LIU Brooklyn Scholarship Recipients
Lillian Dube Family/Newcombe Foundation Endowed Scholarship
Recipient: Stephen Sekyiamah
A bout of meningitis robbed Stephen Sekyiamah, 26, of his hearing when he was 9 years old. But the fifth-year pharmacy student never let being deaf get in the way of pursuing his dreams. Mr. Sekiamah, who expects to graduate from LIU Pharmacy in May 2011, was raised in Ghana before emigrating with his family to Brooklyn when he was 17.
Receiving the Lillian Dube Family/Newcombe Foundation Endowed Scholarship was a indeed a life-changing even, said Sekiamah. “It would have been quite difficult to earn my degree without this scholarship. I would have had to get lots of loans,” Sekiamah said through a sign-language translator.
Peter Dube, 51, who runs his family’s physician supply company in New York, said he donated the scholarship Sekiamah received pays tribute to his aunt, Lillian Dube, who at 16 died in the 1919 flu epidemic. The scholarship also recognizes Dube’s uncle Daniel, who at 101 remains the president of the family business, said Dube, a 1983 graduate of LIU Pharmacy.
Desmond R. Greaves Endowed Scholarship
Recipient: Jenica Henry
Jenica Henry knows well what a second chance can mean in life. A business management and accounting major at the LIU Brooklyn campus, Ms. Henry returned to the classroom in 2008, after a five-year hiatus. “When I originally started to pursue my degree in 2003, I wasn’t performing up to my ability,” said the single mother, speaking of her first stint at LIU Brooklyn. “I returned five years later as a continuing education student, and brought my grade-point average up enough to enter the business management program.”
Henry’s G.P.A. was barely a 2.5 when she came back to school, it’s now just below 3.0. She expects to graduate next year with a master’s degree in accounting.
“This scholarship is recognition of the hard work that I put in. Even after taking a break, you can come back to school and succeed,” she said. The donor of Henry’s scholarship, LIU Brooklyn Communications Professor Gail-Ann Reaves, a native of Trinidad, shared with the audience her family’s story of migrating to the U.S. in pursuit of a better education for her and her siblings.
“My parents always taught me that you have to give back in life,” Greaves said. “I wanted to do something to help people have the same opportunities I did.”
Walgreen’s Annual Scholarship
Recipient: Starbeth Moon
For Starbeth Moon, a sixth-year pharmacy student who will graduate from LIU Pharmacy in this year, it was an unpaid job in high school that opened her eyes to a career in pharmacy.
“I volunteered at St. Vincent’s Hospital because I wanted to help patients,” she said. “There, I met pharmacists who told me about the opportunities in the field.” Ms. Moon gained hands-on experience during internships at Walgreens, and this year, received the drug store chain’s annual scholarship.
“She stood out with her bright personality and her hard work — she is a future leader,” declared Morton Shaw, district pharmacy supervisor at Walgreens and a 1992 graduate of the College.
For Ms. Moon, the scholarship meant that she could concentrate on her studies. “I can focus on my work instead of worrying about how I will pay for tuition.” she said.
Added Mr. Shaw, who sits on the College’s alumni board of directors, “I can relate to being a student who has economic problems. It’s very difficult to put your full effort into your studies when you have to think of money.”
In addition to Walgreens providing the scholarship to help finance Ms. Moon’s education, she has been promised a job at the retail pharmacy giant upon graduation.
Philip Wolitzer Endowed Scholarship
Recipient: Jacqueline Tamaklo
Jacqueline Tamaklo, an accounting major at LIU Brooklyn’s School of Business, Public Administration and Information Sciences, who received the Philip Wolitzer Endowed Scholarship. At 17, she left Ghana with her family and settled in Florida, where she attended Miami-Dade Community College and earned an associate’s degree. Ms. Tamaklo, now 33, relocated to New York in 2005, and opened a beauty salon. But when the recession struck, business plummeted and her home slipped into foreclosure.
Not one to quit, the Far Rockaway, Queens, resident enrolled in LIU Brooklyn’s dual degree B.S./M.S. in Accounting program. “I was determined to complete my education,” Tamaklo said. “I feel so blessed because this scholarship has taken me to another level and has boosted my motivation to graduate and to leave my mark in the world.”
LIU Brooklyn Chancellor Joel Press, who is also an alumnus, helped to endow the scholarship in his beloved professor’s name, said, “There is no greater satisfaction I know than to give back and help others less privileged, just as I was helped when I attended the LIU Brooklyn campus.”
William Pfeffer Memorial Endowed Scholarship
Recipient: Sara Gordon
“I’ve been singing ever since I was born,” declared 19-year-old sophomore Sara Gordon, a major at the LIU Brooklyn campus. “It’s a gift that runs in my family.”
The recipient of the William Pfeffer Memorial Endowed Scholarship, Ms. Gordon was delighted to discover she had much in common with donor Florence Baumel, who graduated from LIU Brooklyn with a degree in music in 1954.
“It means the world to me that I was recognized by someone who understands music, “ said Ms. Gordon, a resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Mrs. Baumel recalled the financial obstacles she faced when she wanted to continue with her college degree after she married. “I’m very grateful I had the chance to attend the LIU Brooklyn campus and I wanted to give someone else the chance, in memory of my father, who made my education possible,” she said.