By Karen Flores, Arts and Entertainment editor
James Patterson ‘69, bestselling author and philanthropist, awarded twenty Manhattan College $5,000 scholarships based on essay submissions highlighting their plans after graduation.
This is the 11th consecutive year that Patterson has provided support to “10 juniors and 10 seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence and involvement in activities tied to the College’s Lasallian mission,” according to the Manhattan College website. The scholarship is also awarded based on student needs.
Cory Blad, dean of the school of Liberal Arts, is the chair of the Patterson scholarship committee. The committee consists of the chair and the deans of all the schools on campus. Blad explained to The Quadrangle that the selection process begins at the end of the spring semester.
Students are chosen across all schools based on GPA criteria and financial needs. They then receive email invitations to submit a short essay in which they talk about themselves and their future career plans.
Once the committee receives the essays, they are categorized based on financial need and those who fall under that category are prioritized. Following this, the deans come together to read all the essays and they rank them based on the quality of the essay. Students are then selected based on the quality of the essay in relation to financial need if the overall criteria is met.
Blad also explained that students go through an editing process that was recently integrated in order to aid in polishing their essays.
“We’ve only been doing this for two years, but it’s working quite well. I’m very happy about working with Dr. Dominika Wrozynski from the English department.” Blad said. “She’s an award-winning poet and an excellent professor of writing. She has a series of writing workshops, where she just introduces various ideas and makes different suggestions about how to improve essays and students take their initial essay, and kind of rework and revise it.”
Anika Wahid, a senior chemical engineering major, moved to the United States from Bangladesh at the age of six. She shared that during the editing process, the recipients had read each other’s papers and doing that made her feel like she was part of a community.
“During the editing process, all the scholarship recipients actually got together and we got to read each other’s essays which was really nice,” said Wahid. “It was also therapeutic in a way because we were all just sharing our life stories and career goals. There’s this sense of solidarity and understanding.”
Rosalia Cefalu, a senior business analytics major, is a recipient of the scholarship. She believes that being named a James Patterson scholar is a big achievement and that it will continue to play a significant role in her life.
“It is not only all the help and the money that you’re getting from the scholarship, but also the weight and significance that comes with being a James Patterson scholar,” expressed Cefalu. “People know about this and they write articles about it. This is an achievement that I really wanted to have. I think I noticed the scholarship in my freshman year, and I always thought, ‘Oh, that’d be really cool.’”
Ireland Walker, a junior childhood/special education major with a concentration in psychology, is a commuter student. She expressed that she is honored to have received the scholarship as well as grateful for the financial relief that it has provided her with.
“I commute two hours to Manhattan College,” Walker said. “After some time, commuting takes a toll on your body and your mental aspect. I drive two hours to and from school and I also work. I’m very grateful for James Patterson. It was a weight lifted off the gas money and other expenses that come with going to college. I feel I have the support to continue doing what I can to be successful and hopefully make an impact as he did down the line when I go into my career.”
Daniel Angel, a junior civil engineering major, is grateful that the scholarship included students from all majors as he feels that despite having different fields of study, most students can relate to each other in different aspects.
“That kind of generosity that he not only includes students who have more similar backgrounds to him, but to be able to include everyone, I think is something that was very thoughtful of him,” expressed Angel. “I only know the struggles of an engineering major. I don’t know the struggles of other majors, but I know that one thing we have in common is that we would definitely love and appreciate any kind of help we can get especially if it’s for college.”
Quinten Murphy, a senior civil engineering major also agrees that making the scholarship include all majors was a great idea.
“I honestly originally thought that it was just for English majors,” Murphy said. “When I got the email was the first time I heard that it was for everyone. So, I really did think it’s a great opportunity to open it up to everyone. I’m very grateful that I got it from James Patterson because obviously the last few years were hard, especially financially.”
Blad opens up about his gratitude to be a part of the scholarship committee and to get to know the Patterson scholars.
“The opportunity I’ve had to really work with Dr. Wrozynski and the Patterson students who have come through the program, it’s been really enjoyable,” Blad said. “Students are very appreciative and it’s exciting for them to have the opportunity to present their lives and their work to such a prolific author like James Patterson.”
The call for the next round of Patterson scholarships and essays will go out within the next two months. Blad encourages the students who receive an email to submit their essays to be considered for the scholarship.
“We will be sending out a call for the next round of Paterson scholarships and essays, probably in the next month or two,” said Blad. “If anybody receives the [email] invitation, please consider submitting an essay and being considered for what we think is a very prestigious scholarship.”