University at Albany University at Albany Headlines
ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 3, 2017) – Joining more than 2,800 classmates in UAlbany’s Class of 2021, Nyasha Biggs, Melick Lubin and Sharinel Nunez left their homes behind last August in pursuit of a college education – with a unique story to share with the world.
The three students are attending the University on a scholarship donated by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and Walmart. Last February, Ellen awarded the entire senior class of Summit Academy Charter School in Red Hook, Brooklyn with full, four-year scholarships to any state school of their choosing. The announcement was made live on her show with all 42 students in attendance.
Summit Academy is in a Brooklyn neighborhood where only 4 percent of adult residents have college degrees. In 2016, the school sent 93 percent of its students to college.
Ellen’s donation was the single largest gift in her show’s history.
“A lot of us are really fortunate and we take for granted how easy our life is,” DeGeneres said, prior to announcing the scholarship. “These kids have overcome all kinds of things and they go to school every day and work hard every single day and all they want to do is go to college and they deserve it.”
Nyasha, Melick and Sharinel meet President Havidán Rodríguez at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium during the filming of Ellen’s docuseries. (Photo by Carlo de Jesus)
For Nyasha, Melick and Sharinel, the scholarship was only the beginning.
They were selected, along with three of their other classmates, to participate in Ellen’s documentary series titled “Summit.” The series followed the students leaving Red Hook and transitioning into college students. It aired for six weeks on EllenTube.
Producers of the series visited UAlbany twice for filming – once during move-in day and Opening Convocation, and a second time in late September.
Prior to the airing of the first episode, Ellen invited Nyasha, Melick and …