Nov 16, 2013

Summer & Fall 2010 Pt. 2

Dr. Eyles and Dr. Vivian Brown are the acknowledgment for this post. They dared to be different and to enrich the lives of so many Morehouse College students in their aspirations to be Well Traveled. It was this idea stated by our dynamic president, Dr. Robert M. Franklin, that started me to thinking about being internationally competent. I began planning for my trip to Grenoble, France, where I would be taking classes in Mathematics and French. Leaning about the culture and engaging on the international frontier. What a wonderful opportunity. However, I did not have the personal finance to pay for it. So I raised the money for two years.
First, I needed a passport. I ran into Mrs. Gwen Wade, Study Abroad Director at Morehouse College. To see if there was funding available from the college to fund my trip. She ensured me that there was funding available through a foundation called the Gilman Foundation, in which she was a board member and representative for the college. You know what? I wrote a letter explaining everything, I will copy it in this post. But I will say some life learned lessons from this:
Trust Paper. All of this would have been justified correctly if and only if Mrs. Wade signed a statement. Always have a paper trail. I had emails to prove her response, "I know nothing about this." Was a lie.
Sometimes You Will Hate God. God is in control of everything at all times. But this doesn't mean you won't feel the effects of His control. I was broken during this experience and went into a deep depression. I cried on the TGV! Didn't even get to enjoy that I was going 300mph. I prayed that my plane would crash over the Atlantic Ocean. I said, "Lord, don't let this plane land, crash it now!" I was serious.
You will bounce back. This experience helped me learn true forgiveness. I went back to her a year later. Yes, it took me a while. To tell her I forgave her. Ha! I remember I wanted to know what kind of car she was driving so that I  could bust her windows and key it real good. But I bounced back. I traveled extensively around the country and did top tier research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, Clark Atlanta University and a host of other terrific achievements, started a business that helps support a non profit that supports educational endeavors of college students and local youth.
God Will Take Care of You. I was evicted from my apartment and didn't have the financial support to even buy food. But God...(I'm having a praise break right now) Excuse me...
Here is the letter I sent to the President and their response was yes we can do that, then they said no in a follow up email after I thanked them. HBCU's are amazing.

"It was in January of this year that I had approached Mrs. Gwen Wade, Director of Study Abroad, concerning funding for Tour De Math Program. I was told by students who have studied abroad previously about the foundation called the Benjamin Gilman and went to Mrs. Wade for conformational advice on the scholarship. Her response was that day and the days leading up to the trip, “You should apply and encourage others to apply everybody gets it.” It was with this response that I advocated for The Gilman Scholarship to students who applied to other programs as well as mine. The Morehouse Pan African Global Experience Program (MPAGE), Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participants (LSAMP) and The Tour De Math Program. With that phrase in mind, encouraging others to apply because we were going to receive the scholarship. There were times when I sat in her office for hours to inquire about the scholarship to be sure this was legitimate, and the response was, “I sit on the selection committee, not for Morehouse, but I’m sure you’ll get it.”  The only thing stopping me from going on my trip was a passport to leave the country. With the sponsorship of the Division of Science and Mathematics at Morehouse College this was accomplished. There are numerous witnesses who are faculty and students who can attest to those statements made by Mrs. Gwen Wade and these names will be attached to this letter. It was in April that the deadline for internships and scholarships would be announced. It was close to the 15 of April and I was nervous concerning the Gilman Scholarship, I called and they told me that they had pushed the deadline a month later to May 15. I asked how students would be able to pay for their programs if their programs started on the 15 of May, I was told to upfront money to pay for it and reimburse the upfront money with the scholarship when I received it. I immediately sought Mrs. Wade on the issue because I did not have adequate funds to do so. She said, “Yes I know about the date change, and don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine.” Then I explained the internship offers that I had received if the scholarship was not going to work and I received the same answer. So I thought it was only right to deny my internship opportunities.

My plane ticket was bought early because Dan Cathy had personally wrote a check for my trip and to ensure that the money was spent on my plane ticket, Dr. Eyles made it convenient to spend only 1,000 dollars on my plane ticket by booking early. Dr. Eyles only booked the ticket when he was sure I was going to receive the funding for my trip.

I had went to France as was planned and told to Mrs. Wade. I had arrived on the 15th of May and received the list of students who were funded from the Gilman Scholarship on the 18th. I confronted Mrs. Wade concerning the list because no student from Morehouse received a scholarship from the Gilman Scholarship Foundation and was told, “It was not guaranteed source.” With no money, I am thankful for Dr. Eyles helping me make the swift transition back to the States, however, I had experienced a emotional breakdown that I am still recovering from.

There are many ways this situation should have been handled, Morehouse could be sued by request of my parents for the cost of the rest of my tenure at Morehouse College, Mrs. Wade could be fired, I could’ve been found dead somewhere in France. Unfortunately, through all this I lost everything I possessed, my apartment, my belongings due to eviction, and my dignity. With the strong love I have for Morehouse, I would be honored to say I brought this upon myself; however, this seems not to be the case.
My family and I have sat down and talked this issue over for the last month and I thought it would be only right to address this issue when the other students from the trip had returned so that they would not be disturbed by this problem. " -June 15, 2011

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