College: John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Awards: Marshall Scholarship, 2013
Advocating for Justice
Nicolas Montano, a senior in the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies Program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has been awarded a prestigious 2013 British Marshall Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom. He is the first John Jay student – and one of only six CUNY students to have ever received a Marshall Scholarship.
Marshall Scholarships provide high-achieving students from the United States with the opportunity to pursue studies at the graduate level in the United Kingdom. Only 40 students are selected annually. The scholarships are named in honor of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall.
“I decided to attend John Jay because of its mission of educating for justice,” he says. “No other school I looked at had justice as its primary focus. Now I am really excited and proud to represent John Jay and to take with me all that the college stands for and to have an impact in another country and institution.”
When he completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology of Juvenile Delinquency and International Criminology in spring 2013, Montano, headed to England to begin two graduate programs – a master’s degree in Research Methods in Social Policy and Sociology at the University of Liverpool, followed by a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The Marshall Scholarship will cover tuition costs and living expenses for his two years abroad.
While at John Jay, Montano’s research and volunteer interests have focused on youth and community justice.
Montano also won the Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship in recognition of his academic excellence and was selected as a scholar in the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program. He is a John Jay-Vera Fellow and a New York Needs You Fellow. In 2012, he participated in the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Latino Leadership Initiative Program. He was a student in the John Jay College Honors Program and is a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society.
In the spring 2013 semester, Montano collaborated with Professor Jana Arsovska on her research project, “Culture, Migration and Transnational Crime.”
Montano was inspired to be a fierce advocate for justice at an early age. His family was affected by El Salvador’s civil war. Growing up in Spring Valley, New York, he also witnessed the consequences of poverty, limited educational opportunities and the absence of youth support systems.
At 14, he joined ASPIRA, a national organization that develops the educational and leadership capacity of Hispanic youth. He eventually became the president of the ASPIRA chapter in Spring Valley. He has served as a mentor to other youths through his internships at the South Bronx Community Connections for Youth and at Common Justice, a project of the Vera Institute of Justice. While on family trips to El Salvador, he also has helped to teach English and enhance youth outreach programs.
Montano plans to earn a Ph.D. to continue his passion for research and academia.