Thirty young scientists from the UCF College of Medicine received $1,000 scholarships in Spring 2011 thanks to a generous donation from BP and Florida Oil Holdings. The new BP Scholars Program, which began this year, supports undergraduates at the medical school’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences.
“We reached out to UCF’s biomedical program specifically because we’re into institutions that focus on the sciences and those that want to help build the future of sustainable energy,” said Denitra Baldwin, a marketing director at BP and Florida Oil Holdings.
BP executives attended a luncheon Monday to honor the students, including Johnny Thompson, regional marketing representative for BP and Eric Hood, district manager for Florida Oil Holdings.
During the luncheon, Dr. Deborah German, vice president of medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, presented the BP team with a bound book containing essays written by scholarship applicants on why they wanted to pursue a career in science.
Dr. German shared that she had received a college scholarship but because it was from a family bequest, she was never able to thank her donor in person. She told the Burnett school students they had the special honor of being able to actually thank donors for “the hard-earned money they have invested in your future.”
One of those grateful students is Jennifer Mollica, a single mother who entered the Burnett school’s medical lab sciences program while raising three children. A Titusville resident, Jennifer commuted to UCF to take full-time classes while caring for her children, who are now 16, 12 and 9. She recently graduated and begins training for a full-time lab job this week. “The medical lab science program and the scholarship are the best things ever,” she said. “They mean so much to me and my family.”
Other scholarship recipients are: Heena Ahmed, Sabikha Alam, Hasan Awal, Alexandra Ayache, Carly Bader, Camila Diaz, Jessica Dorfman, Benjamin Eslahpazir, Kelly Finnigan, Maria Garcia, Matt Hagerman, Deja Jean-Pierre, Tiffany Jones, Alexandra Koffler, Robin Mata, Kara Meyer, Jennifer Nergard, Camha Nguyen, Gina Prochilo, Tyler Provost, Jamie Scharfschwerdt, Kari-Ann Sherwood, David Smith, Jamil Syed, Monica Thomas, Jessica Treto, Neyda VanBennekorn, Ivan Von Hack-Prestinary and Donevan Westerveld.