Seafarers, Dependents Share $132,000 in SHBP Scholarships

June 2011

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Three active Seafarers and five dependents now may pursue their respective higher educational objectives thanks to grants totaling $132,000 that recently were bestowed upon them by the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan.

Convening May 13 in Philadelphia, members of the SHBP scholarship committee selected Seafarers Cleveland Foy, Timothy Squires Jr., and Judith Merwin; along with dependents Randi Isenhart, Nermine Abdelwahab, Hailey Grubbs, Allison Matias and Gabrielle Camacho as recipients of the calendar year 2011 Charlie Logan Scholarships. Foy is the recipient of a $20,000 endowment while Squires and Merwin each were named to garner $6,000 to further their educational goals in two-year courses of study. Each of the dependents landed scholarships of $20,000 to pursue their aspirations at four-year colleges or universities.  Following are brief biographical sketches of each of the scholarship recipients and recaps of their respective educational aspirations.

Cleveland Foy

AB Cleveland Foy was a member of Unlicensed Apprentice Class 686 at the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Md. After completing the school’s Phase III of the program, Foy returned to the Southern Maryland-based maritime institution on two occasions to enhance his skills. He currently works aboard the Crowley Maritime-operated tug, Master.

A native of Ocala, Fla., Brother Foy received his Georgia General Educational Development Diploma in 2000. He joined the SIU in 2007 after serving five years in the U.S. Navy.

Brother Foy has done volunteer work monitoring troubled young men and encouraging them to continue their education and stay positive. He will pursue his bachelor’s degree in Managerial Sciences with an emphasis on supply chain management; hopefully at Florida State College of Jacksonville. He said the reason for choosing this field of study is “because it directly corresponds to my daily activities in shipping.

“Working as a merchant seaman and delivering goods around the globe directly correlates with logistics,” he said. “Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in this field will allow me to excel administratively … and make me a better seaman and help me understand both sides of the industry.”

Timothy Squire Jr.

AB Timothy Squire Jr., hails from Norfolk, Va., and was the 1999 recipient of an advanced studies diploma from Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, Va.

He joined the union in 2001 and completed the apprentice program at the Paul Hall Center. Since then, he has been going to sea aboard deep sea vessels while working in the deck department.

“Ten years have passed since the day I entered the union hall on Third Street in Norfolk,” Squire said in his scholarship nomination package. “During those years, a love for computer technology has grown inside my heart…. Computers have become an international language that connects the world and I can’t wait to be a part of it.” Squire hopes to earn his degree in computer networking/science and also obtain his Microsoft Certification.

“I have sailed the deep seas from the United States to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal,” he said. “I have been all over the world and bought my first house at 24 years old, but I have not been to the one place I desire the most: a college classroom.”

Brother Squire hopes to attend Norfolk State University.

Judith Merwin

AB Judith Merwin, the third active Seafarer to land an endowment under the 2011 SHBP Scholarship Program, is a resident of Kentwood, La.

The North Carolina-born mariner is a 1973 graduate of Havelock High School and attended Chalmette Community College in Chalmette, La. Sister Merwin joined the SIU in 2000 in the port of New Orleans and has upgraded her skills on several occasions.

A veteran of numerous deep sea voyages, Sister Merwin is well aware of Mother Nature’s potential for wrath, especially when it comes to incidents involving water. She, like thousands upon thousands of others, witnessed firsthand the ravages (including to wildlife) left behind in the wake of the recent Deepwater Horizon disaster.

According to Sister Merwin, seafood is a huge part of the Louisiana’s culture and the disaster exacted a heavy toll on many seafood varieties all along the Gulf Coast. The price of crawfish has nearly doubled since the calamity, she said.

Because of the disaster, she wants to continue her education in hydroponics and aquaculture (hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water, without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions; and aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, mollusks and aquatic plants).

“I want very much to be a leader among my brothers and sisters in the union as well as in the community,” she said. “I want our food to be pure. I want healthy food to be affordable.”

Sister Merwin hopes to continue her studies at Southeastern University, the University of New Orleans, or at Louisiana State University.

Randi Isenhart

Randi Isenhart hails from Del Haven, N.J. She is the daughter of Inland Captain Randy Isenhart (and mother Christina, a school nurse).

A 2011 graduate of Lower Cape Mary Regional High School, Isenhart posted an overall 4.85 GPA in her secondary education studies. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was active in dance and gymnastics.

Randi plans to study the sciences and mathematics in college, ultimately earning her degree in biology. “Although I do not yet know what exactly I want to do with a degree in biology, I am contemplating research and pre-medical studies,” she said. “I just know that I have always been told to do what you love, and I love science, so a degree in biology is the first step to doing what I love.”

Isenhart has applied to Brown University, Tufts University and the University of Rochester.

Nermine Abdelwahab

Nermine Abdelwahab wants to pursue a career in engineering.

The daughter of AB Mohamed Abadelwahab (and mother Ekram Ahmed, a housewife), Nermine was born in Alexandria, Egypt. She is a 2011 graduate of Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Minn., where she posted a 3.94 GPA, was a member of the National Honor Society and was active in a number of other non-athletic pursuits including Amnesty International and Habitat for Humanity. In the athletic arena, Nermine participated in tennis, softball and badminton.

“Engineering has always intrigued me as I view it to be the foundation that change can be built on,” she said. “Engineering will provide me the tools, innovation, and knowledge to make a change worldwide.

“Through my own experiences, I believe that infrastructure, industry, and sustainability is what distinguishes a third world country like Egypt from America, and all of these factors can be obtained through an engineering background,” Nermine continued. “Overall, I hope to expand my knowledge in engineering and give back to the world in a way that can make a tangible difference.”

She has applied to Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and Carleton College.

Hailey Grubbs

A native Floridian, Hailey Grubbs was born in Duval County and currently resides in Neptune Beach, Fla.

She is the daughter of Recertified Bosun Robert Grubbs (and mother Connie, a realtor) and is a 2011 graduate of The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. Hailey achieved a 4.55 GPA during her secondary education training and was a member of the National Honor Society. She served as president of both Big Brothers & Big Sisters and the Leigh Meadows Service Cub at her school and was a member of the yearbook staff. An accomplished swimmer, Hailey was a four-year member of Bolles’ varsity swimming team.

“I cover 50 yards in 27 seconds. I move faster than a tuna,” said Grubbs, whose parents introduced her to swimming at the age of four. She spent the past three summers serving as a lifeguard, coaching swim teams and giving swim lessons at inner-city pools to children who could not swim.

“I can attest to the sense of purpose and accomplishment this hard work has provided me,” she said. “For this reason, I’ve decided to study medicine, and become a pediatric physician, surrounded by children, working to maintain their safety and health."

She looks forward to the challenges of a pre-med curriculum while attending the University of Miami, University of Florida or Florida State University.  “I am ready to jump in,” she concluded.

Allison Matias

Allison Matias was born in California but now resides in Virginia Beach, Va.

A 2011 graduate of Landstown High School, Allison is the daughter of Chief Cook Efren Matias (and mother Nellie, a registered nurse).As a high school student, she was active in a number of non-athletic activities including Model United Nations, DECA, and the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Society. Allison also held memberships in the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She graduated from Landstown High with a 3.96 GPA.

Allison and her family relocated from San Diego to Olongapo, Philippines, when she was two years old. “Enveloped in a culture so rich in personality and warmth, I grew up with an open mindset,” she said. “Residing in a developing country has led me to witness poverty and develop an absolute respect and reverence towards education.

“My experience in the Philippines honed my thoughts from a young age, thus leading to my decision of becoming a doctor capable of helping those in need,” she continued. “Having seen the immense need for more capable individuals to assist the poor, I could not help but yearn to one day be a person who is able to flourish in the community.”

Allison hopes to pursue a pre-med course of study at the Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, or the University of Virginia.

Gabrielle Camacho

Gabrielle Camacho is the daughter of AB Noel Camacho (and mother Wilhelmina, a nurse).

She is a 2011 graduate of Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, Calif. Gabrielle participated in junior varsity track and field, was active in volunteer work in her community and achieved a 4.12 weighted GPA. She was a member of the National Honor Society as well as Key Club International.

“Living in Honolulu and San Diego, I have lived a relatively sheltered life,” Gabrielle shared in her scholarship nomination package. “My family has always been very protective of me.

“However, as protective as they were, they could not shield the harsh realities of the world from me forever,” she continued. “I am aware of the beautiful and wretched occurrences in my surroundings and internationally.

“My empathy has allowed me to become president of a community service club that is a branch of Key Club International and it is also the basis of my decision to strive toward becoming a pharmacist and paramedic.” She concluded. “Both professions require me to travel a rigorous pathway.”

Gabrielle hopes to attend the University of California.

Congratulations are in order to each of the foregoing scholarship recipients. It is the hope of SHBP Plan officials and the union membership as a whole that they all prosper in their respective higher educational endeavors.

Remembering Father Boileau

On a more somber note, The Rev. David A. Boileau, who served as a member of the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan scholarship committee for many years, passed away Jan. 24 at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. He was 80.

Father Boileau over the years assisted the SIU and its educational programs in many ways and was regarded as a true friend of the union. He will be sorely missed. Condolences are extended to members of his family.


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