Our ten 2015 AEF Scholars embody the diverse immigrant community in New York City and represent Ecuador, Philippines, Jamaica, Mexico, Guyana, Nigeria, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. Take a moment to read each of their extraordinary stories.
About Our 2015 AEF Scholars:
A Guyanese American student who has made community service a vital part of his life. With Project Happy, he volunteers on Saturdays to assist and mentor children and young adults with disabilities, primarily autism or mobility impairments. He is also a tutor to his peers through the Arista National Honors Society. His family has survived extreme hardship, including domestic violence, poverty, and his mother’s uterine cancer. He will graduate with an Advanced Regents Diploma and expects to attend Princeton in the fall.
A student who immigrated from Mexico and loves mathematics and working with numbers as “the language of pure logic.” Despite facing a number of personal trials, including his stepfather’s recent death and becoming ill during his senior year, he will graduate as Valedictorian of his class. He is a leader of Respect for All, a program that facilitates social injustice discussions with students in the more junior classes of his Bronx community, and he has participated in the Bloomberg Arts Internship and New York University College Access Leadership Institute programs. He plans to attend Skidmore College and major in Mathematics.
A young woman from Peru who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 4. She plans on becoming a doctor, first attending The City College of New York to earn her degree in Biology. She is an exceptionally resilient young woman who has endured great hardship. Her counselor describes her as someone who has navigated difficult home situations and grown from setbacks that would have discouraged other students. She spent many weekdays in high school tutoring 8th grade students in math and science.
A young man of Ecuadorian descent who found his way to the US after moving to Spain at age 2. He has been in the US for the past three years and now lives in the Bronx. Despite his recent move and a new language, this recipient maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school. Realizing that the current educational system can be tough on immigrants, this scholar strives for excellence and hopes to reshape the opportunities available to other immigrant scholars. He is active in the community through organizations like New York Cares and Changing the Odds. He will attend Hunter College this fall and wishes to have a career at the United Nations.
A young man who immigrated from Jamaica and is pursuing his life long dream of becoming a pilot. This recipient will be attending SUNY Farmingdale to study aviation and enroll in flight classes. Bouncing around the foster care system, this student eventually reunited with a family member in the New York City area but ultimately faced homelessness. Despite a tumultuous living situation and a four hour commute to his high school, this scholar had 100% attendance and maintained a 92 grade average. Overcoming all obstacles thrown in his way, this scholar remains optimistic and steady in his pursuit of his aviation dreams.
A young woman who immigrated from the Philippines four years ago and is graduating as Valedictorian of her high school. She received a score of 3 and above on four AP exams. As a student she organized workshops called “myth busters” to inform and teach her classmates accurate information about college, in addition to assisting over 600 students submit their college applications. She will be attending the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at The City College of New York where she will obtain a BS and MD degree in seven years. As a medical doctor she plans to provide quality care at an affordable price, focusing on the immigrant community.
An Ecuadorian young woman that was raised in a single family household faced with critical hardships, such as the inability to meet basic needs of food and housing. She has persevered in the face of adversity and excelled academically by maintaining a 3.9 GPA. Early on in high school, she realized many of her classmates lacked mentors and tutoring, and through her involvement in student council she started a Big Brother/Big Sister Initiative for upperclassmen to mentor and tutor 9th and 10th graders. More than 40 students are currently participating in this initiative, and she hopes to expand the program and involve college student as mentors in the future. She plans to attend Hamilton College this fall.
A young man who moved to New York from a small town in the countryside of Mexico City surrounded by poverty. The town lacked resources and a common reason for an incomplete assignment wasn’t “the dog ate it,” but due to inconsistent electricity. It is in these poor conditions that he found his passion for engineering, with his dream of providing modern infrastructure to his former community. When not participating in soccer for the Downtown United Soccer Club and focusing on his studies, he works as a cashier/stock boy. He will attend the City College of New York where he will major in Computer Engineering.
A young man who immigrated from Nigeria two years ago, to escape war and poverty, with the promise of playing basketball at a high school in North Carolina. After denying him admittance as an international student, he was used only to play basketball. He was then recruited to Georgia, but was falsely enrolled for his junior year (instead of his senior year). While in Georgia, his friend told him about the Covenant House New York, a non-profit that serves as a homeless shelter for young adults, where he currently resides. He will attend Ithaca College and pursue a career in physical therapy.
A young woman from the Dominican Republic who has been homeless twice, aided her mother through her terminal fight with cancer, and will graduate valedictorian of her senior class. She is also editor of the school newspaper and a college ambassador to her peers. Her own battle with cerebral palsy, which left her paralyzed at the age of eight, has inspired her to become a pediatric oncologist. She has never let her physical disabilities stop her, and she wishes more people knew that physical disabilities do not impair mental capacity. This M.P. Amin Educational Scholarship recipient will be attending New York University.