Pictured: The Austin Hays Scholarship winner, Fatima Koroma, after graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park.
BALTIMORE, MD – Outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles, Austin Hays, awards The $20,000 Austin Hays Scholarship on Bold.org to George Washington student, Fatima Koroma. In July 2022, Austin created the scholarship on Bold.org to support Maryland students in need of financial aid for their higher education. Hays personally funded $10,000 with an equal match from the Orioles Charitable Foundation. Before the Baltimore Orioles game against the Detroit Tigers on September 21, Austin awarded Fatima with a $20,000 check on the field.
Fatima wrote a moving essay about a traumatic experience she faced. In 2020, Fatima was in a house fire, which resulted in second and third-degree burns across 35% of her body. For four weeks, Fatima was in the ICU before moving to the burn floor, where she spent an additional 3 weeks. Fatima wrote about feeling neglected at times in the hospital, making it very hard for her to feel safe during such a vulnerable time. However, Fatima found comfort in her occupational and physical therapists as they helped her regain strength and the function of her body. As Fatima’s grafts healed, her therapists helped her relearn everyday activities. They took an interest in her life beyond her accident and helped navigate the complicated feelings that come with suffering such a traumatic event.
Today, Fatima’s dream is to build and run a rehabilitation center for women who have survived traumatic injuries such as burns, car accidents and other life-altering injuries. “Seeing aspects of my OT’s job sparked an interest, but it was her ability to empathize and address aspects of my mental well-being that really made me consider a career in occupational therapy,” she writes in her essay.
In the fall of 2022, Fatima will attend George Washington University's Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program. After completing her doctorate degree, she plans to become a licensed OT. “I want to be able to provide access to resources for disadvantaged people and assist them in actualizing their potential, to feel like functioning members of society,” Fatima writes in her essay. “I aspire to become a practitioner who reaches different types of people all over the world.”
Austin Hays says: “Fatima’s perseverance is incredible. I was so impressed by her scholarship essay, and I was honored that she shared her story with me. I am proud to award Fatima The Austin Hays Scholarship. Thank you to the Orioles and Bold.org for partnering with me to create this opportunity for students in Maryland!”
Fatima Koroma says: “I am so excited and thankful to have been awarded The Austin Hays Scholarship. This scholarship will allow me to further my educational pursuits. Not only does it lessen the financial burden, but it also allows me to immerse myself in my studies in a way that I have never been able to do before. I get to focus my efforts on becoming the best clinician that I can be, rather than worrying about financial restraints. I feel incredibly blessed to have been recognized in this way. Thank you to Austin Hays, The Orioles and Bold.org for making this happen!”
Hays is part of a long list of athletes and public figures who support education on Bold.org. Other Bold.org scholarship sponsors include MLB player Gary Sánchez, NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Tyrell Terry, professional tennis player Sloane Stephens, Grammy-winning band Imagine Dragons, professional MMA fighter Cat Zingano, actor Terry Crews and many more.
Bold.org is the largest independent scholarship provider in the country. The organization provides a platform for any person or company to create personalized scholarships, fellowships or grants. Bold.org is committed to relieving the country’s soaring student debt crisis through democratizing philanthropy. The company offers an innovative and philanthropic solution to combat the student debt crisis, which has tremendously impacted 44 million Americans to date.