Alumnae Testimonials

Shynise Stiff (2010) – As one of the newest ABC alumni, I would like to say that I am truly beginning to enjoy the benefits of all the hard work I accomplished over my four years in Manlius. Unlike that of many of my peers, my adjustment into college life was quite easy. I already had experience living away from home, making new friends, and striving through hard classes. So FM ABC made me a pre-packaged college student. Thanks! Currently, I am an Applied Economics and Management major at Cornell University. And I love it!

Amelia Stone (2007) -I am beginning my last year at the University of Rochester. I carry so many lessons from my ABC experience and my first three years of college and hope to finish my senior year stronger than ever. It is a bit bittersweet that I am a senior; I feel like I have only been here for a year. I am currently applying to graduate programs in pursuit of a PhD in mathematics. I am still a McNair scholar, the president of the Student Organization for Caribbean Awareness, and I play the viola at Eastman. This year I joined the executive board of the National Society of Black Engineers serving as the Academic Excellence chair. Overall, all is well and I am still pushing forward.

Mildred Flores ( 2005) -I’ve recently been promoted to the assisted housing division of my real estate company. I make sure that we are compliant with the low income housing tax credit program of the IRS. The tenants are so sweet and appreciative that they are living in our luxury rental buildings. I feel so good helping them! I’m also back in school! I’m an accounting major at the College of Westchester, a small business college in White Plains, NY. Their accelerated program allows me to attend 2 nights a week, with 2 classes per term and 5 nine week terms. I have a 4.0 GPA after completing my first semester. The school is great and I’m loving it. In fact, I am being inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for 2 year schools. Jason is 4 and cuter as the days go by. He’s still not fully talking. He loves school and his teachers love him. He is really into music, so I’m looking for music therapy programs that could possibly get him to do more talking. I’m still in touch with my roomie and friend of 14 years, Desiree Tirado (’05), who’s doing very well in law school.

Victoria Allison (2006) – I’m at UPenn getting my Masters in elementary education and doing my student teaching at an urban school. The program is very intense and there’s lots and lots of reading and writing, but working with the students is the best part! I am working with first graders and it’s fun, but it’s really sad to see the stark disparities in socioeconomic status and schools/education in Philadelphia. Five short blocks away from my school is a brand new public elementary school. Most of those students have parents who are professors, doctors, lawyers and other professionals. Over the summer I worked with eighth graders and previously I worked with fourth graders. I am trying to work with a range of grades so that I can see where I feel most comfortable. I’m really missing Wellesley but trying hard to adjust to a city lifestyle again. Tell everyone I say hello!

Aleatha Ealey (2000) – All is well. I am still working in accounting for a NYC law firm. This past summer I volunteered to teach an Adult GED course with an organization called Community Impact at Columbia University. I taught Reading and Writing. I thoroughly enjoyed last semester and am volunteering again this fall. I loved teaching and giving back to the community so much that I am now considering a career change. To be honest, I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl, so having this experience reawakened those urges and I am ready to pursue a course of action in that direction. I am going into my second year as secretary on the executive board of the Cornell Black Alumni Association. Although, it’s a volunteer position, it has been very time demanding–especially since we are in the midst of planning a huge Gala Dinner where we plan to kick-off a scholarship/ endowment program. Between work and my numerous volunteer commitments, my schedule is pretty much non-stop–leaving a little time for trips to the gym, occasional weekend brunches, and my ultimate guilty pleasure: reality tv!

Beth Hanson (1998)– All is well on my end! My boyfriend, Earl, and I are still living happily together. His daughter (who lives in
FL) spent the summer with us so we had a lot of fun re-acquainting her w/the city. I’m still working as a Copywriter in NYC. I’ve become more actively involved in one of my company’s professional networks – the Black Diaspora – working on the Marketing & Identity and Mid-Level Recruitment committees. My company also has a program called Future Marketers where we invite a talented class of 6th graders from Harlem to participate in a 10-month program to learn how to create an advertising campaign for one of our clients (this year was Kool-Aid). Another volunteer and I taught the group all about the creative process, and helped them develop and execute their concepts. I loved doing it so much that I’m volunteering again this year! I’m the only Black copywriter in the NY office (GASP!), and one of less than a handful of Black Creatives (meaning art directors and copywriters) in the building. This makes it even more important to me that these kids see a face that reflects their own. I want them to know that they have lots of career options when they become an adult, and that it is possible to earn a living AND have fun at the same time!
Mayra Rivera (1997) – I am teaching inclusion this year. It’s definitely a new experience. My co-teacher and I have 28 lovelies and
we are preparing for a quality review in two weeks. My mom just returned from 25 days in Puerto Rico. She is still working but
hopes to retire in the next few years.
Natasha Haynes-Smith (1990) – No big news to report. I am still enjoying being a producer for Showbiz Tonight on HLN. I just
moved into a new condo. I’m still in New Jersey but closer to Manhattan and one of my first guests — Amy Leibeck, my ABC resident
director! She just happened to be in New Jersey, and we had a wonderful dinner. I will always feel like a 14 year old in her presence!

Carmen Carr Williams (1986) – I am living in Columbus, Ohio and have been since 1994. I have a 12 year old daughter and have
been married for almost 14 years. I am working as a psychologist in a local school district and am keeping rather busy. I engage in a
small bit of private practice but stopped my larger practice about 4 years ago. I have often thought of you all.

Donna Graham Stewartson (1984) – My family is doing well. I have been an administrator at U Mass-Boston, but I am looking for
a new job. I have outgrown my current position. Hope to find a new one by December.

Annette Miles (1985) – My life has been hectic.. I reconnected with Carmen (Carr-Williams) which I am really happy about. I am
going to mail her my extra DVD from the 35th reunion. I am currently in the operating room waiting for a patient to perform a semi
urgent procedure. The kids are great. Lawren started 5th grade & Joshua started 3rd. Lawren is involved in chorus, basketball &
plays the piano plus viola. Joshua plays baseball along with piano & cello. We are very blessed.

Indu Bala Kowalski (1980) – I am working as a Senior Scientist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their
Maternal and Child Health Surveillance Program. I received my PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994. I did my postdoc at CDC and have stayed here since 1995. I received my Masters from Yale University’s School of Medicine in 1986 and graduated from Amherst College in 1984. My husband, Peter Kowalski, and I have been married since 1989. We have two boys; one, 16 and one, 8. The newly painted house looks beautiful. Your picture brought back a lot of memories. I was just in East Africa on a new program that I am heading for CDC. That also felt like going home as I have been working on several projects there over the last 10 years.
Yvette Chevalie (1979) – As one of the elders, I’d like to report that I am a practicing attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada, a grandmother of 4, a mother of 2, a dog lover, a protector of children, and a believer in equality, civil rights, and personal liberty. I’m a teacher, a friend, and a proud ABC girl—oops I meant granny !!!

Maxine Berfield Willis (1977) – I am one of the original members of the Fayetteville-Manlius ABC program class of 1977. I have stayed in touch with my host family the Mannions since I graduated. I graduated from college in 1982 (Northeastern University in Boston, MA) and graduate schoole (LaRoche in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA). I have been married to the same wonderful man for 27 years, Keith, and out of this union have two children, Jasmine and Keith, graduates of Miami University and Northeastern University and North Carolina State University (Keith Jr.). I have had a blessed life and having the ABC program serve as part of my foundation has been the reason why.

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