BY MARCIA MOXAM COMRIE
Nigel Sampson, an international student from Antigua, recently won an Annette Rickel Foundation Scholarship to cover his entire fall 2017 tuition. The scholarship has many stipulations and Sampson meets them all.
The needs-based scholarship requires that the candidate must attend public university; be in his or her first or second year of college, have well-rounded experiences, such as participating in sports or the arts; work experience; and community service.
Sampson, an enthusiastic soccer player for York College, was able to check all the boxes and received a stellar recommendation from his mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Alter. The soccer goalie explained that—as an international student—he does not qualify for most scholarships despite his stellar grades.
“This scholarship was a life-saver,” said Sampson, whose ultimate goal is a Ph.D. in marine biology or to become a physician. “Before the scholarship, I was wondering how I would pay my tuition for this semester.”
Now, he is optimistic that this scholarship will be the gift that literally keeps on giving until he graduates in another year or so.
Asked to describe her mentee, Alter, whose expertise includes evolutionary genetics, marine biology, conversion biology and environmental DNA, gave a glimpse at why her recommendation helped seal the deal with the Rickel Foundation.
“Nigel’s work stands out for its thoroughness, originality and authenticity,” said Alter. “Beyond merely seeking a grade, it is clear that he is passionate about research, possesses strong curiosity and the ability to ask the right questions.”
Sampson, a member of the Undergraduate Research Club, is humbled by his good fortune and checked off a list of people who have been instrumental in his success story.
The biology standout mentioned the following as individuals who have contributed to his success at York College—Alter; Rose Deng; Dr. Vincent Banrey, Vice President for Student Development; Kashfi Fahim, director for both the Honors Program and the Undergraduate Research Club; and the Office of Students with Disability. Off campus, he is thankful to his benefactors—his uncle and aunt, Colin and Winnifred Quinton, with whom he lives in Brooklyn.
“I am very grateful to Dr. Alter for the role she played in helping me attain this scholarship,” said Sampson, whose story proves once again that it takes a village to raise a scholar.