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Alice Coleman '66 rebounds from accident, finds career success

Without a doubt, social work was a career destiny for Alice Smith Coleman. Never mind that during her years at then-Delaware State College from 1962-1966, the institution had not yet established its social work degree programs. Alice Smith Coleman '66 was recently honored by the Delaware Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Never mind that one week before she was due to walk across the DSC Commencement stage to receive her diploma, her life was irrevocably altered in a car accident near the College that left her in a wheelchair for life. Coleman would go on from that traumatic accident to further her studies and become a wife, a mother of two sons, a lifelong career social work counselor and an earnest community leader. Oh yes, and a very nice person. “She was always a calm and compassionate person,” said Kenneth Burton, a licensed practical nurse who worked with Coleman throughout most of her 38-year career at the Delaware Psychiatric Center (formerly the Delaware State Hospital). “She always went above and beyond as a social worker.” The former Alice Marie Smith’s pictures from the 1966 DSC yearbook reflect a confident student destined for success — as secretary of the Student Government Association, president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a member of the Sociology Club and the editor-in-chief of The Statesman. Coleman’s aspirations were in social work. However, because DSC would not establish its degree program in social work until the 1980s, she majored in sociology, largely under the instruction of Dr. Maurice Thomasson and his wife LaVerne Thomasson, a longtime teaching team in the department. She recalled Dr. Thomasson — who was the department chair — as a very deliberate, but not loud speaker. She recollected there was a lot of “meat” in what he said, so it paid for the students to pay attention. “He didn’t put up with a lot of nonsense,” Coleman said. “You either knew it or you didn’t.” Her future seemed exceedingly bright in the spring of 1966, as she was graduating in the top 10 percent of the class. She had dated her future husband Norwood Coleman ’63 since her freshman year and was engaged to marry him, and she had been accepted to graduate school at Atlanta University. All life systems for her appeared to be go. And then the car accident took place that would challenge all of her promise. Coleman said she doesn’t remember the accident, which took place on U.S. 13 (now also known as DuPont Highway) less than a mile north of the College. She said that her car turned over, which resulted in serious injuries made worse by the people who extricated her from the wreck. “They didn’t immobilize my neck when they took me out of the car,” she said. Taken initially to Kent General Hospital in Dover, where the emergency medical staff seemed doubtful about her chances for survival, she was transferred to the then-Delaware Division of Wilmington Medical Center, where the medical staff was a bit more hopeful. “They told me that I would live only about 10 years,” Coleman said. So as her sister Elizabell Smith (now Massey) walked for her at Commencement, Coleman began her arduous journey to dispel those pessimistic prognostications. Building a life In the days and weeks following the accident, Coleman said she was uplifted by the concerns of the DSC community. “Half the graduating class came to visit me, and so did (DSC President) Dr. Luna Mishoe and his wife,” she said. “There were so many flowers in my room, it was almost like a funeral.” At first, Coleman was paralyzed from the neck down. Her then-fiancé Norwood Coleman — a DSC graduate in music who had joined the Air Force Band and was returning to Delaware from an assignment in Alaska at the time of the accident — noted that even in the state of being in traction as the result of her injuries, her natural social work inclinations manifested themselves. “There just happened to be another DSC student in the same hospital room who had been in a totally different accident (hit by a car) and was extremely emotionally distraught. Even in the state of being in traction, Alice talked to her and tried to calm her down,” Norwood said. He added that soon thereafter, a Spanish-speaking patient who didn’t speak English was moved into her room, and from her bed Alice assisted the doctor by using her college Spanish to help interpret. “People didn’t know if she was going to live or die, and here she was giving of herself,” he said. Eventually some nerve functions began returning in her arms. This helped fuel her desire to overcome her circumstances. “There was talk of putting me in the Delaware Home and Hospital for the rest of my life,” Alice said. “I thought then that there was no way I was not going to do anything, because I had worked so hard.” In considering her options while going through six months of rehabilitation, she knew Atlanta University was out. Its social work department was on a third floor at a time when accessibility for persons with disabilities was not yet a law requirement. Coleman found out about the University of Illinois, where it had a program in which people in wheelchairs were accepted. She applied and was invited to come take a test. “I thought it would be an academic test, but the first thing they asked me to do was to get out of my chair,” Coleman said. “They wanted to see how long it would take and if I could take care of my physical needs. They explained that they don’t cater to people in a wheelchair.” She was accepted and completed her Master of Social Work degree in the spring of 1967. Coleman said she was not only academically fulfilled there. “I learned more about myself in a wheelchair.” Meanwhile, Norwood remained a faithful love in her life. In the weeks following the accident, she told Norwood that there was nothing she could do for him. “I told him that he might as well go find someone else,” Coleman said. “But he didn’t.” The couple was married on March 1, 1969, and went on to produce two sons. “I had friends who told me that because of her injuries, I shouldn’t marry Alice,” Norwood said. “But everything that has happened since has confirmed for me that I made the right decision in marrying her. She was able to take care of her responsibilities as a mother, and between us she was the disciplinarian with our sons. She has always been very focused and determined.” Their oldest, Norwood Jr., would become the third member of the immediate family to graduate from DSU (2006 and 2007), as he followed his mother’s career footsteps by earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. He is now a clinical supervisor for the Wilmington Child Development Community Policing Program. Their youngest son, Michael, earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Florida A&M University and is currently continuing his education and working as a mechanical engineering research associate at Florida State University. Career and community service One month after her wedding, Coleman began working for the Delaware State Hospital as a psychiatric social worker. Any doubts that she could do the work were effectively dispelled, as she would continue there until her retirement in 2007. As a social worker, she was responsible for three units in the hospital; her work involved doing intake assessments, helping patients with discharge planning, as well as doing individual/family counseling and other patients’ services. She noted that her career advancement was helped by her determination not to use her wheelchair-bound circumstances as an excuse to do only so much, but instead to continually try to see what more she could do. Being grateful for the opportunities she had also helped, she added. “There have been some challenges, but I just kept trying,” Coleman said. “If the Lord can bring you to it, He can bring you through it.” That includes the chronic pain she has had to live with from her injuries. Nevertheless, with the exception of some time off to give birth to her two sons and a couple of operations, she missed very little time from work during her 38-year tenure with the Delaware State Hospital. Burton, her work colleague, noted that in working in a mental health facility, Coleman had to often deal with patients who “acted out,” but she always kept her composure. “She never took anything personal, and I never heard her raise her voice or make any derogatory comments in response to such challenges,” Burton said. Coleman’s dedicated service was rewarded in 2004 when she was promoted to director of Social Services, a leadership post she maintained until her retirement. Even in retirement, she has not stopped her dedication to social work. She now operates her own private counseling service out of her Stanton, Del., home, focusing on families, children and marriage counseling. “At the State Hospital, I had to work to get people interested in themselves and their treatment,” she said. “That was different from what I do now, because most of these people (adults) have jobs and they want to deal with their issues.” Throughout her life, Coleman has also been prolific in community service work. She has served on the state’s Workforce Investment Board, Vocational Rehabilitation Council and the Division of the Visually Impaired Council, as well as a panel member of the Delaware Child Death Review Committee. She is a member of the state Advocates for Persons with Disabilities, a former vice president and board member of the United Way of Delaware, a former vice president and former board member of Goodwill, and has been involved in numerous other community service endeavors. She is a member and past president of the Delaware Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, which recently honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Among her other numerous honors is her induction into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women (2000) and the Living Legacy Award from the Delaware Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (2011). Looking back, she is glad she didn’t take the easy road after her injuries. “I could have just gone home and my mother and sister would have taken care of me,” Coleman said. “I think people don’t know that no matter what you do, it is only a fraction of what you can do.” -- Story and photo by Carlos Holmes

Cpl. Nicole Parton '01 is first female Del. State Police helicopter pilot

A graduate of the DSU Aviation Program has made history with the Delaware State Police. Cpl. Nicole Carol Parton, who under her maiden name Dimon graduated from DSU in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Airways Management (now called Aviation Management), has become the first female helicopter pilot in the history of the state law enforcement agency. Cpl. Nicole Parton of the Delaware State Police graduated from DSU in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in Airways Management. The accomplishment returns Parton to her original aspiration to fly, which began when she first enrolled in the then-DSU Airway Science Program in 1992. Parton — who grew up in a rural area outside of Tunkhannock, Pa. — attended DSU full-time only during her freshman year, but then became a part-time student so she could work full-time. From 1993 to 1998, she worked for Summit Aviation in Middletown, Del., where at that time the DSU Airway Science Program maintained its planes. She then shifted her professional pursuit to law enforcement when she was hired in 1998 as a trooper by the State Police. After successfully completing the DSP Academy, Parton worked the highways and byways of Central Delaware as a trooper. With the State Police, she found a professional niche that she really enjoys. “It is a noble profession, although it can sometimes be a thankless job,” she said. “I know it sounds like a cliché, but just about everyone comes into (police work) because they want to help people.” Parton said she tries to make any contact she has with the public a positive experience — whether it is responding to a complaint, providing assistance, working with victims or even writing a traffic ticket. Yet she never stopped her part-time journey toward a degree. However, she was forced after 1998 to revise her degree emphasis. Although she had earned her private pilot license in 1993, family matters led her to change her degree pursuit from flying (Airway Systems) to Airway Management. “My dad died in 1998,” said Parton, the adopted daughter of Robert and Kelly Dimon. “I switched over to the management side, because it cost less and it was less pressure on my mom.” She would complete that degree at DSU in 2001, and a couple of years later she was promoted to detective in the Domestic Violence and Major Crimes sections of the DSP Troop 3 in Camden. She also began teaching a section at the DSP Police Academy on “Crimes Against Persons.” As she progressed in law enforcement, she also enhanced that career by continuing her progression in aviation. While working as a trooper, she earned her commercial, instrument and helicopter flying ratings. By 2011, a full-time position as a line pilot (helicopter) opened up, and Parton broke a DSP gender line by becoming the first female trooper to fill that post. She has been in career heaven ever since. “I love it,” she said. “I can’t believe I get paid to go to work every day.” The helicopter pilot says that it is an exciting job in which every day is different. “We provide a unique service. We fly the injured to the hospital and we can give them the best chance for survival by getting them there during what we call that ‘golden hour’,” Parton said. “We get to chase bad guys in pursuits from the air.” Through it all, Parton has found time to raise a family. She is married to Alfred Parton, a retired DSP SWAT commander who is currently in Afghanistan as a contractor. Their union has produced one 9-year-old daughter, and Parton is a stepmother to two boys. -- Story and photo by Carlos Holmes

Col. Nathaniel McQueen '01 makes history in top State Police post

Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. of the Delaware State Police says the Master of Social Work degree he earned at Delaware State University has helped him deal with countless people issues he is confronted with in law enforcement on a daily basis. His social work knowledge along with the rest of his broad-based law enforcement experience has helped elevate McQueen to a pinnacle of law enforcement — in January he was named by Gov. Jack Markell as the superintendent of the Delaware State Police. Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. of the Delaware State Police graduated from DSU in 2001 with a Master of Social Work degree. In ascending to that top post, McQueen is the first African-American to serve as DSP superintendent. McQueen — who earned a MSW from DSU in 2001 after earning a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science from Wilmington College in 1996 — is in his 25th year as a state trooper. He said his opportunity to become the highest ranking state trooper was made possible by his predecessor, Col. Robert Coupe. Coupe — who was appointed DSP superintendent in 2009 — brought him on to be a part of his executive staff. “I didn’t really see myself as possibly becoming superintendent until I came on executive staff and got to know the inner workings of the department from that level,” McQueen said. “Col. Coupe saw the executive staff as the future of the DSP, so he had a succession plan in which he worked to develop us.” Coupe’s management style of grooming the DSP’s future leaders was something that resonated with McQueen. “One of the highlights of my career was when I was at the rank of sergeant, because it was the first time I got to manage people and help them develop,” the superintendent said. He added that the “succession plan” will continue under his leadership as head of the DSP. Although born in South Carolina, as a baby he moved with his parents Nathaniel and Carolyn McQueen Sr. to Wilmington, Del., where he grew up. He graduated from Hogdson Vo-Tech High School in Newark, where he studied commercial art. After he joined the State Police in 1988, the commercial art background came in handy, as he served for a time as a sketch artist, one of his career highlights. “I worked one-on-one with victims and helped them take part in solving their case,” McQueen said. “I did crime scene reconstructions, facial and composite drawings.” In working his way up to superintendent, McQueen previously served in an ascending progression of posts, including patrol and detective sergeant, a member of the DSP Critical Incident Stress Management Team, the officer-in-charge of the Honor Guard Unit, a patrol lieutenant at Troop 3 Camden and a deputy troop commander at Troop 2 Bear responsible for the Major Crimes Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, Polygraph Examiner and Youth Aid Unit. In 1991, he received the DSP Police Valor Award. “I assisted the operator of a vehicle that had been struck by a train,” McQueen said. “As a second train was approaching, I assisted the operator by removing her from the area of the track.” After serving as commander at several troop locations, he began his stint on the executive staff as the operations major managing all troops statewide. McQueen said his time at DSU was beneficial to his career progression. “I am part of so many boards and committees that run the gamut of kids, social services, sexual crimes and many other areas, and my social work master’s degree background helps me negotiate through those boards and work with other state agencies,” he said. Most notably, McQueen recalled Dr. John Austin, the then-chair of the DSU Department of Sociology (currently the director of DSU Sponsored Programs), as being very helpful to him in his studies, as well as Dr. Marlene Saunders, current assistant professor of social work, and two deceased instructors, Dr. George Johnson and Dr. Larcy McCarley. -- Story and photo by Carlos Holmes

DSUAA Legacy Luncheon and Hall of Fame Inductions



Net proceeds from this affair will support the Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship Fund
 benefiting DSU students who are children and grandchildren of alumni.


Fourth Annual Holiday Dinner Dance

Please support the

Sussex County Alumni Chapter's




5:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Millsboro Town Center

Tony Anderson

  Tony Anderson   Digital Journalist, BET Mass Communications, 2007   DSU: How did you first decide to come to Delaware State? TONY: Well, I had been accepted to a few colleges, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do coming out of high school. Like most young people, I didn’t really have much direction as to what my future would be. But my cousin had gone to Delaware State University. My father and I would go and pick her up from school, and every time we’d go there, it just looked like so much fun. She used to hate coming home and I just said, that’s the experience that I want.   DSU: So how did you end up in Mass Communications after not really knowing what you wanted to do? TONY: I was always the class clown, so I knew I wanted to do something in entertainment and television. When I first got to school, I was an undecided major, and I took television classes and computer classes.  One of my classmates asked me to host his on-campus television show. I had no experience, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I just did it. The show ended up becoming really popular and from there, we just caught the bug. We began to produce plays on campus and tape all of the events, and I started doing interviews with the students and putting them on the campus television show. Once it became popular on campus, our confidence grew. And from there, I just kept going with it. Then I switched my major to Mass Communications with a concentration in Television Production and then Broadcast Journalism.   DSU: Did your classwork translate to your current job? TONY: Absolutely. As a digital journalist at Black Entertainment Television, I shoot, edit, write and produce my own stories, all things that I had been doing during my time at Del State. A lot of the opportunities I had in the Mass Communications department led me to where I am today. For instance, my classmates and professors encouraged me to attend a conference held by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) my senior year. I was able to show people my reel – which was a collection of interviews I had done at Del State – and they were really interested in helping me. That’s how I landed my first gig at Channel One. If my peers in the Mass Communications department hadn’t urged me to attend the conference, I might not have been able to get my reel into the right hands. I really encourage all aspiring journalists to get to the NABJ conference at some point.    DSU: Do you have any other advice for incoming students? TONY: Take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to you. Pick up a camera and shoot your own show – there aren’t a lot of places where you can get hands-on your freshman year – or go in after class and ask for some extra help. In my experience at DSU, everyone was more than willing to give it. My classmates and I would help out with each other’s television shows, work together in class, share advice and contacts. Our professors really noticed when we were putting the work in and would do everything they could to help us succeed.   

Ralph Wesley

Ralph Wesley   P.A. Announcer for the Washington Wizards; Voice-Over Artist Mass Communications, 2005   DSU: How did you originally decide to come to Delaware State? RALPH: I visited the campus while I was in high school; I believe it was 2000. I really wanted to see the Department of Mass Communications, and one of the students took us around the facility and showed us everything. When he told me that I could get hands-on with all of the video and audio equipment as soon as I got there, I was really excited. He also said that if I wanted to, it was possible to have my own show as a freshman. I loved the fact that I’d able to get my feet wet as soon as I stepped on campus.   DSU: Did you end up taking advantage of that? RALPH: Definitely. I was a bit shy when I first got to school, but I realized fairly quickly that there were a lot of other students in the same situation, with the same interests that I had. I talked to a few people, and a classmate invited me to come hang out with him at the on-campus radio station. He showed me the ropes and let me stand in for him a few times when he couldn’t make it. From there, I started getting involved in the television side. After getting involved in a few other shows, my friend and I launched our own sketch comedy show, “Consider the Following.” It was the first unscripted comedy show of its kind on campus.   DSU: What kind of reaction did the show get from your fellow students? RALPH: Everyone seemed to love the show. I think our classmates appreciated that there was programming put on by other students who took it seriously and were in tune with what the student population wanted to watch. They’d recognize us on campus and be really excited about the show. That was a great thing about Del State – all of the camaraderie. There’s a lot of diversity, students from all different walks of life, but since it’s a relatively small campus, everyone learns to work together and support each other. I think that’s something that’s pretty unique to DSU.   DSU: Did you have any other unique experiences at Delaware State? RALPH: One experience that really stands out in my mind is the one that got me started in public addressing work. I had mentioned to a few people that I was interested in becoming a PA announcer on campus, and I was put in touch with Dennis Jones, who oversaw that at the time. He took a few minutes to talk with me and invited me to come out to a baseball game and see what it was all about. Dennis gave me a few tips and told me to announce the batter’s name. I remember being really nervous, and I looked around at the few other people in the press box, who seemed shocked. I guess I did okay, because he had me start announcing the football games the following season!  I actually still do that to this day.   DSU:  So that was your first step toward becoming the voice of the Washington Wizards? RALPH: It was. The work I did as a PA announcer for the Del State sports teams definitely put me on the path toward my job today. In addition to working with the Wizards, I’m also a producer at ESPN 980, a radio station in D.C. So all of the time I spent in the studio at DSU is coming back to me. It was great to get a leg up – to not only figure out what I love to do, but to actually gain hands-on experience during my time in school.     

Jenel Cobb

  Jenel Cobb   Project Manager, Niiki Pharma Biology, 2003   DSU: How did you originally decide to come to Delaware State? JENEL: In the spring of 1999, I believe, I went on a tour of a few Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I loved the overall feeling of Delaware State. I remember thinking that the campus itself was beautiful, and that the students seemed to really be enjoying themselves there. During my visit, I had the opportunity to speak with the president at the time, who looked at my transcript and application and told me about some of the scholarships that would be available to me. I discussed it with my family and we decided DSU would be a great fit for me.   DSU: How did Delaware State help you on your career path? JENEL: The position that I have now requires a strong research background, a lot of which I gained during my time at DSU. My freshman year general biology professor was the first to lead me in that direction – he introduced me to a researcher at the University of Delaware, where I interned and realized my love of research. But I’d say the biggest impact Delaware State had was leading me on the path to earning my Ph.D. in Pharmacology. I was involved in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, which gave me more research experience and guided me toward graduate school.    DSU: Can you speak a little more about the MARC Program? JENEL: The MARC program is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and aims to help underrepresented students in the sciences be better prepared for education at the Ph.D. level. Starting my junior year, I was able to get financial support from the program, in the form of a scholarship and stipend. We also attended weekly meetings where we were introduced to researchers from different universities and exposed to the career possibilities that were available to us. I also completed my own undergraduate research each summer.      DSU: What other memories do you have from your time at DSU? JENEL: One of my favorite memories is all of the time spent at football games, watching the band. There are certain songs that the band plays where everyone in the stands gets up and does a dance. It’s a really fun atmosphere. Even for people who weren’t necessarily interested in football, the games were a place to socialize and get into the spirit. The energy at the games is something that I think is really special to Delaware State.

Erika Grant

  Erika Grant   Audit Intern, Ernst & Young; Accepted in Vanguard’s Acceleration into Financial Professionals Program Accounting, 2012   DSU: You’re at an internship with Ernst & Young now, preparing for a full-time position with Vanguard. How’d you get into the field? ERIKA: One thing that definitely helped was the size of the accounting program at DSU. Our graduating accounting class was only about 15 students, so we were a little bit more close-knit. Since we were all from different areas, we had a wide variety of networks and contacts to share. Additionally, we were all also members of the Accounting and Finance Club. Every year the club attended the National Association of Black Accountants’ Eastern Region Student Conference. We would spend time prepping our resumes, send them in and then Fortune 500 companies and the Big Four accounting firms would sign up to interview us. It was an incredible opportunity, and that’s how I received my position at Vanguard.    DSU: How did your time in the College of Business prepare you for your position? ERIKA: Well, in addition to the opportunities I had through the Accounting and Finance Club, I got a lot out of my classes. There are state-of-the-art new facilities for the College of Business, including a couple of Bloomberg Terminals that kept us involved and interested in the stock market. Again, the small class size was great in that it helped me build a personal relationship with my professors and classmates alike. My ability to interact with people from all walks of life is one of the great things I took away from Del State, and one of my biggest assets on the job.   DSU: What else were you involved in on campus?   ERIKA: I was Miss Delaware State University my senior year, which got me really involved in the Student Government Association. We were the voice of the students and worked to improve life on campus. It was a big responsibility, but a great experience! I was also a resident assistant my sophomore and junior years and a D’Elegance dancer with the Approaching Storm Marching Band throughout school.    DSU: What was your time in the band like? ERIKA: The band is awesome. When you hear the drum line, you say, okay I’m about to dance. They really add so much power and life to the event. Whatever event they’re at, it’s an amazing turnout. Being in a band I gained a lot of discipline; it was a lot of hard work and it really brings out your true character -- especially regarding commitment. I learned to be accountable to people other than myself. Everyone in the band is a family, and even when you leave, you’re still considered band family. It’s really a great experience learning and getting to know other people. And then even for students who haven’t played an instrument before, there’s still room for them. They can try out and, if they’re able to catch on, the section leaders really take them under their wing and make sure everyone has a great experience. 

Deondra Short

Deondra Short   Student Trainee, Department of Defense Forensic Biology, 2012   DSU: You’re beginning your career with an exciting position at the Department of Defense. How did you get started on this path?  DEONDRA: Actually from the moment I started out freshman year, I had freshman seminar classes that helped in the area of professional development. I was able to build a resume that detailed all of my skills and areas of expertise, which put me in the mindset to start preparing for my career. After that, my advisor referred me to a forensic science research program at Pennsylvania State University, which helped me hone my research skills and figure out which areas interested me. I also did research at DSU as a student worker through the Smile Program. My job now is largely research-based, so all of those experiences gave me a head start.    DSU: What other things were you involved in on campus? DEONDRA: I’m a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the National Society for Collegiate Scholars and the Forensic Biology Club. It was great to have a mix of social activities and academic ones, because each brought something different to my college experience. I also served as the president of the Honors Program from 2009 through 2011.   DSU: Can you speak a bit more about your experience in the Honors Program? DEONDRA: The Honors Program was something that had a big impact on me. It not only helped me focus academically, but prepared me for life after college. The program’s advisor was a role model for me, and was a great help when I was applying for jobs and graduate schools. I also lived in the Towers, which houses Honors students, my freshman year. That really added to my experience and was a great way for me to get to know other students with my same academic goals.          DSU: Is there anything else that stands out about your time at DSU? DEONDRA: Well, one of the first things I noticed about the school was that so many people went out of their way to help me. With such small class sizes, it’s much easier to build a one-on-one relationship with professors. It felt like, by the time I was a sophomore, everyone in the department knew my name. I was especially thankful for that when I needed some extra help with my classwork and, ultimately, when it came time to get recommendation letters. Also, regarding scholarships, my professors and other faculty were always telling me to apply for awards that I qualified for. Thanks to that, I earned the Departmental Scholarship through the Department of Biological Sciences, along with the Silver Scholarship and a few other privately funded scholarships. It was obvious that the faculty and administration were all dedicated to helping the students get ahead.