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Eastern Presents MLK Distinguished Service Awards

Thumbnail image for MLK Winner Photo2014 (2).JPG

                                      Above, left to right, Alycia Bright-Holland, Rose Marie
                                      Hernández and Yollaine Kaja with Eastern 
                                      President Elsa Núñez.

Biology major Yollaine Kaja; Theatre Lecturer Alycia Bright-Holland; and Rose Marie Hernández, family liaison at Windham Middle School and coordinator of the Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future program, received Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Awards on Feb. 19. The awards recognize members of the campus community and community-at-large whose actions demonstrate distinguished service in promoting the ideals of King, and to further the goals of diversity and social equality.

Eastern alumnus Ryan Davis '03 delivered the keynote address at the awards ceremony, held in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. Davis is the senior program manager for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which is designed to increase the number of students of color who earn postsecondary degrees.

Kaja '16, biology major with a double minor in Peace and Human Rights and French, comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and speaks five languages. She is involved with various groups on campus including the Center for Community Engagement, the Peace and Human Rights Club and UNICEF. Kaja plans to be a doctor and spent six weeks this past summer at Yale in a program for students considering medical/dental careers.

Bright-Holland teaches classes for the First-Year Experience, the Theatre Program and the dance curriculum. She directed and choreographed "Once on This Island," a Caribbean musical play inspired by Haiti's history and spirituality. She has also contributed to several programs for the University Hour Series.

Hernández is the director of Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future, a tutoring and youth mentoring program at Windham Middle School (WMS) and at the Windham High School (WHS). She has worked in collaboration with the Center for Community Engagement and Windham Public Schools for three years to make the program a great success.

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