Scholars Update


Edmund Adjapong @ Teachers College, Columbia University

Edmund Adjapong, a native of the Bronx, NY, is a student at Teachers College, Columbia University where he is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Science Education. Edmund is a middle school science pedagogue at a New York City public school in the Bronx and an adjunct lecturer at Hunter College. He is also currently the administrator for the Science Genius Program, a program that engages urban students in the sciences through Hip-Hop, and the director of The Science Genius Academy, a program that encourages and prepares students to pursue STEM careers while providing mentoring and support. Concurrently, Edmund serves as the founder and director of The Science Genius Academy. He has appeared on media outlets such as Hot 97’s radio station and is a contributing writer for The Good Men Project, where he writes and speaks about issues of race, diversity, social justice and education. Edmund believes every student has the ability to learn, and does so differently. He also believes that engaging urban youth with media (despite its unconventional method) is an effective way to educate. Edmund enjoys working with and mentoring youth, especially young men of color, as they are our future. His research interest includes issues of class, race, gender, privilege, diversity, youth programming and STEM education.

You can follow Edmund and all the great work he’s doing at:


Hendry Blanco @ City College of New York

Hendry Blanco continues to work towards his Masters’s Degree and has just two classes left – he should graduate Fall 2017. Hendry recently changed jobs and is now teaching at Riverdale High School in Yonkers, NY, a focus school serving underprivileged students in Westchester County. At home Hendry and his wife are expecting their first child – a son to be named Isaiah.


Tahisha Chery @ Queens College

Tahisha Chery completed her first year as an English-Language Arts teacher at a charter school in East Flatbush. In late June, Tahisha put together a book of students’ published pieces written throughout the academic school year. The book includes a collection of personal narratives, creative fiction and poetry. Tahisha plans to continue working with at-risk youth in low-income neighborhoods and she is still on track to complete her Master’s Degree in English Education, grades 7-12.


Michelle Urena (Coronel) @ Teachers College, Columbia University

Michelle got married this summer! They’re going to Iceland in February for their honeymoon.

This school year, Michelle is working as an ENL service provider for three different classes in a push in/pull out method. Michelle said, “I feel really good about the change! It’s nice to have a different position in the same school. It feels like a new job, but I still have the support of the same peers I’ve had for the past 4 years. It’s also very rewarding to go from working with gifted students to working with students who really need my help.”


Sarah Elkady @ Brooklyn College

Sarah Elkady graduated in the Spring of 2017 with her Master’s Degree. She is currently a Kindergarten Teacher in a Charter School in Harlem.


Hurley Lee Freeman @ City College of New York

In the fall of 2017, Hurley will complete the Advanced Certificate Program in Secondary English at City College while completing his student teaching at a yet to be determined High School in New York City.


Bianca Frias @ Bank Street College

In May 2016 Bianca received her Master’s Degree from Bank Street College in Early Childhood Dual Language/Bilingual General and Special Education. Bianca is currently in her second year of teaching kindergarten at a dual language elementary school in Washington Heights.

Jamel Holmes (Lehman College)

Jamel Holmes was recently featured on News 12 Bronx New York for being awarded our Peter Greeman Scholarship. Please copy the following link to view the article and video:


Ben Patker @ Teachers College, Columbia University

Ben Pakter continues to teach at Bronx Lighthouse College Prep Academy. He teaches a variety of classes, from 6th and 7th Grade Writing, to 12th Grade Government and Politics, to running extracurricular programs like Chess Club and a Literary Magazine.

Ben’s 8th graders passed the 11th grade US History Regents with a 60% pass rate.

Maria Rodriguez Photo

Maria Rodriguez @ Brooklyn College

In May 2016 Maria graduated from Brooklyn College with a Master’s Degree in Education (Childhood Education, Bilingual and Special Education) and will be teaching first grade at Ascend Lower Charter school.


Lauren Philogene (Smithson) @ Bank Street College

Lauren is from Long Island, NY. She attended Parochial School for grades 1-12, and was a volunteer Sunday School teacher in her local church. In May 2011,
she graduated from NYU with honors, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Childhood General and Special Education with a minor in English. She received her initial licensing in both Early Childhood and Childhood General and Special Education. Upon graduation, Lauren was offered a position to teach Kindergarten.
After teaching for a year and a half, Lauren decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Literacy while continuing to work as a classroom teacher. In May 2015, two months after getting married, she graduated from Bank Street College with a Masters of Science Degree in Literacy, earning her Professional License. She is now a tenured New York City Public School Teacher working in both 2nd and 3rd grade and in June 2017 welcomed her first child, a beautiful baby girl, into the world.


Lizmary Valdez @ City College of New York

Lizmary was an honored speaker at her graduation this past Spring (2017). She continues to teach at the Bronx Science High School.