Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home About News International Women from Impoverished Communities Prepare to Return Home

International Women from Impoverished Communities Prepare to Return Home

Sixteen International Women from Impoverished Communities
Prepare to Return Home from SUNY Rockland


Ramapo, NY— Sixteen young women scholars from impoverished rural communities in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean will return to their countries on June 24 after two years of rigorous study and training at Rockland Community College.


In addition to a demanding academic program of study at RCC, the Cooperative Association of States for Scholarships (CASS) students have been immersed in American culture by living with host families and volunteering in the community. To prepare them for business careers in their own countries, the students learned about the democratic processes and values of the U.S., including free market economics.


All CASS students performed a minimum of 160 hours of community service during their two-year stay including feeding the hungry through the Salvation Army Saturday Morning Breakfast program and through the United Methodist Church of Spring Valley.


The students, who graduated on May 23, are currently doing internships around the county. Josetty Cruz of El Salvador is interning at Rockland World Radio in Nyack, learning about broadcasting and office administration.  After only one week at the station, she already has her own show on Mondays at 6:00 p.m., Without Barriers. “This is an amazing accomplishment given the fact that just two years ago, Josetty arrived at RCC with very minimal English skills,“ said Laurie Piña, Rockland Community College CASS Coordinator.


Liliana Alcalá of Dominican Republic is interning at the accounting firm of Berard & Donohue of Suffern, where she is gaining experience in all areas of accounting, auditing and office administration.


Sophia François of Haiti is interning with RCC Board of Trustees member Dr. D. Penny Jennings, the Founder and Executive Director of Adults Caring for Teens.  François is gaining experience in all aspects of event planning, social services and office administration.


Piña said, “Most of the students are returning to their home countries totally bi-lingual. English is an advantage to them since it is the language of globalization. This skill will definitely help them get a better job in their countries. The leadership and language skills they’ve gained will do much to lift them, their families and hopefully their communities, out of poverty.”


The Cooperative Association of States for Scholarship (CASS) is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Georgetown University's Center for Intercultural Education and Development (CIED).


For more information, contact RCC CASS Coordinator, Laurie Piña, at 845-574-4586 or  To watch Cruz’s radio show, “Without Barriers,” visit:


Stay informed: sign up for RCC's free monthly e-newsletter of events by visiting and clicking into the "Sign up for events newsletter" button on the lower right.

Suffern campus map:




Rockland Community College, a unit of the State University of New York, is located 25 miles northwest of NYC. The majority of its students transfer to four-year colleges, and many find immediate employment upon earning their associate's degree or certificate. The College also offers others, from preschoolers to senior citizens, the opportunity to simply learn something new. Quality a price you can afford.

Document Actions