Fairfield University awards MLK Scholarship to student determined to make a difference in the Greater Bridgeport community and at Fairfield


Image: Sarah JosephWhen awarding the Ripple of Hope scholarship, Fairfield University looks for a student who is infused with a fervor for social justice and a spirit of hope like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year, the Martin Luther King Holiday Observerance Committee has chosen as the recipient Sarah Joseph, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, who is determined to make a difference at Fairfield and in Greater Bridgeport area. A native of Haiti and, more recently, a Boston, Massachusetts resident, she was recently awarded a $1,500 scholarship for her terrific spirit and for exhibiting moral courage.

Joseph has endured many challenges in her 21 years but she has remained committed to being positive and productive in society. "With his words and countless actions of selflessness, he has empowered me to be a better woman," said Joseph, who is majoring in English, Communication and Intercultural Studies.

A student leader, she's a member of the University's Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN), Breast Cancer Club and Protestant Movement. She co-founded the University's Gospel Choir.

Joseph is also very active in the Bridgeport community, volunteering for the Mercy Learning Center, Head Start Daycare, and the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. A Magis Scholar, she uses her fluency in four languages (Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and English) to serve as a mentor and intern at the International Institute of Connecticut, where she is a translator and works in the refugee and immigration department. Joseph is proud of founding "Saturday Night Live@Holiness Church of God", serving as a youth representative for change. She also finds time to work at the Fairfield University Bookstore.

The committee was moved by the obstacles that Sarah has had to overcome and inspired by her determination and accomplishments, according to Dr. Ellen M. Umansky, co-chair of the MLK committee and director of the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies.

The committee gave honorable mention to Melissa Hannequin '13, of Bethel, Conn., a sociology and anthropology and International Studies major, with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies and Black Studies.

The scholarship committee included Dr. Umansky, Fred J. Kuo (co-chair of the MLK committee) associate director of University Activities; Deirdre Bennett, assistant director of Student Affairs Communications; Sharon Pedrosa '13; Ellen Gilmore, assistant director of Financial Aid; Deb Chappell, Ph.D., the recently retired dean of exploratory academic advising; Rev. George Collins, coordinator of Mission & Identity Programs; and History Department faculty member Dr. Elizabeth Hohl.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on May 1, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 286