On Friday, March 6th, 2015, the M.A.L.E.S. club of Eastern Connecticut State University hosted a Women’s Appreciation Reception and Award Ceremony in honor of Women’s History Month. M.A.L.E.S. stands for Men Achieving Leadership, Excellence, and Success, and is comprised of men on campus who fuse their academic and social skills with their interest in civic engagement and public service. More on the M.A.L.E.S. club can be found here.
Upon entering the Paul E. Johnson Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library, attendees were greeted at the door by two members of M.A.L.E.S. who offered to take coats and provided brochures on the evening’s events. Female attendees were also given a single red rose, as a token of appreciation on behalf of the hosting club. Recipients were surprised and delighted to receive these gifts. It helped set the tone for this semi-formal evening, and allowed attendees to have a memento to remember it by.
The reception kicked off with Tashawn Ward giving introductions and Kevin Hyacinthe giving opening remarks about M.A.L.E.S., Women’s History Month, and a brief back story of tonight’s awards ceremony. Next was an inspiring musical selection sung by the Women’s Center’s very own Ami Jallow. Following this was the presenting of the awards, recognized by Martin Ralda, Lovel Cassels, and Avery Floyd.
LaTrisha A. Walton is currently the finance clerk for the Student Activities Business Office at Eastern. She first started her career in finance as Senior Account Specialist at CIGNA in 1998. Since coming to Eastern in 2006, she has worked diligently in SABO maintaining journals and ledgers, preparing financial statements, and handling cash and checks. Ms. Walton is a very well-respected member of the staff at Eastern—not only her colleagues and superiors, but by students as well. She serves as an Adviser for the F.E.M.A.L.E.S. organization on campus and serves as a mentor to students in the community. More on the F.E.M.A.L.E.S. club can be found here.
Dr. Candice Deal is an Assistant Professor in Accounting at Eastern. She graduated from Morgan State with a Bachelor’s in Finance and a Master’s in Business Administration. Dr. Deal earned her Ph.D. from Morgan State in 2013. Her students say that she is the best Accounting Professor, as she goes above and beyond for her students, while still being able to serve on various university committees.
Deisy Morales is a graduating senior, striving for a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a minor in Anthropology and Sociology. During her years at Eastern, she made every effort to impact the lives of others on campus and in the surrounding community. She has served as a Resident Assistant, a mentor for children at the Windham Early Childhood Development Center, and currently serves as Coordinator for the Sister-Sister Project. Ms. Morales’ hard work and dedications also transfers over to her academics, as she has a cumulative grade point average of 3.69. It has earned her the honor of being inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society of Social Work.
Following the awards ceremony, attendees were welcomed to help themselves to fruit platters, chocolate fondue, tiny sandwiches, and plenty of sparkling fruit punch. The room was abuzz with conversation, laughter, and the clinking of dinnerware. When everyone was settled back into their seats, Malik Turner introduced the Keynote Speaker, Ana Valentin-Jackson. Ms. Valentin-Jackson shared the story of her large family, the struggles she faced as a single-mother raising two daughters, and the accomplishments she had along the way to pursing her goals. Education, she emphasized, is vital to success and should be constantly sought after—whether it is education through a college program, work experience, or from reading a book. As long as you are constantly learning, and constantly improving yourself, that is what truly matters.
After this speech, there was a poetry reading by Sabrina Scott that expressed how we all stem from the first woman on Earth. Through rhymes and similes, the poem described the first woman as having great strength, patience, courage, and compassion. The ceremony was brought to a close with Jacob Singer offering a reflection on women’s history, and Dajoun Jones giving gifts to the female participants: Ami, Ana, and Sabrina. Special thanks were given to Hatef Alavi, Walter Diaz, Clifford Marrett, Chartwells, Dan’s Awards and Engraving, and the M.A.L.E.S. committee.