SPRINGDALE — Two Prince George’s County students were awarded scholarships from the SECU Maryland Foundation and two Gwynn Park High School students were accepted into the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship Program.
Andrew Hylton from Springdale and Isaiah Lewis from Fort Washington were awarded the SECU University System of Maryland Scholarship from the newly founded SECU Maryland Foundation. They were given the scholarship at an awards ceremony at Towson University’s SECU Arena on June 13.
“I’m excited because it will cover most of my tuition,” said Hylton who will attend Towson University to major in accounting. “Student debt is a big problem, so I’m glad I won’t have to worry about that. It’s nice that SECU is giving back to the community in this way.”
Lewis will be attending Bowie State University to study computer science.
“Launched earlier this year, the SECU MD Foundation’s mission is to contribute to and support the educational needs in the communities served by SECU, Maryland’s largest credit union,” said Valerie Kirk, SECU communications manager. “In addition to our scholarship programs, the foundation focuses heavily on financial education to help people build a secure financial future.”
The SECU Maryland Foundation started in January with the mission of helping people achieve success through education. As part of their dedication to community outreach, they provide financial wellness programs, train the teacher initiatives and The Maryland Scholarship Program, an annual program SECU has administered even before the founding of the SECU Maryland Foundation. The Maryland Scholarship Program has given over $400,000 in scholarship money to students since its founding.
This year, the SECU Maryland Foundation awarded 45 scholarships, a total of $100,000, from three scholarship programs.
The SECU-USM Scholarship is a program for all graduating high schoolers to apply for as well as current University System of Maryland students and students transferring to any USM institution. Twenty winners were chosen after submitting an essay or video focused on the problem of student loan debt.
The State Employee Scholarship, a scholarship for Maryland state employees and their immediate family members who will attend a college, graduate school or trade school in Maryland. This scholarship also included 20 winners after submitting an essay on the topic of student financial literacy.
Finally, the Donald Tynes Sr. Scholarship, named after SECU Board member and former chairman of the Board, is awarded to Morgan State University sophomores, juniors and seniors enrolled in the Graves School of Business and Management. Applicants submitted essays on the topic of commitment and values, and five students were in the running for a $2,000 scholarship.
“The SECU MD Foundation awards scholarships because we want to help people achieve their full potential through education and realize their dreams,” said Kirk. “Credit unions were built on the idea of giving back to the communities they serve. SECU has always embraced community outreach activities that focus on education, and introduced the scholarship programs to support members and their families.”
Prince George’s County students continued to achieve this year as Gwynn Park High School students Alisa Evans and Tyler Reid were accepted into the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship.
“The application process began when the World Food Prize Foundation announced in May that it will send 24 high school students abroad for the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program at renowned international research centers and anNon-governmental organization (NGO) this summer,” said Gwynn Park High School Principal Tracie Miller.
Founded in 1998, the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship sends students to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Since its founding, the prestigious program has allowed 300 selected high school students to travel the world and work with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at research centers.
“While getting a firsthand view of real and pressing food security issues and nutrition problems in poverty-stricken areas, the students become an integral part of a project, spending time in the lab as well as days or weeks at a time in the field conducting research and interviews, and gathering data,” said Kim Rush Lynch, agricultural marketing specialist at the University of Maryland.
Under the guidance of their teacher Leasa Gudderra, the two students wrote papers on global issues related to hunger and food insecurity in May 2017 and were selected to attend the World Food Prize Youth Institute, a three-day summit where 200 students interact with global leaders to discuss food security and agricultural issues. From there, they participated in an extensive interview process for the internship.
“Alisa and Tyler are the first two students ever selected from Maryland,” said Miller. “I am extremely thrilled because this is also the first time two students were selected from the same school in the same year in the history of the program.”
Over the course of the eight-week internship, the students will develop a research report documenting their personal experience and the outcomes of their research projects.
“This benefits my career because I am going to college for an agriculture-related major as well as me looking into the possibility of going into international agriculture,” Reid said. “This internship grants me an opportunity to see what it would be like if I chose to go down that route.”
The students were selected along with 22 other high school students from around the country. Evans will be going to the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, and Reid will travel to The World Vegetable Center in Tainan, Taiwan.