The Alzheimer’s Affiliation is internet hosting a nationwide Wholesome Residing Symposium for Alzheimer’s and Mind Consciousness Month in June

PEMBROKE – Michelle Scott’s path to graduation was marked by unimaginable heartache and heartache.

Scott lost both parents a year apart but never stopped pushing each other. She relied on words her mother repeated many times to get her through difficult times with any reason to give up.

“She would always tell me that an education is one thing no one can take away from you,” said Scott.

On Saturday, an emotional Scott crossed the stage to join 1,045 of her fellow alumni at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in early spring. With all the pomp and circumstance and a procession led by the Lumbee ambassadors and flautists, the outdoor exercises were a welcome return to a sense of normalcy for thousands of family members and friends lounging along the balloon-filled quad had gathered.

Keynote speaker and native Pembroke American Sheila Cummings is a hugely successful founder and owner of an aerospace company in Alabama, although this was not part of her plans. She enrolled in the pre-engineering program at UNCP after a recruiter shattered her dreams of becoming a US Air Force pilot.

“What this recruiter did for me that day was light what I call ‘the fire in my stomach’ – the ride that gets you up every day and is determined to make a difference,” said Cummings the graduate.

Cummings graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering and opened Cummings Aerospace in 2009 – a company dedicated to providing engineering solutions to the US Department of Defense.

“I can fulfill my dream of the military every day, just not as I originally planned. Graduates, pursue your passion tirelessly. Develop your definition of success and find your voice and use it forever, ”she said.

After six and a half years in the army, Taja Flagg is excited to begin her new career as a pediatric nurse. Enrolled in the UNCP’s nursing program, she was determined to fulfill her passion after a diagnosis of autoimmune disease prevented her from practicing nursing in the military.

“I feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity to go back to school and graduate with my nursing degree,” said the Raeford resident and single mother of three. “UNCP gave me the start. The instructors guided me along the way and made sure I had the resources I needed to be successful. It was a privilege to be accepted into this program and it means a lot to quit the program and say, ‘We did it!’ “

She recently accepted a position in the surgical / pediatric department at UNC REX Hospital in Raleigh.

Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings told the graduates that despite the uncertainty over the past year, they have kept a positive attitude and continued to focus on their goals.

“You made up your mind to fight, to survive, to adapt, to persevere. They did not succumb and withdrew as a new fear entered our vocabulary every day. Your presence here today is testament to your determination to make this happen. Always let your dreams guide you, not circumstances or fear, ”said Dr. Cummings.

Cummings’ farewell advice to the class of 2021 was to find success in life but also to look for meaning.

“Be the person you were called to be – who you hoped to be – and create a world that is better not only for you but also for each other,” he said.

While many graduates will enter the world of work or join the military, others like Dhyaneshwar Sudhakar will continue their studies at Masters and Ph.D. levels. Programs. Sudhakar is from Chennai, India. He was accepted into the Master of Arts program in Film and Sound at Johns Hopkins University. He plans to continue his passion for writing for film and television shows.

“UNCP has helped me figure out what to do with my future career and how to prepare for it,” he said.

James “Wells” Graham of Laurinburg graduated with honors and will extend his academic journey in physics at Wake Forest University. Program. He is considering research in the field of experimental condensed matter physics.

Dustin Paul, who has a degree in Economics, will take a short break before returning to UNCP this fall to begin the Master of Business Administration program. His goal is to become a financial analyst.

“I’d like to retire early, buy some rental properties and turn around houses,” said Paul von Lumberton. “I’m also thinking about being a professor teaching business courses online.”

He owes his success to the guidance of the business school and his participation in mock interviews, resume workshops, and the Passport to Professional Success program.

Seauna Richardson loves her job as a second grade teacher. However, to have a bigger impact on the lives of Robeson County’s students, she opted for an advanced degree and opened the door to one day becoming a literacy trainer.

“We are grappling with a literacy deficit in this county. So I wanted to be able to broaden my horizons outside of the classroom, ”said Richardson, who had a master’s degree in reading education.

Richardson, who grew up in public housing in South Lumberton, went from high school to college but kept her dreams on hold to help her mother make ends meet. Ten years later, married and with three children, Richardson received her bachelor’s degree from NC Central University while working full-time.

With her sister’s death, she faced more bumps on the road as she graduated from UNCP.

“Life taught me to assert myself. Without the strong support system here at UNCP and at home, I would not have finished this program. It was tough, but it was worth the drive. I’m excited about the future, ”she said.

Isaiah Maher graduated with best friend and fiancé Kasey Cooper and earned a degree in biology or elementary education. The couple have set a wedding date for November.

Tiffany Bramblett Simpson worked in the banking industry for 10 years before enrolling at UNCP for a degree in analytical chemistry. Simpson, a RISE scholar, overcame adversity and personal challenges during her studies.

“There have been a lot of sleepless nights, lots of tears and a head full of doubts,” said Simpson. “But with every obstacle that came my way, I could approach it with optimism, knowing that, no matter how difficult things were, my UNCP family would be with me on this path.

“I’ve had so many advantages that students at larger universities don’t have, such as small class sizes with lots of opportunities to interact with faculty, including the ability to conduct and present my research.”

This fall, Simpson will earn a Ph.D. in chemistry from Florida State University, one of the top analytical chemistry graduate schools in the country.

Still coping with the loss of their parents Raymond and Jackie, Scott experienced the joy of the birth of their son during their UNCP trip. More good news came last month when she was offered a position as a kindergarten teacher at Rockfish Hoke Elementary.

“Today was definitely a moment of relief. There were a lot of emotions. I wanted to quit after my mother died. During the days when I felt I couldn’t move on, I was rushed by the faculty of education and my friends and family. I couldn’t have done it on my own, “she said.

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