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“YPIE encourages students to think about college early. It means you are ahead of the game. They provide an extra push for college and are always there to help. It’s a community. It’s a family.”

● YPIE Scholar, 2015-2019

● Graduate, Saunders Trades & Technical High School, 2019

● College Freshman, Howard University

● Intended Major: Architecture

How did you first get involved in YPIE?

Nia was one of the first students to be part of YPIE’s College Zone when she was in 9th grade. Nia’s mom was already familiar with YPIE as she is one of the dedicated volunteers who works with YPIE students during the college process.

“At Saunders, we all had that ‘YPIE bond’ getting on the bus together. I met a lot of kids from other high schools, some that I knew from elementary and middle school. It was really cool to connect with kids all around Yonkers.”

What did you study at the College Zone?

From the beginning, Nia visited the College Zone twice a week after school. At the College Zone, she studied Geometry, Earth Science, Algebra, Trigonometry, and Chemistry, and especially enjoyed the ice breakers and team building activities.

“We were like a family – it was really cool making relationships with everyone at YPIE. I learned things that I would not have learned anywhere else. And, I learned that getting help from others helps you to be the best you can be.”

What area of study interests you most?

Nia always remembers having an interest in drawing and building. “When I was younger, I loved Legos. I would get books with house plans and try to copy them. I love cities—the culture, the hustle and bustle.”

Nia chose to attend Saunders because of the Architecture program and intends to major in Architecture, with a minor in Urban Studies in College. “I especially like the focus on building communities and helping people. The way we design cities impacts the culture you create.”

How did YPIE impact your path to college?

Nia participated in YPIE’s Summer Scholars program after 9th grade. She took several trips that summer, enhanced her studies, and also started thinking about college.

“YPIE encourages students to think about college early. It means you are ahead of the game. Just know that this is for your future. You should take advantage of it. Without college, a lot of people wouldn’t be where they are today. YPIE added that extra push to be thinking about college early on.”

In 11th grade, Nia and her mom met with her YPIE College Advisors. They helped Nia to create a college list based on her interests in Architecture, Art, and Urban Planning. Nia expressed her interest to be in more of a city setting.

“We met to discuss my plans for the future and all the things I need to do as part of the application process.” Nia also worked with YPIE mentors for SAT prep and college essay writing. “Everyone at YPIE made me more excited about college.”

With help from her YPIE mentors, Nia submitted 13 college applications, including reach and safety schools.

How did YPIE add to your high school experience?

Nia reflects on the great relationships she made throughout her high school experience, with YPIE staff and mentors. “YPIE is a family. They are always going to be there for you. I always knew that they were there to help me and they wanted to see me succeed. I knew I could always count on them. I have had an awesome experience with YPIE.”

What has being part of the YPIE community mean to you?

"YPIE is a community and it helps communities. It provides kids an outlet and gives them an extra push for college. It’s people you can trust, it’s a community, it’s a family. YPIE is a community of kids and a community of families in Yonkers. What we do at YPIE helps create a better community and a better city.”

Posted June 2019

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