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2017 Annual Immigrant Day

On May 2nd, 2017, the World Affairs Council of Connecticut partnered with the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition for the 20th annual celebration of Immigrant Day at the state’s capitol in Hartford, Connecticut.

Immigrant Day seeks to celebrate the trials, tribulations, and unparalleled societal and cultural contributions experienced and produced by the immigrant population of Connecticut. In such a tumultuous national and global landscape, it is imperative to highlight the immense contributions our immigrants provide as the backbone of our society.

In Connecticut, we are privileged to have immigrants from countries on all continents, be they Congolese, Polish, German,  Latino, Jamaican, Albanian, Bosnian, or any other nationality!

We were fortunate enough to be joined by Rafael Perez-Escamilla, M.S., Ph.D., Doctor Honoris Causa, who delivered a brilliant and moving keynote address.

Mr. Perez-Escamilla was kind enough to impart a few steps to address the needs of immigrants and refugees in our communities. Please explore these ideas alongside the biographies of just a small handful of the amazing refugees we recognized for this event.

“First, accept the fact that all human beings have the inalienable right to seek a better life.”

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Abdul Islam – Pakistan

When Abdul traveled from Karachi, Pakistan to Queens, New York with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from NED University, he brought with him an ambition to succeed in this new country. After receiving an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the City College of New York, Abdul tackled the financial, economic, social, and physical challenges that every young entrepreneur must face. He maneuvered throughh eavy workloads by subcontracting to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and offered high-quality services at an affordable cost.

Today, Al Engineers, Inc. stands as an ENR Top 500 Design Firm and services federal, state, and municipal clients from Massachusetts to Virginia. Having been a struggling professional himself, Abdul looks toward fresh college graduates and new generations of engineers to join his workforce. He has actively engaged himself with local urban communities to encourage personal success and provide opportunities to economically and socially disadvantaged individuals. His generous financial support has benefitted many charities in the Hartford area.

Second, accept the fact that the science unequivocally tells us that children need a stable and predictable environment to attain proper physical, psycho-emotional, and cognitive development. Therefore it is crucial to move children and families out of conflict zones.” 

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Carmen Goiricelaya Djuro – Cuba

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 convinced Carmen’s family to leave Cuba in search of liberty and opportunity. Settling in Venezuela, Carmen attained a B.A. in Social Work, an M.A. in Social Research, and fluency in the English language. She fell in love, married, and gave birth to three children. However, changes in the Venezuelan government reminded Carmen about the Cuban regime she fled from, and she and her husband decided to emigrate for the sake of their children.

They settled in Connecticut, United States, and while waiting for her immigration paperwork to be processed, Carmen began volunteering at the International Institute of Connecticut. Once authorized to work, Carmen was immediately hired by the International Institute as an Immigration Caseworker and Counselor for Refugee Families and has served in that position for the past twelve years. Her personal experiences have fueled her passion to ensure no immigrant families are scammed or robbed by opportunists.

 

“Third, acknowledge that immigrants and refugees contribute enormously to the social, cultural, and economic development of the host countries.” 

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Doreen Crawford – Jamaica

Doreen is known as someone who can do the impossible. She emigrated from Jamaica to the United States with a Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education from the University of the West Indies in the hopes of finding a steady job. After various substitute teacher assignments and endless interviews, Doreen decided to further her own education. She struggled on her daily commute to Central Connecticut State University because her car continually broke down and could barely function in hazardous winter conditions. However, Doreen’s perseverance earned her a B.S. in Elementary Education, an M.S. in Special Education, a Six-Year Professional Degree in Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership, and a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) in Educational Leadership.

Doreen soon became the first certified teacher of the new Jumoke Academy in Hartford County’s Blue Hills community. Her ambition vaulted her to the position of principal of this new school, which funneled students from Hartford’s low-performing schools and needed massive academic improvement. Under Doreen’s leadership, Jumoke’s Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) scores rivalled and surpassed those of wealthier school districts’ across the state. Today, Doreen is the principal of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School in Hartford, and continues to affect countless students with her dedication to improving education.

 

“Fourth, us immigrants and refugees should acknowledge the major accomdations that our host countries have made to be able for us to be here seeking a better life.”

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Magdalena Bessy Reyna – Cuba

Born in Cuba in 1942, Magdalena was brought from her second home in Panama to the United States through a scholarship from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Shortly afterwards, Panama was taken over by General Omar Torrijos and many of Magdalena’s friends were imprisoned or exiled, prompting her to become engaged in human rights activism. She attained an M.S. in Child Development from the University of Connecticut and a J.D. from the UCONN Law School.

She founded the Women’s Center, advocated for LGBT rights, and discussed issues with fellow immigrants that concerned women in their home countries. UCONN’s Vice Provost for Multicultural and International Affairs would grant the Pioneer Award to Magdalena in 2006. After graduating, she worked at New Haven Legal Assistance and the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch to affect the lives of countless people faced with low incomes, lack of documentation, and more. Magdalena would sharpen her writing skills by joining the Hartford Courant as a monthly opinion columnist. Her love of writing extends to numerous titles and accolades within the realms of short stories and poetry.

 

Fifth, let’s all make a commitment here and now to never ever use the words “illegal immigrants” or “aliens.” You must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction of terms.” 

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Gisela Adamski – Germany

Born in 1928, Gisela was raised under an oppressive Nazi regime that restricted her family’s rights because of their Jewish heritage. Her family was separated through a series of transfers to different ghettos and camps across Poland and Germany, during which time her father was murdered and her mother disappeared. Gisela was living at the Kurzbach labor camp in January 1945 when the Allies breached Germany’s defences. She was taken on a death march and, after five days, was rescued by a Polish Christian man, who hid them and 42 other women until the Soviet army liberated them.

Gisela then married a Polish-Jewish soldier named Severyn Adamski and lived in Paris, where their child Eliane was born. They briefly moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, before settling in Queens, New York, in 1956. Gisela joined the local chapter of Holocaust Survivors, Inc. as a board member and worked at a Gauge Calibration Laboratory for 27 years, part of which was spent leading the factory following her boss’s death. At age 84, Gisela earned her high school degree in Hartford, Connecticut; at age 85, she survived cancer. Today, Gisela contributes to the world around her home in West Hartford by speaking about her struggles and the truths of what she faced so many years ago.

Below, please find a full transcript of Rafael Perez-Escamilla’s keynote address along with the biographies of all awardees.

Keynote Address

Buenas tardes, good afternoon everyone. It is a huge honor to have been invited to provide these remarks at the 20th anniversary of the Connecticut Immigrant Day organized by the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition, especially given the very challenging times our communities are facing in these days and times.

As the Colombian literature Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez once wrote “Human beings are not born forever the day their mothers delivered them, rather life forces them to give birth to themselves over and over again.” Although this is universally true, I would argue that this is especially true for us immigrants and my dear fellow refugees who have undergone unimaginable challenges within their countries and throughout their journeys to our beautiful state of Connecticut.

I am a scientist and have been so for over 30 years. My studies and professional activities on the nutrition, health and well being of women and young children have taken me to all corners of the world and today I want to share with you two lessons that I have learned from the human interactions I’ve had with the many individuals and families that I have met. First, what the vast majority of people want is for their children to have a better life and to be able to grow in a nurturing and safe environment. Specifically, they want for their children and families to have access to adequate health care, nutrition, education, social protection when needed, and to be protected against all forms of violence. Second, parents are willing to do unimaginable sacrifices or make incredibly difficult decisions to help their families survive under conditions of extreme poverty. People often wonder how can a parent in Central America send a child alone to the U.S. without documents, a

journey that will almost certainly will expose them to major dangers during the journey and also upon arrival to the U.S. will most likely throw the kids into a nightmarish court system designed for dealing with adults (and which by the way is totally neglectful of the fact that the U.N. human rights charter calls for not taking any actions the supersede the best interests for a child)? In response to that “blame the victim” perspective I often tell people “I think you are not framing the question the right way as you are implying that somehow the parents are neglectful and at fault”. I believe in this instance the right question is “What led to the conditions that forced a family to make such an excruciating decision?” And when we think about it that way, we then start realizing that it is the massive social injustice that exists in our world and the forces behind them that are in fact responsible for unimaginable decisions, such as this one, that have to be made by millions of families as we speak all over the world. As the World Health Organization declared “Social injustice is [indeed] responsible for the deaths of people on a massive scale.” So what can we do to address the needs of immigrants and refugees?

First, accept the fact that all human beings have the inalienable right to seek a better life. Second, accept the fact that the science behind early childhood development unequivocally tells us that since the beginning of life children need to live in a stable and predictable environment to attain proper physical, psycho-emotional and cognitive development. Therefore it is crucial to move children and their families out of conflict zones as soon as it is possible and to facilitate their transition into a welcoming and nurturing society most likely outside their countries. Third, acknowledge on the one hand that immigrants and refugees contribute enormously to the social, cultural and

economic development of the host countries. If we can’t imagine our country without Ellie Wiezel (Romanian-born holocaust survivor), Steve Jobs (biological father Abdulfattah Jnadali from Holms, Syria), Elias Zerhouni (former Director of the NIH- born in Algeria), Gloria Estefan, Isabel Allende, Sanjay Gupta, the top baseball and basketball leagues in the world, the top universities in the world, and the U.S winning Nobel Prizes right and left every year (in 2016 the U.S. had 6 Nobel Prize winners, all of them immigrants) then we shouldn’t imagine having a country that disrespects and undervalues immigrants and their descendants. Fourth, us immigrants and refugees should acknowledge the major accommodations that our host countries have made to be able for us to be here seeking a better life. We are indeed very lucky to be living in a very progressive and welcoming state where our Governor and Congress representatives in Washington D.C. have never doubted their welcoming stance toward all of us.

My wife Sofia and our sons Rafael and Alejandro have indeed learned a lot and received much from the U.S. and especially our fellow citizens of Connecticut for during the past 23 years. I have no doubt that my decision to move to the U.S. to attend graduate school in California and then to move to Connecticut not only allowed me to become the successful scientist and academician that I am now, but it also opened up opportunities for my whole family that they would have not had had we gone back to Mexico. At the same time I chose to remain deeply involved with Mexico and contribute to improve the well being of women and children in my mother country, and to make sure our sons were raised in a truly bilingual and bicultural environment and that they embraced diversity across all its dimensions. I mention this because as the judge told us at the naturalization ceremony in

Middletown where Sofia and I became U.S. citizens “pledging allegiance to defend the U.S. constitution does not mean that you must forget your roots or where you came from. In fact keep your mother country’s language and traditions alive and pass them on to your children who should never forget where their parents came from and the sacrifices they made for them to be here, this is what makes the U.S. a truly diverse and rich nation”. Fifth, let’s all make a commitment here and now to never ever use the word “illegal immigrants or aliens” again to refer to “undocumented” or “unauthorized” individuals in the U.S. territory. I simply can’t accept that any human being is illegal and in case anybody cares about my personal sensitivities, I do have a physical reaction in my body whenever I hear that term. As Ellie Wiezel said “You who are so-called illegal aliens must know that no human being is ‘illegal’. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?”

I want to conclude my remarks by thanking once again the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition for this incredible honor. I also want to extend my warmest congratulations and kindest regards to each and all the immigrants and refugees in this room today and their families and especially to all of you that are being recognized today for your major contributions to our beautiful state. Finally my profound thanks to the University of Connecticut, where I worked from 1994 until 2009, and the Yale School of Public Health where I have been since 2009 for welcoming and taking a chance with this immigrant from Mexico whom I hope has not disappointed you. Thank you all very much, indeed!

Biographies

Abul Islam – Pakistan

When he traveled from Karachi, Pakistan to Queens, New York with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from NED University, Abul brought along an ambition to succeed in this new country. After receiving an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the City College of New York, Abul tackled the financial, economic, social, and physical challenges that every young entrepreneur must face. He maneuvered through heavy workloads by subcontracting to Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and offered high quality services at an affordable cost.

Today, AI Engineers, Inc. stands as an ENR Top 500 Design Firm and services federal, state, and municipal clients from Massachusetts to Virginia. Having been a struggling professional himself, Abul looks toward fresh college graduates and new generations of engineers to join his workforce. He has actively engaged himself with local urban communities to encourage personal success and provide opportunities to economically and socially disadvantaged individuals. His generous financial support has benefitted many charities in the Hartford area.

Aida Mansoor – United Kingdom

Aida earned a B.S. Joint Honors in Physiology and Biochemistry at King’s College in London before marrying and moving out of the United Kingdom. While in the United States, she earned an M.S. in Community Health at the California College of Health Sciences and settled in Connecticut when her husband started an internship at the UCONN Health Center in Farmington. Since then, Aida has been working to bridge the cultural divide between the United States’ Muslim community and fellow Americans.

Her presentations on understanding Muslims and her community work towards solving domestic issues has earned her various accolades, including the Human Relations Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice, the Public Service Award from the Permanent Commission on the Status of Hartford Women, and the Celie J. Terry Prize, a Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy, and an M.A. in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations from the Hartford Seminary. Her “Muslims Against Hunger” team in Foodshare’s Annual Walk has raised over $25,000 in past years. Aida held the position of President of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut between 2011 and 2016.

Alisa Sisic – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Between the ages of 9 and 17, Alisa lived in Germany as a refugee from the civil war in her home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The carnage left little of her family’s old life intact, so they moved to the United States in 2000 with the help of Catholic Charities. She earned a B.A. from the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford and an M.S. in Communications from Central Connecticut State University.

Alisa worked in the field of marketing and communications for ten years, eventually leading her to her current job as Manager of Marketing and Public Information Officer of Bradley International Airport. Alongside her professional accomplishments, Alisa volunteered at community organizations such as the MetroHartford Alliance and its Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) program, the Bushnell Park Foundation and its Summer Solstice Event Planning Committee, and the YWCA Hartford Region and its “In the Company of Women” Luncheon Planning Committee.

Anwar Hossain – Bangladesh

Following the end of British rule in India in 1950, Anwar moved to East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh, where he received his B.A. in Architecture from a local university and worked for world-renowned architect Louis Kahn. In a search of higher learning, Anwar traveled to the United States, where he earned an M.A. in Architecture from Syracuse University in New York. Anwar’s plan to return to his home country was prevented by the war for East Pakistan’s independence. Stuck in the U.S., he eventually made his way to Hartford, where he met and married his wife, Diana.

The biggest challenge for Anwar was the internal struggle between his obligation to help Bangladesh recover from the war and his hopes for his future in the United States. After choosing the latter, Anwar was blessed with two sons and two grandchildren and has worked on over 5000 projects over the course of his life in the U.S. His greatest contributions to society include four nationally-recognized schools, his dedication towards community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the East Hartford Rotary Club, and Catholic Charities, and his establishment of Muslim houses of worship and cemeteries that Connecticut was lacking.

Carmen Goiricelaya Djuro – Cuba

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 convinced Carmen’s family to leave Cuba in search of liberty and opportunity. Settling in Venezuela, Carmen attained a B.A. in Social Work, an M.A. in Social Research, and fluency in the English language. She fell in love, married, and gave birth to three children. However, changes in the Venezuelan government reminded Carmen about the Cuban regime she fled from, and she and her husband decided to emigrate for the sake of their children.

They settled in Connecticut, United States, and while waiting for her immigration paperwork to be processed, Carmen began volunteering at the International Institute of Connecticut. Once authorized to work, Carmen was immediately hired by the International Institute as an Immigration Caseworker and Counselor for Refugee Families and has served in that position for the past twelve years. Her personal experiences have fueled her passion to ensure no immigrant families are scammed or robbed by opportunists.

Doreen Crawford – Jamaica

Doreen is known as someone who can do the impossible. She emigrated from Jamaica to the United States with a Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education from the University of the West Indies in the hopes of finding a steady job. After various substitute teacher assignments and endless interviews, Doreen decided to further her own education. She struggled on her daily commute to Central Connecticut State University because her car continually broke down and could barely function in hazardous winter conditions. However, Doreen’s perseverance earned her a B.S. in Elementary Education, an M.S. in Special Education, a Six-Year Professional Degree in Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership, and a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) in Educational Leadership.

Doreen soon became the first certified teacher of the new Jumoke Academy in Hartford County’s Blue Hills community. Her ambition vaulted her to the position of principal of this new school, which funneled students from Hartford’s low-performing schools and needed massive academic improvement. Under Doreen’s leadership, Jumoke’s Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) scores rivalled and surpassed those of wealthier school districts’ across the state. Today, Doreen is the principal of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School in Hartford, and continues to affect countless students with her dedication to improving education.

Gisela Adamski – Germany

Born in 1928, Gisela was raised under an oppressive Nazi regime that restricted her family’s rights because of their Jewish heritage. Her family was separated through a series of transfers to different ghettos and camps across Poland and Germany, during which time her father was murdered and her mother disappeared. Gisela was living at the Kurzbach labor camp in January 1945 when the Allies breached Germany’s defences. She was taken on a death march and, after five days, was rescued by a Polish Christian man, who hid them and 42 other women until the Soviet army liberated them.

Gisela then married a Polish-Jewish soldier named Severyn Adamski and lived in Paris, where their child Eliane was born. They briefly moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, before settling in Queens, New York, in 1956. Gisela joined the local chapter of Holocaust Survivors, Inc. as a board member and worked at a Gauge Calibration Laboratory for 27 years, part of which was spent leading the factory following her boss’s death. At age 84, Gisela earned her high school degree in Hartford, Connecticut; at age 85, she survived cancer. Today, Gisela contributes to the world around her home in West Hartford by speaking about her struggles and the truths of what she faced so many years ago.

Hung Chung – Vietnam

In 2005, Hung brought his family from Vietnam despite having little to no English speaking experience. A year later, he’d polished his language skills enough to land a factory job. The Chungs have since faced a variety of personal challenges, including Hung’s wife falling ill and a lack of free time to care for the family’s younger members. However, Hung pulled his family through these trials and now dedicates much of his time to volunteering at the Connecticut Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations (CCMAA), where he provides transportation for the elderly and assists new Vietnamese immigrants with settling in the United States. Hung still seeks to advance both professionally and within his community.

Magdalena Bessy Reyna – Cuba

Born in Cuba in 1942, Magdalena was brought from her second home in Panama to the United States through a scholarship from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Shortly afterwards, Panama was taken over by General Omar Torrijos and many of Magdalena’s friends were imprisoned or exiled, prompting her to become engaged in human rights activism. She attained an M.S. in Child Development from the University of Connecticut and a J.D. from the UCONN Law School.

She founded the Women’s Center, advocated for LGBT rights, and discussed issues with fellow immigrants that concerned women in their home countries. UCONN’s Vice Provost for Multicultural and International Affairs would grant the Pioneer Award to Magdalena in 2006. After graduating, she worked at New Haven Legal Assistance and the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch to affect the lives of countless people faced with low incomes, lack of documentation, and more. Magdalena would sharpen her writing skills by joining the Hartford Courant as a monthly opinion columnist. Her love of writing extends to numerous titles and accolades within the realms of short stories and poetry.

Maria Krzysztofiak Brodowicz – Poland

The day before her eighth birthday, Maria and her family were exiled from their home in Poland by the Soviet military and sent to Siberia. Following the USSR’s entry into World War II’s Allied Forces, the Polish exiles were granted amnesty and traveled to Iran. There, an eleven-year-old Maria took the lifelong oath to become a Polish Scout. Maria and her family migrated to Kenya and England before finally settling in Hartford, Connecticut in 1953, where she reunited with her lost brother and sister.

Maria co-founded the Polish Scouting Organization in Hartford four years later and spent over fifty years organizing events, spreading culture and awareness, and mentoring Polish youth. She was invited to an audience with Pope John II and an interview for the PBS film “Sharing Stories: Polish Life in Our Valley” over the course of her lifetime. Additionally, Maria has contributed her talent and wisdom time and again to local organizations.

Nana Boahemaa – Ghana

Nana is both a role model and mentor to young women, especially in the African American community, who are interested in pursuing medical careers to and beyond the graduate school level. Considering nursing her calling more than just a career, Nana moved from Ghana in 1996 to search for greener pastures in the United States. With an M.B.A. and an M.D. from Quinnipiac University, she serves at Yale-New Haven Hospital as an Assistant Patient Services Manager and at the Yale School of Nursing and Sacred Heart University as an Adjunct Clinical Professor.

Nana’s mentorship role extends to her local parish, where she educates other nurses in standard operating procedures during crises situations. Fellow parishioners learn from Nana about health awareness programs ranging from childhood to full maturity. As a nurse, Nana has been considered very highly by her patients, who describe her as gentle and calm. As a role model, Nana seeks to encourage African-Americans to pursue higher education qualifications for their careers.

Nino Kavteladze – Georgia

Nino received her M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Tbilisi Technical University in her home city of Tbilisi, Georgia, before coming to the United States as an international student. Shortly before receiving her green card, Nino joined Catholic Charities in 2005 as a job developer in the refugee resettlement program, eventually becoming a caseworker. She also began studying at the University of Hartford and earned an M.B.A. in 2009.

Nino went through many training sessions where she learned about how to handle finances, manage stress, and encourage people to pursue GED’s or higher education. Since 2013, Nino has been working as a Primary Case Manager in the Empower People for Success Program of the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies, where she assists struggling families with financial burdens and employment hurdles. Nino’s has a strong will to help the community around her through her job and donations to the Salvation Army and Goodwill.

 

Rafael Perez-Escamilla – Mexico

Rafael currently works on the global stage to combat issues relating to public nutritional needs and maternal-child health. He entered the United States in September 1983 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Ibero-American University in Mexico City and proceeded to obtain an M.S. in Food Science, a PhD in Nutrition, and a post-doctoral degree in Early Childhood Development from the University of California at Davis. Both the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Yale School of Public Health have enjoyed Rafael in various professorial positions.

While living in Connecticut, Rafael tackled major issues affecting local low-income communities primarily through the Connecticut Hispanic Family Nutrition SNAP-ED Program and the Connecticut NIH Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos, both of which he co-founded. Today, Rafael is a world-renowned leader in health sciences, having advised organizations that include the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has attended myriad conferences across the world on the topics of maternal-child health and public nutrition. In addition, Rafael and his wife Sofia have been busy raising two sons.

Rhona Free – Scotland

At age seven, Rhona emigrated from Scotland to the United States. A first-generation college student, she would earn a B.A. in Economics from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and a PhD in Economics from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. Rhona taught Economics at Eastern Connecticut State University for 25 years before moving to administrative roles such as Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Provost.

In these positions, Rhona worked to make college affordable for students of difficult socioeconomic backgrounds and to combat challenges preventing Hispanic, African-American, and female graduates from attaining well-earning jobs after undergraduate school. Today, Rhona holds the position of President of the University of Saint Joseph, where she has implemented four-year housing scholarships for Hartford Promise recipients, extended merit aid to foreign students, and offered free tuition, room, and board to Tanzanian priests. She maintains a presence among organizations such as the Connecticut Commission for Women, Children, and Seniors and the Northwest Chamber of Commerce.

Stanwyck Cromwell – Guyana

Stanwyck celebrates his Guyanese heritage through his artwork. Having earned a B.A. in Applied Arts from Charter Oak State College in New Britain, Connecticut, and an M.F.A. in Painting from the University of Hartford, Stanwyck has served as an Artist-in-Residence and a Visiting Artist at myriad schools across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. He has been leading Solo Exhibitions of his art since 2012, and his collections have traveled from as close as Hartford to as far as Wisconsin. Stanwyck belongs to art organizations such as the National Conference of Artists, the Black Dimensions in Art, the Caribbean Society of Visual Artists, and the B.G. Art Group. His artwork was featured on Proclamation Day by Hartford Mayor Mike Peters in 2000 and again by Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell in 2005.

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