With strong academic credentials at a private high school in Rochester, N.Y., Charlotte Passero had considerable latitude to choose a college or university. But it took only one campus visit, an informal meeting with a School of Business professor and a Keeper of the Dream Scholarship to make Fredonia her first choice.
“The first time I visited Fredonia, I knew it was the right college for me,” Charlotte explained. She found Dr. Linda Hall, who teaches accounting, to be “helpful, kind and inviting.” The school’s smaller enrollment and location were appealing as well.
The Our Lady of Mercy High School graduate underscored the value of the Keeper of the Dream Scholarship, citing it as the “most influential” factor that led to her decision to enroll at Fredonia. The sizeable monetary benefit – a $4,000 renewable scholarship issued to four incoming first-year students – helps make college a reality for many academically talented students.
A wide range of donors that encompasses businesses, alumni and friends of the university have funded Keeper of the Dream Scholarships since the program was established by Fredonia’s then-Division of Student Affairs (now Enrollment and Student Services) in 2002.
Just as significant to Charlotte were the intangibles of scholarship, leadership, and service that accompany the award, such as participation in multicultural activities and the Advanced Leadership Development Program. She also volunteered and worked as a teacher aide in the Campus and Community Children’s Center in the before-school program.
The Keeper of the Dream program builds leaders, promotes multiculturalism throughout the community and offers what Charlotte describes as “amazing opportunities.” For her, that meant a 2015 fall internship in the Office of Student Affairs, where she worked on an accounting project with Vice President David Herman and Associate Vice President Monica White.
Charlotte, who majored in Accounting and Finance, immersed herself in a wide range of programs and activities, including many that were career related. As special events chair of the Accounting Society e-board, she planned and organized several events each semester, including two that she established: the "International Accounting Day Jeopardy Tournament" and the "Fredonia Feud Tournament."
As part of the Advanced Leadership Development Program, she and six fellow students created Seniors of Dunkirk, an event held at the Chautauqua Adult Day Care Center that connected students to clients of the center.
“It was incredibly rewarding to meet and get to know the clients at the day care center,” Charlotte recalled. “All of our hard work paid off when we saw how the clients appreciated our event.”
In a community service project through the Council for Exceptional Children, Charlotte and other students helped teach socialization skills to children with exceptionalities.
She has also served as an accounting clerk, assisting with day-to-day accounting practices of the accounts payable department at a Rochester optical business during a summer internship.
A 2017 graduate of Fredonia, Charlotte plans to earn a master’s degree in Public Accountancy at St. Bonaventure University and take the CPA exam.