Tag Archives: New York University

Astoria teen gets presidential treatment before heading to college

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Anthony Neciosup

For 17-year-old Anthony Neciosup, last week still seems surreal, as his dream to go to the White House and be in the same room as the president of the United States and the first lady became a reality.

The Astoria resident was one of about 130 college-bound students from across the country to attend first lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative “Beating the Odds Summit” at the White House on Thursday.

The daylong event focused on sharing tools, strategies and resources the students will be able to use to successfully transition to college and in the end complete their time there.

“I was really thankful for it. It was my dream to go to the White House and I finally got it,” said Neciosup, who was invited to the summit through his leadership and work with the nonprofit Global Kids. “It still hasn’t hit me.”

During the event, the students were able to listen to a panel moderated by E! News host Terrence Jenkins and featuring the first lady, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, musician Wale, and Manuel Contreras, a senior at Brown University and founder of the Inter-Ivy, First-Generation College Student Network (1vyG).

As a surprise to the students, an unexpected special guest also took the stage to welcome and speak with them – President Barack Obama.

“It was surreal. Nobody was expecting him,” Neciosup said. “I thought people were cheering really loud for [Wale] and then I saw the top of Obama’s head and I started freaking out as well.”

The students at the event, who were sponsored by 70 nonprofits, represented a mix of urban, rural, foster, homeless, special needs and under-represented youth who overcame large obstacles to get through high school and ultimately make it to college.


One of those 70 nonprofits is Global Kids, which Neciosup joined in his sophomore year of high school after seeing their work after Superstorm Sandy.

“For over 25 years, Global Kids has been committed to helping students from underserved communities in New York City and Washington, D.C., to succeed in school, graduate and go on to college through our youth leadership and global education programs,” said Evie Hantzopoulos, Global Kids’ executive director.

Neciosup, who graduated from Long Island City High School and will be attending New York University this fall, said being invited to the summit helped boost his confidence and has made him feel more prepared to enter college.

He added that as a first-generation college student in his family, he at times felt the fear of “not belonging” at NYU, but after speaking with Contreras and receiving tips from the panelist on how to overcome that feeling, his spirits were uplifted.

“The past few days have made me feel better about going to college,” Neciosup said. “And I’m telling myself that it is possible and I can do this and one day I can be an ophthalmologist.”


NYC college students to vie for spot in Red Bull’s worldwide paper plane competition

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

New York City college students are getting wings this weekend in Long Island City.

On Sunday, over 250 students from seven city universities and colleges will try to earn a spot in the worldwide competition called Red Bull Paper Wings.

Participants from Manhattan College, and New York, Columbia, St. John’s, Hofstra, Fordham, and Rutgers universities will get together at Studio Square to create paper planes and compete to join 75 other students from around the nation in May at Red Bull’s competition in Austria.

Students from the schools can sign up at www.redbullpaperwings.com and on Sunday will receive the materials to build their planes on-site.

Professional skydiver and Red Bull athlete Jeff Provenzano will be judging the competition to see which design goes the farthest.

The event will take place Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. on the fifth floor event space at Studio Square, located at 35-44 37th St.


Spotlight on justice: Judge Jaime Rios, Associate Justice of the Appellate Term of the State Supreme Court

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


Justice Jaime Rios knew he wanted to help others when he began teaching public school. And when he got the chance to go to law school, he got a bigger opportunity to make a change.

Rios was born in the Bronx and moved to Queens when he was 18 years old. Although he wanted to be a teacher, he always had law in his blood, as his grandfather was appointed by the governor of Puerto Rico as a federal judge.

Rios received his Bachelor of Science in Education from the City College of New York and got his Master of Arts in Education from New York University. He then taught sixth grade at a public school in the South Bronx.

He recalled as New York was hit with an economic crisis in 1974, he decided to attend Fordham University School of Law during the day, while continuing to work as a teacher at night.

“It just became natural to apply my willingness to help people as a teacher and translate it to helping people as a lawyer,” said Rios. “Then when the professional opportunity arose to be a judge, I saw it as a further extension of my natural inclination for public service.”

After graduating law school, Rios’ first job was as assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. Then in 1980 he became counsel to the NYPD police commissioner and in 1982 was named Deputy Police Commissioner of New York.

He then went on to open his own law office in Jackson Heights, working as a community lawyer. In 1985 he was appointed Judge of the Housing Court for the City of New York. Eight years later Rios was elected to the Civil Court in Queens County, becoming the first member of the Latino community to be elected as a judge in Queens.

In 1995, Rios was elected to the State Supreme Court. In 2001 he became associate justice of the Appellate Term of the State Supreme Court, a position he currently holds. He is the only judge from Queens that make up the term. As an appellate judge, Rios reviews all the appeals taken from lower courts throughout Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

“It’s a continuation of that which started when I was a young person just trying to help kids get an education,” said Rios. “It’s another way to continue helping people and make sure the law is applied evenly.”

When he is not in the courtroom, Rios is teaching as an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law where he also began the Fordham Law Minority Mentors Program in 2006 along with Federal Judge Denny Chin. The program helps first year minority law students get help from alumni.



Stanford pulls out of applied science campus consideration

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Stanford University – one of the institutions in the running to build an applied sciences campus in New York City – has withdrawn its application, the school announced in a statement.

“After several weeks of negotiations with New York City, university leaders and the Stanford Board of Trustees have determined that it would not be in the best interests of the university to continue to pursue the opportunity,” the statement read.

Stanford was one of two schools – Cornell University being the other – which if chosen planned to build the campus on Roosevelt Island.

“The university could not be certain that it could proceed in a way that ensured the success of the campus,” said Stanford’s President John Hennessy.

A university is expected to be selected in January.  The candidates include Amity University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell, New York University and New York Genome Center/Mount Sinai School of Medicine/Rockefeller University/SUNY Stony Brook.