Our eight 2016 AEF Scholars embody the diverse immigrant community in New York City and represent China, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Germany, Belize, Ghana, Suriname, and Nigeria. Take a moment to read each of their extraordinary stories.
About Our 2016 AEF Scholars:
A young woman from Belize, this scholar immigrated to the US when she was 12 years old. Despite being undocumented and thinking she would not be able to attend college, in her own words, she is not letting her circumstances define her. She has kept working and pushing to create a path to higher education. She scored a four or above on three AP exams and has worked with the Coro New York Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council to design change projects to improve life in New York City. With her school’s Students for Social Responsibility Club, she raised funds for MetroCards that were awarded to refugees in the Bronx. She was later invited to speak at the United Nations’ International Day of Peace to highlight the results of their campaign. This Everett Castaneda Scholar plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice or the sciences and will attend Dartmouth College this fall.
A young woman of Turkish and Persian background, this scholar emigrated from Germany at the age of 11. She, along with her family, has struggled through severe hardship and has had to navigate life in three different shelters throughout her time in high school. She has made school her own sanctuary. She has explored journalism, media and writing at Princeton University’s Summer Journalism Program. Despite being undocumented, she believes her circumstances have pushed her to search for a better life and carve out her own path. This Amin Educational Scholar plans to pursue a career as a behavioral analyst with the FBI and will attend CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice this fall.
A young man from Ghana, this scholar immigrated to the US in 2014 at the age of 17 to reunite with his mother, who came to America when he was only a child. Although he has only been in the US for 2 years he has excelled in the classroom and beyond. He was part of the National Honor’s Society, president of the Red Cross Club, founder of the Renewable Energy Club and named student of the month in October 2015 for his positive impact helping other students. He ranked in the top 2% of his graduating class of 790 students. This scholar plans to pursue a career as a pediatrician and will attend Middlebury College this fall.
A young woman of Curacaoan-Dominican origin, this scholar emigrated from the Netherlands Antilles at the age of 4. Being undocumented has taught her how to navigate obstacles in life while remaining persistent and determined in her pursuit of success. Her determination and hard work earned her multiple awards during her high school career. She was awarded the Quest Bridge Award recognizing top low-income students in the nation. She graduated high school with an almost perfect GPA. Since 2015, she has interned with Harlem Biospace as a research entrepreneur engineer. In addition, she won a Newsies Award which resulted in her article “My History Matters Too” being published in the New York Daily News. This scholar plans to pursue a career as a bioengineer and will enroll at the University of Pennsylvania this fall.
After only 6 years in the US, a Chinese immigrant who spent every day in the library reading books and listening to CD’s to learn the language and graduate in the top of her class. She lent her hard-earned English skills to the next generation by volunteering at a local organization and tutoring other Chinese children free of charge. One of her life goals is to establish tuition free vocational schools for immigrants: allowing them the ability to earn a stable income, have a secure work environment, and contribute to American society. This Alwyn Andrew-Mziray Scholar will attend Northeastern University in the fall and plans to pursue a degree in Finance.
A Chinese American student who found her passion in art and used murals as mediums for promoting social change. She experienced poverty first hand, and sought to find a way to brighten her neighborhood and encourage conversation. The murals she helped bring to life highlighted the rare peaks of nature in the concrete jungles of New York City and the diversity of cultures and beliefs in her community. In her school’s volleyball team, she was transformed and focused on moving forward and having the capacity to change the game. She will attend the University of Southern California in the fall where she will pursue her interest in Computer Science.
A young woman of Nigerian origin, who was born in Italy and experienced racism as a person of color and immigrated to the U.S. 7 years ago. She has taken numerous AP classes and earned the Principal’s Honor Roll. She is part of the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault where she teaches Black, Hispanic, and South Asian youth about sexual assault. One of her teachers said the following, “She draws lessons from her own personal struggles as an immigrant, first-generation, low-income young black woman in order to demonstrate greater empathy for her peers. She has been able to turn her struggles into strengths through painstaking effort, which illustrates her resilience and tenacity.” Her career goal is to become an educator so she can increase tolerance, social justice and educational equity. She will attend Brown University in the fall.
A young woman from Suriname, this scholar immigrated to the US when she was 4 years old. Her dedication to her community through the MinKwon Center as well as her efforts at a local food bank is sparked by her relentless desire to better the society around her. A stellar student, this scholar strives to improve access to ESL classes and awareness of other public benefits so that fellow immigrants can continue to improve their lives and give back to the NYC community. This Chris Cornett Scholar plans to pursue a degree in social work and will attend Hunter College this fall.