PRCC announces three recipients for the Gilmore Chang Family Scholarship

April 24, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Paul Robeson Cultural Center at penn State has recognized Joel Sakyi, Carlos Norman, and Lobna Ahmed for the Gilmore Chang Family Scholarship. These students have been a part of BLUEprint, demonstrated leadership and service skills, and academic achievement. The three recipients for the Gilmore Chang Family Scholarship were recognized through BLUEprint’s Virtual Event (via ZOOM) held on April 24.

Deryk and Camille Gilmore, both alumnae of Penn State, created this scholarship to support students who participate in the Penn State BLUEprint Peer Monitoring Program and hold the values of mentorship, leadership, and service.

BLUEprint, housed in the Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC), a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, is a peer mentoring program focused on offering cultural, social, and academic support to students of color, specifically those who are first-year or transfer/change-of-campus students. Mentors participate in training sessions to foster the necessary skills and knowledge for them to have positive and meaningful interactions with their mentees. 

Jenny Sak, assistant director of the PRCC, discussed how continued support such as scholarships and endowments can help alleviate pressures for students.

“There are many initiatives and support for providing access to higher education institutions, particularly predominately white institutions (PWIs), but very few ways we expose those students to resources and support on campus to retain them and help them graduate from Penn State, which may not happen due to struggles within academics, environmental setting and financial issues," said Sak. "BLUEprint, supported by Student Affairs, is one of the ways we can help change that narrative and begin to provide platforms for holistic student retention, not just inside the classroom.” 

Applicants for the scholarship ranged from first-year to senior students in the BLUEprint program. All recipients of the scholarship this year began as Mentees during their first year/transition to college and were retained as Mentors throughout their time at Penn State. 

The following recipients of the Gilmore Chang Family Scholarship are full-time undergraduate students who have demonstrated a financial need, meet the academic requirements, participate in the BLUEprint Peer Mentoring Program, and hold the values of mentorship, leadership and service. 

Joel Sakyi, a senior studying information science and technology, has been a member of BLUEprint since his freshman year, when he began as a Mentee.  

“The most important thing that I learned from my countless number of experiences in BLUEprint was how to acknowledge, accept, and apply my authentic self," said Sakyi. "I discovered not only how to value myself, but how to apply that growth into my mentoring and our community. It is truly a door opener and I hope to continue those values within my startup company, VYBRNT,” Sakyi said. 

Carlos Norman, a first-generation college student and a junior studying industrial engineering, highlighted the BLUEprint Peer Mentoring Organization as a critical factor of his continued success, development, and leadership during his college experience. 

“By implementing BLUEprint’s values into my daily life, I have been able to grow as a mentor, leader and student,” Norman said. “I would like to thank the Gilmore Chang Family for their generosity because, without their contribution, I would not be able to finish what I’ve started here at Penn State.” 

Lobna Ahmed, a senior studying management information systems with a minor in security and risk analysis, said BLUEprint has had a great impact on both her academic and social career while being at Penn State. 

“My role in BLUEprint goes beyond mentoring; I am an individual in a cohort that strives for something bigger," said Ahmed. "BLUEprint has impacted me in such a positive way and has facilitated my social, mental and cultural growth. This scholarship has pushed me towards my goal of being debt-free post-graduation."

BLUEprint has continued to provide a safe space, resources and knowledge on how to navigate college beyond student’s courses as well as one-on-one peer mentorship for the last nine years. 

For more information on BLUEprint, contact Jenny Sak, BLUEprint’s adviser, at jennysak@psu.edu. Visit BLUEprint’s Instagram page @psu_BLUEprint to learn more about the organization and their members.

"The scholarship is just the beginning of the many that we will continue to build towards that will contribute to the academic and holistic retention of our members by connecting with our alumni, campus partners, and community supporters," said Sak.

Last Updated September 22, 2020