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Washington Heights Students Honored for Earning Columbia Scholarships

By Nigel Chiwaya | November 29, 2012 9:25am

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Two Columbia University students from Washington Heights were honored at a Community Board 12 meeting Tuesday night for being selected for a scholarship program that will help them pay for tuition.

Karina Montenegro, a sophomore studying chemical engineering at Columbia's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and Jean-Franco Diaz, a a freshman who is studying economics and political science, are two of the four winners of this year's presigious Dyckman Institute Scholars awards.

The scholarships are awarded annually by Columbia University to upper Manhattan students.

The winners were treated to a round of applause, along with a celebratory cake at the community board monthly meeting.

"I'm extremely grateful," said Diaz, 18, "Without it I probably wouldn't be able to go to any college."

"The fact that my parents don't have to spent $60,000 a year is so huge," added Montenegro, 20, "Not having to take out loans; it's so much better."

The Dyckman Institute dates back to Alexander Hamilton, whose wife, Eliza, donated a building and land in 1818 for the Hamilton Free School, the first school in Washington Heights.

The school was dissolved in 1943 and established as a scholarship fund for uptown students.