Chris was the recipient of the Mickey Lione Jr. Fund (MLJF) Award fpr Youth Excellence in 2003 and he graduated from Stamford High School in 2005. At the time he very much appreicated the scholarship, but what he didn't realize was how the fund would help him both personally and professionally years after he won the award.
Chris attended Iona College where he played baseball his freshman year. After two years at Iona College, he transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A in Sociology. At present, he’s a Sergeant with the Darien Police Department and the President of the Darien Police Association.
Chris was hired as a police officer in Darien in 2010. During the short time between graduating college and becoming a police officer, he was a substitute teacher in Stamford, worked for the City of Stamford Parks Department, and umpired youth and adult baseball.
Prior to becoming a police officer, Chris reached out to Mike Berkoff. Mike was a Stamford Police Commissioner and still serves on the MLJF board today. Chris picked Mike’s brain about the hiring and interviewing process, and Mike’s guidance proved to be invaluable. This was a connection made only by being involved with the Fund, and Chris was very grateful for Mike’s continued support.
The Fund has helped so many students and youth leagues in Stamford. Chris’s personal experience and the desire to give back to his community inspired him to become a board member for the Mickey Lione Jr Fund himself!
Mike Nunziante is a musician and educator from Stamford, CT who has committed his energy to using songwriting and storytelling as a framework to build connections, collaborate with community initiatives, and process the world.
In 2013, Mike was the recipient of the Mickey Lione Jr. Fund Award for Youth Excellence $7,500 Scholarship, an award which helped afford him the opportunity to launch forward on his path. A Stamford High School ‘15 and Middlebury College ‘19 alum, he spent his undergraduate career as an International & Global Studies: Latin America major traveling to and working with music/language programs from Easter Island to Ecuador while jump-starting his US-based band with a hometown best friend.
After graduating college, Mike connected with Academia de Bachata — a music school in the Dominican Republic and program of educational NGO The DREAM Project — through the Princeton in Latin America 2020 - 2021 fellowship program. During this time, he worked both remotely and in-person specializing in academic coordination, music instruction, communications/development, and university counseling. When not working, Mike loved learning to surf on the DR beaches and dancing bachata.
Since the conclusion of his fellowship at the end of June, he has been back in the US focusing on recording sessions, live performance, and music production while preparing to spend ten months in Peru with the U.S. Fulbright Program as an English Teaching Assistant.
January 8, 2018
Dear Mr. Lione,
I am writing this letter to update you on how well school is going for me and to thank you and the Mickey Lione Jr. Fund again for awarding me this scholarship.
The transition from high school to college was smooth, as I was able to quickly find my place at St. John's University. Being a Criminal Justice major, I was able to meet like-minded people with the same goals as I, to become an FBI Agent. I took my interests and applied them to my everyday life when I joined the Criminal Justice Association on campus. The club is student run and we use our time to network and hear lectures from those currently in law enforcement. Many alumni at St. John's have pursued law enforcement career paths, becoming successful, and I aspire to be like them.
Academically I have been doing well, finishing off my first semester with a 3.8 GPA. The classes that I took my first semester were English, Sociology, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Business and Law, and Psychology. I mostly enjoyed my English and Criminal Justice courses, with my least favorite class being Sociology. This first semester has been quite enjoyable overall.
I would not have been able to have such an easy transition to college without the help of the Mickey Lione Jr. Fund, so I would like to thank you again for choosing me to be a recipient. Without you, I would have spent my first semester stressing about financial issues, rather than adjusting to my new environment.
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