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WHDC Welcomes Sixth Cohort of Columbia Community Scholars

October 22, 2018

On Monday, October 15, 2018 a reception was held in honor of the new cohort of Columbia Community Scholars (CCS). Started in 2013 as part of the 2009 Community Benefits Agreement, members of the Northern Manhattan community apply for the opportunity to access Columbia’s resources and facilities while pursuing their “lifelong learning aspirations” (website). The West Harlem Development Corporation has supported the community scholars whose projects align with our mission to promote increased economic development and quality of life to sustain a vibrant community in West Harlem.

For a three-year period, scholars can opt to complete a particular project, or conduct comprehensive research into a burning issue. While the program does not culminate in a degree, course credit, or a certificate, there is much to gain if selected as a member of the cohort of up to five community residents. Scholars have access to all Columbia University’s libraries (including on-line access). They can audit courses of their choosing, dialogue with scholars and students in their field of study, and attend seminars and social events on campus.

One of the many strengths of the CCS is the diversity of people and projects within each cohort. The full spectrum of diverse projects was on display Monday night. Attendees had the pleasure of hearing a sneak peek of each of the 2018 scholar’s projects (listed below). WHDC congratulates the 6th CSS cohort!

Columbia Community Scholars Cohort VI (left to right in accompanying picture)

Melanie Edwards
Project: Writing a biography of her grandfather J. Rosamond Johnson, who was an actor, composer, musicologist, and author.

Chris Pellettieri
Project: Developing skills and knowledge in support of his nonprofit Pellettieri Stone Carvers’ Academy, with the goal of being able to expand the training offerings.

Debra Ann Byrd
Project: Developing and producing “Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey,” a exploration of her journey while taking on the role of Othello, which will include a memoir, a published script, and a one-woman touring show.

Debbie Meyer
Project: Creating an organization to address the systemic issues and the policies that allow dyslexic students and struggling readers to fail, including pressuring universities to address these issues in their teaching programs.

Karioki Crosby
Project: Developing a “Harlem Maker Expo,” consisting of an annual exhibition of creative coding and physical computing projects from after school and weekend workshops.