“Foundation Year gave me a chance to prove myself and prove how much I am determined to succeed.”

July 02, 2013

Fifty-seven students proved their commitment to their college education when they celebrated culmination of Foundation Year on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

Northeastern’s Col­lege of Pro­fes­sional Studies Foundation Year program is an intensive twelve-month freshman program established to assist City of Boston high school graduates who have aspirations of entering college, but do not have the academic preparation and financial resources to attend and succeed.

Students who completed the program this year have been accepted at a number of colleges and universities and are currently in the decision-making process about attendance in the fall. Here is what a couple of them had to say:

Oumou Traore recounted that when her acceptance letter to Foundation Year arrived in the mail she “knew it was her calling and her gate to success.”

Reading was always challenging for Traore, who would often struggle to find the motivation to complete her homework.

“Taking on a challenge will get you where you want to be,” she said. “Foundation Year gave me a chance to prove myself and prove how much I am determined to succeed.”That changed for her in a Foundation Year course with one book, Paper Daughter: A Memoir by M. Elaine Mar. With this assignment, Traore decided to push herself and sat down with her advisor to create a reading calendar. She ended up reading everywhere she went, and as a result, finished the book weeks before it was due.

Ted Hilaire, initially a skeptic of making friends in the program, was inspired by his classmates, and noted that he “met so many different people and learned so many valuable things from all of them.”

The diversity of the group, with representation from communities throughout Boston, is, according to Hilaire, what made it a “beautiful, vibrant, lively community.”He explained that he was able to take this knowledge and “apply it to his work.” Hilaire credited his fellow graduates for teaching him to “do work and stay consistent” and have career aspirations.

At the event, students were recognized with awards for academic service, consistency, persistence, and writing excellence, among others. Taren Coleman, a Foundation Year alumna and recent graduate of Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts, shared how Foundation Year created opportunities for her, one of which included traveling abroad in college. Coleman enjoyed this experience so much that she’s now planning on traveling to India to teach English to children.

With all that she’s accomplished, Coleman told students, “Keep going. Please don’t stop. You’ll make it further than you thought.”

Dean LaBrie thanked faculty, writing tutors, staff, family, friends and supporters of the program, stressing the importance of “finding the people willing to help and support you.”

Guest speaker Richard DeAgazio, Dean’s Advisory Council member and retired president of Boston Capital Securities, Inc., echoed the sentiment heard throughout the evening by telling students, “don’t quit.”


Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a comprehensive, global research university. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 165 graduate programs, ranging from professional master’s degrees to interdisciplinary PhD programs. Northeastern’s research enterprise is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Northeastern students participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning in 90 countries on all seven continents.