By SARAH CERVINI
“Everyone is unique. You need to show what makes you different, whether it’s your background, culture, ethnicity or interests. You need a narrative,” Priscilla Consolo, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’16 (FCLC), who was awarded the AnBryce scholarship to attend NYU Law School, explained. What is Consolo’s compelling story that helped her to achieve her goal? It has to do with embracing her background, getting involved in community service, following her faith, gaining several mentors and having a whole lot of drive and dedication.
Priscilla Consolo was born and raised in the southwest section of Brooklyn. Her father was an MTA track laborer and later worked for the department of sanitation. Consolo’s father’s dedication to manual labor instilled a strong work ethic in her. “My dad taught me the importance that sometimes you have to do things that aren’t exactly the easiest thing to do or the thing that anyone wants to do, but it is an important job that needs to get done and contributes to society or the common good,” she said. Consolo also considers her mother a powerful role model in her life. Her mother was very involved in local public education activism. Consolo’s mother fought for students, educators and the overall community “My mom taught me if other people are not willing to take action, you have to be the person who does something.” In addition, Consolo says her younger sister is always there to provide support and encouragement .
As early as third grade, Consolo had an interest in law and politics. Therefore, in middle school, she was placed in a specialized law program. Then, in high school, Consolo followed her mother’s actions and became involved at her local parish, Our Lady of Grace. Consolo explained, “My Catholic faith is extremely important to me and has been an informing principle in my public service work.” Consolo’s former pastor, Father Thomas Leach, helped to cultivate her faith, which formed the person she is today. Consolo was a part of the Teen Group Program run by Barbara Dattilo at the parish and is now a mentor to local middle school and high school students involved in the group.
Consolo is a history major with a political science minor. She is interested in public policy or public planning, with a specific focus on education. Additionally, Consolo studied Latin for two years at Fordham and is now fluent.
Consolo continued her involvement in liturgical ministries at Our Lady of Grace, as well as at Fordham through Campus Ministry. At Fordham, she’s the President of Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honor Society. She has also been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Sigma Nu (Honor Society for Jesuit Colleges & Universities), Sigma Xi (Scientific Research) and Eta Sigma Phi (Classics Honor Society).
In 2011, Consolo founded the Speak-Up & Clean-Up campaign which consists of 6,000 volunteers who participate in neighborhood clean-up events. That same year, she co-founded the Southwest Brooklyn Public Transit Improvement Coalition, which called for the restoration of the B64 bus service to Coney Island. Lastly, Consolo is a member of Brooklyn Community Board 11, the Law Committee at Kings County (Brooklyn), the Democratic County Committee and served on the District Committee as the co-chair of the Schools and Library Committee for New York City Council’s Participatory Budgeting Project in District 47.
Consolo was torn between going to law school or going to graduate school, as she did not know how she would pay for it. As a result, Consolo applied for three separate scholarships. After feeling defeated for not receiving the Truman scholarship, which would allow her to go to graduate school, she realized she would regret not going to law school. Consolo was “focusing too much on the possibility of it not working out instead of striving forward.” She embraced her meager upbringing and took a leap of faith.
The AnBryce Scholarship Program is a full-tuition scholarship applicable to first generation professional and graduate students from socioeconomically-disadvantaged backgrounds who have overcome obstacles, and Consolo was the perfect candidate. The Fordham faculty helped Consolo with the intense and stressful application process. She had to write an additional essay about her background, different obstacles she has faced and how it shaped her. Hillary Mantis of the Pre Law office provided guidance to Consolo, while faculty members Dr. John Kezel, Mary Shelley and Dr. Rebecca Stark-Gendrano from the Office of Prestigious Fellowships helped her conduct mock interviews.
Her two mentors at Fordham were Dr. Toulouse and Dr. Panetta, who helped Consolo develop her skills to further her academic experience beyond college. When Consolo doubted her abilities after she did not win the Truman Scholarship, Dr. Panetta was there to comfort her, reminding her that “where you came from will not determine where you go.”
“I’m lucky I had a couple of people who could see the challenges as a first generation college student with a working class background. It was a burden, but at NYU they are looking for people like me,” she said
Consolo feels the AnBryce Scholarship is exactly what she needed and what she was looking for. Her ideal job would be to serve as an elected official, working for the government as a legislator or policy maker. Consolo was exposed to the field when her former boss, assembly member Bill Colton gave her a position on his staff when she was only 17 years old. In addition, council member Mark Treyger is one of Consolo’s role models, and she worked on his campaign.
Consolo is a living example of an individual who goes against the odds, stays true to herself and works extremely hard to achieve her goals. Consolo advised that “all students interested in going to law school should know themselves. Know your strengths and especially your weaknesses. Display yourself in a way you’re able to show.”
The article originally stated that “Consolo is a member of Brooklyn Community Board 1.” This has been corrected to state that “Consolo is a member of Brooklyn Community Board 11.”
The article originally stated that “Consolo was born and raised in the southeast section of Brooklyn. ” This has been corrected to state that “Consolo was born and raised in the southwest section of Brooklyn.”
The article originally stated that “The AnBryce Scholarship Program is a scholarship applicable to first generation college students, service oriented individuals and intelligent students interested in law” This has been corrected and updated to state that “The AnBryce Scholarship Program is a full tuition scholarship applicable to first generation professional and graduate students from socioeconomically-disadvantaged backgrounds who have overcome obstacles.”