By Mithat Gashi/
Vatra’s Educational Foundation awarded scholarships to five outstanding Albanian American students. Each of the recipients was given a scholarship of $1,150.
The purpose of Vatra’s educational foundation is to provide financial aid in the form of scholarships to deserving students of Albanian lineage. Vatra has awarded scholarships for over fifty years to Albanian American college students.
In order to provide more scholarships to promising students, we call upon members of the Albanian American Community -and individuals who have benefited from Vatra’s scholarship in the past- to support Vatra’s Educational Foundation by making a donation today to:
Vatra’s Educational Foundation
2437 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458.
We congratulate this year’s recipients for their academic accomplishments and for service to their community.
This year’s scholarship recipients are:
Crystal Albrecht, a freshman at the Florida State College at Jacksonville, Florida, is pursuing a Nursing Degree. She is the daughter of Kenneth Albrecht, a member of Vatra’s Jacksonville branch. Crystal’s grandparents were from Korca. In her application for the Vatra Scholarship, Crystal wrote, “We are constantly setting goals for ourselves and I have a goal for which I am passionate about.” Her goal is become a nurse. Through her dedication and passion to provide care to others, Crystal hopes that as a nurse she will make patients smile and feel better. After she builds strong foundations in the field of Nursing, Crystal’s goal is to become a physician assistant, a healthcare professional who is licensed to practice medicine as part of a team with physicians.
“Crystal is viewed as a leader to all around her, both students and adults, and I have confidence she will continue to exhibit these traits throughout her entire life. Wherever Crystal sees imperfection, she seeks to strive to improve it; failure is not in her vocabulary and it never will be.”
–Ms. Valerie Hardman.
“Crystal has nearly all the characteristics of what I personally hope to see in a leader: Strong morals, selflessness, motivational, inspiring, passionate, creative, productive, understanding, and trustworthy…. “
-Ms. Laura Ann Harrington
Andrin Hereni, a sophomore, is studying Finance at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business. Andrin’s family came to the United States from Albania when he was a child. After he finished 8th grade, he was admitted to the Bergen County Technical High School, a prestigious school in New Jersey. Andrin finds his undergraduate experience at Fordham University both challenging and rewarding. Andrin believes that the rigorous courses he is taking provide him with opportunities to build research and problem solving skills, both necessary for a successful career. Andrin has set a clear goal for himself. He plans to utilize Fordham University’s connections with the business world to land an internship with one of the top investment banking firms. He said, “After I graduate from college, my dream is to secure a career in the field of investment banking at one of the top firms such as Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan Chase. Anyone can dream of landing a job of that category but putting in the work and effort to acquire that job is what separates me from the rest. To me the only way people can be satisfied with their future is if they achieve the level of success that they see fit for themselves. I have my mind set on striving for this career and I won’t stop until I get it. “
“Andrin studies in the School of Business, which is known for its rigorous integrated curriculum. As a student, Andrin exemplifies all of the characteristics necessary for success. Andrin has the communication skills that will allow him to easily interact with others. He has consistently demonstrated that he is a responsible, mature person who has a positive attitude and the ability to attain his goals.”
-Prof. John A. Fortunanto
Suzanne Gashi, a sophomore at Dominican College in New York, is pursuing her studies in Nursing. Her inspiration for choosing Nursing as a field of her study came from an internship she did at The TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups, a non-profit public health initiative and national policy and resource center devoted to increasing youth access to regular mental health checkups. The center is an affiliate of Columbia University Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. During her internship, Suzanne worked closely with the President of the Center. She screened teens dealing with numerous mental illnesses, summarized findings of studies on topics related to mental illness, prepared presentations, and assisted in conducting research. Suzanne has also worked part time at Dominican College. In addition to her school work, Suzanne spent a summer in Kosova where she helped elementary school children learn English. She finds time to volunteer at her local hospital and at a nursing home. “With the resilient work ethic and willpower I hold,” Suzanne said, “I will achieve all the goals I have set for myself.”
“Suzanne exhibits good written and oral skills, inter-personal skills and emotional maturity.” –Prof. R. Novak
“Suzanne is at the top of her class. She is highly self-motivated and possesses a natural aptitude for learning and an unshakable determination to succeed.” –Prof. G. Grawec
Krisela Karaja will be graduating from the University of Connecticut (UConn) in May 2014 with a B.A. in English (honors) and Spanish Literature, a Minor in International Studies, and a Concentration in Creative Writing. Krisela is active in many areas. She currently serves as President of the Albanian Student Association; she is the Director of Student Divisions for the Eastern European Cultural Association; she is the Editor-in-Chief of the Long River Review, which is a literary journal. Among other things, she is also a part of the Leadership Legacy Experience, a cohort for student leadership development at UConn. The University of Connecticut has recognized Krisela’s academic and extracurricular efforts by nominating her as one of its 2013 candidates for the national Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell Scholarship competitions. UConn also awarded her a 2013 Summer Undergraduate Research Fund grant in order to travel to Albania to conduct literary research towards her Honors thesis. While in Albania, Krisela met with many scholars and authors. In her effort to better understand contemporary Albanian poetry, when she went to Albania, Krisela interviewed two poets, Luljeta Lushanaku and Agron Tufa. Krisela stated that Ms. Leshanaku gave her the rights to publish two of her poems in The Susquehanna Review that Krisela translated in English. Leshanaku, whose family was persecuted by the communist regime of Albania, also introduced Krisela to the Director of the Institute of the Studies of Communist Crimes.
Krisela said that, “The visit to Albania inspired me to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship.” If she gets awarded the Fulbright Scholarship, Krisela will be spending more time in Albania next year.
After graduation, Krisela plans to work for a few years and ultimately complete a master’s degree and enroll in a Ph.D. Program in English Literature with a focus on American immigrant / ethnic literature. One day she wants to become a university professor. Krisela wants to integrate her love of languages—both Albanian and Spanish—into her future studies. She also wishes to write and publish her own works of multilingual poetry and prose.
“…Krisela is not like most students: she has earned the right to be recognized for her academic excellence. I would place her in the top 1% of the students I have taught in the past twenty-five years. And I would like to stress that I am quite certain Krisela would be in the top 1% of the students on any campus, whether that was at Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth (my own alma mater) or Stanford. In an increasingly rare gesture, I have wholly encouraged her in her desire to become a scholar and university professor–she’s absolutely a perfect candidate for the classroom as well as the library—and that’s precisely why these fellowships are an excellent option for her.
– Prof. Regina Barreca
Tea Memeti, a sophomore at the University of Connecticut, Stamford Campus, is studying Accounting. Tea has received many merit and community service awards. She was on the dean’s list. She received the University of Connecticut Stamford Scholarship, and the Connecticut Information Technology Scholarship. In addition to her studies, Tea serves as SGA Senator at the University of Connecticut. As Senator, her responsibilities are to manage and allocate budgets for student organizations, raise funds, write checks, and sign vouchers. Tea has also served as a Net Generation of Youth Ambassador (NGY GCE), where she promoted international cultural understanding, using social networking tools to address global awareness. This experience allowed her to use her leadership skills and to interact with people of diverse backgrounds. In addition, Tea is also able to maintain a part time job.
“Tea clearly stands out as both an exceptional student and an exceptional person. She consistently enriches the classroom experience by asking insightful questions that promote thoughtful discussion; her work is always exemplary. As an Accounting student, tea has distinguished herself during her academic career by receiving Achievements in Accounting 1 & 2. As an Albanian-American student, Tea is culturally responsible and strives to promote understanding between cultures.”- Prof. Halina K. Hollyway.(Photo: Suzana Gashi)