MONROE CO., N.Y. — Each year the Monroe County 4-H Program has the pleasure of accepting applications for two different scholarship funds to support learning after high school. The 2022 cohort of students have successfully navigated through in-person, virtual, and hybrid studies and are ready to step to college learning in the fall.
The Norman V. Ryan Scholarship is awarded to students who have demonstrated leadership and community service, and are planning to enter a field of study or employment because of their 4-H activities and experiences. In 2022 one teen was chosen to receive the distinction of the Ryan Scholarship, Hope Avedisian.
Hope Avedisian plans to pursue a degree in production agriculture after attending Alfred State. Her 4-H experiences that began as a Cloverbud and culminated as a delegate to the National 4-H Agri-Science Summit, have left her well-prepared, raising Jersey cattle and making strategic genetic decisions for her herd. “It is a constant learning, analyzing, trying something different cycle on repeat,” she said. “One goal that I plan to achieve throughout my career is to be passionate about whatever I do. I want to be proud of the contributions that I’m making to the agricultural industry.” Avedisian participates in educating the community about agriculture by going to shows with her animals and speaking with the public and county legislators at various events. “Being persistent and professional is key,” she said, “you never know how a conversation or participating in an event will have an impact.”
The Ralph S. Harper Scholarship chooses students planning to pursue careers in agriculture, environment, home economics, or closely related fields. It is a pleasure to award five students the Harper Scholarship as they make plans to attend college in the fall. Awardees in 2022 are Anna Sumaili, Kadejah Watson, Dayana Gonzalez, Morgan Grandberry, and Ninoshca Irizarry.
Anna Sumaili first participated in 4-H through the 4-H UNITY Program at Agape Haven of Abundance and plans to attend Monroe Community College to become a preschool teacher. Born and raised in the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania, Sumaili paid forward the encouragement to thrive she found at 4-H UNITY by volunteering at Agape Haven of Abundance over the summer. “I had an eye-opening experience that led me to realize the responsibilities that I have to help those in need,” she said. She believes that 4-H helped her find the tools to achieve what she wants in the next ten years.
Kadejah Watson’s horizons in graphic design have been expanded by her experiences with 4-H. She said, “I hope to continue to spread positivity and advocacy for others through my graphic design by using my art to change the world and make others more aware of the problems around us.” Through partnership with the MCC Upward Bound program, Watson was an instrumental educator in the Curbing Our Carbon Appetite lesson that trains teens as teachers of younger youth to support mitigation of climate change.
Dayana Gonzalez believes that participating in 4-H through MCC’s Upward Bound program influenced her choice to pursue physical therapy. After participating in the Agriculture Innovators Experience program, Gonzalez said, “I taught an 8th grade class and the participation was one hundred percent. I had a conversation where we both included each other’s points of view, so I wasn’t just the person teaching them about climate change. The energy I got was inspiring.” Making these connections, she believes, is key to building the kind of trust needed to collaborate with clients in her future profession.
Morgan Grandberry brings both her 4-H experiences and inspiration from her family into her plans to become a nurse by pursuing a BSN. She has presented five times for the 4-H Agriculture Innovators Experience, communicating for both English and Spanish speaking audiences, and participated in the Choose Health Action Teens (CHAT) program through the collaboration between 4-H and MCC Upward Bound. She said, “While teaching, I learned that patience with myself and others is needed in order to remain focused on the objective, and to make sure that everyone feels heard.” She believes this interpersonal resilience will serve her well in the field of nursing.
Ninoshca Irizarry’s passion to become a criminal justice lawyer has been strengthened by the community relationships she has grown within 4-H. She explained, “My 4-H experience influenced my future career because it made me realize that I enjoy helping those in need and that don’t get heard like young children and victims.” Through 4-H participation at MCC’s Upward Bound program, she participated in the CHAT program and in Project S.O.W. (Seeds of Wonder), learning and teaching in equal parts about intentional engagement in healthy living. She said that both experiences taught her the importance of patience and “to treat things with love and care.” She has also been a Youth Organizer and Youth Ambassador through Teen Empowerment.
“It is a pleasure to have these teen leaders stepping into higher education to continue learning, growing, and achieving their goals. In reviewing applications and talking to these youth, the positive impact of their 4-H experiences is astounding. We wish them all the best as they navigate their future education and career goals and look forward to having them return as 4-H Volunteers,” shared Susan Coyle, Monroe County 4-H Program Leader.
Monroe Community College Upward Bound provides fundamental support to Rochester City School District(RCSD) participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves: high school students from low-income families; and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.
Agape Haven of Abundance operates as a community outreach center, connecting our community with supplemental resources that would foster upward mobility and obtain gainful employment. Agape Haven of Abundance is committed to the wellbeing of our community and is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the people we serve. Our mission is to eradicate intergenerational poverty by educating and empowering women and girls. We believe, if you educate a girl, she can change the world.
4-H UNITY (Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth) is part of the Children, Youth and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Program. The project is supported by Smith Lever funds, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, New York State 4-H and Cornell University. 4-H UNITY is conducted in Endicott and Rochester by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Broome County and CCE of Monroe County in close partnership with New York State 4-H, Cornell University.
The Monroe County 4-H Program is offered through Cornell Cooperative Extension to the youth of Monroe County. 4-H is a worldwide youth development program open to all youth aged 5-to-19, who want to have fun, learn new skills, and explore the world. In return, youth who participate in 4-H find a supportive environment and opportunities for hands-on or “experiential” learning about things that interest them.
Learn more about 4-H at http://monroe.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Monroe County