Graduation season offers us a chance to check in with former Domenica Scholars. Every year, we see how students have leveraged the high-quality high school education they received through the Domenica Scholarship into great achievements in college and beyond.
Here are four examples from the scholarship class of 2019, now the college class of 2023.
Judith Okwamba, who attended Camden Catholic High School on a Domenica Scholarship, just graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. (Note the white coat in Judith’s photo above!) At PittPharmacy, she was an advocate for low-resourced communities like her home city of Camden. She joined the school’s diversity and inclusion committee, became a class representative for the school’s global health area of concentration, and did research for a staff member writing a policy paper on lack of accessibility for sickle cell medications. Next year, Judith will stay at Pitt to work on her doctorate.
Margherita Ciarrocca just graduated from Penn State with a degree in nursing. After passing the exam to become a registered nurse, she will begin her residency in the medical intensive care unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She credits her Domenica Scholarship with paving the way from Paul VI High School to Penn State’s highly competitive nursing program. To give back to the community, she plans to serve as an alumni mentor to nursing students who, like her, are the first in their family to attend a four-year college program.
Ajmaani Mayorga is in an accelerated master’s program in biology and chemistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She says, “I would not be here today without the Domenica Scholarship…. The financial support alleviated the burden of tuition fees” at Paul VI High School. After she completes her program, Ajmaani plans to work as a vet technician while saving up for grad school. As she does so, she plans to find a program where she can teach STEM skills to children. Ultimately she wants to join or found a Doctors Without Borders–style organization for veterinary medicine.
Keyann’a Watkins graduated from Rutgers School of Business – Camden with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in human resources. She plans to continue at Rutgers in pursuit of a master’s degree in public administration. She says that her Domenica Scholarship, which enabled her to attend Paul VI High School, “changed my life.” Keyann’a, who works in the Camden mayor’s office and aspires to be mayor herself one day, describes herself as being “committed to giving back to my community.” She served as the keynote speaker for this year’s Domenica Scholarship award ceremony.