OVER THE FINISH LINE

OVER THE FINISH LINE

Generosity helps Wilkes Honors College senior graduate on time

As a first-generation college student, graduation means more than attaining a degree for Bebeto Amazan — it means all the extra shifts, late nights and financial struggle were worth it, as he takes one step closer toward his dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

This May, Amazan will graduate from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College with a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in cellular neuroscience, an accomplishment that almost didn’t happen. Born to immigrant parents from Haiti, he worked to put himself through school and received support from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Scholarship and the Alice and Don Hudson Scholarship at the Edna Runner Center. But in his senior year, he fell short on funds.

Enter the CTW Foundation, which provided a generous scholarship through the FAU Foundation to help Amazan over the finish line. The CTW Foundation supports hospices and hospitals and organizations involved with arts and culture, secondary, higher, and law, education, conservation and nursing.

Now Amazan has an opportunity to carry its purpose forward in the field of medicine. And he’ll get an extra boost from FAU’s world-class partner in Jupiter — the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience — where he was accepted as a Post-Baccalaureate Research Experience (PRE) Fellow program for 2019-20.

“I truly feel the opportunities I’ve had at FAU are going to impact my life in ways that I wouldn’t have, had I gone anywhere else,” Amazan said. He spent a year under the wing of Melissa Borgen, a postdoctoral fellow in the Brock Grill Laboratory at Scripps Research in Florida, which conducts groundbreaking investigations in neuroscience and other human health challenges alongside FAU students on the Jupiter campus.

“It is a fantastic experience,” said Dr. Borgen. “I think it’s especially great for the undergraduates at FAU, because they have three institutes — the Scripps, the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, and the FAU Brain Institute — on campus that they can potentially work with, so there is a broad range of research they can get involved in.”

For Amazan, the chance to conduct undergraduate research on neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases alongside some of the world’s elite scientists drove his decision to to transfer to FAU from Palm Beach State College. Three years later, he is grateful for the experience — and the support that his peers, mentors and donors have given along the way.

“It is one thing to learn in the classroom setting but it another thing to learn when you have an expert guiding you to greatness,” he said. “As I cross that stage this spring, I will have planted the seed of hope and prosperity for the youth in my family — I can’t thank the CTW Foundation and the Honors College enough for graciously opening these doors for me, and those who follow in my footsteps.”

—Lynda Rysavy, Associate Director of Media Relations