Post Project Reflection

December 15, 2010

C.J. Mohammed-Bujan

Prof. Lee


English 379


In the beginning of this assignment I had originally selected a topic that had to do with high school immigrant students and their adaption to the school. As I was doing research on this the ASAP (Accelerated Studies in Associates Program) popped into mind as a topic that I would much rather present to my classmates and Professor. The idea stemmed from the way the program motivated me to do my absolute best with the goal of getting my associates degree in two years.

In coming up with the idea of ASAP I first had to think about what it was I wanted to focus on about the program. I started looking at the important services that the program offered that would make an individual interested in it. The idea of finance came into my head for we all know many people are unable to afford or go to college because the tuition and additional costs is what hinders them.

I started to reminisce about my experience in ASAP from day one where the faculty associated with the program made the transition for us so easy. They held our hands like we were baby’s and guided us from everything starting with prerequisites  to helping us focus on a major. They explained to us what was at stake and showed us the big picture from the start. With all this going on the financial aspect was the last thing on my mind when in this program. The main reason I didn’t worry about the financial aspect is because I had my parents to worry about that for me.

Thinking about the financial aspect of college I went back to Queensborough Community College and started asking students what is one of the biggest things that would hinder them from attending college. The majority of the students answered paying for tuition. This made me more eager to talk with the faculty of the ASAP program. I wanted to know what could be done in order for more people to get free schooling and be in the program. I first spoke with my former advisor Rosanna who had told me the program did expand but not by that much. The reason being was that they did not have enough financial backing. I asked where the financial backing for the program was coming and she had informed me from Mayor Bloomberg.

I wrote this down and knew that getting in contact with Mayor Bloomberg would be a must. He is the key to the whole program and in reaching out straight to the source change would be more efficient. I asked Rosanna if there were kids from the school who just walk over and ask them if they can join the program. She explained to me that they do and the main words that attracts them is “free education”. It just confirmed it for me even more the financial needs was the problem and that the solution would be Mayor Bloomberg. In order to get this solution I knew that I would have to explore alternative ways to get in contact with him and make him listen.

The first idea which was suggested by Professor Lee was the petition which would state why it is we would like to get the financial assistance to expand the program. In my petition I explained that a major reason why people are unable to attend college is because of the financial aspect. I got over 100 signatures with telephone numbers and email addresses. Getting these signatures were not an easy task because as I approached people they were skeptical as to what it is I was about to explain to them. I started talking about the program where almost every individual I talked to had no idea the program existed.

Explaining the program to these individuals gave me great pleasure because it was something that I took pride in since I was in it. After explaining the program to each individual except for maybe 3 or 4 the rest of them were more than happy to sign the petition for me. They saw it as a service to themselves as well because it could be something if opened to a broader range of students can implement change. The accomplishment of getting all these signatures made me ecstatic because I knew I was on the right start to making a difference.

I then talked to Rosanna and asked her if I could interview her this way I could get an in depth look about the program. I asked her how student in the program compare to those not in the program. She told me that the students in the program move at a faster rate because they have everything arranged for them. Not having a financial burden was another aspect that made the students more free to do their schoolwork.

I asked her about the financial aspect with Mayor Bloomberg and if they ever did anything to get additional funding. She said that they did ask for additional funding but they did not receive it to expand the program. One of the main reasons is that the Mayor’s office never felt like there were a large number of kids/students who were interested in it. I knew right there that my petition would be an important tool in my project and mission to affect change in the program. The last question I asked is if they believed the Mayors office has money to expand the program. Rosanna said that they themselves did research on this. They found out that the Mayors office spends money on cameras to take pictures if drivers were to run a red light. The same millions of dollars being spent on this can be spent on expanding the ASAP program.

In finding out all this information financially about the program I knew that it could be expanded. It was just to stay consistent with it and show that a lot of people are interested. I found a chart with Bloomberg’s spending just to show that he does spend money in areas that don’t need it as much as others. There was 25% of the money that was spent on education then another 21% that just said remainder. I was curious as to what the remainder was and went online to get a contact number for the Mayor’s office. I called the office and when I got through with someone I was put on hold and the phone eventually hung up. I called back and the same thing happened. I knew they did not want to answer my question when they kept doing this.

I then decided that writing a letter would be a great way to get through to the Mayor. In the letter I thanked the Mayor for funding the program because without him none of this would be possible. I explained to the Mayor that I was alumni of the program and how it helped me especially financially. I wrote how I had a petition which I got signed by over 100 people. I explained how I went back to Queens Borough and spoke to the advisors to the job developer to the head of the program at Queens borough. I had to show the Mayor that I was taking an active initiative in the program. Lastly in the letter I told the Mayor how I researched government spending. I pointed out how I found that millions of dollars were being spent on parks. I told the Mayor that I noticed all this money was being spent on things such as the park which were already in existence. I said that this same money could be spent on the program.

I included a separate sheet which showed ASAP’s progress and all that ASAP students have achieved since the program had started. The progress of the program was to show the positive direction that the program is headed in. In showing these positive things in the program I would hope the Mayor would see that he is making a difference where in turn these students are making a difference in society. I believe in including the letter, petition and progress report regarding the program it would show multiple reasons of concern why the program should expand.

In the middle of the project the obstacles I faced was trying to get enough financial information to back my reasoning for my project. I was discouraged at first because I thought that it would be tough. It was tough but through research I figured out that in finding ways the Mayor spends his money where it does not need to be spent I could come up with a valid argument to show why he should spend money on the ASAP program.

If I were to change something about my project it may be to get more information regarding finances and the Mayor’s office. In finding more ways in which the Mayor spends his money that could be considered a waste I would have been able to have a stronger argument why it is he should spend money on the program. Another thing I would change is even though it would have been to the extreme to have a rally outside the mayor’s office. This would have definitely delivered my message in a way where the media would of possibly picked up on it.

If there is anyone who is truly interested in my topic I would ask you to first get in contact with the ASAP program. This way you would be able to get a first hand view as to what it is they are about. In doing so you would be able to take it upon yourself if it’s really worth it to you to gather information and then present it to the Mayor’s office. The mayors office is the key as I mentioned before , as I did you may encounter a lot of back and fourth with them but if you keep persistant you will make progress.

This project has opened up my mind and eyes in regards to if you are really into making a change it can happen. It is up to you and how far it is you are willing to push yourself to make the reality of that change occur. In the beginning of the project I was excited but extremely nervous as to how it is I would make a great change. I took it one step at a time where at the end everything came together beautifully for what it was.

In the task of having to present this project to the class I had to arrange the information in a coherent manner where they would be able to understand my main objective with this project without me having to outright state it. It worked because two of my classmates when I asked the question said it was based on a financial aspect which was correct. This project showed me anything is possible and that change starts small where it eventually will have an effect on the source which will affect the whole.


Rosanna Fernandez

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One Response to “Post Project Reflection”

  1.   sthomas104 Says:

    I really enjoyed your presentation. It inspired me to also write a letter to the mayor on keeping unemployment benefits active. Keep up the good work.

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