Entries in College (34)


UNC Chapel Hill Student Murdered in Apartment

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Police are investigating the murder of a 19-year-old University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student, the second murder at the university in four years.

Undergraduate Faith Hedgepeth, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe of Hollister, N.C., was found dead in her off-campus apartment on Friday. Police said they are treating the case as a homicide, but do not think it was a random killing, according to ABC News affiliate WTVD.

Police said that Hedgepeth's body was discovered by friends, though they have not identified the individuals, according to the report.

In 2008, student president Eve Carson was kidnapped from her home and taken to a series of ATMs to withdraw money before being killed. One of her killers pleaded guilty to the murder and another was found guilty earlier this year.

Now, counselors on UNC's campus are once again being made available to help grieving students. Chancellor Holden Thorp sent an email to students following the discovery of Hedgepeth's body, notifying them of the "sudden death of one of our students."

"Law enforcement officials do not believe that there is danger to other students, faculty or staff," he wrote, according to WTVD.

Hedgepeth was a biology major who worked as a waitress at a local Red Robin, according to the report.

Members of Hedgepeth's family and tribe gathered Sunday for a vigil. The university also plans to hold a vigil today at on campus.

Calls to Chapell Hill police and the Hedgepeth family did not immediately return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maryland Student Lands Perfect ACT Score

Handout/Sayyeed Mohammed(CLARKSVILLE, Md.) -- Maryland high school student Taariq Mohammed is perfect, at least according to the ACT test.

The 16-year-old student at River Hill High School in Clarksville, Md., scored a perfect 36 on the college entrance test, an achievement that only a fraction of one percent of students in the country can claim.

For this driven high school student, preparation for perfection started early.

“When I was going into my freshman year of high school I started studying for both the SAT and the ACT,” Mohammed said. The first time he took the test as a sophomore, Mohammed received a 34, a score most students would be satisfied with.

But close to perfect wasn’t good enough for Mohammed.

“I was happy with it, but I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed,” he said. “I knew I was close to being perfect and I was confident that I could get a perfect ACT score.”

He took it a second time in June, and got the score he was hoping for.

Mohammed, who is a straight-A student, a black belt in Karate, and a varsity wrestler, also came within just 50 points of a perfect score on the SAT as well.

Like his two brothers Saud and Isa, Mohammed hopes to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and eventually become a doctor.

His father Sayyeed Mohammed, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, is very much the proud parent, but wasn’t surprised by his son’s success.

“Tariq was always very ambitious,” he said. “Fortunately for him, he has two brothers who are really very close to him. He was very fortunate to know how to plan ahead carefully for what he needed to do and plan out his four year high school career.”

“And he executed it to perfection.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cheering at Graduation Leads to Arrest, Diplomas Being Withheld

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cheering on family and friends at graduation ceremonies has become a risky proposition at schools around the country. Administrations have cracked down on celebrations; withholding diplomas from students and arresting parents who "misbehave" during commencement.

In Florence, S.C., mother Sharon Cooper was handcuffed and escorted out of the arena where daughter Iesha Cooper, 18, was graduating from high school last Saturday. The school had reportedly warned parents earlier that anyone who cheered or yelled during the roll call would be escorted from the building, and that people who were disorderly would be arrested.

"'Are you all serious? Are you all for real?' I mean, that's what I'm thinking in my mind," Cooper told WPDE, an ABC News affiliate."I didn't say anything. I was just like OK, I can't fight the law."

Cooper was placed in a police van and taken to a detention center for several hours before posting a $225 bond, according to the station. Cooper, who was charged with disorderly conduct, could not be reached for comment.

In Mount Healthy, Ohio, graduating senior Anthony Cornist was docked a diploma because his family and friends cheered too loudly as he walked across the stage during the graduation ceremony.

"It's crazy how someone can do that to you," said Cornist. "I didn't do nothing wrong, but walk across the stage."

Administrators from Mount Healthy high school and the school district did not return calls for comment.

In Tennessee, diplomas were withheld from at least 10 members of a graduating high school class not for cheering loudly, but for sitting quietly, albeit with loudly-decorated graduation caps. Administrators from McMinn County High School warned students that caps were not to be decorated, and students would be punished if the broke the rule.

"We're going to decorate our caps anyway because we paid for them," senior Brianna Carroll told news station WRCB in reaction to her high school's ban on cap decorations.

Some students were punished with 20 hours of community service in order to receive their diplomas. John Burroughs, principal of the school, told ABC News that the ban came from the superintendent. David Pierce, the district superintendent, did not return calls for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The New College Classes That Require Top-Secret Clearance

NSA/Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- America’s most high-tech intelligence agency is looking to American colleges for the next generation of cyber warriors, and it is now designing its own top-secret classes to prepare them for training in the dark arts of cyber espionage.

The National Security Agency announced Monday that four universities had been selected for a new academic program -- an extension of President Obama's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education -- designed to teach students skills “associated with specialized cyber operations.”

The NSA is vague on the details of the courses and says on its website the curriculum will only offer the students a “glimpse” of the cyber capabilities sought by the country’s foremost collector of worldwide electronic intelligence data and protector of classified U.S. computer networks.  Any successful students won’t be trained for their real jobs until they actually arrive at the NSA.

Still, students and faculty involved will have to go through background security checks and obtain top-secret clearance before cracking open their laptops, the NSA says.

“The nation increasingly needs professionals with highly technical cyber skills to help keep America safe today and to help the country meet future challenges and adapt with greater agility,” Steven LaFountain, an NSA technical leader with the program, said. “When it comes to national security, there is no substitute for a dedicated, immensely talented workforce....This effort will sow even more seeds.”

The universities selected by the NSA are Dakota State University, the Naval Postgraduate School, Northeastern University and the University of Tulsa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Houston Family Spends $1.5M on College for Five Daughters

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- It’s graduation day -- a day that’s getting quite familiar to Marc and Beverly Ostrofsky of Houston.

Friday, they’ll attend two graduation ceremonies, one for their daughter Shelly, 22, from Washington University in St. Louis and another for their daughter, Mary Grace, 18, from Kincaid High School. Mary Grace will head to Boston University. Kelly, 22, graduated last Sunday from Duke University. Tracy, 20, is a sophomore at University of Denver. The oldest, Maddy, 23, graduated from Berklee College of Music last year.

So what’s the cost of putting five daughters through college? Ostrofsky told ABC News $60,000 to $70,000 a year, “easy -- that’s really conservative,” Beverly Ostrofsky said.

In total, the family will spend about $1.5 million on college after taxes and that’s not including graduate school. One daughter informed Marc that she now wants to seek her PhD. Marc is the best-selling author of Get Rich Click, and a multi-millionaire from Internet businesses.

“We’re fortunate that we can take care of it,” Beverly said. “We decided a long time ago we didn’t want the girls to take out college loans, so that was our commitment to them.”

Marc and Beverly married five years ago, blending their respective daughters into one big family of college-ready girls and creating a prime illustration of the rising cost of college for families with multiple children. The Ostrofsky family said their advice to parents is to start planning and saving from the day children are born.

Beverly said they wanted their daughters to have a choice of where they wanted to go to college, but having their children spread throughout the U.S. created another expense -- flying all of them home for holidays and visits. Just this week, Marc flew to North Carolina for Kelly’s graduation, then to St. Louis for Shelly’s graduation and hopes to make it back just in time to Houston for Mary Grace’s graduation Friday night.

Though the greatest expense is room and board, the family also picks up the tab for many other miscellaneous expenses such as food, clothing and three of the girls have cars.

“I’ve got five daughters so let’s put a separate line item for shoes,” Marc said. “At one point we had four different colleges going at the same time. It’s a little bit hectic.” Marc added he also picks up the cost of other activities such as sorority participation and athletics such as snowboarding.

With the last child leaving home for college, Marc says he and Beverly are going to “take a breather.”

“It’s like wipe the sweat off the brow now -- it’s time think about what can mom and dad do,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Custodian to Graduate from Columbia University After 19 Years

ABC(NEW YORK) -- A Yugoslavian-born custodian at New York's Columbia University will be trading in his uniform for a cap and gown this weekend when he graduates with honors after working on his degree for 12 years.

Gac Filipaj, 52, will graduate with a bachelor's degree in classics with honors from Columbia's School of General Studies.

"I'm proud and I'm extremely happy," Filipaj told ABC News.

It's been a long road for Filipaj, who fled to the United States from war-torn Yugoslavia in 1992, leaving behind his parents and siblings on a family farm in Montenegro.

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Filipaj has always been a dedicated student. When he was living in Montenegro and working on his family's farm, he attended the Law College in Belgrade as a part-time student.

"As a part-time student, I only had to be present for the exams. So I would travel overnight by train, for eight hours, to take exams and then return to help my family on our farm," he said in a statement. "Eventually I began rooming with a friend near campus, but the fighting in Yugoslavia prevented me from finishing my degree."

He arrived in New York speaking virtually no English and settled in the Bronx, where he started taking English classes at Theodore Roosevelt High School.

Filipaj asked a friend what the best school in New York was and his friend pointed him to Columbia University, one of the country's top Ivy League schools.

He took a job there as a custodian for six years while he learned to speak English. When he was proficient enough, he began taking classes part-time.

The dedicated student and worker would go to class in the morning and then do his custodian work from afternoon until night before heading home to the Bronx to study.

The university provides tuition exemption for employees for a number of courses per semester. The school does not have special classes for employees and instead mainstreams them into classes with all of the other students and the same tough requirements.

"They're in class with all of the other highly talented undergraduates," Peter Awn, dean of the School of General Studies, told ABC News. "Students with untraditional backgrounds add significantly to intellectual discourse."

Awn has been a longtime admirer of Filipaj's work ethic and positive attitude.

One or two classes a semester and 19 years later, his hard work has paid off.

"I am extremely pleased and happy to see the results of my efforts pay off after all of this time. I have truly enjoyed my professors, especially Professor Gareth Williams, and being in classes with young people who are extremely mature in their approach to their coursework," Filipaj said in a statement.

Filipaj told ABC News that his only regret is that his father died three weeks ago and did not know how Filipaj had been working on his education. He wished he could have told his father "because he thought that I'm not that smart," he said.

He still sends most of his salary to his family in Montenegro.

In addition to being smart, he is ambitious and intends to earn a master's degree or PhD in classics, languages or philosophy.

"I would say that I have fulfilled half of my dream -- going to graduate school would complete it," Filipaj said. Awn is confident that Filipaj will continue his education.

"I'm sure I'm going to see him in a classroom, at some point, on the other side of the desk," he said with a laugh.

According to Columbia, Filipaj wants to take a semester off to focus on his job and then he plans to start studying again, probably at Columbia, where he would get the tuition exemption.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ariz. Girl, 15, to Graduate College, Then High School 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(COOLIDGE, Ariz.) -- A 15-year-old Arizona girl will don two different caps and gowns in May, but the first won't be at her high school graduation.

Kimberly Koerth will graduate Saturday from Central Arizona College in Coolidge, where she'll receive her Associate's degree. The following Monday, the newly minted graduate will head back to her high school classroom—with a college degree.

The soon-to-be double graduate with a 4.0 GPA won't be a high school student for long though. She's set to graduate in two weeks from the Casa Grande, Ariz. high school.

"It's kind of crazy, but I'm excited for the future and everything," she said.

"I didn't know I could graduate that fast, [but] it was actually really easy and I enjoyed the challenge of college classes," she said. "I don't want to be bored in the classroom."

The teen, who skipped a grade in elementary school, started her college studies at age 12 after teachers said she was ready for advanced math courses that the school couldn't offer.

When she entered high school, the credits she had earned at Central Arizona College were also counted towards her high school studies.

"She's very intelligent and this [situation is] very unusual," said Doris Helmich, president of Central Arizona College. "On occasion we have students who will complete high school and college together, but not to this extent."

The majority of the 100 students in Arizona's Pinal County who participate in the concurrent enrollment program will leave high school with two years of college behind them, Helmich said.

The community college pays the tuition of students who qualify, beginning during their junior year of high school, and it requires them to attend classes on campus. Helmich said she realizes the program isn't for everyone.

"What it does is it takes motivated, committed students while they're in high school through a college program," she said, adding that the school meets with prospective students and parents to determine who would be a good fit.

After hitting two milestones that don't usually happen until after a person has a driver's license, Koerth is ready to aim for another.

She'll be attending Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the fall, where she plans to obtain both her bachelor's and master's degrees through a joint program by the time she is 18.

Even though she's three years younger than most college freshmen, Koerth will be living in a college dormitory, possibly with a roommate. The precocious student said she has no regrets about leaving behind high school at 15.

"Education comes first for me, then volunteering at different service organizations, then fun time," she said. "I know I'll have enough of that in the future."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UCLA Apologizes for Accidentally ‘Accepting’ Wait-Listed Students

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- UCLA apologized Wednesday for wrongly sending congratulatory admission letters to 894 high school students who were actually on the wait list. The letters for entry in fall 2012 went out along those for the thousands of admitted students. The students also received a financial aid notice, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Campus spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said in a statement that was posted on the university’s website, “UCLA is aware that this is a particularly anxious time for students and their families and has apologized to students and parents who may have been led to believe they were admitted rather than still on the wait-list.”

UCLA officials said the mistake was due to a human error, and the financial aid office sent out messages Monday to retract the admission and apologize for the confusion.

While there is no doubt there are many high school seniors with deflated hopes at the moment, experts say this is a teachable moment on how to deal with disappointment and rejection in the future. By the time kids are at college-seeking age, they likely have experienced disappointments, and it is the job of parents and educators to help teens deal with setbacks, said John Walkup, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Weil Cornell Medical College.

“Hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” said Walkup. “If a child has historically had trouble with disappointments or abrupt reversals of fortune, then definite preventative mental health interventions are warranted to plan for managing strong adverse emotions.  Such reactions shouldn’t be a surprise if parents are paying attention to their kids’ histories of managing their expectations, dreams and disappointments.”

Talking about this and sharing feelings with a sympathetic listener, a parent, can be quite helpful, said Dr. Alan Hilfer, chief psychologist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

“Ultimately the repercussions for these students certainly might be to make them very cautious and hesitant about believing what they are told without extensive checking,” which, Hilfer said, is not always a bad thing.

“They certainly may be less trusting and perhaps so angry at UCLA that they won’t want to go there, even if taken from the waiting list,” said Hilfer. “I wish them well and hope they had good backup plans.”

The deluge of additional information we have in today’s world through the Internet and social networks might heighten anxiety for students at this time. While it is certainly a disheartening disappointment, Dr. Carol Bernstein, associate professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, said it’s also important for parents to remind their children that this is a “distressing, but not an earth-shattering mistake.”

“There are many different ways we define success and we have to remember that. Not every kid should go to Harvard,” she continued. “Ultimately, we should all want our children to live meaningful and happy lives in the way that is best suited for them.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California 14-Year-Old Goes for 2nd College Degree

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- At an age when most teenagers are barely surviving homeroom, 14-year-old Moshe Kai Cavalin is  debating between courses in astrophysics and theoretical physics as he works towards his second college degree.

After first graduating from East L.A. Community College at age 11, Moshe is preparing to graduate from UCLA this year with a degree in math alongside students nearly a decade his senior. In spite of the age difference, Moshe says his fellow students have been supportive after he proved he could do the same work.

“At first they were really curious, what am I doing there?” Moshe told “[Then] they started being like big brothers and big sisters.”

Moshe says now he prefers to spend time with his schoolmates rather than peers his own age. “We talk about [life] and studies and all the material in class,” said Moshe.

However, in spite of his early accomplishments, Moshe says he’s does not want to be solely defined by his intellect.  “Genius is just a word just like IQ is a number,” Moshe told ABC affiliate KABC-TV. “It just classifies [them] at one point and ignores everything else that makes the individual who they are.”

Moshe’s mother, Suichen Chein, said that she realized her son’s need for more demanding material when he started reading college-level books at age two.

“He’s a happy kid and he’s learning so well,” Chien, who chaperons Moshe to class, told  KABC-TV.  "He’s doing a fantastic job by himself.”

Moshe’s father, Joesph Cavalin, said that he realized his son’s potential one afternoon, when he was picking him up after class.

“I saw him outside, he was tutoring the mother of another kid,”  Joesph said. “It was fantastic, I almost cried that day.”

Joesph said he decided his son needed to be put in advanced classes after his teachers said Moshe’s academic needs would disturb the other children.

“Why should I be worried about that?” said Joesph. “I don’t worry about the others. I worry about my family.”

Eventually Moshe was enrolled at East L.A. Community College at age 8, but he bristles at the idea that he was forced into his advanced studies.

“Well most people say that my parents pushed me,” said Moshe. “However, I think happiness in childhood is more importantly passed on [through] loving parents and a creative environment.”

As Moshe preps for life after graduation, he says there are a few items he wants to cross off his bucket list this summer including scuba diving and practicing to get his driver’s license. Unfortunately for Moshe–in spite of his two degrees–he will still have to wait until he’s 16 to get his license.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Sues College Over Roommate's Sex

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(EASTON, Mass.) -- Sometime college dorm rooms make for strange bedfellows.

Such was the case for Lindsay Blankmeyer, a former student at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., who filed a suit against the school claiming that her roommate's alleged inappropriate sexual behavior drove her into a deep depression.

Blankmeyer is seeking $150,000 in damages in the suit, which was filed Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, citing violations of the Rehabilitation Act, the federal Fair Housing Act Amendments, and Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws.

According to court documents, she alleged that during her senior year, her roommate engaged in online and actual sex right in front of her. According to the suit, the roommate "would have sex with her boyfriend while [Lindsay] was trying to sleep just a few feet away," and would also "engage in sexually inappropriate video chatting" while Blankmeyer was in the room.

Stonehill College told ABC News that it "responded swiftly and professionally to the concerns of the student in this case, seeking to help resolve the matter."

"The issues between the student and her roommate were first attempted to be resolved through mediation with a residence director," Stonehill spokeswoman Kristen Magda Magda wrote. "The student was then presented with multiple options for housing on campus, including a private room. The college also made special arrangements for the student to complete her degree while living at home. At no time did the student notify college staff that her concerns involved sexual activity by her roommate."

However, Blankmeyer alleged in her lawsuit that that the resident director "did nothing to alleviate the problem," and that her mental health began to deteriorate as a result.

Before a scheduled group mediation, Blankmeyer alleged that the roommate "grabbed Lindsay while she was sleeping and began shaking her and yelling at her. Lindsay was terrified and pretended to remain asleep," according to court documents.

Blankmeyer already suffered from previous diagnoses of depression and attention deficit disorder, for which Stonehill had agreed to grant her extra time on exams and papers. She was, however, briefly hospitalized during her freshman year, according to the lawsuit.

When Blankmeyer's parents and psychiatrist "all asked if Lindsay could have a single room ... Stonehill refused Lindsay's request ... and in following weeks and months Lindsay fell into a dark and suicidal depression requiring her to take a leave of absence from school and undergo extensive psychiatric and medical treatment," according to court documents.

Blankmeyer said the college offered her two unattractive options: She could move to a different dorm that had a hard-partying reputation and room with a girl she didn't know, or she could move to a "small cubicle-like space" that was previously used as a study lounge.

The lawsuit alleged that Blankmeyer eventually moved to a hotel room, and became so depressed that she completed her bachelor of arts degree from home in New York in September 2011.

A call to one of Blankmeyer's attorneys, John Tocci of the Boston law firm Tocci, Goss & Lee, was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio