Only One African American Among This Year’s Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholars

Recently the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced its 2007 list of Graduate Scholars. This year 34 recent college graduates who are preparing for graduate study were selected from 977 nominees to receive scholarships from the foundation. Over the six-year period since the establishment of the program, more than 300 winners have been selected. Jack Kent Cooke grantees are eligible for full scholarships to complete their graduate training. The awards, which include funds for room and board, as well as books, may range as high as $300,000.

Over the years, blacks have been well represented among Jack Kent Cooke Scholars at both the undergraduate and graduate level. But this year, only one of the 34 graduate scholar winners is an African American: Mark A. Smiley from Brooklyn, New York.

Smiley recently graduated from Baruch College of the City University of New York. This fall he begins medical school training at the University of Pittsburgh.

Smiley is a native of Jamaica. There he lived in a one-bedroom home with seven family members. After his family moved to New York, as a high school student Smiley worked at nights to help support his family. While in college he applied to 11 medical schools and was granted interviews at 10. He could only afford travel expenses to four of the 10 schools.

The Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship will enable Smiley to complete his medical training debt free.