Meet Edson: Nobody Can Stop Him
Originally from Zambia, Edson grew up in a village without electricity or running water. Orphaned after his parents died when he was a young child, he lived with his grandparents who are subsistence farmers. His childhood in Zambia was very difficult and he was often depressed. "My childhood was filled with sorrow. I was a despondent child and I did not think that I would ever have a better future. If I could count my fallen tears — they could fill an ocean. If my heart had a window — you could see all my pain and scars," he said. Edson eventually left Zambia and served as a volunteer/teaching assistant — working with children with disabilities in various locations throughout the world including Zambia, South Africa, England, Scotland and the United States.
Today, all of those experiences fuel his drive and passion to live a better life. "My motivation and desire to make my dreams come true is like a burning flame that not even the fire brigades can extinguish," said Chipalo. "People thought that I'd never go anywhere because I was an orphan, but I know that's not the case. I know I can succeed as long as I work hard and be good to people around me," he said with an infectious smile.
While at BCC he names Eleanore Velez '06 as the person with the strongest impact on him. "She is such an important influence, especially on immigrants at BCC. I have respect for everyone, but Eleanore really influenced and supported me so much.
The Berkshires mean a lot to me. It's a place where I connect with a lot of people and I have a lot of friends here. It is my home in America.
Edson was the first one in his family to go to College and graduated from BCC with High Honors. While in the Berkshires he served as the Student Trustee, Student Ambassador, the Community College Segmental Student Advisor on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and as the Team Captain of BCC's intermural Cross-Country Team. After graduation in 2015, he went on to get his BS in Social Work from the College of Saint Rose and his Master's in Social Work from Columbia.
After college he was looking for a new challenge and decided to move to Alaska for a year where he worked with children with mental health issues at an organization called AKEELAH.
Edson was recently notified that he will receive a fellowship with the University of Alabama to pursue his PhD. His goal is to complete it within three to four years and we are sure that he will again work hard, be good to others, and succeed.
Edson received several scholarships during his time at BCC. They include but are not limited to the BCC Foundation scholarship, the New World Fund, the Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship, the SGA and Emory transfer scholarships.