Profile of Our College Scholarship Recipients
Jersson Baker, Norwalk Community College, Culinary Arts Program
Jersson Baker, a resident of Colonial Village, attends NCC, where he is enrolled in the Culinary Program. Jersson works full-time as a cook and attends college. He dreams of opening his own restaurant. This year he received the NHF Kenneth Bria Culinary Arts Scholarship. In high school he displayed his patriotism by devoting much of his free time to ROTC. Jersson has a reading disability and the NHF Scholarship Program Linked him to staff at NCC for special support. This support has enabled him to move forward and he is on his way to achieving his dream of an education. Jersson eventually wants to own his own restaurant.
Eliza Brown, AA, Norwalk Community College, 2010; Senior, Temple University, Criminal Justice Major
Isaiah Mohammed: Sophomore, UCONN, Storrs, Computer Technology
Eliza Brown, a Washington Village resident, is a Senior at Temple University studying criminal justice and juvenile probation. In May, 2011 she graduated from Norwalk Community College (NCC), with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. Eliza, who was named one of NCC's Women of Promise at a banquet honoring NCC's most exceptional graduating women, wants to be a juvenile probation officer and gained firsthand experience about her field while at NCC giving back to her community through volunteer work in a service learning project through Canaan Baptist Church. Eliza is a long-time participant in the Washington Village I Have A Dream Program, supported by the Bauer Foundation. Eliza has also demonstrated her commitment to her community and her community's respect for her through her election to serve as Secretary on the Washington Village Residents Council. Upon her electoral victory in 2009 at age 18, Eliza became one of the youngest residents to serve in such a position. Eliza enjoys Temple University and believes that living away from home is very beneficial for students to establish their own independence and become comfortable with people from many different backgrounds.
Isaiah Mohammed, a Chapel Street resident, is a Sophomore at UCONN, Storrs, interested in Management Information Systems. Isaiah is featured representing the Scholarship Program and the NHA 20 West Avenue Learning Center in GE Capital Americas' new video on programs it supports. In December, Isaiah served as an Ambassador for the Scholarship Program at the 2012 Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce Holiday Dinner. This summer he worked as an intern at GE Capital Americas. Isaiah attended high school at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE) where he was able to pursue his love for computers. In addition to his passion for computers, Isaiah was involved in many community leadership and academic programs while in high school. He received the Presidents Academic Achievement Award, was in the National Honor Society, attended the National Student Leadership Conference in 2009 and 2010, was in the Leaders of Tomorrow Program at Norwalk Community College through which he attended national youth business leadership conferences in New Orleans (2009), California (2010) and Atlanta (2011). Isaiah was also in the Junior Achievement Program at GE. His mother, who is always ready to help others, is active in her public housing community development, serving as Vice President of the Residents Association. She has encouraged Isaiah to give of himself to his community. From 2004-Present, Isaiah has been active in feeding the homeless at Bethel Church in Norwalk. A varsity basketball player at AITE, Isaiah has also volunteered to teach sports at various summer camps and has volunteered at the Roodner Court Learning Center to demonstrate computer tips to youth. At college he wants to learn all he can about computer technology so he can work in the field
upon graduation. However, he also plans to find time to continue volunteer activities.
Jayro Ovalle: Senior, Rochester Institute of Technology, Computer Engineering
Jayro Ovalle is a Roodner Court resident and a Junior studying technology at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he achieved a 4.0 in his last quarter. Jayro is interested in programming and learned Java programming in his first year. He is a first generation college student whose parents never graduated high school. As a child, Jayro's father recognized his son's extraordinary gift for computers and allowed him to take apart the family computer to see how it worked and rebuild it. Though Jayro achieved high grades in high school at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering and impressed everyone in his Junior Achievement Program at GE, he was worried about being able to afford a college that would offer him the challenging classes he wanted to take in technology. "In my senior year I was afraid of not being able to attend RIT due to a lack of funds," recalls Jayro. "But thanks to the NHF College Scholarship Program, I am in college expanding my knowledge at the college I believed would provide me with the most positive challenges and paving a pathway to a successful and interesting career." Jayro spent the summer working as an intern for CISCO. Jayro's goal is to take the most challenging technology classes at RIT and, after graduating, continue his education while working professionally. Jayro still keeps in touch with his GE mentor, who is thrilled with Jayro's success.
Rose Pierre: AA Norwalk Community College, 2013, General Studies. Junior, Andrews
University, Major: Theology & Family Studies
Rose Pierre is a Roodner Court resident who wants to eventually become a minister. She chose to receive a strong general education at Norwalk Community College before transferring out-of-state to specialize in a double focus of Theology and Family Studies at Andrews University because she believed that NCC would supply her with basic education and skills she would need throughout a lifetime of service to others and because NHF has developed a strong interactive network with NCC to support NHF scholarship students. Rose, is an excellent student. This past year due to her high academic achievement, Rose was selected by NCC as a "Woman of Promise" and received a scholarship from NCC to assist with her academic expenses at Andrews University in addition to the NHF Scholarship. Rose is thankful for the opportunity that both the NHF Scholarship Awards Program and the NCC support has provided her and for the guidance she received from NHF staff in planning her career path.
Ezequiel Romero: Husson University, Freshman, Clinical Psychology
Zeke Romero, a resident of Meadow Gardens, is a "universal" student who has always been described as gentle, kind and smart. His concern for others made him a role model in highschool and motivated him to dream of becoming a clinical psychologist. Zeke not only had good grades but was well known in school because he was on the football team. In the summer of his junior year, Zeke earned a scholarship to go to England for 10 days to study British and European culture and history. He received the scholarship in part for an essay he wrote on Darwin, one of his heroes, who pioneered theories of evolution. Zeke wants to be a pioneer in clinical psychology after he learns the basics of the field. He believes people and science can't be boxed in, a lesson he learned when people tried to stereotype him as a football player instead of as a student with many abilities. "People can be functioning on so many levels and have so many interests. I have," says Zeke.
Tiahna Spencer – UCONN, Storrs, Junior, Pre-Med Major
Tiahna Spencer, a resident of Colonial Village, is a Sophomore at UCONN, Storrs, double majoring in Physiology and Neurobiology and intends to eventually become a doctor. In her first semester at UCONN she made Dean's List and has consistently made Dean's List since then. This past summer, Tiahna was an intern in the Tiahna Spencer was a McNair Scholar interning at the Salamone Lab working on Parkinson's research. She wants to be a doctor and is very interested in studying Cancer. Tiahna is involved in contributing to her College. She has served as the Club Secretary for the UCONN branch of Women in Math, Science and Engineering (WiMSE). In addition she was selected as the Learning Community Ambassador to show prospective UCONN students around the Storrs campus in her Freshman year. In December, 2011, Tiahna was the named Learning Community Scholar Symposium Scholar and presented an essay "Floating Away from Pain." She is also a HUSKY Ambassador. Her volunteer work on campus includes the UCONN HuskyTHON to raise money for Connecticut Children's Medical Center, the Red Cross Blood Drive, the Hartford Heart Walk and the Whitingham Cancer Center Walk/Run for Breast Cancer. Her other campus activities include: Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, UCONN Pre-Medicine Society, UCONN Archery and participation in the Asian Mentoring Program and the Asian American Cultural Center. As a youth resident of Norwalk Housing Authority, Tiahna participated in many Learning Center Programs. From 2003-2009 Tiahna worked as a volunteer for Norwalk Reads! reading to little children to promote literacy and a love of books. With her mother, Ruby Spencer, she prepared and provided refreshments to parents and children at the Colonial Village Norwalk Reads! book distributions. Tiahna believes that hard work, education and giving back are the keys to success.
Marie Antoine, a resident of Washington Village, is a Sophomore at Sacred Heart University. She was awarded a full tuition scholarship to Sacred Heart. However, the scholarship does not cover her room and her meals and other expenses. Ms. Antoine was accepted with a declared major in psychology. She hopes to work with children upon graduation.
Eliza Brown, a Washington Village resident, is a sophomore at Norwalk Community College, where she is enrolled for her Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. Eliza wants to be a juvenile probation officer and has already started gaining first hand experience about her field as she gives back to her community through volunteer work in a service learning project through Canaan Baptist Church. Eliza is a long-time participant in the Washington Village I Have A Dream Program. Eliza has also demonstrated her commitment to her community and her community’s respect for her through her election in 2009 to serve as Secretary on the Washington Village Residents Council, becoming at 18, one of the youngest residents to serve in such a position. In April, 2011, NCC named Eliza a Woman of Promise. After graduating NCC in June, 2011, Eliza will attend Temple University.
Tammara Clark, a King Kennedy Homes resident, is a fifth year student in a five-year program seeking a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Biology at Central State University of Ohio. She has always found science and medicine easy. She comes from a large family and her father is disabled. Her father’s illness is one of the motivating factors that caused Tammara to become a nurse. She hopes that her success in college is helping to set an example for her younger siblings. Because of her heavy science studies she has no time for enrichment activities or volunteer work. She hopes to give back when she becomes a nurse and is able to help people who are disadvantaged.
Suria Ceja, a Junior at UCONN, has followed her older brother, Javier, onto the college track. Like her brother, Suria entered college interested in business. However, she has become fascinated with literature and is now exploring the possibility of becoming a professional writer. Ms. Ceja has been involved with volunteer work and during winter break delivered food and clothes to flood ravaged families in Central America.
Michael Crafter is a former resident of Roodner Court who graduated in 2007 from Fairfield University in psychology. He wants to go to graduate school and currently works for Norwalk Housing Authority as an Education Coordinator at the NHA Learning Centers, which he attended after school as a boy. Mr. Crafter also was involved in the Norwalk Grass Roots Tennis Program through which he competed and where he later coached. Mr. Crafter loves to read and the public housing children he works with to read.
At 21, Jessy Cuevas, a Meadow Gardens resident, is head-of-household and breadwinner for his younger sister and himself. Jessy Cuevas graduated in December, 2008, from Norwalk Community College (NCC) with honors and is now working toward a Bachelor Degree at Long Island University. Jessy Cuevas was selected as a NCC Scholarship recipient for two years. At NCC, he made Dean’s List consistently. Jessy Cuevas’ field of interest is nutrition. He wants to work with low-income youth instilling the need for proper nutrition within the inner-city youth population. He is convinced that many problems that at-risk youth suffer can be helped by proper nutrition and good exercise. As a high school student he took up boxing. Jessy Cuevas sets goals and goes after them with the determination and flexibility he learned in his sport. He is committed to succeeding in the field of nutrition and bringing better health to the communities that most need it.