Israel Adam Burns, Class of 2008
"As many of you know choosing which law school to attend in the fall was a difficult choice for me. After careful consideration I have decided to attend Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey.
My decision to attend Rutgers Law is based on two major criteria which impressed me: Their level of interest in my well being, and their respectability around the region.
From the early acceptance e-mail, to the final financial aid conference, Rutgers has constantly reassured me that they will stand with me as I begin my journey into the study of law. In addition to a fantastic financial package, I have been granted entry into the Minority Student Program which, besides enrolling me in a sponsored 2 week crash course in law school study, guarantees me a legal internship during my first year's summer.
Rutgers places a high level of interest in the development of individual students and the student responds well. To me, there are few necessities greater than a high level of interest from the University's administration in student development. Administrative awareness creates a fertile environment for cooperation between the students and professors that many universities lack. I perform at my best in these types of environments and I have not found a match in Rutgers level of interest in me.
Through my research and personal conversations with other legal professionals I have found that Rutgers School of Law is a well known and highly respected community. They place students in major firms across the tri-state area and are renowned for their clinical programs. Rutgers has programs focused on practice in New York, California, and New Jersey, and has a competitive Bar passage rate in each area.
All things considered, the fact of the matter is that the cost of admission to Rutgers Law is roughly $19,623 per year, one of the lowest in the country. I've always loved to bargain and I can't beat that deal. Naturally, this made my final decision easier.
For these reasons I will attend Rutgers School of Law. I'd like to thank everyone who helped me in my journey to this point and promise that you all have not heard the last of me."
Donavan L. Ramon, B.A. English and the Honors Curriculum, Class of 2009
"Success in any context goes hand in hand with mentoring. In order to do well, we all need someone to guide us. As a member of the Black Male Initiative, my mentor helped me attain a prestigious summer internship that helped to prepare me for graduate studies, which opened my mind to what I can expect as a minority doctoral student. I am also quite amazed at BMI's relentless commitment to helping its members not only academically, but also economically and mentally as well. Last year's workshops included topics ranging from financial literacy to maintaining our sanity while holding down jobs and studying full time. The Black Male Initiative aims to create well-rounded brothers, who can proudly face the impediments Black men contend with in society. I am privileged to be a part of this program."
Kyle Jeremaih, Junior, Class of 2014
“I was a transfer student coming from the College of Staten Island, and I did research before I came to Hunter College. Basically, I wanted to come into the school and be apart of a safety net with like-minded individuals with similar backgrounds and similar experiences. However, when I first came into BMI, I could not really identify with the experiences of African-Americans. Yet, as time went by, [I realized that] at the end of the day, we’re all people of color in the United States regardless of my background [being from] the Caribbean. We’re all viewed as the same group of people and we’re all trying to get a good education and be the best people that we can be. As a result, I really developed closeness to the brothers in the group, and now I feel a tremendous improvement in feeling like a member of the group.
BMI has taken a keen interest in my academic performance. My transition from my last college to Hunter was kind of shaky because I was trying to find my footing. My grades during that first semester suffered. BMI took notice of that and got behind me. I was able to pull off all A's last semester. BMI really wanted me to focus and settle down because it can be disorienting coming into a new school. BMI has helped me get into the Roosevelt House Public Policy Program, and there are a lot of opportunities that have presented themselves that BMI is supporting me with.
I would urge students to become apart of BMI because if I can do it, anybody can do it. I could not identify with everything at first, and now I'm completely immersed in everything that is BMI. We have this brotherhood, we have this fraternity where can lean on each other."
Steven Hall, Junior, Class of 2014
"When I first joined BMI, I was like "Ah, so this is where all the Black people are" (laughs). When I say that, because most of my classes, they're probably either two, or I'm the only Black person in my class. So there is this sense of community here, and as the years past, I have really gotten to know the people. We can talk about anything and we have an academic focus. It is through the BMI program that I was able to get into the MBRS-Rise program, which is a biomedical research program. So, again, BMI is a nice community that helps me with my academics.
I am continually learning about time management, and that's very important when you have exams and you have to study for them. Also, we have various [extra-curricular] engagements that we have to set time for, and I have learned how to effectively communicate with other people.
BMI is a great opportunity. To be honest, I would have never known that I could do something with a chemistry degree if I hadn't been a member of BMI. There are a lot of programs for whatever major you are, and when you become a member, you will get to see all of the programs. There's the McNair program, there's the Mellon Mays program. Most people, when they come to Hunter, they're either involved in the Nursing program, education, in the social sciences or the natural sciences, and BMI can hook you up with programs for all of these majors. You don't want to walk through college, not knowing where things are. At BMI, you have a community of people who can help you navigate through college."
Quentin Jackson, Sophomore, Class of 2015
"I got an email blast from [BMI Coordinator] Shawn Best, that was for new students attending Hunter. I didn't know anyone and I commute from upstate New York. I attended the initial seminar meeting and I was very intrigued by the offer to be apart of something that can better myself as a student, and be around other students who are brilliant.
The biggest I've learned being a member of BMI is accountability and paying attention to the decisions that you make as far as your academic career is concerned. From paying attention to the classes that your are taking, to building relationships with your professors and honing in on the bad habits you may have as a student.
If you want to be the best student that you can be, come join BMI. You may think you're the best student, but when join BMI, you will find something in yourself that you will need to work on from the fellowship of being around other students who are great."
Kwabena Donkor, Senior, Class of 2013
"In 2009 when I first came to Hunter, there would be people in the hallways inviting people to the meetings, but I never went my first year. I had some friends who attended some meetings and told me that I should stop by. When I decided to come thru, I met Dr. Cantarella who told me about available scholarships and opportunities that are available at Hunter College that I didn't know about, so I figured that BMI would be a good resource.
For every single meeting that we've had so far, there is a lot to learn. For me personally, it's about the people who organize and run BMI - Dr. Cantarella, Shawn Best, and Dean Rose. When I took the imitative to speak to them personally, they kind of showed me the direction in terms of where I should go. The programs that BMI does are great, but for me, I benefited more from talking to the heads of BMI.
I was not really thinking about pursuing at doctorate until after Dr. Cantarella read my thesis, suggested that look into the CUNY Pipeline Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. I was actually a day late to apply, but she has a friend in the organization and I was given an extension to write two essays for the application. I sent it out; I got an interview and was accepted into the program. The CUNY Pipeline Program allows minority students apply to graduate school and become competitive. So these were the type of conversations I had with the stakeholders. Dean Rose would advise me, my statements of purpose were read and edited by him and other stakeholders, so it has been a very personal relationship with them and they have acted as my counselors.
When I first heard that name, “Black Male Initiative,” I thought to myself, what about the females? When I came to my first meeting, there were women and women are apart of the group. We used to have a Russian guy who would come thru the BMI meetings and eat lunch. BMI is very inclusive, not exclusive.”