Haitian Student’s Path to America Includes a Tri-C Education
After 2017 associate degree, Bilou Isaac is attending the University of Akron as the first recipient of the “Zips for Haiti” scholarship
Bilou Isaac traveled thousands of miles to pursue his dream of a better life.
The 26-year-old Haitian has twice entered the U.S. as a student — first to pursue an Associate of Science degree at Cuyahoga Community College, which he earned in 2017, and now as an engineering student at the University of Akron.
A group from Hudson paid for Isaac’s Tri-C education, but financial concerns forced him to return to Haiti post-graduation. Back home, the native French speaker put his newfound English skills, honed at Tri-C, to use as a translator for American college students visiting Haiti on humanitarian missions.
Some of the students he met were from the University of Akron, where the “Zips for Haiti” program began in 2014. In conjunction with Akron Coffee Roasters and the UA College of Business Administration, Zips for Haiti produces coffee sourced from Haitian beans and sells it to fund scholarships. The scholarship money allows selected students from Haiti to attend college at the University of Akron.
This past January, Isaac became the first scholarship recipient to attend UA. In a recent article, the Akron Beacon Journal highlighted his story and the Zips for Haiti program.
Isaac wants to be an electrical engineer, supporting his mother and two brothers in Haiti. His father died in 2006, and his sister died in the massive earthquake that devastated parts of the island nation in 2010.
“I wouldn’t say I was desperate, but when I got this opportunity, my hope came back,” Isaac told the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m really taking it seriously. I don’t take it for granted.”
August 15, 2019
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org