Read what our recipients have to say

My name is Ashley Simmons. I hail from the sunshine state of Jacksonville, Florida. Since high school, I have always been fond of international issues and cultures.  In May 2014, I received my Bachelors of Arts degree in Politics and Justice Studies with Honors from Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  At Claflin, I participated in a plethora of student activities from co-chairing the first women’s conference to serving as Vice-President for Claflin Young Democrats of America. In my free time, I enjoy reading international affairs issues, traveling, exercising and volunteering.

The International Longshoremen Association (ILA) Local 1408 helped to pay my flight to Rome, Italy in summer 2012. From there, I achieved my high school dream by traveling to Rome for a fall Department of State internship at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN) Food and Agricultural Agencies. My first time abroad turned in to a permanent career in international affairs. In spring 2013, I was named a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow.

Then, again, the ILA Local 1408 awarded me enough funds in summer 2013 to invest in academic and personal related expenses. I am beyond thankful for all the financial help from the ILA Local 1408 of Jacksonville, FL.

Post-graduation, I will intern this summer at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migration. Afterward, I will matriculate at The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University for their Masters in International Relations program. I hope to one-day become a Consular Officer in the U.S. Foreign Service.

I was blessed to be a recipient of the International Longshoremen Association Scholarship this past year. I currently attend University of South Florida and my cost of attendance is $20,000. Without taking out loans I will not be able to afford that expense. Scholarships like International Longshoremen Association Scholarship, give students like me a chance to pursue our dreams and get a higher education, without having to go deep in debt. I really enjoyed my first year at USF.  I have participated in numerous clubs such as Black Student Union and I even write for an online magazine called HerCampus! I am very thankful to be able to attend such a wonderful school and to finance my way with scholarships instead of student loans.

My Name is Jennifer Laliberte and I am a junior at the University of Central Florida. I graduated from Santa Fe College in Gainesville with my Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education.  I just recently moved to Orlando to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Commination Sciences and Disorders.  I plan to graduate in the fall of 2015, and then continue to pursue my Master’s Degree to become a Speech Language Pathologist.  During the past three years I have been lucky enough to have been offered and accepted the ILA Scholarship. With the increasing cost of living, and higher education, it has been such a blessing. It is so nice to have the financial help and knowing that I earned it makes it that much better.

The ILA Scholarship has helped me in so many ways to alleviate some of the financial burdens and stress many college students face. Attending an HBCU I recognize the importance of securing a great education and the ILA Scholarship over the past 4 years was a consistent rock that I depended upon. Many of my peers were not afforded the opportunity to focus on their studies and college goals because they were either working to make ends meet or constantly stressed about tuition cost, books, dorm fees, lab fees, etc. With the help of the ILA Local 1408 scholarship I was able to receive “Deans List” honors every semester for 4 years, I was inducted into 5 honors organizations, I have 2 Chemistry Publications, because in my spare time I could conduct research (cancer) and I have another publication currently under review. I was awarded an IREU European Chemistry fellowship that will allow me to live in Lillie, France for 6 months as a Chemistry graduate student performing additional research as I aspire to find a cure for cancer.

Nathan Byram is a graduate of Providence High School in Jacksonville, Florida and was a member of the varsity football and basketball teams (State Champion 2010).  He was also an active member of Youth Leadership Jax and a proud 4-year recipient of the ILA Local 1408 Scholarship award (2009 – 2013).  Nathan graduated from Lee University in Cleveland, TN. May 10, 2014 with a degree in Business. He has accepted a position at EverBank and will return to Jacksonville in June ’14.  Currently on a mission trip in Asia, Nathan is very active in community outreach and aspires to give back to those less fortunate. He is a remarkable young man and attributes his college success to hard work, persistence, a strong faith in God and the support of family and the ILA Local 1408 Scholarship Fund. He would like more business professionals and corporations to contribute to the ILA Local 1408 Scholarship Fund as they make a significant difference in higher education through scholarship awards.

From 2008 to 2012, I received the ILA Local 1408 scholarship. I admit the essays were hard and making sure I met the community service and gpa sometimes felt impossible along with meeting my track-n-field and academic course load at Cornell University, but I had to make it happen, because my mom was not taking NO for an answer. The fact her son had beat the African-American male statistic of not just graduating from high school, but now attending Cornell University would not have been possible without the financial help I received from the ILA Local 1408 scholarship fund. College tuition, textbooks, housing and food gets higher every year, and at Cornell it was more than $65,000 a year. A lot of  college students try to cut cost by working part-time or not eating (yes they don’t eat) but this causes them to be weak, makes it hard to concentrate and results in bad grades, depression and sometimes suicide. Two students committed suicide while I was at Cornell due to the pressures and stress of not being able to meet their obligations either academically, financially or both. Sometimes the pressure of not letting your family down and yourself is bigger than life itself. For me the ILA scholarship was a blessing from God and as long as I kept my end of the bargain, ILA kept theirs, and every year they did. Knowing I could depend on this scholarship was reassuring and helped me make it through the school of Hotel Management. After graduation I returned to Jacksonville as a “Manager Trainee” for Hyatt Corporation. Ironically in 2012 the annual ILA Scholarship Award Banquet was held in my hotel, and I was asked to be one of the key-note speakers for the occasion. When I told my boss, he came down to the banquet room to listen to what I had to say to more than 30 new scholarship recipients, and more than 100 guests. I’ve been with Hyatt now for 5 years as a Manager on my way to GM, and I am soliciting Hyatt Corporation as a sponsor for the ILA Local 1408 scholarship. I also encourage all businesses large and small to support this fund, because the ILA Local 1408 scholarship fund is making a difference.

I am currently a third year student at the University of Florida, majoring in Health Education and Behavior – on the pre-medical track. I am a first generation college student so coming to the University of Florida was both an honor and a huge step for my entire family. My parents have been divorced since I was a baby and both of my brothers dropped out of high school so I literally had no idea what to expect with college or how to be successful in it. The ILA Scholarship allowed me to be one step closer to an even playing field when I entered UF. I was able to pay for my scholarship housing bill and other necessities upon arrival. This was so imperative and helpful because I was on my own regarding transition, bills and obligations. The ILA Scholarship means so much to my family and I because it was a support system and a resource that my family couldn’t provide. Being selected as an ILA Scholarship recipient boosted my confidence and held me a standard of excellence that I’ve carried with my over the past few years. As a pre-medical student specifically, that confidence and financial support was played a vital role in my success at UF. I’ve been able to participate in prestigious involvements and keep a competitive GPA. Once I graduate with my bachelors degree, I plan to work in the Education Department at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, while interviewing and applying to medical schools. I previously worked for the zoo and loved the impact environment – it will be a perfect atmosphere as I am going through the medical school application process. I would like to attend either University of Florida’s College of Medicine or John Hopkins School of Medicine. Unlike most aspiring physicians, I would like to obtain both and M.D. and a Ph.D in Urban Health Disparities. Upon completion, my real life goals begin. I hope to partner with two or three other physicians and open a private practice. Eventually, I will travel the world to small villages or towns that don’t have much access to modern medical treatments or tactics. My plan is to take a 8-9 month trip every two years to invest in people, teaching them to be doctors. Instead of Missionary trips, where people become dependent on my arrival, I would like to pay forward knowledge that I will obtain in medical school. This way, the doctors in these towns and villages can continue to grow and pay forward their skills, hopefully improving the overall health of their people. My goals are huge but with a support system such as the ILA Scholarship and the University of Florida, I know that my goals are limitless. I couldn’t be any more thankful for such an opportunity to grow and be of service to the world.

Sheran Fowler is a native of Jacksonville, Fl. and was a featured member of Who’s Who Among American High School Students.  Her academic achievements and outstanding community service played a major role in being awarded the ILA Local 1408 Sixth Annual College Scholarship (2000-2001).  Sheran graduated from the University of North Florida in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking & Finance.  After working in the Banking Industry for a year she realized her passion was accounting. She later pursued a career as an accountant gaining over 10 years’ experience in the public sector.  Sheran is now part owner of Accounting & Financial Strategies, LLC a local accounting firm located on the Northside of Jacksonville.  Accounting & Financial Strategies, LLC caters to Non Profit Organizations as well as For-Profit Companies throughout the city and surrounding counties.  One of her biggest accomplishments was providing accounting services to the ILA Local 1408, the same union body that conferred their 6th annual scholarship award to her in 2001.  In addition to providing day-to-day accounting services for the Local membership, Sheran was invited to become a member of the ILA Local 1408 Scholarship Board of Directors in 2013 and has played a significant role in ensuring the funds continued success. Sheran is grateful to be in a position to give back to the same organization that invested in her.  As a result of receiving the 2001 ILA Local 1408 Scholarship, Sheran is now afforded the opportunity to serve her community by investing in college students, with the hope of gaining a bigger return in the future, “Paying it Forward”.

Ashley Irisha Goggins is a 2012 graduate from Stetson University College of Law where she received both a Juris Doctor and an MBA. She is the proud daughter of Alphonso Goggins and a 4-year recipient (2004 – 2008) of the ILA Local 1408 Scholarship award. She is a public defender in the Felony Division, 4th Judicial Court, serving Clay, Duval and Nassau Counties. Ms. Goggins started her climb to the public defender’s office as a volunteer with Legal Aid and Guardian ad Litem, she is passionate about juvenile justice issues. A Jacksonville native, she earned a B.S. in Psychology in ’09 from Florida A&M University. Ashley appreciates being a recipient of the ILA Local 1408 Scholarship award primarily because it was awarded to her from her community and it prompted her to give back as well, which is why she elected to serve her community as a Public Defender.

I am Darian Corrao and I am attending the University of North Florida, majoring in Graphic Design. For me, the ILA scholarship has done so much. It has allowed me to continue my education and thrive in school. Education is one of the most important things in my life. I want to be successful and be able to support myself in the future, and this is the first step in that process. Being the oldest of 4 and coming from a lower income family, the scholarship has helped me pay for my education, which I must pay for myself. It also has allowed me to be able to pursue my education and for that I am so grateful. I thank the ILA Local 1408 scholarship fund and the people that continue to give money to it. Thank you so much.

My family is one of many whom were affected by Congress’s decision to limit financial aid to college students, making it difficult to pay for schooling in this economy. I am so grateful to the ILA Foundation for your contribution towards my education. The Art Institute of Jacksonville is providing the principles necessary for success in my chosen career.  So far I have made the Dean’s List twice, and hope to make the President’s List this term. Also I have had perfect attendance since day one. My artwork has been featured throughout the halls of the institution, and sold to some of the students and faculty. An instructor once told me, “You’re just a diamond in need of polishing.” So thank you, ILA, for helping this diamond shine!