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"When you are shown that success is attainable, a wide range of opportunities opens for you."
Student Profiles of Service Award
"Being the first generation in my family to attend college," says Alpha Journal, "I was not certain what to expect." Alpha—as in the only male in a cluster of four sisters—is originally from Haiti. "But I knew I would greatly benefit from the Summer Bridge Program." Sponsored by the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement (CARE), Summer Bridge guides culturally and economically disadvantaged students during their first year. He now says, "I thank God for it. When you are shown that success is attainable, a wide range of opportunities opens for you."
For his academic achievements (Dean's List), community service, and leadership roles, Alpha has been awarded the Mentoring Multicultural Students for Health Professions Scholarship. And he is one of eight students who have been honored with the Student Profiles of Service, the Center for Civic Education and Service's recognition of students who demonstrate exemplary commitment to community service. "I enjoy seeing a big smile on someone's face," he says, "and I have learned a lot by serving others."
He began by volunteering for Camp Boggy Creek, engaging chronically ill children in recreational activities to help increase their sense of self-worth. When Alpha relocated to America at the age of 11, he did not speak English. Remembering his own difficulties with the language, Alpha has volunteered to tutor migrant farm workers in Quincy through the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium.
For the Multicultural Association of Pre-health Students (MAPS), Alpha, who is majoring in Exercise Science, works to recruit underrepresented students into the health care fields and help them succeed. He has served as the organization's secretary, has been on the E-Board for two consecutive years, and leads study groups in Organic Chemistry and Biology.
During the 2006 spring break, Alpha joined the Caribbean-American Medical Educational Organization's mission to Jamaica. By helping to treat patients in economically deprived communities, he gained hands-on medical experience.
Alpha hopes to become a doctor, a cardiologist. As a young man, he witnessed the suffering and eventual death of his cousin from Atrial Septal Defect, a hole between the left and right ventricle of the heart. Residing in one of the poorest countries in the world, his aunt and uncle could not afford the expense of the required surgery. The experience propels Alpha toward a future of providing medical care to the economically deprived.