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INTRODUCING

THE CLASS OF 2014 Another cadre of outstanding high school students has been selected to participate in the University of Maryland Incentive Awards Program,* designed to recognize and promote academic excellence and leadership among students who have faced adverse life circumstances and prevailed. In this, the 10th year of the program, we are especially proud to welcome this new class of scholars. Ervin Bishop Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School Nancy Canales High Point High School Victoria Gold Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Bria Hamm Western High School Carlos Howard Gomez Northwestern High School (Prince George’s County) Hamza Idris Northwestern High School (Baltimore City)

Jasmine Mays Suitland High School Davian Morgan Potomac High School Gabrielle Parson Oxon Hill High School Rhonda Roach Fairmont Heights High School William Sama Northwestern High School (Prince George’s County) Catherine Sayikanmi Central High School Elizabeth Sorillo Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Eberechi Ihezie Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

Samuel Yirenkyi Parkdale High School

Malcolm Lewis Baltimore City College High School

Diana Zolfaghari High Point High School

* The University of Maryland Incentive Awards Program comprises the Suzanne G. and Murray A. Valenstein Baltimore Incentive Awards Program and the Prince George’s County Incentive Awards Program.

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Ervin Bishop Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School

ANTICIPATED MAJORS: Aerospace engineering and astronomy ASPIRATION: Aerospace engineer SPECIAL HONOR: Gates Millennium Scholar SPECIAL INTEREST: Robotics PEOPLE SAY: “Ervin is an inquisitive young man with an

insatiable thirst for knowledge, who endeavors to do everything he can to go above and beyond what is expected of him. Every day, he has come to school with an optimistic, compassionate, kind and driven mentality that undoubtedly attracts his peers to him. He consistently offers creative ways to reach out to the community and kindly reminds people not forget those who are in need. His drive to succeed, proven abilities and academic achievements make him a worthy candidate for this scholarship.�

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Nancy Canales High Point High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Physiology and neurobiology ASPIRATION: Physician SPECIAL INTEREST: University Honors Program PEOPLE SAY: “Nancy is not only one of the best students at High Point, but also one of the finest human beings. She doesn’t just participate in the academic world, she excels in it by being a leader. Whether completing school assignments, leading the newspaper staff or working diligently on the yearbook, she gives more than 100 percent every day. I was so impressed with her maturity, intellect, hard work and responsibility. She has shown herself to be extremely well-rounded and mature in her decision-making, and I expect that she will be very successful in college.”

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Victoria Gold Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Biology ASPIRATION: Obstetrician/gynecologist PEOPLE SAY: “Victoria has distinguished herself academically

in myriad ways. In my class, she stood out immediately for her reliability and her strong work ethic. She puts everything she has into her academics, and I have always been impressed with the quality of her work. Victoria never quits, no matter how daunting the task. She is one of the most mature high school students I have come across in my teaching career. I do not exaggerate when I say that I cannot think of a single student I have taught who has more clearly demonstrated to me the ability and motivation to be a successful scientist. Victoria is fully capable of excelling at the University of Maryland, and she will be an outstanding asset to its student body.�

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Bria Hamm Western High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Accounting ASPIRATION: Accountant SPECIAL INTERESTS: Softball and dance PEOPLE SAY: “Bria sets high standards for herself and

those around her. With a great sense of determination and tenacity, she gives 100 percent when faced with a challenge. Unselfishly offering her time and energy, she has been an active volunteer in numerous school and community organizations. Indeed, she is a charming young lady with an infectious personality who’s admired and respected by her peers. Certainly, Bria will continue to be a model student who has a strong sense of purpose and excellent academic vision.”

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Carlos Howard Gomez Northwestern High School (Prince George’s County)

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Letters & Sciences SPECIAL INTEREST: Foreign languages PEOPLE SAY: “Beneath Carlos’ friendly demeanor and quick

smile lies an intellectually inquisitive, determined, trustworthy and studious young man with exceptional self-discipline and personal ethics. He is well-liked and regarded by our faculty, his classmates and peers. An energetic leader, Carlos assumes responsibility for his own achievement and actions, and does not rely on others to do what he can accomplish himself. Not easily thwarted by life’s obstacles, he views such events as momentarily inconvenient and necessary to be overcome. This independent thinking allows him the freedom to pursue academic and personal goals without the need to conform to social pressures. Carlos’ potential for growth both academically and personally is boundless.”

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Hamza Idris Northwestern High School (Baltimore City)

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Civil engineering ASPIRATION: Engineer SPECIAL HONOR: Class valedictorian SPECIAL INTEREST: Football PEOPLE SAY: “As the eldest child, Hamza has willingly and

successfully taken on the responsibility to care for his family while maintaining a commitment to his academics. Whereas this can be burdensome for some students, Hamza is a young man of his word. Not only has he been there for his family, he has a zeal for learning that enables him to do well academically. He is thorough about his studies and goes beyond the norm to complete everything given to him. As a well-mannered young man, he will bring great diversity, excellence, leadership and humility to this program.�

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Eberechi Ihezie Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Communication ASPIRATION: Lawyer SPECIAL HONORS: Banneker Key Scholar and University Honors Program SPECIAL INTERESTS: Advocacy and mentoring PEOPLE SAY: “One of the most interesting aspects of Eberechi’s intelligence is his active reflectiveness. He is always searching for a new way to understand what he experiences. He has an unflagging devotion to student advocacy and peer support, which speaks to his depth of character and concern for his peers. They consider him a beloved friend and valued counselor. He is one of those rare students who truly helps improve the character of those who spend time around him. With these qualities, we are confident that Eberechi will be to able to adapt to any challenges presented and thrive.”

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Malcolm Lewis Baltimore City College High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Psychology ASPIRATION: Therapist SPECIAL INTERESTS: Acting and singing PEOPLE SAY: “Malcolm consistently demonstrates a high level

of discipline and impeccable work ethic. He’s determined, task-oriented and conscientious in and out of the classroom. He sees himself as an integral part of the world. Malcolm is a student with much to offer, and we know he will positively impact the University of Maryland as well as the students.”

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Jasmine Mays Suitland High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Music PEOPLE SAY: “It is not often that one has the pleasure of recommending someone possessing the attributes of Jasmine. In describing her, words such as driven, diligent and hardworking come to mind. She readily accepts challenges and is prepared to persevere until the given task has been accomplished. I often had to toil late at night to prepare to answer the questions she asked during class in her quest to understand the material. I am confident that she will transfer her positive work ethic to her work at the college level. I can assure you that her peers as well as the university will benefit immensely from her academic prowess.�

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Davian Morgan Potomac High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Computer engineering SPECIAL INTERESTS: Modeling, acting, dancing PEOPLE SAY: “I have seen Davian grow into a mature young

man. I have seen many examples of his talents, and I am impressed by his diligence and work ethic. His above-average performance is a direct result of his hard work and strong focus. He is a superior candidate with a record of academic achievement. He has consistently demonstrated an ability to rise to any challenge that he must face. His unwavering devotion to his work exemplifies strong moral fiber and character. Davian is a trustworthy individual and will be an excellent student in your program.�

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Gabrielle Parson Oxon Hill High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Architecture PEOPLE SAY: “By every standard, Gabrielle is one of the most excellent students attending Oxon Hill High School. She has built a sound academic foundation to expand upon as an undergraduate. Gabrielle is an engaging young lady with imaginative and logical reasoning skills, which she expresses in written and oral communication. She is a wholesome, wellmannered young lady who is motivated and excited about her academics. She is trusted and respected by teachers and administrative staff as well as her classmates. She is a role model, demonstrating excellent leadership and citizenship skills both in the classroom and in the community.�

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Rhonda Roach Fairmont Heights High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Chemistry ASPIRATION: Obstetrician/gynecologist SPECIAL HONOR: Gates Millennium Scholar PEOPLE SAY: “Rhonda is one of the most persistent and

conscientious young women I have ever met. She is goaloriented and focused and does not allow distractions to get her off course. When things become challenging, she works that much harder. She has superior interpersonal skills and works equally well independently or in a group setting. She displays good leadership skills and is well-liked and respected by both her peers and her teachers. She has a kind, gentle spirit that allows her to be accepted among all groups of students at Fairmont Heights. She has a strong desire to pursue higher education and has the undeniable potential to make an indelible mark on her chosen field. I truly believe that Rhonda will bring an added dimension to the University of Maryland.�

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William Sama Northwestern High School (Prince George’s County)

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Chemical engineering ASPIRATION: Nuclear engineer SPECIAL HONOR: University Honors Program SPECIAL INTEREST: Soccer PEOPLE SAY: “In my 23 years as a professor and independent research investigator, I have never met another individual who, at such a young age, demonstrated such maturity and commitment to achieving his goals, yet is so enjoyable to be around. William will be an excellent student in any program he enters—he has all the traits that will allow him to become a role model and leader among his peers and colleagues. He one of the most intelligent students and hardest workers I have taught in my career.”

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Catherine Sayikanmi Central High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Biology ASPIRATION: Pediatrician PEOPLE SAY: “Catherine’s drive to excel, to be independent

and to be a viable part of her community are the building blocks for her success today. Yet, she realizes she is just beginning her journey to self-sufficiency. Over the past years, I have watched her develop into a focused individual who can be depended upon to see any project through to its completion. I see Catherine as a leader who is inquisitive and eager to find solutions and alternatives to what others see as insurmountable problems. Catherine is a bright, articulate and multitalented young woman with unlimited potential for academic success at the college level and beyond.”

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Elizabeth Sorillo Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Biology ASPIRATION: Pediatric surgeon SPECIAL INTEREST: Music PEOPLE SAY: “Elizabeth is an insightful, inquisitive and

dedicated young lady who reads extensively and works diligently to accomplish her goals. She never misses an opportunity to learn something new or demonstrate that learning. By no means has she used her age or inexperience as an excuse to not seek out information on political, historical and social issues. Without a doubt, Elizabeth is one of the most earnest, astute and proficient students we’ve encountered. She has always commanded the respect and admiration of the faculty and her peers. Elizabeth is a fine student and holds our full endorsement.”

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Samuel Yirenkyi Parkdale High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Electrical engineering SPECIAL INTEREST: Foreign languages PEOPLE SAY: “Samuel is one of the special students who

come around seldom in a teacher’s career, one who you know will do great things in life given the opportunity. He is a young man of great integrity, wonderful manners and maturity. He exemplifies courage, dignity and compassion so required in our student role models today. He has the respect of the students in and out of the classroom for not just being a high academic achiever but for showing good judgment as well. Samuel is a young man who will always strive for greater purpose, and this award will help him achieve the high goals he has set for himself.”

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Diana Zolfaghari High Point High School

ANTICIPATED MAJOR: Biology ASPIRATION: Dentist PEOPLE SAY: “Diana is one of the most well-rounded individu-

als I have met in a long time. She understands the value of a strong work ethic, which is rare among teenagers. She does beyond what is necessary to make herself a better student and person. She is diligent about not only completing her work, but also about the quality of it. She is an energetic, dedicated, successful and hard working young lady and has a great deal to offer to any university. I have come to know Diana’s brilliant mind, her gracious sentiment and her devotion to excellence in all she undertakes. Her academic and extracurricular records demonstrate that Diana will succeed at any undertaking she chooses, with grace, humility and clarity of purpose.”

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For more information about the program and giving opportunities, please contact: Jacqueline W. Lee Director University of Maryland Incentive Awards Program 1103 Cole Student Activities Building College Park, MD 20742 301.405.9024 www.umincentiveawards.umd.edu

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