Maida Brkanovic Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
Learn more about the Donor
2 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
Oct 6, 2021
Winners Announced
Nov 6, 2021
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate

In August of 2020, we tragically lost Maida Brkanovic, our beloved daughter, who had a contagious enthusiasm for life.

Maida loved helping others. She cared deeply about humans and animals. Some of her help was directed towards juvenile diabetes, cancer research, MS research and support, the elderly who lived by themselves, and all animal welfare. She did many walks, bakes, and volunteered her free time.

In light of her selfless attitude and to keep her wonderful legacy alive, the Maida Brkanovic Memorial Scholarship will support one student who emulates Maida’s lifestyle through their own selfless actions. 

To be eligible, you must be a recent immigrant and/or a first-generation high school or undergraduate student in any field of study. You will have the opportunity to write about your experience as a recent immigrant and/or a first-generation student and how that’s influenced your beliefs about life.

Diversity and Inclusion
Selection Criteria:
Essay, Selfless, Community Service, Recent Immigrant/First-Generation, Ambition
Essay Topic

Please write about your experience as a recent immigrant and/or a first-generation student and how that’s influenced your beliefs about life.

400–800 words

Winning Applications

Safwan Agmayah
University of California-Santa CruzSanta Cruz, CA
From the first breath I took, I have experienced violence. I was born on March 22, 2003, and the U.S. invasion of Iraq started on March 20th. There had been a bombing or explosion of some sort in the hospital that I was born in. I don’t remember this, but I have carried a long-term effect of it to this day. I lost some hearing in my right ear. I can hear with my right ear, but I do realize the difference. My right ear feels blocked compared to my left ear. This challenge resulted in me having to sit in front of every class in middle school. I didn’t mind this because I knew it was for the better, it made it easier for me to learn. Another way that I overcame this challenge was by being provided a hearing aid. In 2007, there was a suicide bomb that had detonated by our elementary school. The terrorist group targeted a Christian school, and it led to many deaths and injuries. I wasn’t old enough to go to school at that age, since I was only four years old. However, I remember it, vividly. I remember the fear in my parents' eyes and the rush to school. We went there in hopes of finding my brother, who was only a year older than me. I remember seeing the sight of debris from the classrooms. I remember hearing yelling for their children and children screaming in pain. Even though my family and I left Iraq in 2011, four years after the bombing, this was still one of the driving forces on why my parents decided to leave Iraq. That decision changed my life because of where I am today. This challenge made me who I am today because it showed me how to be grateful. These types of things happen every day to countless people, and I am grateful I made it out. Having come from a foreign country, making it harder for me to do well in school. In the 5th grade, when students were reading “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” I was learning grammar and punctuation. While students had elective classes like art and music in middle school, I had ELD. A program for English learners that we had to test out of. While my friends were taking college prep classes, I challenged myself and took Honors and AP classes. In the end, I still read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” I still made it out of ELD and joined ASB, and became the Treasurer. I have had to work harder than a lot of my peers to get on the same level as them. I remember back in second grade, in Iraq, we were learning a new language. We were learning Assyrian Aramaic, a different dialect of Aramaic than the one I speak. This language was difficult for me to learn due to being raised to learn a different language and going to school to learn another language. I was struggling, the teacher made me get up and read in front of the class. I failed, and he slapped me across the face. It wasn’t a little slap on the hand, like when you do to a kid to stop them from touching something they are not supposed to be touching like something hot or electricity. This slap was loud. It made the kids in my class quiet. I remember sitting back down and my cheek stinging. That type of learning is different from the learning I have had in this country. I am grateful for this country because of how many opportunities it has given me, opportunities that I did not have back home. I have received a great education so far, and I want to further my education through college. I want to be the first person in my family with a degree.
Sajini Kodituwakku
New York UniversityStaten Island, NY


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Oct 6, 2021. Winners will be announced on Nov 6, 2021.

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