The Senior Umbrella Network honored two York College students’ passion for gerontology with scholarships to fuel their futures in the field.
The Senior Umbrella Network is a group of healthcare professionals geared toward senior advocacy. It gave $750 grants to Clari Ocasio of the Bronx and Thamar Valcin of Brooklyn.
Ocasio, 31, a junior at York College and a single mother of two, has maintained a 4.0 GPA in her major. She chose to study gerontology because, at the time, she was caring for her ailing mother and “wanted to know what was going on.”
Ever since her first class on the subject, Ocascio began to understand more. Ultimately, her mother died, but Ocascio continued her studies to help others.
“We bonded more ever since,” she said. “Although my mom is not with me anymore, I know she’s watching.”
Ocasio is currently a Medicaid service coordinator. But her long-term goal is to become a licensed social worker and advocate for seniors.
Valcin, 27, aspires to be in a geriatric care managing position. She is currently a senior at York College. While going to school full-time, she is working as a licensed nurse. She dove head first into geriatrics because she was raised living with her grandparents and helped take care of them as they got older. Now she wants to share her talents with the public and turn it into a career.
Valcin unsuccessfully applied for the scholarship in her freshman year. However, she persevered and was rewarded this time around. She maintains a 3.7 GPA at York and will apply to nursing schools next fall. She joined Eta Sigma Gamma and the National Society of Leadership and Success, two honor societies, in May.
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