D.R.E.A.M.S. for Youth Scholarship Recipients
When Robert was exploring college options during his junior year at Huntington High School, he fell in love with New York University’s rigorous actor training, alumni connections and location. And in his first academic year at NYU, United Way of Long Island’s D.R.E.A.M.S. for Youth Scholarship Program gave him the opportunity to pursue his acting dreams in the city he spent his childhood admiring.
Growing up with a Caribbean background, Robert’s family always stressed his education above everything. Even as his family struggled financially, his parents wouldn’t allow him to get a job because they were concerned employment would take his focus off education. Robert even registered for his working papers at age 16, but his parents told him they wouldn’t be necessary. The same rule applies to his college experience.
With his full focus devoted to academics, Robert’s first-year acting classes included speech, movement, empowered body, scene study, character and Shakespeare. He aspires to become a screen actor upon graduation, but his academic endeavors stretch far beyond the stage. Because acting accounts for only half of his program, Robert committed to a double major of Drama and Africana Studies and discovered a passion for essays.
Through writing, Robert tackled social dilemmas such as racial inequality. During his freshman term, he received the prestigious Josh Goldfaden Award — an honor that recognizes students’ outstanding contributions to building an NYU community of readers and writers. He is especially proud of an essay about the restitution of African artifacts in Western museums. As part of the pre-writing process, he took the Subway to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and surveyed Black observers in the African gallery about restitution. The D.R.E.A.M.S. for Youth Scholarship allows Robert get the most out of his studies by lifting the financial burden that would otherwise prevent such initiatives.
“The freedom that the city offers is unmatched and I love that,” Robert said. “Of course, that wouldn’t be possible without the help of aid and scholarship funds. This scholarship allows me to continue my academic journey at my dream university. Having that extra money in my account, in my pocket, to go explore the city helps. That financial buffer, that safety net, it goes a long way.”
Robert also joined The Collective, which is a club of students enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts committed to empowering the next generation of Black artists. The COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to join extracurriculars this past year, but Robert plans on joining more clubs or even starting one of his own during the upcoming academic term. He will also look to maintain his impressive 3.7 GPA.
Blending arts and activism has come to define Robert’s college experience. His love for acting and writing shines through, and there’s no better city in the world to take advantage of his passions. With the help of the D.R.E.A.M.S. for Youth Scholarship, United Way of Long Island is excited to see what Robert’s promising future holds.