Julie Senecoff, Ph.D., is the Dean for the Division of Arts and Sciences, Senior Dean of Manor College, Program Director, Health Science Transfer Programs and Bachelor’s Program in Health Services, Health Sciences, and Interdisciplinary Studies in Math and Science. She and her husband, Juan Navia, Ph.D., recently started the Navia-Senecoff Award for Hispanic STEM Students here at Manor College to encourage students who show promise in STEM studies and demonstrate a need for support. “We hope to inspire a new generation of science professionals, especially those of Hispanic heritage, and we know this award can be a help,” she says. 

Student Spotlight: Madelyn Rivera

Madelyn Rivera ‘20 thought she had her life balanced. It was difficult, but the Philadelphia-native found the secret to navigating a full-time job, being a full-time student at Manor College and raising three children. 

Then the COVID-19 pandemic started, forcing her to find a new rhythm. 

“Not only was I a full-time student, worker and mom, but now a teacher to a 7th and 3rd grader,” Madelyn said. “The pandemic threw everything out of balance and added more challenges.” 

On May 13, 2021, Rivera stood in front of her classmates as the class speaker representing graduates in Associate degree students. With her Associate’s degree in Pre-Science in hand and a 3.9 GPA in her Manor College career, she stood applauding her classmates saying,  

“Seeing you all here today shows how strong and determined you are.”

“Manor College really does live up to its slogan, ‘You Belong Here’ because from the moment I started, the faculty and staff made me feel more than welcomed. I met many people that helped me get where I am today and I would not be standing up here if it were not for you.” 

Rivera credits Dr. Julie Senecoff, her advisor and professor at Manor College for getting her through the rough patches. 

“She always believed in me, even when I didn’t,” Rivera said. “She acknowledged my hard work and saw the potential in me.”

Students like Rivera are the reason why Dr. Senecoff and her husband Dr. Juan Navia decided to start the Navia-Senecoff Award for Hispanic STEM students. Had the scholarship existed before Rivera graduated, it would have financial stress associated with going to college. 

“Whether the funds are used to defray the costs of books, lab fees or tuition, we hope this fund will help students feel secure in finishing their studies at Manor,” Dr. Senecoff said. “Everyone deserves to receive an education and pursue a chosen career. We should do what we can to help.”