Four Jackie Robinson Scholars received sponsor-led awards at the Mentoring and Leadership Conference held in New York City March 3-6th. The scholars received the awards during the "Family Luncheon" hosted by Atlanta news anchor DeMarco Morgan.
Troy White , a marketing major in his senior year at Northern Illinois University, received the 2012 Nike Prize. UCLA Senior Ashley Williams received the Spike Lee Youth Motivation Award. Syracuse University Junior Olevia Mitchell received the coveted Unilever Legacy of Leadership Award and Baylor University's Prince Adotoma received the prestigious Ralph E. Ward Achievement Award. Awardees received cash ranging from $1000 to $10,000.
Troy White received the 2012 Nike Prize. Created in 2008, the Nike Prize grants $1,000 annually to the JRF scholar-athlete who exemplifies through his or her actions, the ways in which commitment, advocacy, and innovation can unite and challenge a community to change. White, a second Team All- Mid American Conference performer at Northern Illinois, also played for the Battle Creek Bombers in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league. He earned several citations for outstanding academic performance including 2011 Academic All- Mid-American Conference; 2011 Mid-American Conference Honor Roll; and 2011 Mid-American Conference Commissioner's Award. His accomplishments have allowed him to appreciate the opportunity to study and play collegiate baseball while never losing sight of the importance of mainatining academic excellence.
UCLA Senior Ashley Williams received the Spike Lee Youth Motivation Award. This award was established in 1995 with a generous grant from the acclaimed filmmaker. A $2,500 cash grant is given to the Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar who has performed the most outstanding community service during the preceding calendar year and recognizes those individuals who have made a particularly enduring impact through his or her commitment to serving others. Williams, a sociology major, created an organization called the Guardian Scholar Program which supports foster youth on the UCLA's campus. She also implemented the First Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars summer Academy in 2011, an intense, free, 5-week residential program that provides 25 foster youth with academic support, leadership development and guidance for becoming competitive applicants to 2 and 4 year colleges. In the foster care system herself, Ashley also provides college information to students at her former high school where there is no college counselor.
Syracuse University Junior Olevia Mitchell received the coveted Unilever Legacy of Leadership Award. The Award was created to honor a JRF Scholar in his or her junior year who, through exemplary leadership, has made a positive impact on society at large. It is presented in the spirit of Jackie Robinson Foundation Founder Rachel Robinson who has said "no one who dares to stand up and challenge the status quo, does so alone." Established in 2003, this $10,000 award can be used towards tuition or a charity of choice toward furthering a community service initiative. In addition, the Scholar is offered candidacy for a domestic internship at Unilever.
In 2008, Olevia Mitchell created the Neighborhood Action Council, which engages youth in her community to improve their neighborhood by promoting healthy activities as an alternative to the norm of gangs and truancy. The Economics & Enterprise major also created two murals in her community, bringing empowerment and ownership to her peers through art. Although she has since moved to New York to attend school, she resumes involvement with these organizations whenever she is in town, and recently addressed graduating seniors in her community.
The Los Angeles native plans to use her award to further the efforts of Neighborhood Action Council.
Baylor University Senior Prince Adotoma received the coveted Ralph E. Ward Achievement Award. The award was created to recognize and support the graduating Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar with the highest cumulative grade point average. Established with the class of 1989, this honor includes a cash award of $10,000 that may be used in any way the winner chooses.
Sponsored by the Houston Astros, Adotoma obtained a grade point average of 3.96. This biology major and Houston native, graduated at the top five percentile of his high school class with summa cum laude honors. At Baylor University, he was President of the health committee of the campus' NAACP Chapter, began research at Baylor's Physiology labs and worked with the NAACP Baylor University Chapter's Outreach Book Club Program. In addition, he is a member of Poppers, Lockers and Breakers, a hip-hop dance organization on campus. Adotoma was selected for "Who's Who Among American College Students" and was nominated to the Golden Key International Honor Society. Prince is currently enrolled in medical school to pursue his dreams of becoming a medical doctor.