Hostos Student Ambassador
Manuel Mercedes was born in El Seibo, Dominican Republic in 1991 and spent most of his first 17 years in Santo Domingo. Manuel studied at Catholic institutions throughout his formative years and he began to be very engaged in athletic activities, such as swimming, which was a sport that he was talented enough in, that he won two medals when he was still in middle school. He also began to coach others, before he ultimately gave up his passion for swimming in pursuit of better grades in high school. Manuel considered himself “one of the bunch” in his home town, but this allowed him to work with his friends on engaging in activities that were the root of all of Manuel’s team building strengths. The one area of study that Manuel felt was vital to his growth and development as a student, was his study of the English language.
Manuel came to United States in July of 2009 after graduating from High School and began his CUNY career, taking an Intermediate ESL course at Lehman College. He decided not to attend Lehman College, but instead to come to Hostos Community College on the recommendation of his aunt, who was a student at Hostos. Manuel started his Hostos career in spring 2010 and he struggled to get himself established at the college, because he had no financial aid, a schedule that he was not happy with and he did not know anyone on the college campus besides his aunt. He felt isolated, alone and lost and even considered leaving Hostos.
In the fall of 2010, Manuel was recruited to be a part of the ASAP Program at the college, received a financial aid award package and was accepted to be a member of the Hostos Student Leadership Academy’s Emerging Leaders Program. All three of these things allowed for Manuel to develop a sense of security and connect with groups of students and student leaders, who helped him feel like he was a part of the family. Manuel dedicated all of his time to either his studies or participating in volunteer activities and through his service to the community, he began to build vital relationships that have allowed him to prosper at the college, in the City University of New York and in the local community. Manuel volunteered at the Homecoming in 2010, allowing him to be seen by both the Hostos family and the community at the parade and as part of the Viva Bronx Festival. He followed this activity up, by volunteering to plant trees and help beautify Franz Siegel Park on 153rd Street and the Grand Concourse and he also was one of a group of 21 students who began joint activities with Phi Theta Kappa National Honors Society (Alpha Kappa Tau Chapter) visiting Isabella Nursing Home in Washington Heights.
Manuel was promoted to the rank of Hostos Student Ambassador in the winter of 2010. He was also appointed as the Contact Leader for the ASAP Leadership Team in spring of 2011. While giving of his time to the college and the community, Manuel was also improving his GPA from semester to semester. Even though it was never less than 3.2, he raised his GPA each semester that he has been in the college and it currently stands at 3.626. Manuel has also served in a variety of roles at the college. He was part of the CUNY First Champions team and also a member of the Study Abroad Program in summer 2011, that went to the Dominican Republic to study the cultural, religion and ancestral history of the Southern part of the Island. These experiences have all contributed to the person that Manuel has become.
In the past two years, Manuel has provided 116 hours in 2010-2011 and more than 165 hours already for 2011-2012. Among the great activities that Manuel has been a part of: he was one of forty students who were the first to participate in the Hostos Athletic Leaders Organization retreat in spring 2011, he dedicated his time and service to first ever Hostos Phone-a-thon, he was one of 21 student leaders who attended the Millennium campus Conference at Harvard University in fall 2011. He was also selected to be one of only two students to participate in the 2011 National Conference on Ethics in America at West Point. Manuel has also attended two CUNY Emerging Leaders Conferences (one at the City College of New York and one at Brooklyn College)and has recently been selected to serve in the 2012 New York State Model Senate Session Project along with several other members of the Hostos Student Leadership Academy.
In the fall of 2011, Manuel was also in the class of the first ever Ernesto Malave CUNY Campus Leadership and Service Skills (CLASS) Program, which is the centralized leadership program for all of the City University of New York. In addition to this great Honor, Manual was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa in fall 2011 and is currently an officer in the local branch of the society. He is also the recipient of the 2011 Bronx CUNY Scholarship and the Hostos Student Leadership Academy Leadership and Service Award.
Manuel is also proud to report that he has joined the Hostos Aquatics Club to once again explore his passion for swimming and athletics.
For more information on the Ernesto Malave CUNY Campus Leadership and Service Skills (CLASS) Program, please visit:
For more information on the Hostos ASAP program, please visit:
For more information about the VIVA Bronx festival, please visit:
For more information on the Hostos Athletic Leaders Organization, please visit:
For more information on the Millennium campus Conference, please visit:
For more information on the National Conference on Ethics in America at West Point, please visit: http://www.usma.edu/uscc/scpme/ncea/index.html