December 02, 2011

Two earn J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Scholarships

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Steven R. Senteney Sr. was very impressed with what he heard about Southern Illinois University Carbondale and its programs, especially the Achieve Program.

When his son, Steven R. Senteney II, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in recreation in 2001, the elder Senteney’s faith in the University grew and as a result, two current students are now receiving scholarships.

Neil Mooney and Kahyree Najieb are the recipients of the 2011 J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Scholarship at SIU Carbondale.  They will receive their awards, made possible by the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, during a presentation at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in Room 111, Wing C of the Northwest Annex.  Mooney and Najieb will split the $2,500 prize award. 

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend the J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Scholarship presentation at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in Room 111 of the Northwest Annex, Wing C, located at 870 Lincoln Drive.  For more information about the presentation, contact Roger Pugh at 618/453-2369 or by email at

The son of Mike and Bonnie Mooney of Prospect Heights, Neil is a senior criminal justice major.  Kayree, the son of Annie and Lawrence Najieb of Chicago, is a freshman pre-major, planning to study criminal justice.  Kayree’s twin brother, Kamaal, is also an SIU Carbondale student.

The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI established the Former Agents of the FBI Foundation in 1957 to alleviate human suffering and advance science, education and cultural arts.  The foundation, in turn, established the J. Edgar Hoover Memorial Scholarship in 1978.  Each year, society members from each of the organization’s six regions, as well as from the chapter hosting the national convention, select a college or university to award the scholarships that year.  The institutions then choose a recipient, preferably a student in a law enforcement-related program.

During the 2011 national convention in Washington, D.C., the society selected Senteney, Sr. to designate a university to award the scholarship.  In appreciation of his son’s experience at the University, including in the Achieve Program, he chose SIU Carbondale, earmarking the money for Achieve Program participants with a criminal justice major and financial need.  Senteney, of Mattoon, first learned of the Achieve Program through friends Bob and Judy Schmissuer, whose son Eric participated in the program.  Eric died tragically in an accident his freshman year at college and his parents subsequently set up Achieve’s Schmissuer Foundation account.  The fund provides discretionary financial aid to help meet the needs of students in the program. 

Achieve is a comprehensive support program assisting students with diagnosed learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders or other learning differences, according to Roger Pugh, developmental skills training specialist for the program.  He said the program, one of the first of its kind at a major public university when put in place 33 years ago, provides specialized services typically not offered at universities.  Students have the option of applying for program admittance when submitting their University application. 

“Achieve continues to build its national reputation for providing accommodations and opportunities to bright men and women with learning challenges to help them reach their full potential and succeed,” Pugh said.

Now, former FBI members are providing some extra Achieve help in the form of the scholarship funds.  Ceremony participants will include Senteney, an FBI representative, a Department of Public Safety representative, Achieve and University officials, and the scholarship recipients and their family and friends.

“This presentation will be a wonderful moment to see how the past and present weave together to provide an opportunity for the future of two students in our program.  We couldn’t be more proud,” Pugh said.

For more information about the Achieve program, contact Pugh at 618/453-2369 or by email at or visit the website at