While walking, driving or riding around Queens, and when picking up your local newspaper over the next month, you may notice a new series of powerful photos on buses, subway trains, taxis and more, part of an advertising campaign for LaGuardia Community College. The “DARE TO DO MORE” campaign aims to encourage adults of all ages looking to pursue their higher education, to explore all that the College has to offer – which includes 52 majors, as well as a variety of certificate programs, affordable tuition and financial support (resulting in 93% graduation without student debt), in the convenient location of Long Island City, Queens.
Nearly 50,000 students from throughout NYC, representing more than 150 countries and speaking over 125 native languages, study at the College each year.
“With more and more jobs requiring not just a high school diploma but a college degree as well, the value of higher education has never been stronger,” said LaGuardia Community College President Dr. Gail O. Mellow. “We want Queens residents, as well as people throughout the city, to know that an affordable, high-quality, convenient, flexible option is available at LaGuardia Community College in the dynamic neighborhood of Long Island City.”
The student-led “DARE” campaign was created and produced together with LaGuardia students and faculty from LaGuardia’s highly-regarded commercial photography program. LaGuardia students and alumni are featured in the ads’ dynamic images, conveying the spirit of the College’s diverse student population – daring, curious, ambitious and welcoming.
“While the people in our ads may look like models or actors, in fact they are our students!” said Susan Lyddon, LaGuardia’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “We can’t possibly find better models than our students; they are the best advocates and representatives of our College. They have first-hand experience with the many opportunities and support services offered by our dedicated faculty and staff, making them the best voice to reach prospective students.”
One of the LaGuardia graduates featured in the campaign is Walkis Ynoa, age 24, of Queens. In 2010, she moved from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. to pursue her education. “When I came to New York, I didn’t know how to speak English, and through the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) at LaGuardia, I learned English and was able to enroll and pursue my associate’s degree in business administration,” said Walkis. “I want others looking for a similar opportunity to know about LaGuardia’s many programs, including support services and scholarships, to help students get on track towards a higher education degree.”
Graduating from LaGuardia, Walkis has been studying towards a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance at Baruch College, where she expects to graduate this summer. “LaGuardia gave me a chance to get closer to my dreams and goals, and I am so grateful,” said Walkis.
Walkis Ynoa graduated from LaGuardia Community College in 2014 with an associate’s in business administration
Kristian Larrota, LaGuardia alumnus and a campaign photographer said, “I am very proud to have had the opportunity to use the skills I gained through the commercial photography program here at LaGuardia, to help increase awareness of LaGuardia Community College. We chose images that highlight our diversity using frames that illustrate our students’ focus and determination.”
Additionally campaign photos were taken by Gianni Sanchez, a LaGuardia student, graduating this year with an associate’s in commercial photography, and by Carlos Freire, LaGuardia alumnus, who is pursuing a master’s in film at City College, CUNY.
To read about some of the additional LaGuardia students featured in the “DARE” campaign, see below.
LaGuardia Offers 52 Majors and Numerous Pathways for Students
to Expand Worldview and Earn Career-Ready Skills
The 52 majors currently offered at LaGuardia Community College represent a wide variety of areas – from the humanities, computer science, fine arts, business, education, and healthcare (including radiologic technology, nursing, and veterinary technology). Adult continuing education programs include high school equivalency preparation, English as a Second Language, sign language interpretation, paramedic certification, and much more.
As well, the College routinely partners with area employers, in order to ensure curricula reflects latest industry trends, to develop job-specific training programs, and to identify channels for students to connect with and learn from professionals.
“Throughout our history, LaGuardia Community College has always been adaptive to the needs of the changing economy,” said Dr. Mellow. “We continually revise our academic offerings to match employers’ immediate and future needs. For example, through our collaboration with technology companies, we’ve expanded and redirected our computer science and technology offerings to include concentrations in mobile app development, video game design, and other areas where there are current or expected job openings.”
These new degrees, which are currently enrolling students for fall classes, include: Healthcare Management, Early Childhood Education, Liberal Arts – Music, Paramedic Certification, Therapeutic Recreation, and four new concentrations for the New Media Technology major: Video Game Development, Apps and Mobile Development, Digital Journalism, and Entrepreneurship.
LaGuardia’s Comprehensive Support Services Help Address Students’ Needs Holistically
LaGuardia students include many first-generation, low-income, and minority students, and more than 70 percent have family incomes of less than $25,000 annually. As a result, many students work full or part-time while taking classes, have families to support and other responsibilities. For these reasons, flexibility and support are built into programs and divisions across the College. For instance, LaGuardia’s Single Stop office assists students in obtaining public benefits and assists students in applying for financial aid to help pay for college and stay in school.
As a result of these services and the College’s many scholarship and tuition support opportunities, 93% of LaGuardia graduates have no student loan debt. In comparison, nationally, nearly 7 in 10 college graduates (69%) left school with an average of nearly $30,000 in student loan debt.
“We want to do everything we can to help students with the financial struggles in their lives, so they don’t become a barrier to staying in college and earning a degree,” said Dr. Mellow.
The College also offers many programs to help, guide and empower students by teaching them the soft skills (such as networking and how to be successful in a corporate setting), which are instrumental for professionals in all walks of life. These programs include President’s Society, the Luce World Pathways program, the Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa, and others.
DARE Campaign Photos Showcase LaGuardia’s Diverse Students and Alumni
Additional LaGuardia students and graduates featured in the “DARE” campaign include:
- Poulomi Das, age 19, of Queens, a first-generation college student of Indian and Chinese descent, who transferred to LaGuardia in 2015 after two semesters at a four-year college, said, “LaGuardia has helped me to get back on track and focus more on my school work and grades.” Poulomi is working hard towards her goal of a degree in registered nursing.
- Ovoke Ukpokpo, age 22, of Brooklyn, came to the U.S. from Nigeria in 2006 seeking better opportunities and chose to enroll at LaGuardia. “At LaGuardia I met knowledgeable and supportive professors who became my mentors,” said Ovoke. “They helped me to develop self-confidence and influenced me to pursue my studies further.” Ovoke transferred to Brooklyn College, where he is majoring in television and radio.
- Mamadou Diallo, age 21, of The Bronx, came to the U. S. from Guinea in 2012 to study. He graduated from LaGuardia in 2015 with an associate’s in computer science. An alumnus of the elite President’s Society program, Mamadou said, “Attending the President’s Society’s career, cultural, and networking workshops helped me to enhance my leadership, networking, and interviewing skills and learn more about different cultures.”
- Alan Li, age 22, of Queens, moved to the U.S. from Hong Kong at the age of seven. After high school he enrolled at LaGuardia “because of the great photography program.” He expects to graduate from LaGuardia in 2016, and then transfer to Baruch College to earn a bachelor’s in marketing and photography. “My five – to – 10 year goal is to start my own photography company.”
Alan Lee is majoring in commercial photography at LaGuardia Community College, and expects to graduate in 2016
- Lauren Viera, age 23, of Brooklyn, of Puerto Rican descent. “LaGuardia has been a life journey for me,” said Lauren, a new media major. “The College helped me find new friends, learn about myself and step away from my comfort zone.” Lauren is planning to get her bachelor’s in graphic design and go for a master’s later.