December 17, 2013
Contact: University Relations
Two students from the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business received first-place wins in the University's 2013-14 Laurence Short Academic Awards. They were among eight undergraduate and graduate students to receive recognition for their submissions, which included posting high grade point averages, involvement in extracurricular activities and contributing an essay entitled "The Obstacles An International Student Must Overcome to Achieve Academic Success and How I Did So."
Marjorie Abarquez received the top Short Award for undergraduates. Huan Nguyen claimed the top prize for graduate students. First prize for each winner is $500, a certificate, and their name engraved on a plaque that is displayed in UB's Office of Graduate and International Admission, plus formal recognition at UB's annual Eubie Awards Banquet next spring.
Abarquez, an undergraduate accounting major from the Philippines, transferred to UB from Prince George's Community College in spring 2012. The recipient of a Wilson Presidential Scholarship and a McGladrey Merit Scholarship, she serves as treasurer of the Beta Alpha Psi honor society and is a member of the Helen P. Denit Honors Program. Abarquez is a peer tutor in the Achievement and Learning Center and this semester is completing an accounting internship at Community Advocates for Family and Youth. Her extracurricular involvement includes participation in UB Community Service Days, a volunteer tax preparer and DC Habitat for Humanity aide, and many other activities both on and off campus.
"Adapting to a completely different culture can be challenging," Abarquez wrote in her winning essay. "Despite the obstacles we face, international students are provided with the resources to be successful. It is up to us to take that step, rise above our differences, and tap into these resources."
Nguyen is an M.B.A. student specializing in finance, who holds a B.S. in Public Economics and Administration from Vietnam National University in HoChiMinh City. He serves as a graduate assistant in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at UB. A member of the UB Investment Society, Ngyuen successfully completed a finance internship last spring at the Maryland Transit Administration, where he was responsible for assisting the accounting director with budget management.
In his essay, Nguyen wrote, "... I can say that studying abroad looks like climbing a mountain. The more you defeat challenges along the way, the closer you approach the summit. If an international student makes enough effort to overcome all obstacles, he will be rewarded with a worthy prize at the final destination."
Selection committee members noted the high caliber of the competitors and the difficult decision to select this year's recipients. The members included Professors Hoang Nguyen, Carla Barqueiro and Haitham Alqateeb, alumni donor Ali Alemi, M.S. ’78, former UB School of Law faculty member and administrator Morad Eghbal, Jason ReBrassier, assistant director of international student and scholar services, and Wendy Burgess, director of international services.
The annual award program is made possible by the generosity of UB alumnus Ali Alemi. The Alemi family established the Laurence Short Endowment Fund in 1984 to recognize academic excellence among international students. The endowment also supports an emergency loan program for international students. It is named in honor of the late Laurence Short, former UB international student adviser and faculty member in the then-Department of Foreign Languages. Contributions may be made through the UB Foundation.
Award criteria include a 3.5 (graduate) or 3.0 (undergraduate) GPA, full-time enrollment during the current fall and previous spring semesters, an extracurricular involvement sheet, and the aforementioned essay.
This year's other Laurence Short Award undergraduate winners are Tri Truong (second place, $300), Salimatou Diallo and Hanul Jung (honorable mentions, $100 each). On the graduate side, the other Short winners are Daniel Izume (second place, $300), Adejoke Ajayi and Juliet Wahome (honorable mentions, $100 each).
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.