May 31, 2013 | Medgar Evers College
Bella is the first Medgar Evers College Environmental Science Student in 10 Years to Move Directly from a Bachelor’s Degree Program into a Ph.D. Program
Brooklyn, NY – Senior Delisha Bella is the first student in 10 years to graduate from Medgar Evers College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Chemistry who will move immediately into a doctoral program. Delisha was accepted into the State University at Albany (SUNY Albany) School of Public Health’s prestigious Environmental Health Sciences program, where she would begin classes in late August.
Delisha is following in the footsteps of Dr. Andy Sandy, another Environmental Science major who traversed the same path when he was accepted into the doctoral program in Environmental Science at Rutgers University after completing his Bachelor’s degree here at Medgar Evers College in Spring of 2003. While Delisha’s and Dr. Sandy’s paths are quite similar, since the program’s inception, several other Environmental Science students moved into and completed doctoral programs, or are very close to completing their doctorates in the said discipline, having first elected to complete a Master’s degree program.
Delisha immigrated from Trinidad in 2000 in pursuit of higher education opportunities, first enrolling at Medgar Evers College as an accounting major. In her first year, she met Physical Environmental and Computer Science (PECS) Department Deputy Chair Dr. Dereck Skeete who encouraged her to change her major to science.
“Delisha brings great pride to our campus with this significant accomplishment,” said Medgar Evers College President Dr. William L. Pollard. “Her interest in science has transcended boundaries, serving as an inspiration to other students who are pursuing similar career and educational paths; she is a credit to Medgar Evers College.”
“Graduating from Medgar Evers College with this degree and the opportunity that I have been granted at the State University of Albany is incredibly fulfilling,” said Delisha. “I have been the recipient of care and consideration from great faculty who have been supportive of me from my first day. I am grateful to Dr. Dereck Skeete, Dr. Christopher Boxe, and Dr. Edward Catapane who have been great mentors, and I look forward to their continued support and guidance as I leave the safety of Medgar Evers College.”
Since changing majors, Delisha has been dedicated to ensuring that young African American and Hispanic children understand the importance of the STEM field, even appearing in a video urging middle schoolers to pursue studies in the disciplines. At the College, she reactivated the dormant Environmental Science Club holding the position of President for three years, resulting in the re-invigoration of the Student Association for the Environment, (SAFE), and the creation of a campus recycling program for which funds raised provide scholarships for other students.
The five-year doctoral program in Environmental Health Sciences at SUNY Albany is designed to prepare students for scholarly and professional positions and careers in academia, government and industry. The program emphasizes the application of biological, physical, and medical sciences to the solution of environmental and public-health problems. Delisha plans to focus her studies on Environmental Chemistry and is looking forward to completing lab rotations in Environmental Toxicology, Environmental & Occupational Health and Environmental Chemistry, working closely with faculty conducting research in each area during her first two years.
A 2013 Betty Shabazz scholarship recipient, Delisha has presented her research activity work at the University of Conception (Chile); University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC); the National Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), and the MACUB Conference. In 2012, she was actively involved in research at the University of Maine. In her final year at Medgar Evers College, Delisha enrolled in CUNY’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), conducting environmental research with PECS Department Chemistry Professor Dr. Christopher Boxe.
“Delisha’s story illustrates the transformative power of the mission of Medgar Evers College,” said Interim Provost & Senior Vice President Karrin E. Wilks. “The faculty of the School of Science, Health and Technology, under the leadership of Dean Mohsin Patwary, are all to be commended for the tremendous work and commitment to developing students like Delisha. We are proud of her and look forward to her continued success.”
“The School of Science, Health & Technology has been very fortunate to receive support from a variety of benefactors who feel as strongly as we do about the study of science,” said Dean Mohsin Patwary. “Their generosity and a committed staff give us the ability to work with, and train great students like Delisha who keep inspiring us .”
“Delisha is a very dedicated student and gives her all to whatever she works on,” said PECS Deputy Chair Dr. Skeete. “I’ve always been impressed with the passion she has for her work and the level of her commitment. We are all exceptionally proud of her and her accomplishments.”
Before migrating to the United States, Delisha successfully completed her CXC exams in Trinidad with distinctions in History and Principles of Accounts, and later, she completed Advanced levels (A Levels) in Sociology, History, and English Literature, and followed this with nearly two years in Law school. She also has a creative and musical side having previously been signed to a record label as part of a singing trio called 2shi, and has established “Volcanoes Production”, which prepares children to participate in the Kiddies Carnival Parade during the West Indian Labor Day festivities. Delisha teaches dance classes in ballet, modern and Caribbean rhythms, and also teaches music at her daughter’s school.
A 3.6 GPA student, Delisha is also an on-campus leader having served as Corresponding Secretary for the Student Government Association, and currently as SGA Vice President for Evening and Weekend students. After completing her Ph.D., she hopes to share her experiences with young people in the Caribbean with the intent of encouraging them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
About Medgar Evers College
Medgar Evers College, a senior college within The City University of New York, was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community. With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, the College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education. This year on June 12, 2013, the College will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers who was killed as he returned home from his job as field secretary with the NAACP.
Contact: Dawn S. Walker (718) 530-4539