CSM honors scholarship recipients, donors

 Marianne Harms stands with the first-ever recipients of the John and Mary Anne Harms Endowed Scholarship, Stephen Ngalim, Karin Gray, Allison Mattera, Morgan Lkine and Alexys Adams.

La Plata, MD - The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) celebrated scholarship donors and recipients at the 2017 CSM Foundation Scholarship Reception on Oct. 27 at the Physical Education Center on the La Plata Campus. For the 2017-18 academic year, the foundation awarded more than $400,000 to nearly 300 students. Additional scholarships will be awarded in January 2018 for the spring semester.

“Your investment is impacting so many tomorrows,” said CSM Foundation Chair Nancy Hempstead in her remarks. Hempstead established the Hempstead Family Scholarship this year, with the first two recipients meeting Hempstead at the event.

First-year student Allison Mattera, 18, of Huntingtown was awarded four scholarships and spoke at the event. Mattera is the older of two children in her family and a first-generation college student. To pay for college as she pursues her dream of becoming a criminal investigator, Mattera juggles her college classes and two part-time jobs, along with running cross country on CSM’s team. “Standing here on behalf of my fellow scholarship recipients is such an honor to let you know just how deeply grateful we are, for not only your confidence in us but also for your financial support and encouragement,” Mattera said. “I know that for me personally, being honored with support through the Prince Frederick Campus Student Association, Florence B. Trueman, the Hempstead Family and John and Mary Anne Harms scholarships means the difference between me going to college or not, and I can chase my career dreams knowing that there are people beyond my parents, family and friends who have placed their trust and belief in me and my abilities to achieve my goals.”
The reception gave scholarship recipients the opportunity to meet and thank their scholarship’s donors. It was also a chance for both donors and recipients to share stories — sometimes very personal stories.

At the reception, scholarship donors were seated with their recipients, and they had the chance to explain why they established their funds at CSM. In some cases, a family member, friend or colleague was so special that they wanted to create a memorial scholarship in their name. Some talked about how their own struggles to pay for college made them want to help others. Others talked about why they just believed in supporting higher education.

“He was the ultimate in believing in education. He worked his way through school,” said Marianne Harms of Huntingtown about her late husband, businessman John Harms, for whom she established the John and Mary Anne Harms Endowed Scholarship. Five students were awarded this year — the first-ever recipients of this newly established fund. “It’s fun to just talk to people about their dreams,” Harms said as she looked around her table filled with the recipients of this scholarship. “I love seeing the possibilities. There are so many hopes and dreams in this room. It’s just magical.”

A few tables away, Dr. Kathleen Walsh of Red Lion, Pennsylvania, was telling the story about why her father inspired her to start a scholarship in his memory, the Charles K. Walsh Memorial Scholarship. “I know he [gave his all] working for the family,” Walsh said. “It feels really important to us to pay it forward.” Walsh’s 50-year career in math and chemistry education included years teaching at both private and public schools in the region, more than 20 years with St. Mary's County Public Schools (including service as supervisor of mathematics) and as an adjunct and then associate professor at CSM. Charles K. Walsh Memorial Scholarship recipient Ja’nae Savoy, 25, of Waldorf listened as Walsh and her husband talked about the effort they put into selecting the best candidates for their scholarship. “I am excited, especially to know that they read the applications,” Savoy said. “It means more.” Savoy said that the scholarship helps her pursue her goal of a career in information technology. “This is my dream; just to graduate,” she said. “No one in my family has done it.”

A recipient of the Peter Cangelosi Memorial Scholarship for the second consecutive year, Elena Wilcox, 25, of La Plata sat with Laurie and Raymond Cangelosi who established the scholarship in memory of their son. “They’re great, and I’m so grateful,” Wilcox said of the Cangelosis with a wide smile. Raymond Cangelosi described how the family, including their three surviving children, decide together on the scholarship recipients. “We spend a couple of weeks as a whole family,” he said, adding that they try to think about how Peter would have answered. That interest the family invests in the decision impacted Wilcox, who said she hadn’t realized how personal the selection was.

Rianna Neiser, 18, of Mechanicsville received one of the St. Mary’s County Government Annual Scholarships. Neiser said that she has to pay for college herself as she studies dental hygiene at CSM. “It helps hold down the debt,” Neiser said of the financial assistance.

Sashin Baharie, 16, of Waldorf was honored as the recipient of three scholarships at the reception, the Adjunct Faculty Endowed Scholarship, CSM Academic Excellence Scholarship and the Dr. Elvear B. Johnson Scholarship. Baharie graduated early from St. Charles High School in June 2017. He is studying biology at CSM and hopes to continue his education through medical school. Sitting with his mother at the reception, he explained that he is paying for college by himself. A part-time job at a library and the scholarships all help financially, but he also sees them as a vote of confidence. “It makes me realize I can succeed in college,” Baharie said. “It helped pay for a lot of the tuition as well.” He added that he appreciated the chance to meet the scholarship donors. “It’s really nice to put a face to the name,” he said. “To be able to personally thank them … It’s really good.”

For information on donating to a scholarship at CSM, visit the foundation web site. For information on applying for scholarships at CSM, visit this web site.


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