Megan Ey, B.S. in Mass Communications and B.S. in Martial Arts Studies


“During the time that I’ve been at UB I’ve learned so much, not even just academically, but about myself.”

Looking for colleges was extremely important to my parents and myself when I was still in high school. Throughout my four years I was constantly looking at universities around the Northeast in search for a place I could call “home”, and after taking campus tours of UB five times, I fell in love. Looking at the faces of UB students around campus and touring with different Student Ambassadors left me starstruck and sure that I was going to go to the University of Bridgeport. Everyone I saw had a smile on their face and a warmth to them that I couldn’t explain until I was accepted and ready to go into my first year of college.

During the time that I’ve been at UB I’ve learned so much, not even just academically, but about myself. I have become an individual and my opinions do matter. In the Martial Arts Studies program I learned about Eastern Asia and how to cultivate myself both mentally and physically – a perfect balance of both – and I did better academically than I did when I was in high school. And even now, I know that adding the Mass Communications to my studies will make me a more well rounded person, while also making me a competitive candidate in the work force. But it wasn’t just academics that made me into the person I am today. Being a member of the Taekwondo Club and team, the Student Programming Board and Student Government Association has brought me to an entirely new level of understanding. The same could be said about the places I work on campus. I am now an Orientation Leader, Residential Assistant, and a Purple Knight Society Student Ambassador, all of which influenced me positively and made me love my university.

In short? I AM a Purple Knight.

Marion Sheppard, A.A. in General Studies


“I’m proud to be part of the IDEAL program.”

Hometown: Waterbury, CT

I’m proud to be part of the IDEAL program. They have made it easy for me to work towards achieving my goals. The faculty are approachable and always willing to provide additional support when needed. The experience is great and I recommend it to all of my friends and colleagues.

I have been trying to continue my education for quite some time but it was the faculty of the IDEAL Program that took me step by step to help me get started. I am grateful. My supervisors at Ability Beyond Disability, as well as my family, have been a great support. My supervisor checks on me regarding my progress and she allows me to adjust my schedule as needed to succeed. My niece, LaTesha, has been and continues to be my cheerleader. I’m blessed to have all these people in my life.

Maria Donayre, B.S. in Dental Hygiene


“Fones School will provide with you with an excellent education, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

I loved UB primarily because of the dental hygiene program! Once I went to visit the school and got a tour from a faculty in the Fones School of Dental Hygiene I was in love… it was just a plus when I was told that UB held students from all over the world.

The program was challenging, I am not going to lie, but at the same time it pushed me to be the best I can be. While in the program, I did my summer internship in Miami (my home) at the local dental hygiene program. I was able to network with hygienist that later became my mentors, friends, and a great support to my career.

While in the program I was fortunate enough to be an ambassador of the school. One of the best experiences in my life was working for the admissions office. I am very happy that I came to UB, I received amazing opportunities here. While taking my last research class I was able to get more opportunities in publication. Fones School will provide with you with an excellent education, I wouldn’t change it for the world. The professors are all amazing and they all work hard to help you obtain the most knowledge as possible. Our clinic, at Fones, has state of the art equipment and it prepares you in every way possible!

Lauren Alston, B.S. in Biology


“With the support of my friends and professors, I went on to achieve more than I ever dreamed.”

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Unsure of what she wanted to do with her life, or where she would even succeed in college, Lauren Alston knew what she needed – a school that offered support and direction. She found both at the University of Bridgeport.

The University had everything Lauren needed to make the most of her college experience and build a successful future. Small student body. Low student-to-faculty ratio. Well-rounded academic offerings. And a world of extracurricular opportunities. She also found people, such a s biology professor Michael Autuori, who offered personal support and encouraged her to reach for more every day.

And she did. Lauren has found countless ways to shine and show the world what she has to offer. She is secretary of the UB chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. She is co-founder of the Science Kids Adventurers community service organization. And she recently accepted a position as a laboratory technician for Unilever. Lauren now has her sights set on graduate school.

Lauren learned many things at the University of Bridgeport, in and beyond the classroom. On of the most important lessons she learned was that if you surround yourself with people full of drive and determination – people who want you to succeed – you can achieve anything.

“Somewhere along the way I convinced myself that I wasn’t capable of continuing. But with the support of my friends and professors at the University of Bridgeport, I overcame that obstacle and went on to achieve more than I ever dreamed.”

Kingsley Udeh, M.S. in Technology Management


“People think engineering is too difficult, and we want to build an understanding, especially among domestic students, that it’s not.”

Home country: Nigeria

When he was in high school in Nigeria, Kingsley Udeh dreamed of becoming a doctor. He wanted to help people, make a difference.

Then he went to college. “My intention was to study medicine,” he says. “But along the way, I just couldn’t keep up with the demands. It was my uncle who suggested computer science and engineering. He told me, ‘Why don’t you try it?’ When I realized I had an ability for it, I went into it. I changed plans.”

It was a far better fit. At 35, Udeh will receive his Master’s in Technology Management with a concentration in Project Management. He hopes to use his degree in IT, banking, or engineering.

In the meantime, Udeh has sought out opportunities to use his skills to help others. He developed a software system for the Bridgeport chapter of American Red Cross, for example, that allows the nonprofit to match volunteer opportunities with individuals, based on their skills, availability, and interests.

In March, Google and the Connecticut Small Business Development Center ran a day of workshops and instructional seminars at the University that showed business owners how to build websites so they could get their ventures online. Udeh was among the first to volunteer.

“We helped design and make a website for a woman who owns a boutique in New Haven,” says Udeh. “It was exciting.”

He also worked on developing a website geared to high school and college students that encourages them to test their math and engineering skills by tackling a series of challenges. “People think engineering is too difficult, and we want to build an understanding, especially among domestic students, that it’s not,” says Udeh. “This will be something where they’ll be able to log on to a web-based system and solve problems, and hopefully realize that engineering is not as complicated as they think.”

Katirya Lopez, B.S. in Human Services, B.S. in Psychology


“With the flexible schedule, professional staff and classmates I am completing my education.”

Hometown: Waterbury, CT

I have been at my job for five years and that was when I realized I can finish school through the IDEAL Program.

It has been a blessing in my life to attend IDEAL. With the flexible schedule, professional staff and classmates I am completing my education. I have changed my view on education. I love it and it’s amazing how staff really makes you feel like a family.

A good friend told me about the IDEAL program. I met with Karen, the admissions counselor in Waterbury, and she was great getting me started with the IDEAL program.

The IDEAL program is a one time experience and opportunity for your life. This program can benefit you so much in your career.

Kareem Freckleton, B.S. in Criminal Justice and Human Security


“The hands-on experience the university provides gives us a chance to enhance our experience in the community and in our future endeavors.”

The University of Bridgeport has opened many doors as well as allowed me the opportunity to experience different cultures. I chose the University of Bridgeport because I was enticed by the strong martial arts and criminal justice programs. In addition, I wanted the comfort of being close to my New York City home. Currently, I am majoring in Criminal Justice and Human Security with a minor in Sociology.

Since my matriculation, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to New Mexico as well as Korea. Habitat for Humanity was a community service based project aimed at engaging civic-minded students in engaging in community oriented work. My assignment was located in New Mexico. While there, we assembled a house in Tularosa. Korea was another once in a lifetime opportunity given to me based on my Tae Kwon Do skills. I, along with my other teammates, each won medals in our varying divisions.

The University of Bridgeport is constantly facilitating timeless opportunities for its students. The hands-on experience the university provides gives us a chance to enhance our experience in the community and in our future endeavors. Through these experiences, I’ve been able to grow mentally and physically. I’ve adapted to and learned to accept other cultures and values different from my own. The University of Bridgeport has a unique setting that is continuing to build a pathway of success for all students.

Kali Mason, B.A. in Literature and Civilization


“It made the difference between going back to school or not, and I’m not sure what I would have done if it hadn’t been for that.”

Without the Bigelow, she wouldn’t have made it.

At least, that’s how Kali Mason tells the story. The 21-year-old, who graduates on May 5 with honors and a Bachelor of Art in Literature and Civilization, was about to start her sophomore year at UB when her father was laid off. Without his income, Mason would have to delay college, get a job, and figure out Plan B.

Desperate, she contacted the financial aid office. Because of her top marks (she had a 3.8 gpa at the time) Mason was invited to apply for a David and Eunice Bigelow Scholarship. Two weeks before the fall semester began in 2010, Mason got the good news: she had won the award.

“The Bigelow was significant. It made the difference between going back to school or not, and I’m not sure what I would have done if it hadn’t been for that. I was afraid I’d never finish college at all,” says Mason, who returned to campus with an intensity to learn and experience as much as possible.

Classes with history professor Thomas Juliusburger (enlivened by his personal accounts of England and studies at Oxford) and philosophy classes with Timothy Eves made Mason hungry to learn more about the subjects and to travel to Europe. During her junior spring, she was accepted to a program in Paros, Greece, where she spent the semester studying philosophy, art history, and ancient history.

Mason’s passion for learning helped her maintain superlative grades as she balanced school with work-study jobs; she won other scholarships to help pay for college. This year, Mason also interned at the Museum of the City of New York, where she helped host and plan lectures, walking tours of Manhattan, and exhibition openings.

“There was one night where they had a chair on view from the 1930s. It was on loan from the Met [Metropolitan Museum of Art], and they didn’t want anything to happen to it, so they asked me to watch the gallery. I had to babysit the chair,” says Mason.

Mason will see a lot more art in the not-so-distant future: she was accepted to a master’s degree program in museum studies in Florence, Italy, that starts in the fall. And she ultimately hopes to learn how to restore and preserve ancient documents and books or be a museum curator. “I’ve already found a program,” she says with characteristic enthusiasm. “It’s in Canada!”

Justin Hume, M.A. in Global Development and Peace


“My experience helped to give me a first hand understanding of microcredit and loan distribution.”

Microfinance Internship in Africa

I had the opportunity to perform an internship at the Grounded and Holistic Approach to People’s Empowerment (GHAPE), a social model microfinance organization located in the North West Region of Cameroon.

There, I worked with the office staff performing the regular duties of a GHAPE credit officer. I wrote grants, created borrower profiles for the Kiva website, and was even involved in the day-to-day financial aspects of the organization (data entry, loan distribution, and borrower check-ups). In between our regular duties, during my stay, we secured three separate grants for increasing borrower education, for creating a new borrowing center, and even one more grant for establishing a third major office in Momo Division.

Gaining First-Hand Understanding

Together, these things served as a capstone experience to the University of Bridgeport’s masters program in Global Development and Peace, and not only helped to give me a first hand understanding of microcredit and loan distribution, but also helped me to become much more in tune with the challenges that many countries face in building a better tomorrow.

A Deeper Perspective

With these experiences in hand, I have since been able to the following:

  • Join the faculty of the College of Public and International Affairs
  • Write on the subject of microloan distribution from a more informed perspective
  • Become involved in the building of a new Non-Governmental Organization with the help of two other students from the Global Development and Peace program
  • Expand our activities beyond more academic pursuits and on in to helping people in the rural villages of East Africa