Nathaniel Wheeler

Testimony Before the CUNY Board of Trustees

January 22, 2008

Good evening Chairman Schmidt, members of the CUNY Board of Trustees, Chancellor Goldstein, CUNY Vice Chancellors, and all of the college presidents and representatives in attendance this evening. Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today and share my experiences in ASAP at BMCC, from which I have benefited greatly and enjoyed.

My name is Nathaniel, I am a second semester ASAP student, third semester at BMCC overall. I want to use this time here today to voice some of the programs attributes I've experienced thus far.

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to Chancellor Goldstein, Mayor Bloomberg's Center For Economic Opportunity, and the ASAP staff and faculty for making the program possible.

Often those working full-time jobs and attending college are overburdened with financial worries. The fact that books and travel expenses are alleviated for ASAP participants is a key motivator in the longevity and academic levels reached by the working student.

Students like myself who are in the workforce, value the efficiency of the registration process. The block scheduling and tuition assistance provided allows the full time employed and full time student a great deal of comfort.

My first semester--before ASAP--was difficult, partly because of the restraints of my daily schedule. I had early morning classes following late evening classes, in multiple locations. All of these were combined with homework assignments, housework, and my job.

This past semester, though the days were actually just as long, they went much smoother, and I feel I came out with a much richer educational experience. Overall, ASAP has been a positive and driving force in the pursuit of my goals.

I only see success in my academic future, because the people involved with the administration of this program only see success in our collective futures.

It is not only a spoken goal, but has been demonstrated throughout the past semester, through their actions and continued support. Through ASAP I did not only have the opportunity to advance scholastically, but I also gained personally. It was at an ASAP sponsored career fair that I acquired my current position, which now allows me to work in my same field of study. Along with the many free workshops available to students, these extras are usually scheduled with the ASAP student in mind.

There is no doubt in my mind that due in part to the ASAP graduates, the economic impact on the city in years to come, will be positive and substantial. If a program like this one, could be available at all institutions for higher education, the aggregate effect on the American workforce, overall quality of life, and our economic situation in whole, could be astounding. Thank you very much for your time, and for listening.


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