This Year's Union Scholarship Awards

Mario Gabelli and his wife, Regina, are seen here with his honorary membership plaque. Also present are Pierre Hotel employees Jay Laut, who is a Local 6 Executive Board Member, and Pasquale DeMartino.

Hotel Voice, Fall 2021

They want to be researchers, social workers, lawyers, teachers and doctors. They will be going to schools like CUNY's legendary Macaulay Honors College, Stony Brook, Harvard, Tulane, St. John's, and Stanford. They have been active in their communities and they have performed good works like volunteering at nursing homes and delivering Meals on Wheels. They are the Union's 2021 scholarship winners, and they are an impressive group of promising students representing hope for the future for all of us.

Anyone who reads through the mini-bios of this year's scholarship recipients, published in this edition of the Hotel Voice, will realize that the $252,000 in college grants awarded this year is an excellent investment. The bios reveal how dedicated they are as students and how much they have accomplished at their young ages. Indeed, the 21 students who received college grants of $12,000 each this year are sure to achieve other great things in the years ahead, just as previous scholarship recipients have.

Including this year's grants, a total of $9,284,000 has now been awarded to 1,123 children of our Union's members since 1987, when the college scholarship program began.

“These awards are outstanding achievements and they are the result of the dedication and hard work of students and parents alike,” HTC President Rich Maroko said. "We are very proud that these accomplished students are members of our Union's family."

The 21 students who received this year's scholarships were selected by a committee of professional educators. The scholarship committee is headed by its Chairperson, Lawrence Momo, who is the Director of College Counseling at Trinity School. The other committee members are: John W. Buckley, Vice President for Undergraduate Enrollment at Fordham University; Beverly Fox, Associate Dean of Studies at Sarah Lawrence College; and Diane McCoy, Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Columbia University.

It isn't easy for the committee to select the winners each year. The program is a competition and the standards the committee uses in determining the winners include careful review of all applications and accompanying documents that are submitted by the students. Academic records, community service and extracurricular activities are taken into account, as is financial need, and the committee alone decides the eventual scholarship recipients. Neither the Union nor the Hotel Association have any say in the selection process.

There are other interesting notes about this year's scholarship winners. It isn't any secret that our Union has always been a haven for immigrants, and among this year's winners are four students who were born outside the United States, coming from Bangladesh, China, Ecuador and the Philippines. In addition, many of the other award recipients have parents who were born outside the U.S., providing further evidence of the value immigrants represent to our country.

Our scholarship program also provides evidence that hard work is not limited to just one child per family. Two pairs of siblings are receiving scholarships this year! They are Nisha and Nissy Awuah and Matthew and Stephen Liang. In addition, 2021 scholarship recipient Nicole Dwyer is the sister of Ryan Dwyer, a 2019 scholarship winner.

As we’ve reported often in the past, the scholarship awards mean more than money for the recipients. Receiving a scholarship helps imbed in students the determination to do well in school and in their adult careers. A study conducted in 2016 verifies this. It not only found that every previous winner surveyed had graduated college or was still in school, it found that a full 90 percent of the previous scholarship winners who responded to the survey were working in the careers they had chosen for themselves as seniors in high school. There are professionals in virtually every skill set today who were recipients of our Union’s scholarships, and we are confident that this year's winners will have equal success.

Another note worth reporting about the awards is that Mr. Mario Gabelli donated $185,000 towards the $252,000 in scholarships granted this year. The pandemic devastated contributions to the scholarship fund, which are based on the number of members of our Union who are working. With so many members on layoff in 2020 and this year, contributions to the scholarship fund slowed to a trickle. But Mr. Gabelli rode to the rescue and his generosity enabled 15 additional scholarships to be awarded this year! We should add that Mr. Gabelli has already donated $85,000 towards next year's awards. To date, Mr. Gabelli, whose father, Joseph Gabelli, was a charter member of Local 6, has contributed a total of $451,000 to HTC's scholarship fund!

News of the scholarship awards always draws inquiries about how students may apply. Details on the competition, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, appear each year in the winter edition of this magazine and on the Union's website in January.

Congratulations to this year's 21 scholarship recipients! We firmly believe that the success they have already attained in their young lives is only a preview of the great things to come.

2021 Vito J. Pitta Scholarship Award Winners


Parent: Salomey Aggrey, The Peninsula

Nisha is a member of the National Honor Society at East Stroudsburg Senior High School South. She is a member of the NAACP Future Leaders Club, a representative of the school’s United Nation’s ASPIRE chapter, a member of the Soccer Team and participates on the Reading Olympics Team and DECA. Her outside activities include working as an assistant for the Sunday school at her place of worship and working at Camelback Mountain Resort during the summers. She enjoys reading, music and watching international films. Nisha will attend East Stroudsburg University and major in Biology.


Parent: Salomey Aggrey, The Peninsula

At East Stroudsburg Senior High School South, Nissy is a member of the National Honor Society, participates on the Reading Olympics Team, is a member of the NAACP Youth Club, is a representative of the school’s United Nation’s ASPIRE chapter, is a member of the Track and Field Team, and she participates in the Interact organization (Branch of the Rotary International). Her outside activities include working as the secretary for the Sunday school at her place of worship, working at Camelback Mountain Resort during the summers and enjoying arts and crafts such as painting, drawing and crocheting. Nissy will attend East Stroudsburg University and major in Nursing.


Parent: Aissata Bochum, Wyndham New Yorker

At the Metropolitan Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy, Fatoumata is the valedictorian of her graduating class and a four-year member of the Principal’s Honor Roll. She is the Founder and Treasurer of the Student Event Committee, served as the Social Media Director of the Academy’s Talent Ambassadors and participates in the NYPD Youth Police Academy Program. Fatoumata volunteers in her community, working through the POINT Community Development Corporation, and is the Youth Leader for the Bronx Youth Leadership Team (YLT), taking part in social activism and promoting change. Her interests include public speaking and art. She will attend Howard University and concentrate on Psychology and Business.


Parent: Tashi Doma, Empire Hotel

Tenzin attends The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria and is a member of the Software Engineering Program, a Teacher’s Assistant for the school’s Tech Explorers, a Technology Facilitator for its Digital Media and Communications Program and represents the school as a PSAL athlete on the Table Tennis Team. She works as a Flow Chemistry Research Intern at the NYU Tandon ARISE Program, has conducted research in biology for the BMCC STEP Program and was the Lead IT Support Intern for the CTE Industry Scholars Program. Tenzin volunteers her time as a caretaker at Camp Anchor and as an English Teaching Assistant at the Hasanter Nunnery Monastery. She will be attending Brown University with a double major in Computer Science and Neuroscience.


Parent: Mohammed Chowdhury, Parker NY

Mohammed attends the Trinity School and is the President of the Muslim Affinity Group, President of the Science Olympiad and a member of both the Varsity Wrestling and Varsity Outdoor Track & Field Teams. He was accepted to the Selective Science Research Mentorship Program at the American Museum of Natural History, volunteered at the local chapter of Head Start, interned in the Surgeon Shadow Program within the medical field of Vitreoretinal diseases and participates in many environmental development organizations. Mohammed will be attending Bowdoin College where he will focus on Environmental Sciences and Medicine.


Parent: Daniella Dwyer, Grand Hyatt

Nicole attends Division Avenue High School and is the Student Council Treasurer, President of the National Honor Society, member of the Music Honor Society, the World Language Honor Society, the Social Studies Honor Society and the Math Honor Society. She is also the Vice President of the Yearbook Club, a member of the Key Club, President of the Peer Leaders and a member of the Broadcast Club. Nicole is the secretary of the Chamber Orchestra, where she plays the viola, and the Captain of the Varsity Basketball Team. She is a member of the Varsity Volleyball Team, is an assistant at a local dance program and serves as an Acolyte at her place of worship. She will major in Film Production at Loyola Marymount University.


Parent: Cosmos Frimpong, Pierre Hotel

At Brooklyn Technical High School, Tiffany is the Founder of the Association for the Advancement of People of Color, the Outreach Chair of the Black Student Union, a member of the Model United Nations, Event Manager for the Key Club and a Senior Organizer in the Student Leadership Organization. Outside of school, she is the Founder of the Church COVID Mentorship Program, helping students adjust to their new academic environment, is a member of the Help the Homeless organization, and is a child care provider. Her interests include dance, volleyball, tennis and mentorship. Tiffany will be attending Cornell University, where she will major in Health Care Policy.


Parent: Mohammed Chowdhury, Four Seasons

Afifa attends Townsend Harris High School and is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Mu Alpha Theta National Honor Society. She is Features Copy-Editor for “The Classic”, Chapter Leader of MALIKAH, a Shadower/Observer for CLUBMED which provides students with virtual clinical opportunities, Secretary for the Get Your Life Together Club, Treasurer of PERIOD and a Founding Member of the Fiveable organization. Her other activities have included being a Guest Services Ambassador at NYU Langone Health, serving as a volunteer at the Hillside Manor Rehabilitation Center, and participating in the Muslim Student Association as well as both the S!NG and Festival of Nations activities. Afifa will attend CUNY Macaulay Honors College and major in Biology and Pre-Med.


Parent: Abdelkabir Kahtane, St. Regis

Yasmine attends Fort Lee High School and is a member of the National Honor Society. She is Student Council Treasurer, Captain of the Speech & Debate Team, a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field Teams and a member of the SADD Club. She volunteers at D6 Challenger League which assists special needs children. She interns at a local law firm and works as a coach at the Bergen County Debate Club. She is the Founder and President of the Fort Lee Town Hall Debate League and has created and maintains her own blog raising awareness on sustainable and ethical shopping in the fashion industry. Yasmine will attend the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, majoring in Business Administration.


Parent: Cindy L. Lei, Pierre Hotel

Matthew attends Jericho Senior High School and is a member of the National Honor Society, Captain of the VEX Robotics Team, Vice President of the Coding Club and a member of both the Varsity Swim and Badminton Teams. He serves as a Captain in the Jericho Junior Fire Department, is a Co-Founder and Director of Youth Media Arts, is a Certified American Red Cross Lifeguard & Safety Instructor, and is the Coordinator for Videography at TeenHacks LI. Matthew has worked as an assistant teacher at a learning center, lifeguarded at a fitness center and is a Social Impact Award winner in the best computer application category. He will attend Stony Brook University, majoring in Computer Engineering.


Parent: Cindy L. Lei, Pierre Hotel

At Jericho Senior High School, Stephen is a member of the National Honor Society, an Officer in the Music Honor Society and the Co-Captain of both the Varsity Track & Field and Varsity Badminton Teams. He serves as a Second Lieutenant of the Jericho Junior Fire Department, is a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student and is a Level VI first chair trumpet player in the New York State Student Musical Association. Stephen also works as a Medical Assistant for a local dermatology medical center. He will attend the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Pre-Med.


Parent: Run Xia Luo, Pierre Hotel

At Staten Island Technical High School, Yong is the Co-Founder and Web Developer of “OpportuniTeens,” which is a student initiative that provides information about academic opportunities. She is an Electrical/Engineering Team member at the ACE Mentor Program, Technology Assistant at the Brooklyn Public Library and an Engineering Intern at the Department of Design and Construction. Yong also volunteers as an Instructor/Web Developer for the Youth In Code Nonprofit and is on the Youth Leadership Council at the NYC Department of Buildings. She participates in the HK Maker Lab Entrepreneurship and Engineering Program at Columbia University as well as the MIT Online STEM Engineering Program. Yong will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology, majoring in Electrical Engineering and Bio-Engineering.


Parent: Cynthia Liu, Muse Hotel & Renaissance NY

Lily attends Grace Church High School and is a Student Leader in the Environmental Club, a Student Co-Leader in both the Asian Affinity Organization and the Science Olympiad, and plays the saxophone in the Jazz Lab. Lily is also a member of the Swimming, Track & Field and Volleyball Teams and is a Certified Lifeguard. She volunteers at the Efforts in Youth Development in Bangladesh Organization and has participated on two university-level STEM Prep Projects, while also designing and building a solar-powered dehumidifier within the March Madness Independent Project Program. Lily will attend Tufts University majoring in Environmental Engineering.


Parent: Julio Mora, Carlyle Hotel

At the Bronx High School of Science, Carlos is a Board Member of Bronx Science’s Investment Society, where he focuses on both the stock market and the need of his fellow students regarding future financial planning. He is a Youth Coordinator at the Lefrak City Apartments Complex, a freelance tutor for standardized tests such as the SAT, SHSAT and AP exams. Carlos’ other interests include soccer, following the Derivatives & Options Market at Yale’s Financial Markets on Coursera and modern music. He will be attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, majoring in Economics.


Parent: Mohammed Abdur Rob, Intercontinental Barclay

Zaki attends The Baccalaureate School for Global Education (BSGE) where he writes articles for the newspaper, The BACC Rag. He is a Leader on the Helping Hands Committee, a member of the Junior Council, representative for the Queer Justice Club, a member of PERIOD and an ardent supporter of the Socrates Sculpture Park Daisy Planting & Earth Day Events. He is also involved in the Arts and participates in the Materials for the Arts organization. He has organized and founded a choir-esque group, On a High Note, which performs at winter and spring concerts. Zaki also volunteers as a Student Ambassador during BSGE Parent-Teacher Conferences, seventh grade Admission Testing and Open House Events. He will be attending Stanford University and majoring in Business Marketing.


Parent: Sarah Appiah, New Yorker Hotel

Stephanie attends the Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts and is a member of the Honor Roll, Founder & President of the HSLA Mentors, member of the SA Humanitarian Club and a Founding Ambassador of HSLA Ambassadors. She volunteers at the New York Public Library, helps feed the elderly though Meals on Wheels, interns as a Youth Ambassador at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, tutors and mentors grade-school level students and has interned at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. Stephanie has taken two years of mock trial courses at the High School Law Institute of Columbia and is a Teen Leader of Seeds of Fortune, a group dedicated to promoting women of color. She will attend Barnard College of Columbia University majoring in Political Science.


Parent: Pedro Soto, Lowell Hotel

At Irvington High School, Morgan is a member of the Model United Nations, a leader in the Peer Leadership Program, a member of the Character Building Facilitator (CBF) Team, a member of the Technical Crew for school productions, a Teaching Assistant for classmates, a member of an organization to help the homeless called Midnight Run, a four-year member of the Color Guard and was chosen by her school to represent it in the Human Rights Institute. Along with her activities at school, she is also an Administrative Assistant at the Early Einstein Learning Center, an assistant at Reading Buddies and a participant in the ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute. Morgan will attend Tulane University, double majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience.


Parent: Michelle Bediones Tortusa, NYC ESH Lexington

Mikaella attends Kent High School and is a Peer Tutor and Counselor, a member of the Technology Support Group, a Student Ambassador for the Carmel Hill Fund, the Captain of the Varsity Cross Country Team, a Player/Manager of the Varsity Softball Team, a member of the Drama Club and a member of the First Robotics organization. She is also a member of the Math Team, Physics Club, Debate Club, a Lab Research Assistant and a Tour Guide for both prospective and incoming students. Mikaella is proficient in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and participates in many disciplines of fighting techniques such as Muay Thai, Kali, Boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She will attend Hamilton College and will major in Business/Law.


Parent: Julan Wu, Parker NY

At Stuyvesant High School, Rachel is a member of ARISTA Honor Society, Editor of the Layout Division of the school newspaper, the Stuyvesant Indicator, the Chemistry Division Event Leader in the Science Olympiad, a member of the Key Club, Assistant Director of the Art Crew and a member of the Theater Community. She volunteers at A+ Academy, Dyker Excel, where she tutors English and Math as well as focuses on instructing students on standardized tests such as the SAT and SHSAT. Rachel’s outside activities include an appreciation of music, having played the piano since the very early age of five years old. She will attend Stony Brook University majoring in Psychology.




Parent: Carlos Nasipucha, Metropolitan Club

At Xaverian High School, Carlos is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. He is enrolled in the STEM Biomedical Program, a member of the Key Club and a member of the Art Club. His extracurricular activities include being an Altar Server and volunteer at his local place of worship, playing chess, physical/digital art drawing, studying psychology and philosophy, reading books and listening to music. Carlos will major in Biomedical Science at St. John’s University.




Parent: Yan Liu, College Residence

At The Bronx High School of Sciences, Kelly is a member of the National Honor Society, a Student Representative on the school’s Leadership Team, a member of the Speech & Debate Team, an Ambassador Intern for the International Model United Nations and a winner of the Maxima Cum Laude Award on the National Latin Exam. She is also the Regional Head of The Peace Syndicate, a Board Member of the Youth Justice Board, a Statewide Campaign Field Organizer and Coordinator for a candidate for the New York Attorney General’s Office, a Regional Director for The Borgen Project and an intern for the Oxbridge Academic. Kelly will attend Harvard University and major in Academics.