Our members accomplish so much and as we approach the holiday season, we're especially proud to see all the inspiring stories that represent everything the NSLS stands for. In November, we saw many NSLS members overcome adversity and addiction, and help others make a difference in the world.
Our mission at the NSLS is to Build Leaders Who Make a Better World. Our members participate in social events, volunteer for charities, and take part in a wide range of community service initiatives nationwide. Upon graduation and entering the workforce, they apply the interpersonal skills they've acquired to start businesses, pursue promotions, and continue to implement what they’ve learned as NSLS members.
Doctorate Student Overcomes Addiction to Tackle His Dreams
After a long battle with addiction, Vincent Thompson graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a master's degree in applied mathematics and a minor in physics. At one point, his struggle with drugs and alcohol landed him in prison. He recently shared his remarkable story of resilience, highlighting the importance of education.
At school, he took on leadership roles as secretary of the IUP mathematics club, president of the IUP chapter of the Society of Physics Students, president of the IUP Physics club, and many other notable positions, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He’s received numerous scholarships and awards, including being named a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow, and he’s spoken at various group homes to help inspire those struggling to find purpose.
Vincent is currently in the five-year doctoral program at Rice University in Texas where he’s continuing his studies in mathematics.
NSLS Member Is Guest Speaker at Stigma Free Speaker Series
Gina Hooper spoke at Brookdale Community College's Stigma Free Speaker Series, inspiring students to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. In long-term recovery herself, Gina overcame years of addiction, including a stint in prison.
Since then, she’s attained her Certified Alcohol and Drug Counseling license, graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor's in social work, and is currently in their Advanced Standing program for social work. She is also the Executive Service Director for Sunrise Detox, an organization that helps those battling addiction.
Gina was able to bring her remarkable story to current students at BCC, where she began her own journey.
Miss TSU Uses Her Platform to Help Others
Mallory Moore, the 2021-22 Miss Tennessee State University, is using her influential voice to provide mentorship and other opportunities to inspire fellow students. The TSU chapter member accomplished this by starting Our Turn — Doing M.O.O.R.E (Making Opportunities Open to Retain Excellence), as well as Shadowing a Tiger, a mentoring program for freshman and sophomores.
The senior health science major says she initiated such programs because she understands the many challenges students face when they start college. Her goal is to help them overcome those obstacles, like coping with a new environment, developing good study habits, and making new friends.
Mallory is also active in many campus organizations and programs, including the university's cheerleading team and choir.
NSLS Member Is the Youngest Professor at College
At twenty-eight, Daren Johnson of the Northcentral University chapter, is the youngest full-time professor at Howard Community College in Maryland. The story of how he achieved this goal in such a short time is a lesson in determination.
As a young man growing up in rural Jamaica in a poor family, he realized that education was the key to lifting himself out of poverty and achieving his dreams. Since then, Daren has established grants in his name for high-achieving students and stuck to his belief that education is the ticket to success. He has a bachelor's in business administration from Monroe College, graduating summa cum laude, a master's in human resource management from Pace University, a diploma in education from Moneague College, and is currently earning his PhD in human resources at American College of Education.
Motivated by his fight against injustice, he plans on continuing his education after completing his PhD by attending law school. He hopes to help reform family and immigration laws in Jamaica and the United States. In addition to his studies and teaching, he serves as a Step-Up coach, helping to mentor and assist students.
Healthcare Executive Named Senior Vice President
Astrid Gonzalez Parrilla, Columbia Southern University chapter, has joined Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network's Senior Leadership Team as Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations. She will take on the responsibility of overseeing Good Shepherd's Allentown and Bethlehem adult and pediatric inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, as well as other facilities.
An occupational therapist by training, the Puerto Rico native was the Vice President of Operations for Brooks Rehabilitation in Florida before joining Good Shepherd. She also previously held various positions with Lee Memorial Health System for fourteen years, where she led efforts to develop key safety initiatives.
She graduated with a bachelor's in occupational therapy from the University of Puerto Rico, a master's in business administration from Columbia Southern University, and a doctorate in occupational therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She is board certified as a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a member of the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives, and many other organizations.
Other NSLS Members Receiving Recognition IN NOVEMBER:
Alex Cox, Chapter President at Delta State University, helped lead the "Pink Out on the Quad" to support "Conquering Cancer and Covid," raising awareness for both breast cancer and the pandemic. Full Story >>
Ilana Dandridge, Peta-Kaye Burt, Azrael Jackson, and Sharon Baker, members of the Queens College chapter, helped set up a fall festival attended by over 140 people. It featured pumpkin patches and educational activities for kids. Full Story >>
NyThya White, Chapter President at McNeese State University, helped bring a "Healing Halloween" to children at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, providing donated treat bags to ensure hospitalized kids didn't miss out on trick-or-treating fun. Full Story >>
Darlene Steele, Southern New Hampshire University chapter, is a recipient of a Winston Under 40 Leadership Award, recognizing young professionals who demonstrate leadership and community service in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina. Full Story >>
Amber Raygo, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh chapter, received an I-RISE Award from the university's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusive Climate committee. This award is given to students who overcome adversity and demonstrate resilience, inspiration, strength, and excellence. Full Story >>
Kylie Noe of Southeast Missouri State University was named Woman of the Year at halftime during the Homecoming football game. She is pursuing degrees in both business administration and corporate communications with a minor in integrated marketing. Full Story >>
Sabrina Monteiro-Jack of Jacksonville University received the $1,000 Dr. Darby/Van Valkenburg Scholarship from the First Coast Black Nurses Association. This award is presented to outstanding nursing students in Northeast Florida. Full Story >>