By Meghan Sackman
The Port Authority of New Jersey and New York has partnered with Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Queens to create a new scholarship program.
This is the first year that they will provide six high school students in the LaGuardia Airport area a full scholarship to Vaughn College in East Elmhurst.
The scholarship will offer students a tuition-free education for four years at the aeronautics school, as well as guaranteed paid summer internships and a full-time position in aviation
operations at Port Authority airports upon graduation.
Applicants must have a grade point average of 80 or higher, and a combined SAT score of 1,000. They must also write an essay about why they want this opportunity, and be a resident of the zip codes 11369, 11370 or 11105.
Secondary preference will be given to zip codes 11368, 11102, and 11103.
Scholarship recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA, remain enrolled at Vaughn College full-time, successfully complete Vaughn’s career development seminar, and participate in Vaughn’s leadership academy.
The idea for this scholarship arose from the need for new people to work in the airport industry as many aviation operations employees reach retirement age.
“Between the community wanting to give back, and then also just recognizing how important Vaughn is to keeping the workforce growing at LaGuardia, that’s how the program started,” said Lysa Scully, general manager of LaGuardia Airport.
Last month, Scully pitched the scholarship program to seniors at Monsignor McClancy High School in East Elmhurst, urging them to take advantage of this opportunity for education and employment.
She pointed out that Vaughn College is a smaller school that is close to home for many students. Class sizes are also smaller, giving each student more attention.
“I think the piece we want to emphasize is the employment opportunity,” Scully said. “You’ll have guaranteed summer employment, as well as a job at the end, and so for a student to have that guarantee at 17 or 18 years old is pretty remarkable.”
Celso Alvarez, associate vice president of enrollment at Vaughn College, said the program is a great opportunity for high school kids.
He mentioned that Vaughn College just spent $2 million updating their tech lab, and emphasized that the school is not just for aviation, they also have management, technology engineering, and more specialty fields.
“We have great program at Vaughn that deals with aviation engineering, so the Port Authority felt that it was important since we are right across from them, to be able to provide students with this opportunity to work with them,” Alvarez said.
“Very few schools are actually offering full-tuition scholarships for their students,” he added, “and this is a great opportunity to work with our local communities and give these students the opportunity to work and actually get a full ride.”