Class of 2005

Sando Baysah Ojukwu

Hometown: Providence, RI

high school: St. George’s School

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Biochemical Sciences

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard School of Public Health (2013, MPH); Brown University Medical School (MD Candidate)

Sando Kpanah Baysah, born in Monrovia, Liberia on June 16, 1987, has observed first hand what it means to persevere in the face of adversity. In 1990, the Liberian Civil War dealt her family the gravest of blows. The war wreaked havoc on their lives, robbing them of material possessions, killing numerous relatives and friends and stripping them of the only country and lifestyle they had ever known. Knowing neither where their next meal would come from nor if they would even be alive to eat another meal, every day was an incessant struggle. Throughout those dismal months, Sando’s family suffered grave losses, but the one thing that remained steady was their faith. Born into a strong Christian family, Sando has learned that no challenge is insurmountable with God’s help. It is her deep-rooted faith in God and her family that drives her to persevere and enables her to accomplish her goals.

Sando is motivated by the tenacity her family has shown in rebuilding their lives. Though distraught at having to leave her homeland, she recognized that coming to America brought with it a new quest – a quest to better others and herself by taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities America has to offer.

One such remarkable opportunity is the education afforded to her by her current high school, St. George’s School, an elite private boarding school. While quite reluctant to leave home at first, Sando recognized that St. George’s would aid and educate her better than any of the public schools in her area could. Therefore, she made the difficult decision to leave the security of her family and attend boarding school.

Since her arrival at St. George’s as a freshman, she has developed her talents and taken advantage of countless opportunities presented to her. Sando has challenged herself academically by taking an assortment of AP and honor classes. Her senior year, aside from taking a full course load comprised of all APs and a post-AP, she designed two independent studies in order to further investigate her interests in genetics and the relationship between math and art. She has excelled academically, obtaining the Headmaster’s Commendation, and she has been one of the top 15 scholars in her school since her arrival. In grade ten, Sando was awarded the Allen Prize for maintaining a high standard in all departments of life at the school. A recipient of the Harvard Book Prize, she has also been named an AP Scholar with honor, a National Achievement Scholar Commended Scholar, a Venture’s Scholar, is a HOBY ambassador and was inducted in the Cum Laude Society her junior year.

However, Sando does not simply limit herself to academics. A well-rounded individual, and a tri-varsity athlete, she has played soccer, basketball and softball for the past four years. She is the head of the multicultural group Insight, a club committed to exposing the student body to the aspects of its cultural diversity. Sando has taken on various leadership roles, serving as a dorm prefect in her dorm council, Students for Students Ambassador and as a student council representative. Recognizing the powerful and essential nature of community service, Sando volunteers as a peer tutor, an assistant Sunday School teacher and is an active participant in Feed-A-Friend, a food drive that takes place before major holidays.

Sando aspires to become a pediatrician and return to her homeland to help setup and train future doctors. With a strong foundation, God and her family, her future looks promising.

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Class of 2005

Michael Crawford

Hometown: Kissimmee, FL

high school: Gateway

college: University of Miami

MAJOR: Economics

Helen Keller once said, “Although the world is very full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” Michael Crawford is living proof of this statement.

Michael grew up in a household plagued with financial problems. His family struggled to make ends meet and get by. He endured situations ranging from having no lights to almost being thrown out of his house when it was put into foreclosure. The money issues clouded his home with a negative, argumentative atmosphere. Michael’s father left the family, leaving his mother to raise him and his two siblings on a single income.

Despite the pain and setbacks in his domestic life, Michael kept himself motivated to succeed. Knowing that education would be the gateway to a better life, he pushed himself to excel in the classroom. With great perseverance he graduated valedictorian of his middle school, and is now in the top 2% of his high school class. He is the only African American in his senior class who is a candidate for the prestigious International Baccalaureate diploma.

Michael has excelled beyond the classroom as well. He is a member of over 14 clubs and organizations at his school, 9 of them in which he holds leadership roles. Just a few of his leadership positions include Senior Class President, Student Council President, National BETA Club Vice-President, Spanish National Honor Society Vice-President, and National Honor Society Treasurer. Michael also demonstrates his leadership in outside organizations including the Osceola County Young Democrats, where he serves as Vice-President. His involvement includes athletics as a varsity tennis player, the arts as a trombone player in the band and a thespian in his school’s drama club.

Through his volunteering efforts, Michael has shown sustained service to his community. He has volunteered for such organizations as Give Kids the World (working with terminally ill children), local elementary schools, and Teen Court (serving as a juror). Over the past 4 years he’s raised money for the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association (for asthma research) and the Children’s Miracle Network (aiding children’s hospitals).

Michael’s achievements have been recognized with numerous honors and awards. His school has honored him as a Principal’s Award winner and 3-time nominee. He has been named an Outstanding Student of America, a Who’s Who Among American High School Students and a Venture Scholar. For the past 4 years, he has been part of the National Honor Roll. The University of Florida selected him as an Outstanding African American High School Scholar. He has received superior ratings from the Florida Band Masters’ Association for his trombone solos and brass trios. In his junior year, Michael was selected to attend Florida Boy’s State, where he became Supreme Court Justice. This year he was awarded the coveted Florida League of International Baccalaureate Schools Scholarship.

Michael has lived his life by the motto of Lucas Hellmer, who said, “Aim not for what you are, but for what you could be.”

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Class of 2005

Naomi Andebrhan

Hometown: Lakewood, CA

high school: Whitney

college: Stanford University

MAJOR: Human Biology

GRAD. PROGRAM: Columbia University (2011, MPH)

While she was born in Grand Rapids, MI, Naomi Biedemariam Andebrhan spent the first half of her life half a world away in Eritrea and Saudi Arabia. Immigrating to the United States at the age of nine was the beginning of a series of profound changes in her life that culminate into who she is today. Shaped by family hardship, a strong mother and cultural values, her desire to not only overcome obstacles but to thrive and succeed despite them began at an early age.

Attending the highly selective and academic Whitney High School since the 7th grade, she has found her way into numerous school and community activities. A natural leader, Naomi has a strong persona at her school that has come about through years of hard work as Freshman Class Treasurer, Prom Assembly Head, Senator – Chair of Student Forums and Class Commissioner of Spirit. A very competitive member in the Model UN program, she also serves as Director of Activities, where she organizes conferences for underclassmen and arranges the program banquet and special presentations.

Of all her leadership positions, however, she is most proud of founding MenTu, a club initiated to serve lower achieving students in her community, and becoming Black History Month Coordinator, leading celebrations unprecedented in her high school. By inspiring others to outreach and educating her schoolmates about the black minority in their community, Naomi has left behind a small legacy. In both of these programs, she has raised expectations that others will strive to fulfill.

Community service is very important to Naomi, because she feels that it is crucial to “return the blessings that you have received.” She has volunteered at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Rose Parade decorating and through the International Peace Choir. Singing is one of her many talents, one that she has exhibited not only in serving her community but in school talent shows and musicals as well. As a three-year Junior Counselor at Camp Paivika, a camp for high school students with mild to severe mental and physical disabilities, Naomi learned a great deal about compassion and humanity, a lesson, that along with her love of biology inspired her to become a doctor and then to serve the need that exists in Eritrea.

Naomi has also been successful academically. In the top 5% of her class, she has been recognized as a Coca Cola Scholar, Quest Scholar, National Achievement Winner, ABCUSD Distinguished Scholar, Governors Scholar, AP Scholar with Honors, GSE Honors in Biology, and also received school Wildcat Awards for Character, and English. She was voted Most Inspiring by her peers, and recently received the honors of Ms. WHS, and Ms.Talented in a district wide competition.

Motivated by her potential to contribute, her family legacy and a strong desire to learn, Naomi believes, “If you have the ability to do great things, to accomplish anything less is a waste of your opportunity.” She currently works as an Associate with Gift in Kind, Resource Integration, AmeriCares .

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Class of 2005

Natalie Davis

Hometown: Detroit, MI

high school: Cass Technical

college: Columbia University

MAJOR: Psychology

GRAD. PROGRAM: Dominican University (2011, MA); University of Michigan (PhD 2017)

Life is a quilt, some say, made complicated and enriched by the individuals that compose it. The world is so vast that people become lost, not truly understanding their potential influence on society. If only they had pushed themselves a little harder through adversity….If only they had chosen to go right instead of left….Natalie Davis leads her life in a manner so as not to have any regrets. If she makes a mistake, she finds no shame in acknowledging it because she realizes that sometimes you have to do something wrong in order for you to, well, realize that your actions were not right.

Natalie does not allow fear to contaminate her desire to achieve the “unachievable”. She craves challenges and strives for perfection even though she knows that she will never be perfect. She is only human and sometimes, just like all teenagers, Natalie just wants to relax and be herself, whoever that may be. Excellence is tiring, yet a turbulent past keeps her energized and focused on creating a meaningful future.

Natalie has no relationship with her biological father. She has ridden an emotional roller coaster with her mother that just now seems to be ending. Life has never been easy and difficult times have pushed Natalie to mature and pursue independence. She can remember sleepless nights with never-ending tears. She can remember how the weight of another’s burden had the power to break down her spirit, until she realized that the battle was not hers and that the only person she had control over was herself. So Natalie Davis chose to lead herself on the path to success. She gained drive and motivation from earlier days that would benefit her in the years to come.

There are so many memories. Learning to ride a bike years later than the average child, not because anyone had offered her substantial assistance, but because she went up and down the driveway until she acquired balance. Attending elementary school and being involved in every club because her older sister was, not because the activities satisfied or even remotely interested her. Then Natalie came to realize the talents that she possessed. She understood why in middle school she cried when she got Bs on her papers when everyone else in the class was happy just to pass. It is her nature to pursue brilliance. She would throw a softball at the wall hundreds of times until her execution was flawless. Natalie would function on three hours of sleep a day, often choosing a little more sleep over a meal. More tears, as she felt defeated and as if there were simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish all of her goals.

Yet, somehow Natalie Davis made it through the tough times. She believes that it was the difficult times that made her soul stronger. The stormy weather sculpted her into the person she is today. Anyone can achieve when times are good, but only the most extraordinary can reach heights in the midst of adversity.

Natalie received her PhD from the University of Michigan in Educational Studies, Educational Foundations & Policy in 2017. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at Northwestern University- School of Education and Social Policy.

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Class of 2005

Reaha Campbell

Hometown: Asheville, NC

high school: TC Roberson

college: Northwestern University

MAJOR: Chemistry

Reaha Campbell was born in Jamaica; at her birth, her father was unemployed and her mother was a seamstress; she knows what it is like to live with a zinc roof that incessantly leaks on rainy days. It is only the grace of God, a mother’s love and relentless dedication and the countless resources offered by America that provided her an escape. Reaha’s mother migrated to the United States to offer Reaha the greatest gift she has ever been given: the opportunity to be educated.

Half-way through her sophomore year, moving to North Carolina from Florida, her mother was diagnosed as clinically depressed, psychotic and having post-traumatic stress disorder. She lost her job, and with no savings, they had nothing to fall back on.

“Homeless . . .” the word echoed in her mind for months; even though she lived it, she did not believe it. “I’m homeless.” She thought, “I have nothing, but that does not mean that I do not have anything to give.” Being homeless was the most painful experience of her life, but it was also one that made her humble, compassionate, focused, ambitious and driven. Never feeling sorry for herself and her situation, she continued to excel in school and to also keep up with extracurricular activities; she played softball, became publicist of the Junior Classical League and secretary of Key Club. Reaha also volunteered for the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Environmental Club and the Hillcrest Enrichment Program.

At the Hillcrest Enrichment Program, Reaha is a mathematics tutor, but she does not limit herself to just helping the elementary and middle school students with math alone. She also assists with reading, writing and general homework or questions students might have that she may be able to answer. This program is her pride and joy because she is more than a tutor; she is a role-model and a bit of a mentor. Reaha tries to express to the children the importance of an education and most importantly self-confidence. Through her example, she hopes that they will realize that their dreams are within their reach.

At an early age, Reaha had an affinity for scientific endeavors. She attended the 2003 Summer Enrichment in Mathematics and Science (SEMS) Program and the 2004 NC Governor’s School for Natural Science. At the SEMS program she wrote a research paper entitled, “How the Quality of Health Care Affects the African American Community,” which addressed disparities that exist between the African American and mainstream communities, how and why they exist and what can be done in the future to bridge this unnecessary gap in healthcare delivery. At the SEMS program she was awarded the Jacqueline R. Wynn Scholarship and the Larry D. Keith Award for Outstanding Research.

Over the years, Reaha has received awards recognizing her achievements and dedication to excellence. She received the 2002 Most Outstanding Freshman Award in the Medical Sciences, the title of AP Scholar, NC Scholar, the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award, the Pogue Scholarship as well as the Morehead Scholarship for UNC Chapel Hill.

Her greatest accomplishment to date is acceptance to Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine at Age 18, a senior in high school; the 7 year BA/MD program is called The Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME), and it guarantees her admission into the medical school upon completion of 3 years of undergraduate work at Northwestern’s undergraduate campus in Evanston, IL.

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Class of 2005

Danielle Allen

Hometown: Monroe, NC

high school: Monroe

college: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

MAJOR: Public Policy

GRAD. PROGRAM: Harvard Kennedy School (MPA); Stanford Business School (MBA)

Danielle Allen is a Master in Public Administration candidate at Harvard Kennedy School and a Zuckerman Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership. Prior to HKS, Danielle worked at DC Public Schools under Chancellor Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C. Her efforts at DCPS centered on supporting graduated autonomy at high-performing schools and monitoring turnaround model design and implementation at low-performing schools. Danielle attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar, where she studied public policy and economics. She is originally from Monroe, NC and is also a Harry S. Truman Scholar.

Danielle is also concurrently pursuing a Masters in Business Administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Masters at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. While at HKS, she hopes to deepen her understanding of the political and policy debates that are the center of today’s education reform efforts and ultimately, to reenter the education sector with a renewed commitment to ensuring educational equity for all children.

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Class of 2005

Joseph Browne

Hometown: Tampa, FL

high school: George S. Middleton

college: Brown University

MAJOR: Computer Science

Joseph P. Browne was born on March 9, 1987 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico; the third son of West Indian parents. Joseph’s family moved to Tampa, Florida in July 1990 where he currently resides with his mother and 3 siblings. His father, who spent years imbuing Joseph with an awareness of values and responsibility towards others, passed away on March 2, 2002, leaving Joseph with a determination to live a life that would honor both his beliefs and his parents.

Displaying a thirst for knowledge from an early age, Joseph entered the gifted program in second grade. At the same time, he developed a profound need to use his talents to aid his peers. Since third grade Joseph has assisted classmates who call upon him knowing that he has the ability and the desire to facilitate their studies. His peers respect and admire him because he is consistently willing to help. Joseph believes that everybody is capable of learning from, and has something to offer to, those who take the time to encourage them.

The desire to assist his schoolmates in their scholastic endeavors led Joseph to establish an accepted and enduring way for students to help each other in the school environment. After researching the available pathways, he found a teacher sponsor and began recruiting top students to begin a BETA Club chapter at his school. These students, who excel in academics, agreed to stay after school and tutor struggling fellow students. Although his effort was impeded in various ways, Joseph persevered until he succeeded in getting the club established. His desire to help those in need has strengthened his resolve to prevail. Joseph believes that a solid education is the best way to improve one’s ability to get ahead and he will do what he can to help those in need succeed in their pursuit of a better life.

In school, Joseph has demonstrated a capacity for foreign languages, becoming versed in both French and Japanese. His interest in other peoples and cultures led him to participate in and serve as secretary for the Model UN club. He is founder and president of the MHS Chapter of the BETA Club, and is an active member of the TEAMS Engineering Team, the US FIRST Robotics Team, and the National Technical Vocational Honor Society. After tutoring, Joseph works part-time as a trainer for USF’s Academic Computing Department. In addition to his regular schedule, he takes additional courses online. For relaxation, Joseph runs.

Joseph has attended public schools and performed in the highest percentile of all students, both in Florida and nationwide. He won his school’s highest awards in both elementary and middle school and he is the Valedictorian of the Magnet Program at Middleton High School with a 6.1 GPA and 6 ½ AP credits. Middleton named him Sunshine State Scholar in Mathematics and Science for 2005. In addition, he is an AP Scholar and both a National Achievement and a National Merit Finalist.

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Class of 2005

Lindsay Cothrine

Hometown: Bollingbrook, IL

high school: Romeoville

college: Yale University

MAJOR: Political Science

The first word Lindsay Lally Cothrine remembers reading and comprehending by herself was “go” — and that she did. She was two years old, and fifteen years later, she has yet to stop.

An active participant in life, Lindsay is always on the move both in and out of school. Chartering her school’s first Key Club and presiding as president for two years was an enormous task, made more challenging by her strenuous schedule. She has been at the top of her class for four years, participated in the National Honor Society for two years, and has been an active representative and parliamentarian in Student Government since her junior year. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, fashion design and volunteering in the community. Lindsay participates in an array of sports, including softball, basketball, volleyball and track. In her first year of track she advanced from her division to sectionals, where she competed in the discus. Even with such a hectic agenda, Lindsay still enjoyed the position of costume designer for her school plays and was an editor of her school newspaper and literary magazine. On weekends, you can find her teaching Sunday school.

Accomplishments aside, it was the summer of 2004 when she entered a civic leadership program in Chicago that Lindsay’s eyes were truly opened. Although she had spent many hours volunteering at homeless shelters, she had not witnessed the cycle of poverty at such a close proximity.

Through the program, Lindsay was thrown from suburbia into some of Chicago’s most infamous ghettos, with little more than hope and a determination to make a positive impact on the communities. Within that short month she learned the importance of human integrity, struggle and the strength required to overcome opposition. She learned how hours lobbying for a cause could encourage others to open their minds, hearts and pocketbooks. She learned how to jump double-dutch from a group of 7-year-olds.

She learned how the less fortunate lived. She returned to her high school a few weeks later with a small book she had written, a book on how to become a compassionate activist. More than simply aiding others, compassionate activists take it upon themselves to put the “human” back into humanity.

Lindsay attributes her ambition to her family, who through their love, support and constant encouragement has spurred her to achieve to the best of her ability. As a child, she was raised with the belief that there is only one race–human. She was taught early on that every person deserves respect, regardless of race, gender, religion or social position. She also was aware that for the fundamental rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be available to the masses, they must be given a voice. Lindsay’s ambition is to give a voice to those who have been silenced, stifled by the roar of society. In the words of journalist Arthur Vandenburg, “It is less important to redistribute wealth than it is to redistribute opportunity.”

Lindsay’s voice will act to spread the opportunity.

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Class of 2005

Lowell Caulder

Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

high school: Canterbury School

college: University of Pennsylvania

MAJOR: Business and Public Policy

As a student in the Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Lowell studied International Business in preparation for a career that would that would allow him to travel the world and grow companies in new places. His own life experiences, however, led him to also pursue a degree in Urban Studies where he sought a deeper understanding of the social and political obstacles that impede human development in the U.S. cities that surrounded him. His diverse workload reflected both his professional ambitions and his personal convictions.

Since graduating from Penn, Lowell has lived in New York City and San Francisco and has worked as an investment banker, a campaign organizer and a political research assistant. Lowell is an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School where he hopes to deepen his understanding of co-ops, ESOPs and shared ownership organizations and later use this knowledge to inform how we think about community development, small business ownership and wealth accumulation in low-income neighborhoods.

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Class of 2005

Mena Cammett

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

high school: Poly Prep Country Day School

college: Yale University

MAJOR: International Studies

GRAD. PROGRAM: Yale University School of Management (2012, MBA)

Raised in a culturally diverse family, Mena understood from an early age that with mutual respect and a commitment to justice, people could transcend profound differences to make meaningful connections with each other. This has been the guiding principle of her life.

At Poly Prep High School, Mena achieved academic success while also dedicating herself to community service and athletics. She is a National Achievement Scholar, an AP Scholar, a National Merit Commended Scholar, a four-year honor student, a member of the Cum Laude National Honor Society and a winner of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Award in Writing. She was also the winner of her school’s Brown University Book Award for English and the Spanish Language award. In addition, Mena is a dedicated varsity volleyball player and a member of a nationally competitive club team during the off-season.

In order to share her academic success with others, Mena became a peer tutor for younger students in English and Spanish. She also volunteered for two summers as an intern at the Legal Aid Society, a position usually reserved for college or law students, which earned her a community service award from her high school. During this internship she was responsible for working on cases involving domestic violence and disability benefits for low-income clients from many different backgrounds in New York City. This experience confirmed for her that one person’s efforts could impact other’s life in significant ways.

During her junior year, Mena represented her school at the Congressional Youth Leadership Conference in Washington D.C., where she discussed law, politics and government with students from all over the country. That same year she traveled to India, where she lived with a family as part of a cultural exchange program. Although the students she encountered during these travels led vastly different lives, like her they aspired to prosper and make contributions to the betterment of our world. For Mena, these experiences highlighted the more noble aspirations of her generation, revealing the potential for a world guided by the principles she had learned as a child.

Mena began life knowing that there were certain inherent connections between all people. Now as she moves forward, she plans to learn other languages and work in the field of international relations so that she can contribute her sense of optimism and fraternity to the global community.

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