For DonorsFor Applicants

Ahmadi Family Scholarship

Funded by
4 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
Nov 15, 2023
Winners Announced
Dec 15, 2023
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school or undergraduate student going to a community college or four-year university
First-generation student
Child of immigrant parents
Financial Status:
Has financial need

Financial aid is more important than ever as the costs of attending college continue to rise.

As the student debt crisis grows, scholarships are a crucial resource for students with financial need. Every scholarship can make a difference, whether it’s a large award offered by a school or company or a small sum provided by local organizations and businesses.

This scholarship seeks to support students who have financial need so they can afford to pursue higher education.

Any first-generation high school or undergraduate student who has financial need and is the child of immigrant parents may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us about the challenges you’ve overcome to get where you are and how this scholarship would help you achieve your goals and pursue your dreams.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Need
Published July 20, 2023
Essay Topic

Tell us about the challenges you've overcome to get to where you are today and how this scholarship would help you.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Sarah Joseph
University of South Florida-Main CampusKissimmee, FL
My journey to this point has been marked by numerous challenges that have tested my resilience, determination, and drive to succeed. Both of my parents are Nigerian immigrants who moved to the United States not too long ago to allow their children to obtain an easier life. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer our family suffered not only financially but emotionally. Witnessing my father take on two jobs to provide for our family while my mom recovered showed me the sacrifices that come with pursuing a better life. I wouldn't see my father for days at a time and when he was gone I had to help my mother and take care of my little sister. I missed days of school to make sure my mother was okay, though I am thankful I never fell behind. This quickly made me learn the importance of strength and adaptability. As a first-generation college student, the path to higher education has been paved with obstacles. Juggling two part-time jobs at Amazon and Zaxby's alongside my studies has been both physically and mentally demanding. The financial burden of tuition fees and other expenses has been a constant concern for me and my family. My father has recently gotten sick and there is an issue with my scholarship which led me to take out more loans than I intended to. Even in times of doubt and concern, I know I cannot and will not drop out of college due to financial reasons and instead continue to keep on going. Moreover, I faced another challenge that left a lasting impact on my self-esteem. In school, I was always the odd one out, which led to bullying that made me feel uncomfortable in my own skin for a long time. This struggle with self-acceptance taught me the importance of embracing my individuality and valuing my unique qualities. The pursuit of my dream to become a dermatologist has required perseverance and sacrifices. The rigorous classes and demanding schedule are quite overwhelming, though my passion for this field is strong. One of my biggest goals is to open a clinic for underserved communities because everyone deserves to have access to quality healthcare regardless of financial standing. Despite the obstacles, I've maintained a strong academic record throughout my years and even became a consistent volunteer at the organization, Give Kids the World. This scholarship would represent more than just financial assistance; it would be a blessing to know that my efforts don't go in vain. Financial aid would alleviate the burden of working multiple jobs, allowing me to dedicate more time to my studies. This scholarship would also provide me with the resources to invest in my education and serve as a source of inspiration and validation. In essence, the challenges I've overcome have molded me into a resilient young woman. This scholarship would not only alleviate financial stress but also empower me to continue striving for excellence. With your support, I am confident that I can further my education and ultimately give back to my community. My journey, shaped by both triumphs and adversities, has fueled my determination to create a positive impact.
Thao Nhi Tran
Kerr High SchoolHouston, TX
From the fourth grade, I knew I wanted to spark other students' love for STEM when I got older. Everyone, including my family, told me it was impossible. I barely had the opportunity to learn STEM myself, "let alone teach it." My mother worked minimum wage, and I grew up homeless for 14 years, moving from shelter to shelter. There was no one, except for my mother, who believed that I had the privilege to afford to learn due to those circumstances. I continued to foster my dream and cherish the opportunities where I could ask questions of my peers and professors, building models out of almost anything I could get my hands on. The time that I spent in school was golden to me; education was my saving grace for my mother and my future stability. I was focused on starting my mentoring program, not to prove them wrong and not for my benefit, but for the future of the other low-income elementary students who are being discouraged the way I was. After three years of communicating with sponsors and actively participating in my high school's National Science Honor Society, I was able to spearhead the start of "Full STEAM Ahead" in 12 low-income elementary schools. While working with these students, I began to understand that each student has a unique learning style, which impacts how they perform. I wanted to customize each mentoring experience for them by personally collaborating with each student and learning how their background and family have impacted their learning. By communicating this with their mentors, I can be sure that each student finds inspiration and growth from their sessions. Understanding how each student has different environments where their education can best thrive, the founding of "Kerr PALS," a mentoring program for underrepresented students with difficult home situations, was successful. The program aimed to provide a supportive and nurturing environment for these students, helping them overcome the challenges they face outside of school. Through regular check-ins and personalized guidance, "Kerr PALS" not only helped improve academic performance but also fostered a sense of belonging and motivation among the students. All 188 mentees in the program have shown improvement after their long-term connections were built with their understanding mentors. Today, I continue to share my story with mentees during our experiments to encourage them to embark on their academic journeys, regardless of their financial backgrounds. With all honesty, I am grateful for all of the people who told me that I did not have the potential to succeed academically because I was homeless with a single immigrant mother—their words fueled my fire to not only prove them wrong but to become a voice and advocate for students like me in my community. As I continue to learn and grow from my mentees, mentors, and mother, I hope to sow more rich seeds in my community to be the best leader I can be: one who actively represents the unrepresented groups and fervently advocates for equality and social justice. This scholarship will allow me to have a chance at achieving a higher education, as my mother and I can not afford to pay for my undergraduate tuition. If I receive the support, this will be an opportunity for me to chase my dream of becoming a microbiologist and a first-generation college student in my family. I will be able to focus on my research and do well in school as this scholarship will allow me to obtain the tools needed to be successful in university, such as textbooks and my tuition.
Syedgull Noorali
Oglethorpe UniversityBrookhaven, GA
I was born to a poor family in a poor country torn by war. When I was eight or nine, I lost my leg in the war in Afghanistan. This tragedy brought me to America where I got a prosthetic leg, received an education, and had experiences that have changed my life. When I first got to America in 2011, I could only stay for three months. My host family, John and Zoe, had a son with cerebral palsy who introduced me to waterskiing. I wanted to try it so badly. Everybody was explaining how to waterski, and I didn’t know any English. I was thinking, What the heck are you guys trying to say? Just let me get on the water already. When I got on the water, I skied like a pro. I came back to America in 2013. I had learned a little English. On the lake, I was ready to get into the cage, which is a seat attached to a large waterski, but Robby, my coach, said I was going to ski on one leg. I thought, Is he joking, or am I misunderstanding him? With a little practice, I was up and skiing the inner course. Water skiing distracted me from PTSD which I faced harshly throughout middle and high school. Back in Afghanistan, I attended a mosque where I was taught by religious men, like the Taliban. They taught us things that kids should not have to know at my age. Not a lot of people in Afghanistan can read, so the Taliban read the Quran to them and translated it the way they wanted to. When I first came to America, I was skeptical about this modern culture that ate at different times, prayed differently, and wore different clothes. The Taliban told me all Americans were evil, and yet Americans took me in, gave me food, took care of me, and gave me a leg. I had to ask myself, How are they evil? As I grew up, I realized that the Taliban were the evil ones. I want to go to college because I want to help my country and get my family out of poverty. I am the first in my family to get an education. I would like to study engineering or become an ambassador. This might sound dramatic, but I would like to stop the Taliban from causing more violence in Afghanistan. This has been my dream. I would like to go back to my homeland and see peace. I would solve this problem through education. The Taliban brainwash kids to fight for them. If I build good schools, that would teach children how wrong the Taliban are. The Taliban use religion as a weapon against the Islamic people. If people are educated, I think they would see right from wrong. I say that from experience. When I came to America, I learned that everything the Taliban taught us was from the Stone Age and that we as humans need to adapt to the new ways of thinking. Only through education can we save the people of Afghanistan.
Lon Chhay
San Diego State UniversitySantee, CA
I come from a family of refugees who fled the genocide in Cambodia. We were relocated here to the United States. Not knowing how to speak the language or having an understanding of the culture of the United States and having nothing but the clothes on their backs my parents did what they could to raise us in a community that was ignored by policy makers and our government. We grew up in poverty where eventually I made some bad decisions in my life and ended up involved with gangs, substance abuse, and crime in an attempt to support myself and my family. I wound up in the legal system where I've spent a total of 22 years incarcerated beginning at 14 years old. During my last period of incarceration where I spent nearly 13 years, I made a decision to educate myself and started taking correspondence college courses while still in prison in an attempt to better myself before returning to society. Shortly after my release, I applied to San Diego State University (SDSU), a school that I thought I would never be able to attend because of how I grew up. But I was accepted and am now studying Sociology. It is not a common theme to see someone from my neighborhood attend SDSU, many of the folks that I grew up with are surprised to learn that someone with my background of poverty and involvement with the legal system can attend SDSU. I have demonstrated that it is possible for us to educate ourselves in an institution such as SDSU no matter what mistakes we've made in life. This scholarship will offer me the opportunity to continue to pursue higher education and give back to the community I come from. I work full time while attending school as well as trying to raise a family. This scholarship will take some of the financial hardships that I've encountered while trying to obtain a college education for myself. With the completion of an undergraduate degree, it will push me forward in my pursuit of an MSW where I will continue to help uplift my community and those most impacted by poverty, mass incarceration, and addiction. It is imperative that our community have someone with the lived experience to come back into the community and help those who need it most. Not only will those with lived experiences be able to connect with the targeted demographics but we'll be able to have a sincere understanding of the struggles and what it took to get out of it.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 15, 2023. Winners will be announced on Dec 15, 2023.

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