Students Honored for Outstanding Service, Support of Ursuline Philosophy of Serviam


During The College of New Rochelle’s Founders' Week Luncheon on January 29, 2013, four CNR students were presented with Serviam Awards and six students were presented with the Ursuline Education Award for Service.

Serviam Awards
Established by the Ursuline Institute and continued by the College, the annual awards honor those students who best embody the Ursuline philosophy of Serviam (I will serve) and support the College’s mission of education for service.
In presenting the awards, Vice President for Mission & Identity Dr. Joan E. Bailey said, “Today’s recipients join previous Serviam Award recipients by exemplifying the Gospel call to help those in need: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned and the sick. It is by service to those in need that humanity will find the road to Peace.”

Four CNR students were presented with Serviam Awards for outstanding community service: Iesha Ferguson, Christopher Foye, Alka Kurian, and Tazmin Uddin.

Graduate School: Iesha Ferguson
Ms. Ferguson volunteers in a case management program, La Puerta (South Bronx), for sheltered women seeking housing. She created and currently facilitates The Empowerment Group for Girls (ages 10-14) at Graham Windham Foster Care Services for Families and Children on 127 Street in Harlem.  Ms. Ferguson also serves on the After School Youth and Development Committee at Graham Windham.  As an expression of her interest in building up the community, Iesha participates regularly in community outreach by providing food for the homeless and in the Toys for Tots Program in Harlem.  
A resident of New Rochelle and the mother of three children, Ms. Ferguson balances family life, a full-time position in a foster care agency, as well as her role as a graduate student in CNR’s Master’s Program in Mental Health Counseling. Iesha is currently completing this semester’s 300 hour clinical internship at City Cares, Inc., a multi-faceted agency in Harlem, serving persons with mental illness, substance abuse, and severe environmental stressors.  
School of New Resources: Christopher Foye, Brooklyn Campus
Christopher Foye started the Chris S. Owens Foundation in honor of his son who was shot and killed by a stray bullet on April 26, 2009. The Chris S. Owens Foundation is a non-profit organization that believes in stopping the violence, especially gun violence, in marginalized neighborhoods. The Foundation provides youth with community resources, financial literacy programs, alternatives to violence via annual basketball tournaments, job creation programs, internships, and empowerment programs to improve the development and quality of their lives.  
As director and producer at BRIC Art Media, he has also created a platform through the foundation’s website, film and television to give victims and survivors of gun violence opportunity to tell their stories in order to decrease gun violence across the nation.
School of Nursing: Alka Kurian
Alka Kurian serves her peers, community agencies, and health organizations, locally and internationally. She does this through information sharing, mentoring, and organizing other students to take action, particularly in her role as president of the CNR Student Nurses Association, coordinating events such as the coat drive, blood drive, and health education programs for students. Alka has also engaged in fundraising for various causes: fundraising for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Nothing But Nets which provides netting to people in Africa to protect against mosquito-borne malaria. She teaches others, including basic computing skills to senior citizens. She supports fellow students through regular messages that she posts on the student website, communicating important events and opportunities to help them grow and succeed. Many students have expressed their gratitude about her outreach and sponsoring various events to help them, such as summer externships and setting up mentor connections for them. She has attended the Nurse Advocacy Forum for novice nurses/new grads to help establish ongoing relationships and connections between nursing alums and current students.
School of Arts & Sciences: Tazmin Uddin
As a community member of the Islamic Center at NYU, Tazmin Uddin has participated in fundraising events for the East Africa famine (2011), East Africa water crisis (2012), and campaigns raising funds for Syrian refugees, those who have been displaced by the revolution taking place in Syria (2012) and has joined with them in attending social justice events, rallies, and protests.  
As an intern at CAIR-NY, she worked closely with victims of discrimination and lawyers in order to resolve these issues, documenting hate crimes, while working closely with the Civil Rights manager to find ways to decrease factors contributing to these situations. One event included an anti-bullying workshop geared toward teenagers and included a presentation which taught individuals their Constitutional rights.
As a Peer Minister, she has served as a listening ear to peers, while acting as an ambassador for her faith, gone on the Midnight Run, helped with social justice awareness, nationally and internationally and worked with Campus Ministry during the 9/11 ten-year memorial service and the Peace Walk on campus, which ended with the blessing of the Peace Pole. She co-presented at and helped organize the 2012 “Take Back the Night” event, which sought to raise awareness on issues surrounding domestic and sexual violence.

Ursuline Education Award for Service
The Student Service Recognition Program is sponsored by the Ursuline Educational Services, a collaborative effort of Ursuline congregations to carry their educational traditions into this new millennium.

The following students with a 2012 Ursuline Education Award for Service:
  • Linnell Baugham of Brooklyn, NY, School of New Resources Brooklyn Campus
  • Shiyon Lee Mathew of New Rochelle, NY, School of Nursing
  • Buffy Curtis, Deborah Brass and Elizabeth Youngs, Graduate School
  • Victoria Yeboah of Freeport, NY, School of Arts & Sciences


Linnell Baugham
Linnell Baugham serves as the Mentoring Coordinator for the Brooklyn program DREAMS, for at-risk youth who are currently or have been incarcerated. She provides mentoring, life skills, and relationship development training while assisting them in preparation for their high school equivalency exams.

In addition to her work with DREAMS, Linnell is very involved in her church community, Brown Memorial Baptist Church. Her responsibilities as servant leader for the youth choir include vocal training and Bible study.

According to Dr. Darryl Jones, Dean of the School of New Resources, “Linnell is an outstanding student and a role model for her peers at our Brooklyn Campus. She serves her family, her church, and community in so many life-giving and affirming ways. Her focus on education never waivers as she strives to incorporate service-learning within her academic career.”

Shiyon Lee Mathew
Whatever there is need, said Dr. Mary Alice Donius, Dean of the School of Nursing, in presenting the award, “Shiyon is there. She is Vice President of the Student Nurses’ Association that collects coats for the Oasis Shelter in New Rochelle, participates with Student Development’s Neighborhood Earth-Day Clean Up, and served as President of WILDE—Women In Lasting Defense of the Environment.”

Shiyon also coordinated the denim drive to benefit Cotton Inc., a company that converts denim fibers to make environmentally safe insulation for homes.

Shiyon is also a familiar face in Campus Ministry. She regularly assists in meal preparations for the Midnight Runs program, serves as lector at Catholic liturgies and volunteered as a Sacristan for the morning Masses in Holy Family Chapel at CNR.

Buffy Curtis, Deborah Brass, and Elizabeth Youngs
During last year’s March spring break, the Graduate School art therapy students travelled to Nicaragua and worked with local communities of Chicigalpa and Chacrasecas. They spent several days at Niños Felizes, a school for students with special needs. They also spent each day providing art therapy for the children of various ages, diagnoses, and needs. This wonderful team of Graduate School art therapy students also worked at Chacarasecras Jr. High School, exploring identity through imagery, and the use of art as an expressive outlet.

The graduate students instructed the local teachers in ways to better understand the role art can play both in education and in therapy, demonstrating new ways of interacting with students and providing different ideas about how to utilize art and art therapy, as well as other expressive therapy techniques, such as dance, movement, and drama.

Of her service, Deborah Brass says, “It is always a humbling and enriching experience to have the opportunity to serve within a community that has so little monetary wealth, but in many ways possesses contentment and love, a wealth that far outweighs anything we could have brought them.”

Victoria Yeboah
At the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle, Victoria facilitated educational groups for at-risk kids between the ages of six and eight, as well as individual counseling to at-risk teens. Her work with these young people empowered them and instilled in them a sense of hope in the future.
Victoria has assisted in counseling adults, teens, and children of victims of domestic violence at New Rochelle’s My Sisters’ Place, providing comprehensive shelter, advocacy, legal services, and supportive services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse, stalking, and human trafficking. Specifically, Victoria worked to find shelter for those who recently escaped from their abusers.
At the Bethel Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn she created a Sunday school for younger children and a support group for teenagers. The group became a place where these young people could voice their concerns about home, family, friends, and their faith in God. She is proud to share that ten of her former students are now in college, and one proudly serves in the United States Air Force.