Jose Deschamps and Rabiat Ajao
On Tuesday, March 8, Hostos student Jose Deschamps and recent graduate Rabiat Ajao traveled to Albany to receive their 2016 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-New York Academic Awards.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner recognized 63 State University of New York and 14 City University of New York students at the New York State Museum, for a total of 77 awardees.

Ajao and Deschamps joined the roster of the CUNY students, including:  Loren Knyper and Tanya Ritchie of Borough of Manhattan Community College; Paloma Alonso and Darnell Reed of Bronx Community College; Christina Wirsing and Luz Cepeda of Guttman Community College; Katarzyna Maziarz and Ellen Enderle of Kingsborough Community College; Rachel Chambers and Daria Sowa of LaGuardia Community College; and Yueli Chen and Yi Jiang Queensborough Community College.  

Deschamps, who is working toward becoming a game designer, will earn his Associate Degree in Game Design from Hostos in Spring 2016 and plans to transfer to a four-year college to study Design and Technology. He is motivated to develop social awareness through gaming platforms, as he sees gaming as a medium where new ways of changing perceptions and motivations can happen.

Ajao completed her Associate Degree at Hostos Community College in Fall 2015 and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at Lehman College. She hopes to become a Nurse Practitioner with a specialization in Pediatrics. Ajao was a member of the Hostos Student Leadership Academy’s Student Ambassador Program, where she completed more than 40 hours of volunteer service in the fall of 2015, including planting trees in local parks, visiting with senior citizens, helping students get acclimated to college life, and feeding the hungry in local soup kitchens.

To help mark this recognition, both Hostos students are featured on the home page of CUNY’s website, pictured high atop the campus’ B-Building.

“Congratulations to the SUNY and CUNY students receiving awards in recognition of their high academic achievement in community college,” said Dr. Tincher-Ladner. “Phi Theta Kappa is proud to honor these students, who have volunteered countless hours of leadership and service to their respective campuses and surrounding communities.”

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher stated, “Each year, Phi Theta Kappa selects community college students throughout New York State and the nation who have improved their local community in some way. In doing so, PTK also recognizes the immense value of a community college education and the profound impact that our students have on their campuses, in their communities, and on the economy. Congratulations to all of the students honored in recognition of their outstanding leadership and achievement.”

CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken said, “For almost a century, Phi Theta Kappa has encouraged and represented excellence in community college education across our country and beyond. Nowhere is that clearer than in the students whom we honor for their academic achievements, leadership abilities and service to their institutions. All of us at CUNY salute these honorees from across New York State. They have accomplished a great deal and clearly have a great deal more to give to make our city, our state and our country better places for everyone.

Rockland Community College President Cliff Wood, who chairs the annual PTK event in Albany, said, “We are so pleased to honor an extraordinary group of students, who, in addition to achieving academic excellence, have made important contributions to their institutions and to the greater community. The awardees represent the 37 community colleges of SUNY and CUNY, diverse institutions with diverse student bodies, unified in their mission of providing an outstanding and accessible education to the people of New York.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in higher education, serving nearly 1,300 colleges in all 50 states and nine sovereign nations. Members of the All-New York Academic Team are recognized for the academic achievements, leadership accomplishments, and engagement in community service.

Additionally, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors a Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team each year, and recognizes the New Century Scholars, which are the highest scoring students from each of the 50 states, Canada, and each of the six sovereign nations where PTK chapters exist. These students make up the All-USA Community College Academic Team. PTK will announced New York’s 2016 New Century Scholar April 12.

The state’s Coca Cola Scholars are Darnell Reed, Bronx Community College/CUNY; Daria Sowa, LaGuardia Community College/CUNY; Yi Jiang, Queensborough Community College/CUNY; Sidra Ijaz, Rockland Community College; Abigail Heins, Suffolk County Community College; Yueli Chen, Queensborough Community College/CUNY; Mark Patrick, Jefferson Community College; Emilie Kane, Mohawk Valley Community College; and Heather Coggin, Broome Community College.

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.

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.

About The State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2014-15, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit bearing courses and programs and nearly 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally-sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree are SUNY alumni. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

About The City University of New York
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves more than 270,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. Nearly 3 million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via, the University’s website.