Meet the 2015 New Visions Scholarship Winners! | New Visions for Public Schools

Meet the 2015 New Visions Scholarship Winners!

Many times, financial aid packages offered by colleges and universities do not cover the full cost of attendance.  Too often, those gaps function as deterrents for students.  For the last six years, New Visions has awarded an exceptional set of high school seniors from New York City with scholarships to help offset the cost of attending the college of their choice.  This year, we are proud to present 10 outstanding students with New Visions scholarships of up to $20,000.

Nominated by their principals and teachers, this year's scholars are fierce advocates for social justice, enriching their communities and schools and seeking new challenges in and outside of the classroom. 

Very special thanks to Jane Hartley and Ralph Schlosstein for their commitment to New York City’s public school students and their creation of the New Visions scholarships.

Thank you to Roger Altman, Diana and Dick Beattie, and Barbara and Ray Dalio for their ongoing, deeply generous support of the scholars.  We are grateful for past and ongoing commitments to the scholarship program by Dan Cohen, Ian Cook, Joan Ganz Cooney and Peter G. Peterson, Jay Fishman, Gary Ginsberg, William Hiltz, Caroline Kennedy and Gideon Stein.  It is with pleasure that we acknowledge BlackRock for establishing these scholarships in 2009 in honor of Ralph Schlosstein.

Over the next few days, we will introduce you to two of our scholars, each day. Today, meet…

Rachel Zhao
Millennium High School, 2015
Dartmouth College, 2019

“Learn for the point of learning. Your passion should drive your education.”

Since she was ten years old, Rachel was empowered by the expressive and persuasive power of language.  She always knew that writing would be a critical part of her life and career.  Her passion was not naïve—indeed, at one point, she told her father, who wanted her to pursue a more traditional career, that she “couldn’t allow him to cut writing from her future” and that she would do whatever it took for her to pursue her goal. 

While at Millennium High School, Rachel seized opportunities to hone her writing, serving as editor of her school’s newspaper, working as a fellow at the Opportunity Network where she published short stories and anthologies, and creating a 20-page proposal for her English class, designing her “Ideal Education.” 

In English class during her junior year, Rachel opened her eyes to social justice and the power of the written work to advance vital causes and advocate for those most in need.  Rachel is now considering studying political science with a focus on human rights and gender studies with the hopes of attending law school in order to fight for those without a voice.  She knows that writing will be integral to her ability to “inform, argue and connect with other people” and that her Dartmouth education will serve her well in the future.

Nataki Gordon
High School for Public Service: Heroes of Tomorrow, 2015
Colgate University, 2019

“Stay on top of your school work and do tons of community service. Because when you’re applying to college, grades don’t really separate you from the crowd; it’s how you gave back to the community.”

Nataki Gordon not only talks the talk, but she also walks the walk.  Her high school’s 200-hour community service requirement inspired her to "reach for the stars and make public service a part of everyday life.”  She ultimately completed more than 450 hours of community service.

Service, in her words, is about “building a connection, a bond, with those around you.”  Nataki’s countless hours volunteering at soup kitchens and nursing homes through New York Cares and buildOn taught her about a wide range of programmatic interventions and inspired her to one day build her own “research institution in the heart of Kenya.”  Nataki ultimately aims to improve the quality of education, “collaborate with scientists to improve the [harvest] rate of predictability” and tackle “corruption and poor leadership” across Africa.  She plans to build a foundation for this work by studying sociology and Africana & Latin American studies at Colgate University.