From the scholarship application process: Staten Island companies help students navigate the higher education system

STATEN ISLAND, NY – When Dr Janet Leslie was completing her dissertation, she was overwhelmed by the research and intimidated by the long and arduous process of compiling over 100 pages of work. A first-generation graduate who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Brooklyn College before earning a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College, Leslie encountered a stumbling block as she was in the final stage of her studies – a doctorate in management from the University of Maryland Global College.

“Along the way I have had a myriad of mentors who have helped, supported and championed me, but when I reached this point I remember wishing for a network of wisdom – someone who could help me. guide in this last lane of my journey, ”Leslie says.

So after three decades of working as a senior administrator for the City University of New York (CUNY), she decided to mentor non-traditional students and students of color who are pursuing a higher education degree.


“Due to my own educational activities and professional experience, I have become an expert in understanding the path to graduation,” said Leslie, who worked as an adjunct assistant professor at Kingsborough Community College and was coordinator of the CUNY School of Work and Urban Studies. “I have personally identified the scholarships and skills needed to complete each of my three degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. I wanted to pass this knowledge on to others who badly needed it.

In 2019, she founded The Gift of Experience, an LLC that provides educational consulting services to those pursuing college and graduate studies. By guiding students through the university application process, matching applicants with scholarships, and providing one-to-one tuition and dissertation review, the service also specializes in interpretation and career transition – helping aspiring entrepreneurs set up and market their businesses.

“I believe that a postgraduate degree can be part of a series of important steps towards a person’s ultimate life goals, and as a businesswoman I understand the need to invest in people who can serve as effective leaders in private and public spaces, ”Leslie mentioned. “The gift of experience consists of transforming passion into a profession and projects into profit. “

Born and raised in Brooklyn, the daughter of two hard-working Caribbean immigrants who believed their children should have all the educational benefits available, Leslie was taking the bus from Ocean Hill Brownsville to Marine Park every day to school when she was a child.

“It was the early to mid-1960s, and there were only three kids in the whole school who looked like me,” Leslie said. “But my parents wanted the best for us. They set us on a path that has helped us advance academically and they have stood up for our interests every step of the way. “


Her father, a real estate agent who built his business from scratch, eventually owning seven homes, Leslie said both of her parents were a major inspiration in her own entrepreneurial endeavors.

“Now in the rearview mirror I can see why they felt so able to push us forward, even though it was a very daunting task,” Leslie said. “They were navigating so many social constraints, but they maintained a powerful presence the whole time.”

A West Brighton resident for over two decades, Leslie is the mother of twins, now adults and building their own careers and families. Inspired by their educational activities and her own journey, she defined her current motivation as “helping learners at every step of the continuum”.

“This is what drives my business,” she said.

Offering five structured consulting packages, Leslie’s services range from general counseling to more in-depth mentoring and academic support. Recently certified as a Minority and Women Owned Business (M / WBE), Leslie is also working with other eligible candidates to streamline official certification.

New part of The Gift of Experience helps other M / WBE companies learn how to navigate the RFP [Request for Proposals] system and become a competitor for New York City and New York State contracts, ”Leslie said.


And Leslie’s services have already proven successful for a number of students.

“Dr. Leslie helped me refine my career goal by teaching me to think with my end goal in mind,” noted Bree Davis, a recent mentee. “By changing my thinking pattern, I was confident enough to change careers and apply for a graduate certificate program. “

Stacey Payton, a graduate mentee Leslie helped secure a diversity scholarship, said she agreed.

“Her guidance, encouragement, and willingness to listen and offer support are just some of the many attributes she so easily offers to her students,” said Payton. “She gives of herself unconditionally and makes a point of understanding that each of our individual needs is met accordingly.”

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