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 or an adult resident enrolled in a continuing education program.
Jorgann Holgersen is no stranger to our Camile Pahwa Scholarship program. This is the second year in a row where she has been awarded for her scholastic ambitions. She is studying for her bachelors in science of biology with a minor in chemistry and a minor in health professions. She is pursuing the pre-medical track and hopes to begin medical school in the fall of 2023.
As a 2-time recipient of a scholarship, Melissa Selinas recently received her Associates of Science degree from Coastal Bend College in Beeville, TX. She is returning to college to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse, which has been her goal since she first applied for the Camile Pahwa Scholarship program in 2018.
Myat May attends the University of Texas at Austin for their MS in Finance program. She holds an undergraduate degree in medical humanities which she completed in 3 years and with a 3.7 GPA. She intends to become a healthcare administrator, motivated in part by her firsthand experience watching her mother navigate the health care system with chronic mental health issues and wanting to end the cycle of poverty in her family.
Jorgann Holgersen currently attends Texas Tech University with an ultimate goal of becoming a trauma surgeon. Jorgann is a certified Emergency Medical Technician, certified in CPR and First Aid and had completed 36 hours of college credits while attending high school. She has expressed her extreme gratitude to those who donate to scholarship funds for students like her and those who bring those scholarships to the attention of young adults that are aspiring to continue their education and reach for their dreams.
Jaide is a 2nd grade student that will be attending Summer Enrichment Camp in Houston. She would like to learn Spanish and is excited to have fun participating in all of the program’s activities.
Raven will receive a minimum of $1000 to attend Prairie View A&M University seeking a degree in nursing. She has been active in her school’s AVID and varsity track programs for all 4 years. She also volunteers with Y-snap summer food program and has helped with the Faith Temple COGIC Hurricane Harvey evacuation shelter. Raven enjoys singing in her church choir and trail riding.
Melissa will receive a minimum of $1000 to continue her education at Coastal Bend College in Beeville. She is currently working on her Associates of Science degree, after which she’ll apply for acceptance into the school’s nursing program. In high school, Melissa was an All-round athlete, All-American cheerleader, and a medaled member of band. She was also active in her church youth group, helping with bible school and volunteering with a homeless shelter in Corpus Christi. Melissa is currently participating in a Work/Study with Coastal Bend College.
Asia will receive an award of up to $500 to attend Houston Community College’s Medical Assistant program in the Fall 2018. Her goal is to become a pediatric nurse because she enjoys caring for kids, especially infants. She works full time and is described as a hardworking and energetic by her peers.
Cordette received an award of up to $500 to attend DeVry University to obtain her bachelors in Business Management. Cordette was a Camile Pahwa grant recipient in 2009 and used the fund to help her obtain her associates degree from Columbia College. She is employed by the Liberty County Board of Education for the past 24 years, and volunteers as an election clerk for the county.
Elijah Miner, received a grant to attend 6 weeks of summer camp offered through the city of Mesquite. This 8 year old student likes to play basketball and go swimming. His favorite subject in school is science and he likes to stay active and make new friends.
Jean is well-known “local” retiree who received $275 to take computer classes at the AGE of Central Texas Computer Lab. Jean is an extremely active and engaged in the community,having served on the Mueller Neighborhood Steering committee, Friendship Match at UT, ACT III Elderhood board, Power for Parkinsons, along with a laundry list of other groups supporting seniors, youth and persons with disabilities. Jean feels computer classes will improve her technology skills to help her help others as well as herself, dealing with change and acceptance. The award will allow her to take multiple courses throughout the year.
Rina is a 2016 scholarship recipient, and was chosen to receive $700 to attend Trinity Community College in Athens with plans to attend University of Texas Tyler’s nursing program in January 2018. She is a married, working mother of two who has attended college for two years. Ms. Pokhrelbhandari’s commitment to furthering her career is to be commended. Rina maintains a 4.0 and enrolls in in courses year round to effort reach her educational goals in record time.
Arsenia is an active retiree who received $275 to take foreign language classes at Austin Community College. She is a self-described lifelong learner with a passion for self-improvement. Her late husband taught her and their children Arabic and French back in the 70s/80s and she is eager to use her improved linguistic skills to help families in Austin with translation. She has wonderful recommendations from families she helped with childcare.
Catherine will receive a minimum of $1000 to attend Southwestern Assemblies of God University, where she plans to study business and play soccer. She is ranked 51 of 535 in her class, holding a 3.4 GPA. She has been an avid soccer player and creative baking entrepreneur to offset the cost for training. She has been active in many charitable fund raising activities such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Ronald McDonald house, and is also active with her youth groups. Ms. Turner plans to major in business to fulfil her dreams of owning a boutique.
Analyssa was chosen to receive a minimum of $1000 to attend Texas A&M in Kingsville to pursue a degree in Biomedical Science. She is ranked 10 of 78 in her class and has a GPA of 4.56. Ms. Gonzales has is a proven leader acting as class president in her junior and senior years and the President of the Mathis FFA (Future Farmers of America) for the 2016-17 school year. In addition to being active in her church youth group, she is a powerlifter and has advanced to Regionals and State several times throughout her high school years.
Bryana Gandara, now a three time Camile Pahwa Scholarship recipient, received $1,000 to attend Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi as a pre-nursing student. DMA Companies was proud to award Bryana again this year for her proven efforts and determination working towards her future career goals. She continues to maintain a grade point average above 3.0, and was recently accepted into nursing school.
Rina Devi Pokhrelbhandari, was selected to receive a $600 scholarship to continue her education at Trinity Valley Community College. Her dream is to become a nurse and she has maintained a 4.0 GPA since taking the first step in her new career goals last year. She dedicates much of her time to her family (a wife and mother of two), her job and her school work. It is a challenge to “ride the wave” of her fast-paced world, but she continues to work towards her aspirations and goals.
Kayla Carroll, a 2014 graduate of Gonzales High School, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Victoria College, where she hopes to take courses in Biology, Anatomy, and Physiology to bring her closer on her path to becoming a Vocational Nurse. Helping her mother care for her younger brother has already given her experience in care and kindheartedness, which shines brightly through her personality. She offers help in and around her community in extracurricular clubs at school (such as the Apache Flames Drill Team, National Honor Society, and fashion club), participating at Vacation Bible School, and volunteering at the nursing home. Kayla has already dedicated her time to, and loves, helping others; with this scholarship to Victoria, she is able to obtain a career to do just that.
Bryana Gandara, a 2014 Pearsall High School graduate, received $1,000 to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Ranking in the top ten percent of her class, she has shown to be hard-working, determined, and not afraid to challenge herself in academics as well as life. Swimming and adventuring are two of her favorite activities – you may often find her either at the pool or driving on the back roads of Pearsall along with her family. She strives to set an example for her two younger siblings by being the first in her household to attend a university and also be the first to graduate. Very keen and optimistic about her future, she has now completed twenty one hours of dual credit college courses and has enrolled as a “pre-nursing major with a concentration in pediatrics.” As indication of her determination to succeed, she is already looking into hospitals that she believes would best fit her.
Nikita J. Jeffery, is a single mother with four children who was selected to receive a $500 scholarship to return to school (specifically, Savannah Technical College). She wishes to major in Business Management to help reach her dream of teaching business to youth in school. She is no stranger to hard work (raising children is, after all, the ultimate and most challenging job) and knows that graduating in this field will help to better her family’s life. Juggling the responsibilities of work, motherhood, and college is difficult but Nikita has shown that she is no stranger to hardship and meets it head on with a smile on her face.
Yadira Uyoa a resident of Grove Park Terrace, a 60 unit community in Waxahachie, Texas received a 2013 $750 Camile Pahwa Scholarship. Ms. Uyoa is a single mother, part time hair stylist, and a full-time student at Navarro College. Yadira is currently studying to obtain a degree in General Sciences from Navarro College. Yadira is in the process of applying to the Nursing program at Navarro College along with other area colleges for admission.
Magdabeatrice Cerna a resident of Westview Ranch, a 72 unit community in Pearsall, Texas received a 2013 $750 Camile Pahwa Scholarship. Maggie is currently enrolled in Kaplan College in San Antonio, Texas pursing a Nursing degree. Maggie is in her last semester of college finishing her rotations and clinicals for the nursing program. She is set to graduate in December of 2013. With the funds from the Camile Pahwa Scholarship Maggie intends to purchase supplies to help her finish her clinicals.
Lisa Rogers a resident of The Bluestone, a 76 unit community in Mabank, Texas received a 2013 $350 Camile Pahwa Scholarship. Lisa is currently enrolled at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas where she is pursuing a certificate degree in Management. She is expected to graduate in December 2013. Ms. Rogers was a past recipient of the Camile Pahwa scholarship in 2012 where she received $350. The funds from the 2012 scholarship helped her achieve a certificate from Trinity Valley Community College in Office Technology.
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, 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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