The American Association of University Women of Middletown honored two Appoquinimink School District seniors at a scholarship dinner held June 11 at La Piazza in Middletown.
The two winners were given $1,000 scholarships to their college and field of study.
The winners are Nadiyah Fisher, a graduate of Middletown High School, and Emily Tavares-Sanches, a graduate of Appoquinimink High School.
Fisher attended the dinner with her mother, Rita Fisher, who is a program manager and psychologist with Children & Families First.
Fisher plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh to study neuroscience and psychology. She has volunteered at the Hagley Museum, the Home for the Chronically Ill and as a youth leader at her church. She completed her senior project on “The Effect of Childhood Mental Illness on Mass Incarceration,” and in this process studied the Chameleon Effect. In her study of the Chameleon Effect she found it “occurs when people mock the behaviors of those around then,” said Fisher. “If children are surrounded by violence, they will exhibit violence that they see. Children are being desensitized to the violence around them and exhibiting the same behaviors.”
Fisher said this desensitization is not only seen in children’s behavior but also on their brains. This is why after college she hopes to become a pediatric psychiatrist and “open a nonprofit in urban cities that specializes in mental health care of children.”
Tavares-Sanches brought her sister, Lavinia Sanches, who just graduated from the University of Delaware this spring.
Tavares-Sanches is planning to attend the University of Delaware to pursue a career in criminal justice. After she graduates, she plans to attend law school and study immigration law. She was encouraged to take this path because of her family.
“I would look at my mother and wondered why she chose to always be a stay at home mom,” Tavares-Sanchez said in her application letter. “Now that I an older, I understand that my mother did not choose to be a stay at home mom, but is one because she did not have the legal documents required for her to get a job.
“Today, we live in a country where being an immigrant is not only frightening, but also considered a crime,” she said. “Others may be hesitant to say they are a child of an immigrant. However, I am proud to be a child of African immigrants and I am not afraid to let the world know. My parents and family inspire me to represent and advocate for the millions of immigrants currently living in America.”