At their 8th annual Spring Splendor Fundraising Fashion Show and Dinner Dance in March 2019, Dorson Community Foundation (DCF) awarded 13 Essex County high school students over $90,000 worth of scholarships to attend summer enrichment programs.
Nine students received scholarships for the Cornell University Summer College Program and four students earned Student Diplomacy Corps scholarships geared towards month-long cultural immersion trips abroad.
Since 2016, Dorson Community Foundation has collaborated with the Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation dedicated to college access, and the Cornell University Summer College Program. Together, they offer nine students all-expenses paid scholarships to attend the Ivy League institution’s premiere early college program every summer.
The scholarship recipients this year were Abigail Audigie, Naa-Amanuah Ankrah, Jan Calva, Mykeem Carnegie, Doriella Cortez, Cassandra Dawson, Sthefani Jimenez, Fatima Kakadendi, Khamar Walker. Each student spent three weeks at Cornell University taking college-level courses -- International Relations, Macroeconomics, Adolescent Psychology, and Debate & Rhetoric -- taught by renowned faculty, meeting students from around the world, and experiencing life on a college campus.
While at Cornell, each student had to manage their own schedule and expenses. During their three-week college immersion, students came to understand that high school and college are completely different. “My experience at Cornell gave me insight into how college really is and how much independence you have,” said Mykeem.
Mykeem wasn’t the only student to acknowledge the differences in high school and college. “I learned that high school doesn’t really prepare you for college. Teachers hand-hold you. In college, there was more freedom,” Naa-Amanuah agreed.
Since the scholarship’s inception, Dorson has issued a total of 33 scholarships, with past students now attending universities like Cornell University, Howard University, NYU, and Lehigh University.
In 2017, Dorson Community Foundation established a partnership with the Student Diplomacy Corps, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities to high school students to travel abroad on month-long cultural immersion trips that allow them to broaden their understanding of foreign cultures.
This summer, four Dorson students, Athena Annum, AJ Hinton, Tarique Morgan, and Aminata Rogers were awarded scholarships and spent one month traveling to Mexico, Italy, China, and Japan, respectively.
During their month abroad, the students also spent time with a host family where they sometimes encountered language and culture barriers. A major aspect of their travel experience involved maneuvering these barriers to deepen their awareness of cultural differences. “It’s really important to learn about new cultures and to immerse yourself in new things and new experiences,” raved Athena Annum.
For summer 2020, Dorson Community Foundation hopes to increase its number of scholarships and offer more Essex County youth the opportunity to spend their summers developing their college readiness, self-confidence, cross-cultural competencies and independence.
Learn more about how you can support our programs and Essex County youth.