypress Hills Local Development Corp., Edwin Gould Services for Children & Families, Forestdale, Inc., Goddard Riverside Community, Inc., Henry Street Settlement, and Hudson Guild.

According to Jones Austin, “The college scholarships are one of the many ways that we seek to address the needs of New York’s young people and potential future leaders, all of whom who have been through adversity yet are excelling in school or in their personal lives.”

For nearly 30 years, FPWA has awarded college scholarships to students who have overcome personal hardships and demonstrate financial need. FPWA decided to provide financial support specifically to students of junior and senior status since there are less scholarships available when students become upperclassmen. All of the scholarship honorees are working tirelessly to turn adversity into advantage.

2016 College Scholarship Award Recipients:

  • Alexander Philip Torbov, CUNY Baruch College: “I feel very privileged to receive this award. These networks of support have been extremely helpful. Without this, so many students feel helpless and many give up.” Referred by Henry Street Settlement.
  • Demetrius Johnson, New York University: “Thank you FPWA for this scholarship. I want to go on to Harvard Law School. I am really interested in politics and using my voice to advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves and inspiring other youth in foster care that they can do whatever they put their minds to.”  Referred by Edwin Gould Services for Children & Families.
  • Bibi Morium, CUNY Baruch College: “As a young Bengali woman, I am fighting against ideals set forth upon me by generations and generations of men and women who value my worth only in the home. My…hope is that a traditional culture will view the benefits of their daughters, and the community itself, when we educate our women and empower them to pave the future generation to even higher heights.” Referred by Henry Street Settlement.
  • Yuan Chen, SUNY New Paltz: “Thankful is an understatement. I am, to put it simply, very happy to receive the scholarship.” Referred by Forestdale, Inc.
  • Raymi Echavarria, CUNY Hunter College: “I think we are a result of the opportunities that are made available to us – thank you for this outstanding award.” Referred by Cypress Hills Local Dev. Corp.
  • Neha Basnet, Brooklyn College: “Finance is a barrier for many students and it limits us in countless aspects. With tuition rates skyrocketing and being able to afford college becoming nearly impossible, generous educational scholarships like this is a true gift. Referred by Goddard Riverside Community.
  • Desire Nizigama, Stony Brook University: “This scholarship will be a major help in achieving my educational goals. It means I can focus more time on my studies, research and extracurricular activites. Everyone deserves a college education and I will work hard to honor my scholarship commitment.” Referred by Goddard Riverside Community.
  • Alexus Murray, John Jay: “It feels great to receive some kind of recognition for my hard work over the course of my college career. Going to college is a challenge itself.”  Referred by Goddard Riverside Community.
  • Jhoel Peguero, Lehman College: “My family came from the Dominican Republic to give me and my younger brother a better life. I not only want to achieve a higher education for my family, but because an education is important to have and can benefit me as I progress further in life.” Referred by Hudson Guild.
  • Xue Lin, Hunter College: “From my immigrant experience I know that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I would like to thank FPWA for acknowledging me and supporting my career goals.” Referred by Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Aderys Adames, Queens College: “I know my parents left the Dominican Republic behind so I could have better opportunities. This award represents hope for another future.” Referred by Cypress Hills Local Dev. Corp.
  • Larissa Jimenez, SUNY Old Westbury: “This scholarship is special because it will help ease the financial burden I have experienced over the past two years. It has proven to me that regardless of circumstance you can achieve your academic goals.” Referred by Cypress Hills Local Dev. Corp.


FPWA’s 2016 College Scholarship recipients attend annual awards breakfast to accept $2,000 scholarships, totaling $24,000. Students pictured left to right: Raymi Echavarria, Aderys Adames, Larissa Jimenez, Neha Basnet, Yuan Chen, Xue Lin, Bibi Morium, Alexus Murray, Jhoel Peguero, Desire Nizigama, and Alexander Philip Torbor.

FPWA CEO and Executive Director Jennifer Jones Austin (pictured far right) alongside New York college students honored at FPWA’s annual College Scholarship awards breakfast. Students pictured left to right: Jhoel Peguero, Bibi Morium, Alexander Philip Torbor, Neha Basnet, Alexus Murray, Raymi Echavarria, Yuan Chen, Xue Lin, Larissa Jimenez, Desire Nizigama, and Aderys Adames.


The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) is an anti-poverty, policy, and advocacy nonprofit with a membership network of nearly 200 human-service and faith-based organizations. FPWA has been a prominent force in New York City’s social services system for more than 92 years, advocating for fair public policies, collaborating with partner agencies, and growing its community-based membership network to meet the needs of New Yorkers. Each year, through its network of member agencies, FPWA reaches close to 1.5 million New Yorkers of all ages, ethnicities, and denominations. FPWA strives to build a city of equal opportunity that reduces poverty, promotes upward mobility, and creates shared prosperity for all New Yorkers.


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