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Djabatey Delivers Inspirational Speech at Columbus Ohio AABE Scholarship Reception

by on August 9, 2016

(Story by Fay White)

Eight recent high school graduates listened intently as Jesse Djabatey delivered his speech at the 2016 Columbus Ohio Chapter of the American Association of Blacks In Energy (AABE) scholarship reception.

The graduates were being honored as scholarship recipients.

Jesse Djabatey, AEP market risk analyst, inspired graduates with a speech he delivered at the Columbus Ohio American Association of Blacks In Energy scholarship reception. Photos by Caitlin Sadler.

Djabatey’s message was especially meaningful because he once sat where they were sitting. Five years ago, Djabatey also received an AABE scholarship.

During his speech, he talked about the scholarship reception he attended with his parents.

“This was the beginning of when everything in my life changed for the better,” Djabatey said. “I may not have received the greatest monetary award that night, but I went home with the most valuable award — a business card.”

Djabatey shared his story of how, as a high school senior who was tired of writing essays and attending numerous scholarship events, he arrived about five minutes late to the reception. His intention to sit quietly in the back with his parents did not go as planned.

A lady approached Djabatey and asked him to join her table. That lady happened to be Tracie Campbell, board member and past president of the Columbus Ohio Chapter of AABE.

Campbell also works for AEP Ohio as an energy efficiency marketing and advertising coordinator.

At Campbell’s table were about three to four people; among them was Brian Tierney, executive vice president and chief financial officer for AEP.

During dinner, Djabatey and Tierney struck up a conversation. Djabatey told Tierney about how he managed to simultaneously take classes in high school and college. Tierney seemed intrigued, and before he left the event he handed Djabatey his business card and told him to call him so they could talk some more.

“I don’t think it dawned on me what had just happened,” Djabatey said. “I remember Tracie kept reminding me throughout the reception that I should really follow up and call him. She said, ‘This opportunity doesn’t come around too often.’”

It was a good two weeks before he contacted him. With urging from his mother, he finally picked up his laptop and sent Tierney an email.

“As a result, Brian and I developed a relationship,” he said. “Fast forward to five years later, here I am working at AEP fulltime as a market risk analyst, after interning in the Market Risk Oversight group all four of my college years.”

Raised in Accra, Ghana, Djabatey moved to California and then to Columbus where he attended Mifflin High School. He was accepted into DeVry University’s Advantage Academy where he was able to complete college courses while in high school.

In 2011, he graduated as valedictorian of Mifflin with an associate degree of applied science in web graphic design from DeVry. In 2015, Djabatey graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in economics.

Tracie Campbell, energy efficiency coordinator – AEP Ohio, shares a conversation with Jesse Djabatey, one of many individuals she has mentored through her work with AABE, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Junior Achievement.

AEP and AEP Ohio have been longtime supporters and corporate sponsors of the Columbus Ohio Chapter of AABE, which celebrated its 10th year awarding scholarships to help prepare young people for success. Each year, the chapter awards grants to African American, Hispanic and Native American students pursuing college in energy-related fields.

“I am so proud to work for a company that supports our youth by devoting its resources to our scholarship program, and for leaders like Brian Tierney, who gave his time to mentor Jesse,” Campbell said. “With AEP’s and AEP Ohio’s help, the Columbus Ohio Chapter of AABE has been able to award nearly $330,000 in scholarships to high school seniors in central Ohio.”

Tierney also attended the reception with [Nick Akins], AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, and [Charles Patton], Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer, who presented the keynote address.

Djabatey ended his speech by offering the graduates some words of encouragement:

“Be prepared! You never know when an opportunity will knock at your door. If I hadn’t been prepared, I would have never made it as a recipient to this scholarship five years ago. I would have lost my golden opportunity and most certainly wouldn’t be here talking to you today.

“Whenever you find your Brian Tierney or Tracie Campbell, make sure to always show your appreciation and gratitude. I am forever thankful for the opportunity to show my talents at AEP and to my parents who always taught me to never to give up.”

Congratulations to this year’s recipients:

Lavonca Davis, Pickerington High School North. Field of Interest – Chemical Engineering

Dajah Howard, Columbus Africentric Early College. Field of Interest – Chemical Engineering

John Martin, Centerville High School. Field of Interest – Chemical Engineering

Walid Musa, Northland High School. Field of Interest – Electrical Engineering

Martha Nyarko, Mifflin High School. Field of Interest – Allied Health/Human Biology

Osaretinmwen Onaiwu, Eastmoor Academy. Field of Interest – Mechanical Engineering

Joshua Smith, Olentangy Orange High School. Field of Interest – Biological Sciences

LaMiah Tysinger, Reynoldsburg High School Encore Academy. Field of Interest – Chemical Engineering

From → News From AEP

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