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Posted by: Date: July 7, 2008 In: ,

College: First in family

Maurice Eckstein was riding home in a cab after his shift as the night concierge at a hotel in his native Trinidad last year, when his eye stopped on an advertisement.

It offered local students a chance to mix with a group of visiting PLU students in an exchange program between PLU and the University of the West Indies. A lucky few would get a chance to study at PLU on a full-ride scholarship.

A long-held dream of being the first in his family to complete a college degree snapped into focus on that taxi ride home. A year later, Eckstein,  a communications major who hopes to pursue a career in public relations or television journalism, says the advertisement changed his life.

“Actually, working at the funeral home was one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had,” says Eckstein. There was  the human element, but also, he was an event planner.

“It was rewarding to be “the guy” that everyone came to,” in a difficult situation, he says.

He quickly became “the guy” at PLU too – though the circumstances were obviously better. Even as a first-year student he got involved and started the Lute Explosion African Dance Group. He handles public relations for the International Club on campus and is an ASPLU senator for international students. He helped organize the Campus Carnival in 2008, which emphasized the culture of Tobago and Trinidad.

Big steps for someone who, a little more than a year ago, saw his life’s possibilities change in a taxi cab. PLU can do that to people.