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Lennyn Jacob, an adult learner at BCC, was recognized by Higher Education Power 100 for her work helping students with disabilities. She was the, only student to receive this honor, which included presidents of Ivy League Universities, among others.

She currently serves as the Chairperson of CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities (CCSD) and Treasurer of CCSD at BCC.

“This award means the world not just for me, but for everyone who finds inspiration in my story. If we follow what we are passionate about we can bring  change,” Lennyn said,

Lennyn began her career as a teaching assistant for special needs children with the Department of Education in The Bronx. After 12 years in this position, she decided to further her education and enrolled at BCC in Spring 2020 pursuing a liberal arts degree with the goal of receiving a B.A. in Disability Studies and will graduate from BCC in December 2022.

“I chose BCC because it offers a supportive environment for both adult learners as well as students with disabilities. My fourteen-year-old son and I both have disabilities and the resources offered by the Office of Disability Services are invaluable,” she said. “BCC also recognized that adult learners face different challenges from recent high school graduates. We work full-time, have children and care for elderly parents. Services such as the childcare center are important to us.” she added.

Lennyn noted that the support of Maria Pantoja, Director of Disability Services at BCC, has been instrumental in her journey to shed light on what BCC students with disabilities need.

As a student activist she has testified twice in front of the New York State Legislature asking for $15 million in funding for disability services. The Legislature approved $2 million, which was significant as it was the first time in 27 years that any money was designated for this initiative.

In her role as the Chairperson of the CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities, Lennyn intends to go back to the Legislature asking for the remaining $13 million that will help colleges and universities across the state help students with disabilities. “The difficulties students with disabilities face are due directly to lack of funding,” she noted.

She estimates that more than 11,000 CUNY students have a disability and would benefit directly from this funding. In her testimony Lennyn said: “It is my hope that this funding would increase the likelihood of success for my son and others like him would be encouraged to come to CUNY to better their lives and the lives of their families.”

CCSD advisors Charmaine Townsell, Raymond Perez and Steve Kleinberg were all instrumental in helping her achieve her goals.

Lennyn concluded: “Sometimes as a society we don’t take the time to celebrate the small victories. I will continue to work passionately to acknowledge what we have achieved for students both at BCC and CUNY creating a better life for all students with disabilities.”

The BCC community congratulates Lennyn on her achievements.

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