Asia Adams was Board of Governor’s scholar at West Chester University, aiming to graduate and continue her field of study in psychology, but in November 2004, two men aquainted with the victim took her life.On Wednesday April 23, her mother, Shelah Harper, remembered her daughter by holding a symposium for students and professors who knew her or were affected by her and awarded the first Asia Adams Scholarship Award.
“I am so proud to have been her mother,” Harper said of her daughter. “She was such a bright girl.”
Adams received a full scholarship to William Penn Charter School and a full scholarship to West Chester University.
Adams was set to meet with one of her professors she was researching for, when she was murdered in her Germantown home in November 2004.
Adams was researching under the direction of Debbie Mahlstedt, researching violence against women in African American communities.
Mahlstedt reflected upon her realization of the situation when Adams did not meet with her. On her drive home, Mahlstedt heard the report of Adams’ brutal death on the radio and pulled over her car on Route 202.
Thomas Strode and Simeon Bozic were both convicted of first-degree murder, last month. Both we issued life in prison without parole.
The gruesome death of Adams was described as “viscous” by the judge presiding over the case. Asia’s throat was cut by the defendants and then ignited in her Germantown home after the defendants stole money from her bank account.
Rather than focus on the tragedy of the past, Harper focused on Adams’ kind heart, service to her community and academic excellence.
The Asia Adams Save our Children Foundation was founded by Harper after her daughter’s murder to empower young women to spend their lives focusing on education, community service and breaking down barriers of race, sex, age and class.
The scholarship was awarded to Kendra Milton, a senior at West Chester University studying psychology, like Adams. Harper expressed how much Milton reminded her of her daughter.
“Today is the first time we will be awarding a scholarship to a person with characteristics who best exemplify [Adams],” Harper said. “When I read [Milton’s] bio, I thought I could be reading Asia’s.”
After awarding Milton with the $500 scholarship, the two hugged and the crowd congratulated Milton.
Frank Stern is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at FS628548@wcupa.edu