Rita's First-Gen Scholarship

Funded by
Claire Wooster
Learn more about the Donor
1 winner
Application Deadline
Jul 1, 2022
Winners Announced
Jul 31, 2022
Education Level
High School
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Must be a high school senior
Must be a first-generation student
Education Level:
Must be a high school senior
Must be a first-generation student

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.

Diversity and Inclusion
Essay Topic

Main essay question (400-600 words):

Tell me about an adversity you face in the pursuit of education, how you navigate it, and what you hope to do given this opportunity.

Short answer questions (200-300 words):

(1) What does it mean to you to get a college education?

(2) Tell me about a typical day or week in your life outside of school.

(3) Tell me how you feed your curiosity inside and/or outside of school.

600–1000 words


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 1, 2022. Winners will be announced on Jul 31, 2022.