Who You've Helped

Each year, the CIA awards more than $1.6 million to approximately 500 students who demonstrate need and meet the CIA’s high academic standards. Your contributions have gone a long way toward increasing the level of support we can provide, reducing our students’ overall debt, and allowing them to start their new careers on more sure financial footing. Scholarship funds come from all sources - private individuals, foundations, and businesses and corporations.

Meet some of our most deserving scholars in our diverse student body, face to face:

Janine C. Desiderio, Philadelphia, PA

Janine C. Desiderio '09, Philadelphia, PA 
AOS in Culinary Arts, February 2009
Scholarship: Azar Foodservice Scholarship

Janine Desiderio, like many students at The Culinary Institute of America, has changed course in her life to follow her passion. "I was previously a Senior Reporter on TV Guide's International Data Team. I enjoyed my work there, but have always been pulled toward the kitchen. A family member inspired me to make the change." The Philadelphia, PA native's switch seems to be working in her favor. "I have held a place on the Dean's List consistently since I began my studies here."

Thomas Michael Carfrey, Savannah, GA

AOS in Culinary Arts, February 2008
BPS in Culinary Arts Management, October 2009
Scholarship: DeBragga & Spitler Endowed Scholarship

Savannah, GA is where bachelor student Thomas Carfrey calls home. This Eta Sigma Delta Honor society member has had a long career in the kitchen even before coming to The Culinary Institute of America. "I've been cooking alongside my mom as far back as I can remember. On holidays, after my parents divorced, I'd alternately spend the day cooking with each of them. I still reminisce about frying turkeys with my dad every Christmas – its one thing we're both very good at!"

Jasmine E. Diaz, Norristown, PA

Jasmine E. Diaz, Norristown, PAAOS in Culinary Arts, May 2008
BPS in Culinary Arts Management, February 2010
Scholarship: Joseph and Anne McCann Scholarship

Jasmine Elizabeth Diaz grew up in Norristown, PA and attended Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic H.S. During childhood, necessity lead this culinarian to discover her passion for cooking. "I first became interested in cooking when I was in fifth grade. My mother was a single parent and the sole provider for my sister and me. She often was at work both days and nights. Therefore, I was often left to my own discretion to entertain myself. This is how I found the magic and joy of cooking."

Lance Nitahara, C.E.C., Wahiawa, HI

Lance Nitahara
AOS Culinary Arts, May 2007
BPS Culinary Arts Management, November 2008
Scholarship: Jones Dairy Farm Scholarship
“This scholarship is truly a blessing to our family as we are expecting a child in November.  Your scholarship has allowed me to excel in my studies without increasing my financial burdens. Your scholarship has definitely brought me closer to realizing my dreams as a chef, husband, and now a father.  Once again, I would like to thank you and your organization for this blessing.”

Spencer E. Steckman, San Diego, CA

BPS Culinary Arts, July 2009
Jones Dairy Farm Scholarship
Spencer Steckman is into extremes. The 24-year-old veteran of the U.S. Army plans to hike the New England leg of the Appalachian Trail this summer and has applied to join the Peace Corps after his CIA graduation. Eventual plans include law school and working as an attorney for the ACLU or The Human Rights Campaign. "I really enjoy cooking and want to incorporate it into my life," said Spencer. "I hope to be able to work both of these very different, dynamic careers into a future."

Cindy M. Anaya, El Paso, TX

AOS Culinary Arts, September 2007
BPS Culinary Arts, February 2009
James F. Kleisner Scholarship
"I truly appreciate your generous scholarship support," said Cindy Anaya, who was born in Mexico and moved with her family to El Paso, Texas. "It brings less stress to me and helps me to concentrate in school in order to do my best, instead of on how much I worry about my school finances."

Christopher Cox, Bristol, RI

BPS Culinary Arts, March 2008
Jones Dairy Farm Scholarship
Christopher Cox, age 25, didn't discover the right educational and career direction until he became first a prep cook and then the manager of the Hemenway's Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar in Providence, Rhode Island, located near his home town of Bristol. "The operating manager was no other than a Culinary alum who spoke highly of this Alma Mater." Now, Chris is mid-chapter in his CIA Bachelor's of Professional Studies degree program.

Karen Sy, Chino Hills, CA & Manila, Phillipines

 AOS Baking & Pastry Arts, May 2008
Dr. Saul Singer '93 and Susan Singer Scholarship
Originally from Manila, Karen Sy moved to California when she was 10-years-old. "I have been interested in cooking since I was very little," said Karen. She took a culinary class at Chino Hills High School, and started baking cookies, cakes, and other sweets. "I loved every aspects of baking, from the decorative part to the scientific. She put her skills to use in community service, running all the bake sales at St. Paul the Apostle's Catholic Church.

Jered Greenwald, San Diego, CA

AOS Culinary Arts, April 2007
BPS Culinary Arts, November 2008
Jones Dairy Farm Scholarship
Jered Greenwald has been interested in cooking and the culinary arts for many years, "So long, in fact," said Jered, "that I can't pinpoint a specific moment or time that changed me." Jered, who just turned 33, was working at the Automobile Club of Southern California in their Emergency Road Service Department. "I loved my job but have always had a passion for cooking, and I wanted to be involved in something I loved."

Irulian Dabbs, Austin, TX

AOS Culinary Arts, December 2007
BPS Culinary Arts, June 2009
Timothy Upton Memorial Scholarship
Irulian Dabbs was inspired to pursue a career in culinary arts after reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. "Soon after reading the book, I applied and was hired at Freda's Seafood Grille in Austin, Texas," said Irulian. "There, I began my service industry career as a hostess. I loved the hustle and bustle of a busy night, the interactions with the customers, and the unique and wonderful people this industry allows you to meet."

Darryl Ford, Nacogdoches, TX

AOS in Culinary Arts, November 2006
BPS in Culinary Arts, March 2008
San Pellegrino Expendable Scholarship Fund
Darryl Ford left the small town of Nacogdoches, Texas just after high school to participate in a hospitality internship at Walt Disney World. He was inspired to further develop his culinary skills, "So I went to the chefs to ask for time off to co to a culinary school in Florida," said Darryl. "But the three chefs at the resort were CIA graduates. The told me, 'you've got to go to the CIA'."

Theresa Moll, Mechanicsville, VA

AOS Culinary Arts, May 2007
BPS Culinary Arts, November 2008
Jones Dairy Farm Scholarship
"I hope to some day be a part of a company that I can feel a part of and grow with," said Theresa Moll, a BPS student who will turn 21 in February, 2008. "I want to be able to help shape the company and provide what our consumers want and will enjoy."

Jon Vance, Davenport, IA

 BPS Culinary Arts, September 2009
American Roland Food Scholarship
Jon Vance's first foodservice job was at a local ice cream shop making malts and shakes. "It really wasn't challenging but it was a good experience. This experience allowed me first hand experience with customers, and I got to see the looks on their face when they enjoyed something that I had made just for them."

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