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Please Join Futures and Options at Dream Big 2014



On Wednesday, October 22nd, Futures and Options will host our Fourth Annual Dream Big—A Celebration of Opportunity. This exciting event, held at Stone Rose Lounge in the Time Warner Center, honors the people who help Futures and Options create opportunities for New York City youth to explore careers and achieve their dreams and recognizes the accomplishments of our students.

Futures and Options is honored to present Jason G. New, Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group and Head of Special Situation Investing for GSO Capital Partners LP, with our 2014 Dream Big Award, which salutes business leaders who make it possible for young people to acquire the work-readiness skills, career opportunities and higher education to succeed, in school and a career. 

During the event, winners of the Barbara L. Christen College Scholarship and the IPG Mediabrands Scholarship will be presented with their awards. The Barbara L. Christen College Scholarship, formerly the Dream Big Scholarship, was renamed in memory of Futures and Options’ founder, who passed away this year. Dr. Christen was an extraordinary educator with a passion for and commitment to excellence in education, and her legacy will continue to positively enhance the futures and options of our youth through this scholarship.

Futures and Options thanks you for your belief in our program, and we hope to see you at Dream Big!

For Dream Big sponsorships and tickets, please click here.

For more information, please contact Cara Flynn at cflynn@futuresandoptions.org.

F+O alumni:  Please email Cara for the promotion code for your discounted ticket.

Spotlight on an Alum: Travis Bristol

Travis Bristol was in the Futures and Options Internship Program in 1999. He is a recent Ph.D. graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University, and is now a Research and Policy Fellow at Stanford University. His research interests focus on the intersection of race and gender in organizations.

At Futures and Options, we are proud to be a part of the educational experience of many New York City youth. Travis Bristol, a Futures and Options alum, was influenced by his experience as an NYC public school student as well as his paid internship and career-readiness workshops with Futures and Options, and he is currently making his mark in the field of educational research and policy.

Travis, who graduated from Washington Irving High School in 1999, spent his time with Futures and Options as an intern at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. It was his first job, and he credits the experience with helping him build not only professional skills, but social and financial ones as well. “The idea of getting a paycheck and getting compensated at a reasonable rate for your work is important,” he says. “When I started working at 16, I was receiving a check and depositing it in the bank. It taught me valuable lessons about saving money and making smart financial decisions.”

Travis attended Amherst College and went on to receive a Master of Education from Stanford University. He taught English at Manhattan Hunter Science High School and Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice; also, Travis trained English teachers when he served on the faculty of the Boston Teacher Residency program. This year, he graduated with a Ph.D. in Education from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, and he is currently a Research and Policy Fellow at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE).

Travis’s dissertation on Black male teachers has been awarded fellowships from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Educational Research Association. His writing on recruiting male teachers of color can be found on the Stanford University Graduate School of Education website. And, his writing on engaging young men in the classroom can be found on the Boston Teacher Residency website.

For Futures and Options’ students who are interested in teaching, Travis emphasizes the critical need city schools have for teachers who have been through the public school system – even if they have had a negative experience. “Sometimes the challenging classroom environment that you are seeing comes as a result of teachers not understanding the students’ lives and experiences,” he says. “You should hold on to the idea that these challenges are a consequence of that cultural disconnect. Coming through the system, you would have a better understanding of the [students’] experience.”

No matter what your chosen career path is, Travis believes that building a professional foundation is an important step to success. “The kind of training F+O provides doesn’t happen in an academic setting,” he emphasizes. “I really can’t underscore enough that I think every urban school district needs a program like this.”

F+O Joins with NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital to Create a Future Doctor


Futures and Options was thrilled this summer to collaborate with NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital, one of six NewYork-Presbyterian campuses, to provide a New York City high school student with an internship. Mariam Sy, a rising senior at The Bronx High School of Science, received a behind-the-scenes look at various facets of the hospital’s operations, and explored a range of potential career paths in the field of healthcare.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital is full-service hospital that offers a wide continuum of critical health services to the lower Manhattan community. Marci Allen, Director of Business Administration, supervised Mariam and was happy to connect her with opportunities to shadow professionals in several of the hospital’s other departments. Mariam was able to spend a day in the radiology department, and even met with the hospital’s medical supply company. 

Mariam plans to become a pediatrician, and she said that this experience solidified that goal. She was able to visit the pediatric emergency room, and get a firsthand look at the work that pediatric nurses and doctors do. Additionally, she met with several different doctors and healthcare providers to receive professional advice on setting herself apart from other medical school candidates.

Working at NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital was a positive experience both for Mariam and the hospital staff. Marci hopes that Mariam will stay in touch and volunteer at some of the hospital’s outreach events in the fall. “And if we’ve helped create another future doctor, that’s pretty exciting.”

“I gained a better perspective on how a hospital works,” said Mariam. “I always used to just associate a hospital with doctors. Having this internship basically helped me see the ins and outs of a hospital – there are also nurses and people working behind the scenes to keep the hospital running.”

Mariam echoed Marci’s desire to stay in touch. “I hope to keep volunteering at hospitals,” she said. “This was really fun for me and a productive way to spend my summer.”

F+O Welcomes New Strategic Partnership Manager

Futures and Options was happy to welcome Amber Zuberi to the Futures and Options team in September 2014 as our new Strategic Partnership Manager. She is excited to work with various stakeholders to ensure our students are inspired and motivated to pursue higher education and explore a variety of career paths.

In 2010, Amber was part of the team that founded and launched Teach For Pakistan (TFP), an independent non-profit that recruits outstanding Pakistani graduates to teach in under-resourced schools and work to expand educational opportunities. TFP is part of Teach For All, a global education network comprising more than 34 independent social enterprises. Since inception, Amber supported all aspects of program delivery from Recruitment and Selection to Fellow training. She lead the Alumni Impact team and managed all work related to the professional development, capacity building and career planning of TFP Fellows. She left the organization in 2014 after serving as Director of Operations.

Prior to TFP, Amber worked as a Senior Research Associate at Standard & Poor’s Vista Research in New York. She graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and Minor in Religion from Swarthmore College.

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