GSK presents college scholarships to Philadelphia students who have overcome adversity to pursue their dreams

Issued: Philadelphia, PA


Media representatives are invited to GSK to attend a special event honoring the 2017 winners of the GSK Opportunity Scholarship program.  GSK Opportunity Scholarships are awarded to Philadelphia residents who have overcome significant adversities and are improving their lives through higher education.  The scholarship program was established with The Philadelphia Foundation seven years ago through a GSK endowment.


The scholarships will be presented by Lamont R. Terrell, PhD., Head, US R&D Early Talent and University Diversity on June 22, at 4:30 pm. Scholarship recipients will be available for interviews following the brief ceremony or upon request.


GSK, 5 Crescent Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19112 (located within The Navy Yard)

Please note: We request that all reporters interested in attending the event contact Marti Skold-Jordan at or at 919-328-0507.


James Forgrove grew up in poverty, hunger and homelessness in a family of six children raised by a single mother.  Four of the children, including James were placed into foster care and eventually were cared for by two adult siblings.  James excelled academically despite all of his adversities graduating in the top three percent of his high school class. James’ dream is to not only be the first person to graduate college in his family, but to attain his Doctorate of Pharmacy with the goal of becoming an Oncological Pharmacist. James will attend Temple University School of Pharmacy

Demetrius Zaliwciw was surrounded by uncertainty and instability in a broken home where he was often hungry and had to do homework in the dark after the electricity was cut due to unpaid bills. Demetrius was placed in foster care after his home was deemed unsafe. But he worked hard to excel academically and graduated with numerous awards and was on the Honor Roll at Creative and Performing Arts Magnet School. Demetrius will attend Pennsylvania State University to pursue a degree Bachelor of Science in Engineering.

Ronnetta Dillard grew up in a family that struggled following job loss, financial hardship and health issues. Ronnetta became the sole breadwinner for the family, working and attending school at the same time. She drove a school bus and left it in a parking lot while attending classes. Ronnetta will attend Alvernia University working to attain a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration.

Julia Kay emigrated from Russia and is now a US citizen experienced violence and abuse at an early age.  She moved out of her home and became independent at the age of 17. She has worked several part time jobs to fund her education and has used art as a means of overcoming her adversity. Julia is one of only a few student painters that were accepted into the Rittenhouse Square Art Show.  Julia is working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Temple University with a double major in painting and sculpture at Tyler School of Art.

Kathleen Nguyen spent years in a homeless shelter with her mother and siblings as a young child and remembers standing in distribution lines to get canned goods, rice and beans. When she was in 7th grade her mother became severely ill and was hospitalized. Kathleen realizes that education is her way to success in life and in high school she enrolled in AP courses maintaining high honors and became a member of Philadelphia Futures. Kathleen has been accepted to Pennsylvania State University where she will pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with aspirations of becoming a nurse.

Zymir Brunson was robbed by a mob of neighborhood teens on his way home from a rehearsal for a school play.  All of his possessions were taken.  Zymir cooperated with police to identify the teens, face them in court and pursue justice.  He was elected student body president and participated in Mock Trial. His encounter left him wanting to help others through the justice system by becoming an attorney and a judge.  Zymir plans to study Pre-Law at Temple University.

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