Camile Pahwa Scholarship Fund
In memory of Camile Pahwa, DMA has established and endowed the Camile Pahwa Scholarship Fund which will provide training and education scholarships for children living at any of the affordable housing communities owned by DMA and its affiliates.
Camile joined DMA in September 2001, following her graduation from the University of Texas with a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning, to direct a “capacity building” program for our nonprofit clients. She quickly became the firm’s guru on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, taking on the project management of several affordable housing developments. In October 2005, she was promoted to Vice President where she continued to serve as a project manager, but also became a mentor to DMA’s younger staff. With her intelligence and her patience, Camile was DMA’s best “teacher” – able to take complicated financing concepts and break them into understandable components.
Camile was diagnosed with lymphoma in March 2008 and fought a valiant battle against this cancer for two years – all the time, continuing her work with DMA and providing inspiration for us all. On April 18, 2010, at the age of 34, Camile – surrounded by family and friends – lost this battle.
There will never be another Camile – her “can do” attitude, her problem solving ability, her winning smile – all combined to make her a super star. Our love for Camile and desire to honor her contributions to affordable housing have lead us to establish this scholarship program that will allow young people to achieve their dreams. The scholarships will be available on a competitive basis for summer educational programs, trade schools and higher education. To qualify, one must be the resident of one of our apartment communities and be between the ages of 12 and 18.
2012 Scholarship Award Winners
Gabrielle Alcala, Luling High School Class of 2012
Gabrielle Alcala, Luling High School Class of 2012, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to pursue her college education at Stephen F Austin University in Nacogdoches. Gabi and her family have been residents since 2005 at Sandia Crossing in Luling, DMA’s first apartment community developed under the Housing Tax Credit Program. A favorite of her high school teachers, Gabi is just about as well rounded as a high school student can get. Her diverse interests range from theater, where she won multiple acting awards, to National Honor Society, to serving as Head Student Athletic Trainer and senior class officer. Ever smiling, her goal is to help create a better life for others whether it is through “practicing medicine and saving someone’s life or acting to entertain an audience.”
On September 6th, Sergio Amaya, Executive Vice President, DMA Properties, caught up with Gabrielle at the SF Austin campus to present her with the scholarship. Congratulations, Gabi! We wish you much success!
Sophia Liserio, Mathis High School Class of 2012
Sophia Liserio, a 2012 graduate of Mathis High School, was a unanimous selection to receive a 2012 $1,000 Camile Pahwa scholarship. Sophia graduated with a 3.7 GPA and will be the first person in her family to attend college. A resident of DMA’s Mariposa Gardens, Sophia wrote a poignant essay telling of the impact that her late grandfather had on her life and how he instilled in her the belief that she could do anything. At the young age of six, Sophia was helping administer dialysis to her grandfather and giving insulin shots to both her grandfather and grandmother. That, coupled with her role as Mathis High student athletic trainer, led her to the realization that she wanted a career in the medical field.
The scholarship was presented by Mariposa Gardens Manager, Bea Shilvock, on August 29th. On hand to celebrate Sophia’s achievement were the Mathis High School Principal and the Mathis ISD Superintendent of Schools, along with teachers, family and friends. This fall, scholarship in hand, Sophia began her studies at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi where her goal is to become a surgical technician. Her grandfather would be so very proud! Congratulations, Sophia.
Continuing Education Scholarship Awards
When we started this scholarship program, we saw it as benefitting the youth at our DMA properties. But this year, we had numerous applicants who were adults continuing their education in order to improve and expand their employment opportunities, both for their own enrichment and the desire to provide their children with a better lifestyle. Many of them had compelling stories – and as a result, the Scholarship Committee decided to award scholarships in this new category.
2012 Continuing Education Award Winners ($350 each)
Myia Nelson: Myia and her four-year old daughter are residents at The Pines at Willowbrook, Hinesville, GA, an 80-unit tax credit property that we co-developed with Atlanta-based Ansley Housing Partners in 2003. Myia is a 24 year old student at Georgia Southern University, majoring in Justice Studies, and is hoping to attend Emory University to study law in the fall of 2013. In her words, “continuing my education is one of the most important things in my life and this scholarship is invaluable to me.”
Lisa Rogers. Lisa resides at The Bluestone, a 76-unit apartment complex in Mabank, Texas, that DMA jointly developed with BETCO Development in 2008, with Camile serving as Project Manager. Lisa is a 42 year-old single mother with “two precious children who are my life.” She attended Trinity Valley Community College in Athens where she studied Medical Office Management and Medical Transcription. She will be continuing her education at the National American University in Mesquite this fall in order to get a Healthcare Coding diploma. Lisa is “determined to enhance my life for myself and my children.”
Cordette Stevens: Cordette is a resident of The Pines at Willowbrook, Hinesville, GA. She is a 45 year-old single mom with two daughters and is attending Savannah Technical College, majoring in Business Management, in order to advance professionally and be able to provide for her family. “Getting the degree I seek will afford me the opportunity to . . . (get) a better job (and) a better lifestyle as well as the opportunity to be a good provider for my girls.”
Past Scholarship Award Winners
Andrew Slape, Bowie High School class of 2011
On July 21, 2011, Diana McIver presented Andrew Slape with a $1,000 scholarship, the first scholarship award from DMA’s Camile Pahwa Scholarship fund. Andrew attended Ohio State University to pursue a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Andrew graduated fourth in his class at Bowie High School in May 2011, where he had a 3.9 GPA. In addition to his scholastic activities, Andrew was a star pitcher on Bowie’s baseball team and active in many civic causes in the community.
Andrew and his mother resided in The Grove at Brushy Creek – a 48-unit affordable housing community in Bowie, Texas, which DMA co-developed with BETCO Development. Andrew’s selection was especially significant because Camile was DMA’s Project Manager for The Grove, and it was one of her special accomplishments.
Paulette Palmer, Jasper High School class of 2011
On August 4, 2011, Paulette Palmer became the second resident of a DMA property to receive a scholarship from DMA’s Camile Pahwa Scholarship fund. Paulette planned to use her $1,000 scholarship to attend Tyler Junior College to pursue a degree in education and ultimately her dream to become a preschool teacher. In May 2011, she graduated from Jasper High School, where she was an accomplished flautist and active in both the Jasper High School Band and in Family Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). In considering Paulette’s candidacy for a scholarship, the Scholarship Selection Committee was touched by a comment from one of Paulette’s high school teachers who concluded her recommendation with: “Any investment in Paulette’s life will be well worthwhile.”
Paulette lived at Prospect Point, a 72-unit affordable housing community in Jasper, Texas, with her mother and siblings. Prospect Point held a special place in Camile’s heart as it was the first of three “capacity building joint ventures” that DMA participated in with BETCO Development, an experienced grant writing firm, but new to the affordable housing industry. Camile spent a lot of extra hours with the BETCO team training them at each step of the way – and they, in turn, reciprocated generously during Camile’s illness.
Contribute to the Fund
Contributions to the Scholarship Fund are tax-deductible. If you wish to contribute, please make your check payable to “The Camile Pahwa Scholarship Fund” and send to the following address:
The Camile Pahwa Scholarship Fund
c/o Housing Resource Center, Inc.
PO Box 53274
Atlanta, GA 30355