Long Island teen wins full scholarship to NY public college with vaccine program

COVID-19 News and Information
LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday the second-round winners of the "Get A Shot to Make Your Future" incentive for a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY school.

Winners receive a full scholarship to any New York public college or university, including tuition and room and board, and one of them is Lindenhurst's Natalia Low.

"That's crazy," she said. "I really wasn't expecting it, but I'm glad that it happened."

ALSO READ | Macy's 4th of July fireworks display to light up New York City again
EMBED More News Videos

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks are returning this year after a modified version due to the coronavirus pandemic last summer.


She has an infectious laugh and a heap of gratitude after her family learned she was among the winners in the state lottery program for 12- to 17-year-olds getting vaccinated.

The program was launched two weeks ago, and all participants needed to do was enter after receiving their shot.

"They told us there was 80,000 entrants," mom Christine Low said. "So out of 80,000 people, she was one of the winners."

For the Lows, the timing couldn't be better. Christine Low and her own mother both battled breast cancer, and now, Natalia's dad is also battling cancer. So this was some good news for once.

"I didn't even know what to do," Christine Low said. "I started crying because I was so happy."

Things haven't been easy.

"It's very tight," Natalia said. "Especially because my mom's a single mom, so it's kind of hard."

She will have some time to think about her winnings, as she's about to start her sophomore year in high school. She is an honors student, though, and she's considering becoming a nurse.

Her big sister is about to enter her sophomore year at SUNY Plattsburgh.

"Plattsburgh is definitely one of my choices for her," Victoria Low said. "It's just such an amazing system. I love it."

ALSO READ | How pandemic restrictions gave Kaylee Harris the chance to explore her gender identity
EMBED More News Videos

For Kaylee Harris, working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic offered a unique opportunity to explore her gender identity in a safe place and eventually begin gender-affirming hormone treatment.


There's still three weeks left in the scholarship lottery program in New York, with 10 winners announced each week. That means it's not too late to enter.

Parents can enter their vaccinated child into the lottery at the state's website.

Still, Christine Low said she is just grateful that what she thought was a shot in the dark paid off big time.

The other winners in round two were:
--Ella Campbell, Erie County, NY
--Emily Ghim, Queens, NY
--Jayce Leclere, Westchester County, NY
--Reed Livoti, Westchester County, NY
--Liam Murphy, New York, NY
--Carrie Ng, Brooklyn, NY
--Jack Szydlo, Monroe County, NY
--Jasmine Thalon, Nassau County, NY
--Isabella Wolcott, Steuben County, NY

"Incentivizing younger hesitant individuals to get vaccinated will help us return to more normalcy, and to that end we all win," SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said. "My congratulations to today's scholarships recipients and future SUNY college students. They will be getting a world class education that will put them on the path to prosperity."

national geographic covid newsletter sign up



MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE





Mask guidance in the Tri-State area
New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
New Jersey COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
How to get the vaccine in NYC, Tri-State area
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus



Submit a News Tip or Question
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.