Rosalie Bambolo-Hurt, A.A. '13, has achieved her lifelong goal of receiving an education after a long, arduous journey.

by Chris Gasiewski

“I’m 47, married and have children. I really don’t need this…(but) I have two girls, and I wanted to encourage them to never stop.”—Rosalie Bambolo-Hurt, A.A. ’13

Her journey has been long and arduous—a relentless road that entailed civil war, emigrating to the United States, raising a family and ultimately pursuing a lifelong dream of receiving an education. Her spirit, though, never wavered through it all.

Rosalie Bambolo-Hurt, who received an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from University College in May 2013, had a turbulent upbringing. She was raised in Brewerville, Montserrado County, Liberia, at a time of civil disorder.

“The country was run by freed slaves from the United States up until 1980, when President William R. Tolbert was overthrown and killed by army sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe of the Krahn tribe,” Ms. Bambolo-Hurt said. “It was an uprising of indigenous Liberians who felt they wanted emancipation from the rule of the freed slaves.

“In 1990, Prince Yormie Johnson of the Gio tribe assassinated Samuel Kanyon Doe because that tribe felt they were more educated and should be in charge. The entire country then descended into a brutal civil war, which was horrific and very traumatic.”

With nothing to lose, and just two years after civil war broke out, Ms. Bambolo-Hurt fled the country for the United States. “I had to get away from that situation,” she said. “It was difficult.”

She didn’t arrive with much. She found a job and her educational aspirations had to take a backseat. Life also happened. She married Darnell Hurt, who works for the New York City Department of Correction, and they now have two children, Ronell, 15, and Nia, 12.  Through it all, Ms. Bambolo-Hurt continued to work, hoping to eventually get an education.

Then, in 2010, when the company she worked for agreed to pay part of her tuition—as long as she maintained a 3.0 GPA—she took the plunge. But she encountered another roadblock when “my company went out of business,” she said. “Then I was stuck. I didn’t have money to complete the degree.” Her dreams were again put on hold.

With the coaxing of Marcia Bazelis, an academic adviser at Adelphi, and the support of her new employers at Partners in Care, part of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Ms. Bambolo-Hurt continued her studies. And now that she has received an associate degree, she isn’t stopping. She’s currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences program at Adelphi and plans to become an occupational therapist.

“I’m 47, married and have children,” she said. “I really don’t need this…(but) I have two girls, and I wanted to encourage them to never stop. I had such a long journey getting to this point.”

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