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Mohamed Magdi Taha Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
3 winners, $2,000 each
Application Deadline
Aug 15, 2023
Winners Announced
Sep 15, 2023
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Undergraduate student
Major of Interest:
STEM or the arts

Mohamed Magdi Taha was a beloved young man who passed away too soon in August of 2022.

Mohamed was a native of California and Sudan and was a rising junior at MIT studying computer science when he passed away. Mohamed was passionate and had a deep love for his country as well as a special talent for poetry. He was brave, compassionate, and always willing to help others and stand up for what was right. Mohamed was a graduate of Khartoum International Community School (KICS). He was an advocate of a free and fair Sudan for all. He participated in activities like MUN (Model United Nations) and enjoyed playing soccer and other sports. He is survived by his parents, three sisters, and four nephews.

This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Mohamed Magdi Taha by supporting students who possess similar qualities and are also ‘up-standers’ in their communities.

Any Black undergraduate students who are interested in studying STEM or the arts may apply for this scholarship but preference will be given to students from Sudan. 

To apply, tell us how you are an ‘up-stander’ and how you plan to use your voice.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published October 30, 2022
Essay Topic

Mohamed Magdi Taha was someone that always stood up for what is right and used his strong voice and compassion as a powerful way to advocate for change. He understood the importance of building a community and recognized the transformative significance in seemingly small acts as well as big ones. How are you an 'up-stander' and what do you plan to do with your voice to help build your own community?

400–600 words

Winners and Finalists

September 2023

Nabeel Hakeem-Olowu
A'mya Matthews
Tamera Calhoun
Cedric Pitts
Victor Mbengwie
Walter Maynard
Daniel Adesanlu
Mohamed Eltayeb
Maab Taha
Kaitlin Johnson
Rianna Barrett
Isaac Graves
Aneesah Lawrence
Nala Scaife
Angalene Wiley
dawit teshome
Mabinty Kanu
Sarai Gholson
Faith Skelton
Amia Grant
Reem Abdo Kahin
Mohamed Salem
Ahmed Abdulla
Leena Saifeldawlla
Yasmin Mirghani
Ayman Babiker
Behailu Abreha

Winning Applications

Rayann Ali
University of St Thomas (MN)Maple Grove, MN
I was in Sudan for the first time since I started school in the US when Mohammed passed away, may Allah bless his soul. I would like to start by extending my deepest condolences to his family and expressing my grief; his loss had a ripple effect around Sudan, and though I did not know him personally, I still felt the effect his loss had among common friends, family, and somehow also on a personal level. His character and spirit were admirable and he will not be forgotten. My name is Rayann Hisham Ali. I am a first-generation Sudanese-American junior at the University of St. Thomas pursuing a major in mechanical engineering and a minor in mathematics. I aim to work in the renewable energy industry specializing in solar and wind power transmission. As a Muslim, black, African, woman in STEM, I think my sense of being an up-stander manifests in each aspect of my identity, especially as a Sudanese woman. Being an up-stander is a trait I developed at an early age; one I credit to my Sudanese and my Muslim identity. I was taught that one must stand up for what is right at all times. As a Sudanese resident in 2019, I considered myself a revolutionary. Activism was not a choice at that time, we were simply doing our duty to our country in the hope of a better, more ethical, civilian-led Sudan. Now, since the war broke out, I am inspired by the people I have seen stay in Sudan to enlist and fight: people from my own family and friends circle. The war was a depressing outcome, but it is not the end: I continue to stand up for Sudan using my voice and social media platforms, contacting senators, sharing fundraisers, and simply by not losing hope. When assessed on a communal level, these seemingly small acts are highly probable to cause positive change. I stand up for Sudan by doing everything in my power, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. In 2020, I left my family in Sudan and moved to Minnesota to pursue my education. I left after my freshman year at the University of Khartoum because Sudan was becoming so politically unstable (and unsafe) that school had shut down indefinitely. In a way, I wanted to start my career so I can help my family and in turn my country. In Minnesota, I enrolled in community college while I figured out financials and worked on transferring my international credits to the University of St. Thomas, where I finally started this spring. I thought I had finally reached a level of stability, but then came the war and displacement of my family and worrying for every person I have ever known. In terms of life goals, being Sudanese has given me quite a few recently My top priority has now become helping my family migrate to the US. And because I have become hyper-aware of the unique challenges black and African students face, I plan to launch a fund dedicated to scholarships, mentorship, and counseling for black youth, prioritizing Sudanese youth. I also plan to write a book one day, sharing my experiences, and shedding light on how to survive hard things through faith, perseverance, and healing by fostering community. Half of the profits from this book will go towards a bi-annual emergency scholarship fund for students in crisis since I know how hard it is. Winning this scholarship would help me pay for housing and book fees. Thank you for considering me.
Esra Eisa
University of Massachusetts-LowellChelmsford, MA
Lemia Salih
University of ArizonaTucson, AZ
I did not know Mohamed personally, but we had some mutual friends who knew and loved him dearly. It was not until his passing that I realized just how much of an activist Mohamed was in terms of his passion for doing what is right and his ability to see good in this world, most specifically, his advocacy for our home country, Sudan. I learned this mostly from social media where his closest friends would post many pictures and videos of Mohamed taking action for his beliefs as well as his poetry that call for peace and love, portraying him as the hero he truly was. This was when I felt motivated and inspired to support and fight for the justice and democracy that Sudan deserves instead of looking at my home country from a critical, disappointed and hopeless eye that I once strongly had. Mohamed reminded me that I needed to do more for my country. Ever since I moved to the US last year to finish my studies, I have been trying my best to raise awareness about Sudan, not only mentioning the negatives that are constantly shown in the media but educating people here about our beautiful culture and traditions, our core values and intellect and our generosity and kindness as Sudanese individuals. I often felt sad and frustrated when people would not know where or what Sudan even is, especially with the most recent ongoing war between the SAF and the RSF that continues to affect millions of Sudanese people right now. However, I learned to change that negative energy into something that was useful, both for Sudan and the people who do not know much about it. As such, my fellow Sudanese friends and I established the Sudanese American Wildcat Association (acronym “SAWA” meaning “together” in Arabic: سوا) at our college. The purpose of the association is to unite the Sudanese students on campus and together, or “sawa,” we hosted multiple events where we would share with the other students our culture, language and food while raising awareness about the current situation in our home country. One of our noteworthy actions was when a group of us traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, a city that is two hours away from us to participate in a protest under the name “Stop The War” to stand up for the innocent Sudanese civilians whose basic human rights have been violated due to the clash between the two armed parties in April 2023. The protest received local coverage with a few curious people who drove by honking in support or stopping and asking us our purpose. This was when we realized we were doing the right thing for our country and its people. It took me a while to realize that supporting and fighting for your homeland is a duty that all of us need to practice in our everyday life, yet I am glad that I had come to that resolution one way or another, and it is mostly thanks to individuals like Mohamed and the many martyrs before and after him. Although we have lost such a powerful soul to a tragedy that Mohamed was continuously fighting to prevent, his efforts, achievements and compassion will never be forgotten by our younger Sudanese generation – I know I personally have not.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Aug 15, 2023. Winners will be announced on Sep 15, 2023.

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