My grandmother, Rita, was an Assyrian immigrant who grew up and suffered persecution in the Soviet Union. Her family fled to Iran where, believing passionately in education, she worked to help her three brothers attend school, despite not having the opportunity to complete high school herself.
After marrying a U.S. soldier and moving to America, she had a son, my father. She worked as a waitress and then in a factory, learning English (her fifth language) along the way.
My father grew up to be the first in his family to finish high school and get a college degree. A career diplomat, he became a U.S. ambassador. His children, myself included, never had to worry about access to education.
This all thanks to my grandmother, who desperately wanted an education herself, but sacrificed for others instead. She elevated the course of our family's trajectory forever. I would like to honor her by changing the course for someone else.
This scholarship is open to any high school senior who will be a first-generation college student. Refugees are strongly encouraged to apply. The ideal candidate is a student who has experienced obstacles or sacrifice in pursuit of their education. These obstacles or sacrifices can be in the form of time, money, being away from family, having to care for or support one's family, completing school despite social, religious, familial, or cultural pressure not to, etc.
To apply, tell me about an adversity you have faced in the pursuit of education, how you navigate it, and what you hope to do given this opportunity. I look forward to hearing your story.