Six students recently were recognized by Wayne State University (WSU) for their achievements in the university's Academic College Enrichment Services (ACCESS) program.
ACCESS provides academic help and support to promising students who live in the metropolitan Detroit area and who historically have been underrepresented in college due to their economic, racial, or ethnic status; educational preparation; or family background.
Theresa Yvette Coleman, a 26-year-old senior majoring in social work at WSU, received the ACCESS Scholarship from the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC). The EOC is a comprehensive counseling program that provides academic, vocational, career and financial aid information to potential first-generation college students who are 19 or older.
Coleman entered the EOC program in 1992. She enrolled at Wayne County Community College and after receiving her associate of arts degree, transferred to WSU. She has a grade-point average of 3.5. In addition to her academic responsibilities, Coleman is a mother, wage earner and guardian for her brother.
"I am eager to learn and to help others because of my own personal hardships and goals in life," she said. "I want to someday start a program similar to EOC in order to give assistance to others who might need that extra career guidance."
DeShante Quion Reddick is a senior at Murray Wright High School and a Wade H. McCree Tuition and Book Award recipient through the Higher Education Opportunities Committee-Talent Search Program. The program provides help regarding admissions and financial aid at postsecondary educational institutions to first-generation college students ages 12 to 18 who reside in the target area or attend designated Detroit high schools.
Reddick wants to attend Yale and pursue a career in orthodontics or optometry. He has a 3.4 GPA and has received the All American Scholar Award for chemistry. He is president of the National Honor Society and Medical Club, as well as a member of the track and field team and Detroit Compact. His community service activities include volunteering at Harper Hospital, the March of Dimes, Coats for Kids and Paint the Town.
"I learned early in life that hard work, dedication, persistence and discipline ensured achievement on a personal level as well as academic level," he said. "Such qualities teach one endurance, commitment and other positive qualities that will last throughout life."
Kelly Harmon, a senior at Central High School, received a Wade H. McCree Tuition and Book Award through the Martin Luther King, Jr. -César Chavez - Rosa Parks College Day Program, which provides motivation and activities that encourage seventh- through 12th grade students in the target schools to complete high school and go to college.
Harmon has a 3.3 GPA and wants to become a journalist. She participates in the Octagon Club and the King-Chavez-Parks Vision Club of WSU, in addition to taking advanced studies classes at WSU and participating in a journalism program at the University of California in San Diego. She works after school and weekends.
"I worked hard to improve areas of my life that were challenging due to circumstances and situations from my background," she said. "I didn't let those circumstances affect me and my ability to produce."
Dina Digiuseppe received the James Eric Moore Endowed Scholarship Award from Project 350, which provides instruction, tutoring, academic advising and counseling to first-generation college students with educational potential and/or economic needs who attend WSU.
Digiuseppe is a biology/pre-med major and interested in becoming a surgeon. Currently a junior, she maintains a 3.5 GPA while working two jobs every semester. Performing well in all of her classes has been hard work. Since her entry to the program in the summer of 1994 she has continued to progress academically and personally.
"Though I was indecisive of my career choice, I knew in my heart that I wanted to help people," she said. "I also knew that I could do whatever I wanted with my life as long as I applied myself. With a strong will and determination, I have overcome many trials and struggles."
Jameka Erin Wilson, a senior at Cass Technical High School, received the Upward Bound Program Scholarship Award. Upward Bound provides instruction, tutoring, academic and career guidance, personal counseling and residential life to high school students recruited in 10th through 12th grades who are potential first-generation college students attending designated Detroit high schools.
Wilson wants to attend Clark Atlanta University and major in business administration. She has a 3.2 GPA and has been on the honor roll since middle school. She has received a variety of awards including the Outstanding Achievement in Detroit Schools' Area B and was named Upward Bound Outstanding Female Scholar for two consecutive years. In the Student Vocational Business Professional Regional Competition she placed eighth in the city.
"Upward Bound helped me scholastically and socially," she said. "The hard work made me learn responsibility, loyalty, determination, tenacity and an appreciation of the program."
Willie Neloms, a 47-year-old Army veteran, received the ACCESS Award from the Veterans Educational Opportunities Program (VEOP). The program provides instruction, academic and career guidance, personal counseling and postsecondary placement of veterans who served in the armed forces from Dec.31, 1955, to present.
Neloms joined VEOP in December 1992 and enrolled in Wayne County Community College, where he received an associate of science degree. He transferred to WSU in 1996 and has maintained a 3.7 GPA in the electrical/electronics technology curriculum. He was a member of the team that reconstructed a vehicle in the Autonomous Robotic Competition and played an important role in obtaining funds for the project. He holds an electrical engineer co-op position in an architectural firm and works as a youth counselor for Scott's United Memorial Methodist Church.
"VEOP helped me tremendously in pursuing my educational and financial needs," he said. "The program granted me an opportunity to achieve a degree which I might not have otherwise done. Thanks to all who have given me the tools to grasp these life dreams."