Winner of the Annual $5,000 DRI Foundation Undergrad Scholarship Announced!

2016 Scholarship winner 1“I have had a lot of teachers in my lifetime – some of them good, some of them not very good. But it was my fourth grade teacher who changed my outlook on school and taught me that learning can be fun. And I’ve just been on that path ever since,” said Katia Hamamouche, winner of the 2016 DRI Foundation scholarship award for a current undergraduate student, and a future teacher herself.

Hamamouche will receive a $5,000 scholarship made possible by the generosity of DRI International and DRI Canada, which was open to both U.S. and Canadian students enrolled in a 4-year undergraduate program for the upcoming fall semester. Applicants were judged based on a list of submission criteria, including academics, extracurricular activities, volunteerism, and an essay on campus violence. To qualify, the applicant’s parent or legal guardian had to be a DRI International Certified Professional in good standing.

“Campus violence is a very real concern, which is why we asked our undergraduate scholarship applicants to address the issue, sharing their experiences, perceptions, insights, and ideas. Katia did so eloquently and effectively,” said DRI Foundation Chair AnneMarie Staley. “Katia’s winning essay provided perspective and solid advice gleaned from her role as a Resident Assistant as well as what she has learned as the daughter of a continuity professional. I congratulate Katia and am sure the students of this future teacher will be well-educated on crisis response.”

Hamamouche will be a senior at Alma College in Alma, Michigan in the fall, with a 3.89 GPA. She is from Carmel, Indiana and is majoring in elementary education. Hamamouche has an impressive academic record, as well as extensive volunteer experience. She is currently in Ghana, where she is helping to establish a school and teach English for the summer. “I challenge myself to do one thing every year that is way out of my comfort zone,” she said of the Ghana trip. “This is it! I don’t like planes, but once I get there, I’ll be fine.” Of her win, Hamamouche said, “This is great! It helps so much, and I’m so thankful to DRI. It really means a lot to me.”

Hamamouche also identified another important teacher in her life – her mother, DRI CBCP Michelle Hamamouche. “My mom has an awesome career. She always educated my sister and I on what to do in certain situations – what to do if there’s an attack on campus, what to do in an earthquake. She taught us everything we needed to know if we ever found ourselves in a crisis situation.”

Those lessons paid off and were the inspiration for Hamamouche’s winning essay, which focuses on the need to better educate and communicate “potential trigger signs, prevention techniques, available resources, and proper responses to acts of violence.”

A resident assistant in a campus dorm, Hamamouche said those topics are covered in RA training, “but no one else on campus knows. I knew all of it already, and I knew what questions to ask thanks to my mom. But most other students on campus really don’t have the information they need – or a mom like mine!”

Hamamouche is the daughter of Michelle Hamamouche, a DRI Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), who BCP Global Lead for RCI, a subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation. “We’re were thrilled to get the news and are very grateful,” she said.

Click here to read Katia’s winning essay!

Many thanks to the 2016 Judges:

Jim Noble
Vice President Global Risk Manager – Retired

Carol L. Hodnett
United Way Vice President
Community Impact and Martin Volunteers

Rosemary Hartofilis
Adjunct Professor
St.John’s University

David Newsom
Global Manager