KRA Monthly Spotlight!

This month’s Spotlight! is shining on two outstanding student-participants in KRA’s Portsmouth In-School Youth Employability & Success (YES) Program. KRA congratulates these remarkable young people, and their dedicated Career Agent, Juliette Batten, on their inspiring achievements.

On May 1, 2011, Conya Postell received a notification that truly changed her life forever. Conya, who maintained a 3.96 GPA at Franklin High School, found out that…of a pool of 23,000 applicants…she was selected for a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS)* that covers the cost of not only undergraduate education, but her graduate and doctoral studies as well. With Ms. Batten’s advice, assistance, and guidance, Conya was exposed to all YES “readiness” services…classes on independence and initiative, problem-solving, self-presentation, et al… including assignments on researching college and scholarship requirements and application processes. With the option of attending any college or university in the country, Conya chose Howard University, Washington, DC, where she always dreamed of attending, but feared she could not afford. Conya says her favorite subject is math because she “enjoys the challenges and problem-solving”, and that she became interested in a career in Pharmacy when she learned that it was an “in demand” field that pays well.

*The GMS, established in 1999, was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. According to its website, each year “GMS selects 1,000 talented students to receive a…scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. We provide Gates Millennium Scholars with personal and professional development through our leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career. Our program is more than a scholarship—it’s an opportunity to change your life!”

Dwayne Newby Jr., a KRA/YES Smithfield High School senior, is the recipient of a Virginia Tech Presidential Scholarship Initiative award, a full scholarship that covers tuition, fees, and room and board for 4 years. Dwayne was not without other options, having been accepted to West Virginia University, Virginia Military Institute, Old Dominion University, and having received a 4- year Army ROTC scholarship to attend the school of his choice. Dwayne chose Virginia Tech (VT)*, Blacksburg, Virginia, and intends to study Mechanical Engineering, impressed that VT has a highly respected program in this area.  Juliette Batten, Dwayne’s KRA/YES Career Agent, says “Dwayne has strong leadership skills, and I have no doubt he will succeed at whatever endeavor he chooses. He consistently demonstrates excellent performance and a strong work ethic at his YES work experience site, the Luter Family YMCA, where he has worked for the past 2 years. I know Dwayne is excited about his last summer of work at the “Y”, prior to leaving for his new life and experiences at Virginia Tech.”

*The VT website states, “Of the many engineering disciplines, mechanical engineering is the broadest, encompassing a wide variety of engineering fields and many specialties. Mechanical engineering is a challenging, rewarding, and highly respected profession, a profession the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech supports through its commitment to excellence in its teaching, research, scholarship, and service missions. Mechanical Engineering was named the 2010 VT Exemplary Department. ”