This post was written by Michael Castano, a recipient of the CUNY School of Professional Studies ACE Scholarship.

The ACE Scholarship award has provided me with great opportunities. This has been a very busy semester for me at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Since this is my last semester before I obtain my bachelors in nursing degree, there were many requirements that needed to be completed.

This fall I was required to fulfill 90 clinical hours for my nursing capstone course, complete 3 courses’ assignments every week, mentor two nursing students, apply for graduation, work full time, and was recently diagnosed with a cardiac condition. Being a recipient of the ACE Scholarship has given me the time to fulfill these requirements, because I did not need to pick up overtime shifts to assist me in paying tuition.

The scholarship also gave me the time to complete my applications to graduate schools, in which I have been accepted into the school of my choice, where I will be pursuing my masters in nursing degree and become a family nurse practitioner. I also believe that I gained valuable skills, such as time management, resilience after unexpected obstacles, and becoming a mentor.

The mentees that I was assigned to didn’t require as much guidance as I thought they would need. However, it was nice being there for them whenever they required assistance.

I believe without the assistance of the ACE Scholarship award, I would not have gained these valuable skills, or would have been able to focus the amount of time I did on my academic career and future goals, and for that I am thankful.

Michael Castano is a recipient of the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship, a scholarship program designed to support high-achieving undergraduate students Achieve College Education (ACE). He will graduate from the Nursing program at the end of this semester.