Queensborough’s College Now Program Gave Former Student a Jumpstart to Success in the field of Engineering Technology

Published: September 03, 2020

Chadayne Westney, born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, was drawn to computers and electronics from a young age, and loved tinkering with his parent’s old phones. “Partly out of curiosity and partly so that I could have them,” he laughed.

Westney’s interest in engineering-related subjects began to develop as a High School student at Martin Van Buren in Queens Village.

“My mother encouraged me to take my interest to the next level and enroll for Queensborough’s 2013 College Now Robotics Summer Course.”

College Now offers beginner level college courses to students in High Schools across New York City, allowing them to acquire college credits for free before they enter college.

“The robotics class was the first College Now class I took, but it wasn't my last,” said Westney, 22. “I took multiple courses offered, remedial free, with 11 college credits under my belt.”

By the time Westney enrolled at Queensborough in 2016, he was laser focused on his goals as an Engineering Technology major.

“I was very ambitious—unlike anything I had felt in my life until then,” Westney said.

He attended the 2018 Annual Collegiate Science Technology Program (CSTEP) Statewide Student Conference. He was also a member of the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), an academic program that helps students to stay on track and graduate by providing a range of supports, including personalized advisement, career counseling, tutoring, waivers for tuition and mandatory fees, MTA MetroCards, and additional financial assistance to cover the cost of textbooks.

He excelled in his area of study; he was on the spring 2017 Dean’s list and interned in Queensborough’s Information Technology department from 2017 until he graduated in the spring of 2019.

As a rising junior, Westney applied for a three-month internship at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in New York.

The BNL internship is nationwide and extremely competitive.

His application requirements included multiple essays including future career goals, and how the internship would accelerate his progress to reach those goals. He also received several recommendations from his professors at Queensborough. Westney was selected out of hundreds of applicants.

Noel Blackburn from BNL called me while I was driving to school with the news that I got accepted. I didn't even react, I couldn't believe it was real!”

He added, “It was very challenging and intimidating. I was surrounded by scientists and Ph.D.’s doing incredible research. It really put me on my toes. I was constantly learning. My work was on Hash decryption, a way to verify that a file or a piece of data hasn’t been altered, and how many different combinations of strength it takes to crack a password. It was hectic, intense and I loved it.”

So much so, he was invited to return in June for another three-month internship to work on Safeguard Society, which assists with creating devices and training personnel for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Westney, who graduated from Queensborough in 2019 with an AAS degree, is currently studying Engineering Technology at SUNY Farmingdale.



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