Left to right: Magdalena Díaz, Sorelly Aybar, Heidy Santos,
Wanda Peña and Damaris Rodriguez
Five participants in the College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment (COPE) program at Hostos Community College (CUNY) with a passion for giving back have been awarded competitive Mitsui USA Scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Wanda Pena and Damaris Rodríguez graduated from Hostos in Spring 2015 and each received $6,030. Both students are currently attending Lehman College. Three current Hostos students, Magdalena Díaz, Sorelly Aybar and Heidy Santos, each received $4,500.
The Mitsui USA Scholarship Foundation awards competitive scholarships to students with a GPA of 3.0 and above who have demonstrated evidence of community volunteerism and leadership. Offering five scholarships, Mitsui accepted candidates from all CUNY community colleges and two of its comprehensive colleges. The COPE/Mitsui USA Full Tuition Scholarship award for AY 2015 goes up to $6,030 for students at four-year colleges and $4,500 for students at two-year colleges; however, the award will be prorated based on actual tuition cost for scholarship winners who enroll less than full time. 
Díaz was very excited when she learned about earning the award.
“I am very thankful for the scholarship because it will help me earn my degree and reach my goals. I have met so many great people at Hostos, especially in the COPE office. The COPE staff has helped me along the way and showed me that no matter the circumstances, there is always an opportunity to reinvent yourself and improve your life.”
María Cano, Director of COPE, said that she was particularly proud of the students.
“Most students at Hostos are in need of financial assistance, but COPE students are particularly deserving, as they are mostly single mothers on public assistance and thus have more financial need. They also have to comply with Human Resources Administration’s  mandated 30-hour work week and most hold at least a part-time job.  It is gratifying that despite these demands, they are also able to maintain impressive GPAs.”
The COPE program is a collaboration between The City University of New York (CUNY) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA). COPE assists qualified students enrolled in occupational degree programs by providing them with support services that include, but not limited to, individual and group advisement, employment preparation and job placement.
About the Mitsui Foundation
Mitsui USA Foundation, established in 1987 in New York, is the company’s charitable arm for active Corporate Social Responsibility and good corporate citizenship. The Foundation runs programs in U.S. communities where the company does business with a focus on Mitsui USA “named” projects, such as the “International House / Mitsui USA Scholars” program.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.

Recently named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.