Class of 2012

Ryan

Ryan

Commuting over two hours to school each day as a scholarship student in high school, Ryan often felt caught between two widening worlds of the have's and have not's in his home City of San Francisco, CA. He learned quickly to adapt to different cultures and took risks to be different from his environment - one risk included leaving behind all he knew for Boston, Northeastern, and The Torch Scholars Program. His self-motivation and adaptability produced high levels of achievement; Ryan is driven by being a role model for his younger siblings and for students who are at risk of dropping out in urban schools. As a Criminal Justice major with a concentration in Law and Ethics and a minor in Political Science and Law, Policy, and Society, Ryan completed two co-ops with law firms in Boston and New York City and a co-op with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. Traveling abroad to England, Ryan studied in London School of Economics and interned at Parliament. He held leadership positions as Treasurer of NU’s Pre-Law Society and Founding member of the NU Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, as well as member of the Debate Team and Lector at St. Anne’s Church. In the community, Ryan served as a Big Brother, worked as a teacher at the Achievers Program at Boston’s Egleston YMCA, and tutored students at New Mission High School. He has worked part-time since Torch Summer Immersion at NU’s Asian American Center while balancing regular distinction as a Dean’s List Scholar. Currently, Ryan is helping author Patricia Illingworth research her upcoming book and searching for jobs in Boston and California.

In Ryan’s Own Words…I am most thankful for the platform and foundation The Torch Scholars Program provided me to experience my education internationally. I will forever consider the members of my Torch class a part of my family. After graduation, I look forward to building my skills and portfolio for law school.

Monyrath Chan

Monyrath

Leaving Cambodia with his family for opportunities in America brought Mony to Lowell, Massachusetts, where he learned early on to avoid negative influences in gangs and community violence to embrace opportunities through education. Mony became the first Torch Scholar to participate in research at Northeastern his freshman year, working in a lab on campus. He soon found his calling in his Biochemistry major and picked up a Business Administration minor, knowing that in the near future he wants to lead a biotech firm. With his second and third co-ops at Genzyme, Mony faced the difficult choice of leaving Northeastern in four years with a full-time job opportunity at Genzyme headquarters in Cambridge. Goal driven, focused, and fiercely determined, Mony turned down the job offer; he wanted another year at Northeastern with the promise of publishing a paper and doing more research. Like many Torch Scholars, he is hungry for education and the chance to be a part of the Northeastern learning experience. He is fascinated with problems. We find him between classes in the Torch office in front of an entire wall marked up with numbers, moving the marker across the white board, stepping back to take a different vantage point and then moving in to find the solution. While at NU, Mony took leadership roles in the Pan-Asian American Council, Multi-Cultural Greek Council, Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Lambda Alpha, Pre-Med Club, Biochemistry Club, and Undergraduate Research. He worked in three different labs and published two posters, one of which was presented in Washington, D.C. Recently, Mony applied to 12 Ph.D. Programs in Biochemistry or Biotechnology, and he eventually plans to obtain an MBA. His top choice is the Northeastern program in Biotechnology.

In Mony's Own Words...I am thankful for everything: Scholarship, friends I gained, the people I met, and mentors I obtained over the past five years. If I was to have gone somewhere else, I could not see myself as mature as I am now. The experiences I gained as not only a Northeastern student but Torch are invaluable. The words and struggles people share with me and faced helped encourage me to be better. I look forward to preparing myself for the next chapter: Graduate school. Thank you so much.

Raquisha

Raquisha

Stepping foot in Boston from the Bronx, New York, Raquisha might not have realized as a freshman entering Torch Summer Immersion Program that she would be returning to the Bronx just three semesters later as a co-op with The Bronx Defenders, where she would be an Investigator Intern and responsible for misdemeanor case files in her early career as a Psychology major. Her second co-op brought her to The Drug Addiction Department in Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn where she shadowed a therapist specializing in group therapy.  Even though she returned home for co-ops, her involvement on campus in the Caribbean Student Organization, Big Sister Association, and EnMotion Dance Incorporated have helped her build a home here at Northeastern. Although Raquisha has offers from both of her co-ops for full-time employment, she is considering applying to graduate schools for social work in the Boston area after graduation. Aside from co-ops, Raquisha had the opportunity to complete research in her field with the Research and Design Lab and studied animal behavior alongside her professor while at Northeastern. Similar to many Torch Scholars, Raquisha has learned to balance school and work and has maintained a part-time job on campus as a residence hall proctor throughout her NU career.

In Raquisha's Own Words...As a Torch Scholar, I am most thankful for the sense of pride, belonging, and support I felt with Torch. In such a big school with so many different directions you can go in, it is refreshing to know there is a home you can call your own. Sometimes we need that hug or that pep talk when feeling discouraged. We can always count on Torch to be on our sidelines, to hand us that cold water, and to get us back in the game. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to get a head start at experience with co-op, and I wish to just be genuinely happy throughout my career. The best thing about Torch is not only that a support system is provided by staff and others, but a family is fostered among us as Torchies. I love that there was always a feeling of excitement and "Welcome to the Family" when we would gain new Torchies. One thing I've noticed, is that while we all understood that after Summer Immersion we will all venture out to successfully complete our missions, we still felt a void if we didn't see or hear from each other every day; so even through our hectic schedules, we strived to maintain our bond. To this day, my Torchy roommates during Summer Immersion, five years ago, are a part of my everyday life; we have nicknames and call each other 'Sis'! Therefore, for me, the best thing about Torch was gifting me with an amazing opportunity here at NU and introducing me to the family I never knew I had! Thank you Torch!

Kellyse

Kellyse

Originally from Washington, D.C., Kellyse traveled as far as Australia, New Zealand and Northeastern's home campus before returning to her roots in political advocacy and reform. As an Organizational Communications major, she marks her greatest accomplishment at Northeastern in her most recent service as a lobbyist on Beacon Hill on behalf of foster care children. She has shared her personal story on Beacon Hill regarding her experience in the foster care system in an attempt to pass the Unaccompanied Youth Act, Educational Stability Bill, and One Judge, One Family, and the Foster Youth Information Act. With the professional experience of three co-ops, including one international co-op in Melbourne, Australia, Kellyse gained invaluable skills in her field at Northeastern's U.S. Sino program and Northeastern's STEM program. Kellyse maintained an active role in the National Black Student Alliance for five years and consistently returned to her high school to inspire and mentor students to apply to college. Kellyse was offered a position with Teach for America as a Special Education teacher in Washington, D.C. In five years, she plans to achieve her Master’s degree and work to enhance the lives of children from impoverished neighborhoods.

In Kellyse's Own Words...The Torch Scholars Program has provided me with an opportunity to explore the world, an education, and most importantly myself. Graduation is most exciting because it allows me to grow in so many different ways.

Travis

Travis

Originally from Clearwater, Florida, Travis entered Torch from Winthrop, Massachusetts, where he returned four semesters later to co-op with the Winthrop Police Department. Travis’s second co-op as a Criminal Justice Major with the West Roxbury Division of Boston Municipal Courts allowed him to work with Adult Probation in his position of Probation Intern. Since his arrival to campus and the six-week, intensive Torch Summer Immersion program, Travis has been instrumental as a Torch leader, mentor, and bridge-builder across Torch cohorts and now Torch Alumni Relations. Simply put, everyone knows Travis as the "go to" Torch Scholar. In addition, Travis volunteers with the organization DRYVE and has traveled to the Dominican Republic, volunteering his spring break to partner with the YMCA in Santo Domingo. Selected to participate as a team member on two consecutive Alternative Spring Break trips, Travis served with NU students at a Virginia Habitat for Humanity site and in the Everglades National Park. Similar to many of his Torch Scholar peers, Travis maintains a full academic and service schedule in balance with part-time work as a Verification Assistant at the NU Registrar, Concessions Manager at Fenway Park, and as a Deckhand for CJ Victoria Fishing Charters. Travis's future plans include owning and operating his own business and completing his search for a job aligned with his Criminal Justice degree.

In Travis's Own Words...I'm thankful for many things and not too sure how to express them in a proper manner for the reason that I wouldn't give the Program justice. I believe the opportunities presented to me throughout my years here at NU wouldn't have ever presented themselves otherwise. The friendships, connections (networking), job opportunities, and knowledge (from "books" to cultural/societal) are unique to Northeastern and to Torch. I will forever be connected with my class as well as the following classes (and Torch 1) and feel that they are my family. I look forward to the new experiences, trials, and trepidations that I now have the confidence and knowledge to overcome. All my experiences have been a direct result in what torch has provided. THANK YOU!!

Jordan Martins

Jordan

Creative, and unafraid to take risks, Jordan makes his own way. Born in New Bedford and having lived in various towns in Massachusetts growing up, Jordan recognizes the power of adaptability and the resourcefulness of creating opportunities. He is passionate about writing, photography, and social change and found his calling at Northeastern with a Journalism major and Sociology minor. He created his own co-op at NU and worked for himself by creating his website and company SreensandRhymes.com; his second co-op he wrote for Complex Magazine in New York City and interned for the renowned photographer Diana Levine in addition to completing an internship with Society Original Products clothing line. A celebrity on campus, Jordan is the on-air personality for WRBB radio, and he has written, designed, and copy-edited for NU's Onyx and Tastemakers magazines. He received the Northeastern First Year Writing Award and recently won the Provost Research Award for work toward his website and company.  Jordan recently completed his first film documentary featuring Wally’s Jazz Café in Boston. He has balanced his writing, producing, and academics with part-time work as a Supervisor at NU's Residence Safety Office and as a tutor in the General Studies Program. Mentoring is a core value Jordan has sustained over five years in his work with Big Brothers Big Sisters and SquashBusters at NU. Currently, he is a freelance writer for Complex Magazine and is seeking an internship in the UK with The Economist. Jordan's immediate life plans include returning to Africa, where he studied and served in Cape Town, South Africa with NU's Dialogues of Civilization; helping to develop various family businesses in his home country, Cape Verde; and growing his own business that he started at NU

In Jordan's Own Words...I am thankful for the support network of Torch and NU -- people who were there to talk and help during this crucial stage of development/change in our lives. Torch is meaningful for the relationship we formed with other Torch Scholars—amazing individuals who inspire those around them, and who will be life-long friends. After graduation, I look forward to travel, meeting new people, working alongside people I met at Northeastern to accomplish dreams and business goals.

Samuel

Samuel

At a recent Community Leader Breakfast with other Torch Scholars, Sam shared his passion for education reform. "I am from a Lawrence, a City where the high school dropout rate is more than fifty percent. And I am sitting here today. We all need to do something." Sam credits his early start to the Lawrence Adelante Youth Center, strong mentors, and his family's sacrifices to get him to a place where he was able to find the Torch Scholars Program - despite his community’s adversity - a bond he shares with many of his Torch Scholar peers. Similar to his Torch peers, Sam demonstrates tenacity, grit, and perseverance, pushing himself through a rigorous International Business major with a concentration in Finance and Accounting and a minor in Spanish. In addition to two co-ops (Harvard University Strategic Procurement and an international co-op with Deutsh Telekom in Puebla, Mexico, Sam has consistently worked nearly 30 hours a week at Liberty Mutual and NU’s Student Financial Services throughout college. After four years at Liberty Mutual working his way through entry-level positions from Subrogation Specialist to campus recruiter and Tax Associate, Sam was offered a full-time position as Corporate Tax Associate in the Boston office. True to Torch Scholar form, Sam's involvement does not stop at work and academics; he helped to develop and lead DRYVE on campus and abroad and created an ALPFA (Association for Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting) chapter at Northeastern, the largest Latino networking organization in the country. Not only was Sam inducted to the Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society as a Financial Information Professional, he has been asked to sit on the NU Alumni Board. Sam's three-year plan is to apply to Masters of Science in Finance programs in New York City. He acknowledges his origins every day and gives back to the community through outreach and mentoring young men toward college completion goals. Sam was recognized as one of Northeastern’s 100 Most Influential Graduating Seniors in the Class of 2012 by the President Aoun.

In Sam's Own Words...Torch has provided me the ability to help me grow as an individual. It gave me the opportunity to obtain one of the most important things in life, an education. This has, in turn, given me the opportunity to provide for my family and those that will be a part of my life for years to come. Most importantly, it allows me to be able to make a difference for children who may not think that a higher education is for them. I hope to be a role-model. The best thing of Torch was the support system in place to help each and every one of us excel; without this system, many students would have failed long before achieving their academic goal. Finally, I am thankful to Torch for presenting me with my brothers and sisters, who think alike, have faced similar challenges, and who strive every day to break the status quo. We are few, but we are friends for life. I look forward to realizing my identity in the business world and having a positive impact in my community. I feel more than ready. 

Glenny

Glenny

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Glenny has made Boston her home since leaving New York City with her family her sophomore year in high school. Glenny graduated at the top of her class in Boston Public Schools' Dorchester Academy, where she credits the guidance of her counselor and Torch Support Figure for pushing her to take risks such as applying for the Torch Scholarship. Glenny soon found her passion at Northeastern in her Philosophy major and added a concentration in Law and Ethics and a minor in International Affairs. She pushed herself to travel abroad for her first co-op experience, earning the University's prestigious Global Presidential Scholarship, which supported her work with Esperanza International, a micro-finance institution in the Dominican Republic. Her co-op with ACCESS brought her full circle: Once an ACCESS recipient as a Boston Public School student, Glenny became a researcher for the organization that had helped her gain fiscal literacy skills for college admission just four years earlier. With many Torch scholars, Glenny co-founded and now serves on the Founding Board of DRYVE, a global humanitarian aid organization that resources developing communities. With DRYVE, Glenny has led teams of 30 from area universities and raised nearly $50,000 across two years. True to the spirit of DRYVE, Glenny's personal drive is what keeps her motivated during challenging moments. She has also maintained involvement with NU's Philosophy club and LASO, in addition to working part-time on campus with the D'Amore - McKim Scool of Business Development office. Glenny was offered a position with Teach for America as an ESL teacher in Boston Public Schools and is interested in making an impact working with education or community development to build bridges across the for profit and nonprofit sector and enhance equity, advocacy, and services for youth at risk. Her five-year plan includes applying to MBA programs and pursuing a career in non-profit management.

In Glenny's own words..."I am very thankful for the support that many in Torch have given me throughout the years from my peers in the program to the Faculty. As a Torch Scholar, I had the chance to believe that working together to make a change in this society really works. Seeing the donors making generous investments in education, and the Faculty who put in all their hard work every day to help us succeed at NU, shows how working together makes a sustainable, life-long difference in each of our lives. There are many great things about Torch, but one of the key elements is the overall holistic investment the Program makes in the scholars through the following (personal advising, the morning speakers for career advice and networking, community engagement through mandatory volunteer hours, financial aid, creating a scholar community with the Town Hall meetings, and all of the connections to jobs, internships, workshops, etc.) The investment that the Torch Program made in me allowed me to work hard to be successful and have the means to turn my life around; I entered NU being a low-income student aspiring toward a college education, and I am leaving as a middle class, 1st generation college graduate. I am confident and ready to take on the new challenges that await me in this new stage of my life.”

Chynah

Chynah

Graduating in just four years, Chynah returns to her Torch community after a year of working at The Bureau of Prisons and Community Resources for Justice, a social services agency and halfway house in Boston. Growing up in Roxbury, MA, Chynah attended Roxbury Preparatory Charter School and Prospect Hill Academy Charter School prior to finding the Torch Scholars Program. While at Northeastern, Chynah majored in Criminal Justice and completed a co-op at a drug rehabilitation clinic. She balanced academics and service to her community with multiple part-time jobs, including on-campus jobs with the Political Science department, Marino Center, Criminal Justice department, and Opportunity Scholarships and Outreach Programs, in addition to community work as tutor and basketball coach at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. Her service includes mentoring Boston high school students through high school and the college transition and outreach projects with NU's Pre-Law Society. Chynah is currently searching for a new job opportunity working in higher education and researching graduate school programs in Political Science. Her ultimate goal is to complete law school, pass the Bar, practice as a DA, and be appointed to the bench as a judge.

In Chynah's Own Words...I am thankful for the committed support from Torch staff and NU faculty during and after business hours. The support of the Northeastern community and positive attitude of everyone involved helped me to graduate and thrive. More importantly, people believed in me as much as I do. I look forward to continuing my education and accomplishing more goals while continuing setting high expectations for myself.

Simona

Simona

Simona left one type of violence and poverty in Lithuania for another in her new community in the Bronx, NY, learning by trial and error the meaning of achievement despite obstacles. She learned the value of hard work, tenacity, and resiliency by working before she graduated middle school. When asked about the moment she became a student, she states without hesitation, it is the moment she failed entry into high schools for her truant record in middle school, and the moment she chose school over the streets. Today, Simona is graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology with two co-ops under her belt: the Criminal History Systems Board in Chelsea, MA, and the Cambridge Police Department as a Crime Analyst. Her work with global communities in forging social change through organizations the she co-founded, led, and re-visioned (including DRYVE) will be recognized by her alma mater Jeter's Leaders and Derek Jeter's Turn2 at the Foundation's annual event in June 2012. She gives back to the mentoring programs that led her to torch, Jeter's Leaders and Summer Search, as Board Member and mentor for urban youth. At Northeastern, she earned Dean's List distinction, studied abroad in Australia, and maintained multiple part-time jobs on campus, including residence hall proctor, General Studies Tutor Coordinator, Registrar Assistant, and Special Projects Coordinator for Opportunity Scholarships and Outreach Programs. She has a job offer with Teach for America in New York City and is also considering work with the government and higher education institutions in Boston and New York. Her five-year plan includes pursuing an MBA.

In Simona's Own Words...I am thankful for the ability to gain knowledge and skills that can be applied to life after graduation that will help me become more successful and able to reach my dreams. Torch has supported and believed in me. I am not just a story, but a person, and a student who needed someone to lend me a hand, so I can grow, mature and show everyone that with opportunity, I am capable of succeeding. Torch provided the support by guiding me, pushing me to do my very best, and helping me to get through obstacles to never give up. Torch provided me with resources that I needed to make it through the five years here at NU. Torch allowed me to move away from home and gain a new family. I look forward to starting a new chapter of my life by getting a job, getting my finances straight, and applying to a Master’s program, as well as reuniting with my family.