PULLMAN, Wash.–Five students, four from Washington State University and one from Pullman High School, have been named WSU Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars.
MLK Scholars include WSU students Bernadett Buchanan of Spokane, Heather Hendrix of Selah, Catherine Sessa of Redmond, Leah Taguba of Federal Way, and Pullman High student Joshua Dyer of Pullman.
The WSU Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Scholars Program was created to enhance awareness on the university’s Pullman campus and within Pullman of the life and teachings of the Rev. King.
Project sponsors are YWCA of WSU, WSU Community Service Learning Center, WSU Office of Multicultural Student Services, WSU Diversity Education Program and the Pullman School District. A committee of sponsoring organization representatives selected the scholars based on applications.
Committee member Robert Howell, WSU rural sociologist, said the five scholars are “outstanding and committed students who embody the spirit of Rev. King.” He said the committee feels the scholars will help Pullman youth “experience diversity and develop inter-cultural competencies through learning about the life and teachings of Rev. King. The goal of this program is to help Pullman and WSU better embrace diversity.”
After learning more about the teachings of King and receiving facilitation training, the MLK scholars will provide educational programs to the Pullman community at local schools, community agencies, and libraries, said committee member Melanie Brown, coordinator of the WSU Community Service Learning Center. Using the principles of non-violence and community service to effect change, program participants will be asked, “What would be the Rev. King’s focus if he lived in Pullman today?”
Activities of the MLK Scholars and other program participants will culminate in a community service project during National Volunteer Week, April 19-25.
Each MLK Scholar will receive a $500 stipend, funded by Pullman service clubs, businesses, churches and other faith communities, interested individuals, and the WSU/Pullman Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Committee.
Buchanan is the daughter of Bernice and Timothy Buchanan, Spokane. An education major, she is a 1995 graduate of Spokane’s University High School and has studied at Eastern Washington University. Her WSU activities include Zeta Phi Beta sorority treasurer, African American Student Center student mentor, WSU Black-Male Orientation to Leadership Development (BOLD)/African American Women (AAW) Conferences student chair, Future Teachers of Color adviser, Black Women’s Caucus vice president and Coalition for Women Students representative. She is also a student recruiter for WSU’s PACE (Preparing Aspiring Cougars of Color for Educational Excellence) Program.
Hendrix is the daughter of Kathi and Frank Hendrix, Selah. A pharmacy major, she is a 1997 Selah High School graduate and a Kappa Alpha Theta sorority member. Her WSU activities include Associated Students of WSU senator, Pre-Pharmacy Club member, Gannon Hall floor president, and Collegiate 4-H Club reorganizer and member.
Sessa is the daughter of Maureen and Vincent Sessa, Redmond. She is a 1995 gradate of Eastlake High School, Redmond. A black studies/history major, her WSU activities include Black History Month Task Force historian, Black Women’s Caucus member and African American Student Center volunteer. In addition, Sessa helps teach a cultural exploration class at Eclipse, the Pullman High School alternative program. She was a member of the 1998 YWCA of WSU Racial Justice Conference committee and a Comparative American Culture courses peer tutor. She plays intramural football and soccer, coaches soccer teams and gives private soccer lessons.
Taguba is the daughter of Thelma and Sergio Taguba, Federal Way. A 1994 Federal Way High School graduate, she is a member of the WSU Honors Program. Her WSU activities include serving as a Dialogue intern with the university’s Diversity Education Program and as Political Science Club secretary. A member of the WSU Filipino American Student Association, she has also studied on an exchange in Japan during spring of 1997. Taguba was a member of the 1998 YWCA of WSU Racial Justice Conference planning committee. At WSU, she is majoring in WSU political science/law and social control.
Dyer is the son of Julie and Jim Nielsen and Marvin Dyer, all of Pullman. A senior at Pullman High School, he is a member of the school’s leadership class. Dyer’s Pullman High activities have included soccer, tennis, yearbook and Junior Statesman of America. He is also active in gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and allies activities at WSU.

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