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Agency celebrates accomplishments with scholarships

Date: 9/22/2010

Sept. 22, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- A group of Springfield residents will be able to move their plans for higher education further, thanks to receiving a scholarship from Springfield Partners for Community Action, the city's anti-poverty agency.

The scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded last week at a ceremony at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). The recipients ranged from people pursuing their bachelor's degree to those seeking advance degrees and were both traditional students and non-traditional. There were over 50 applications and 21 recipients this year.

Myra Smith, the vice president of human resources and multicultural affairs and the chair of the Diversity Council at STCC, delivered the keynote address and advised the recipients to "challenge themselves every day."

The event was emceed by Ray Hershel, the chief political reporter for WGGB-TV, who was honored this year by John Gormally, the president and owner of the station, who donated $1,000 to create a scholarship in Hershel's name.

Gormally said sponsoring the scholarship was "a privilege for me."

Hershel said he was "honored and humbled" by the gesture.

Bryan Palmer was the first recipient of the Hershel scholarship. He is a graduate of Putnam Vocational Technical High School and is a junior at Westfield State University, where he has a double major in communications and in ethnic and gender studies.

This other recipients were:

• Jacqueline Williams-Hines

She is attending Cambridge College, where she is a human services major with plans to pursue a masters degree as an autism specialist. She works full time as a medical transcriptionist and has started her own company, "No Small Victories" to raise awareness around autism in the community.

• Chak M. Chu

He is a junior at Tufts University, where he is majoring in chemical and biological engineering in the pre-med track. He plans to continue his education by studying to be an optometrist.

• Alicia Atkins

She is a student at STCC, and plans to become a physical therapy assistant.

• Toy Auston

She attends Springfield College in the masters in social work program and will graduate in May of next year. Toy is interested in the human service field, particularly in helping children at risk.

• Tori Brown-Carter

She is working toward a degree in social work at Westfield State University. She hopes to work as a school adjustment counselor. Her long-term goal is to eventually start her own non-profit organization that will provide programs for adolescents.

• Hoi Kwan Chui

She is originally from Hong Kong and immigrated with her family to the United States 12 years ago. She is in her junior year at American International College (AIC) where she is studying for a degree in nursing.

• Javaughn Griffin

Griffin is a graduate of Cathedral High School. He is now in his freshman year at Northeastern University where he has a double major in computer science and in business. He plans to pursue a master's degree in both majors.

• Hai Huang

Huang and his wife came to the United States from China in 2007 so that he could complete his education. He is working on his doctoral degree at Springfield College in teaching and administration in physical education.

• Peggy Elisa Jones

Jones is a liberal arts major at Bay Path College, where she is in her senior year. She continues to work full-time while attending college. She plans on a career in transitional counseling, but is also interested in teaching.

• Jennifer L. Lee

She is a recent graduate of the Springfield Renaissance School and is now a freshman at Brandeis University, where she is studying psychology. She hopes to work at the United Nations helping to develop positive relations between cultures.

• Malissa Maddox

Maddox is a graduate of Central High School and is now a senior at Bay Path College majoring in legal studies. She plans to enroll in the dual program offered at Springfield College and Western New England College School of Law to obtain simultaneously a masters degree in social work and a law degree.

• Emma Moser

Moser was home-schooled throughout her life. She is now in her last year at STCC where she is a liberal arts major.

• Emily Ocasio

Ocasio is in her senior year at Holyoke Community College (HCC), where she is an early childhood education major with a minor in special education. She hopes to transfer to Bay Path College or to Springfield College to continue her education.

• Keila Ortiz

She is attending STCC where she is studying to be a registered nurse. Her goal is to work in the Emergency Department where she can take care of others and to eventually work towards a master's degree in Public Health.

• Sandra Palmer

Palmer is pursuing a degree in nursing at AIC. She has a long-term goal of working as an insurance underwriter, feeling that experience in nursing will help make her more effective in that field.

• Dominique Rosario

She was born in Hawaii and her family moved to Springfield when she was just five years old. She is a graduate of Springfield Central High School and is now a freshman at Northeastern University where she is majoring in nursing.

• Frances A. Smith

She is attending HCC and plans to complete a degree in Addiction Counseling. Her long-term career goal is to open a safe house for fatherless families to provide support and care.

• Maryam A. Sullivan

Sullivan is attending Bay Path College as a liberal arts major. She intends to pursue a master's degree in applied linguistics at University of Massachusetts. She hopes to work in the Springfield Public School system.

• Sancha Taylor

Taylor is pursuing a master's degree in English for secondary teachers at AIC. She wants to be a high school teacher here in the Springfield Public School system. She has volunteered for several years, working with special needs children. Sancha is originally from Jamaica and has been in the United States since 2006.

• Cheng Zheng

She is attending STCC as a nursing student and will graduate in 2012. She wants to be a registered nurse and work with the senior population. Zheng is originally from China and has been in Springfield for only three years.

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