Introducing the 2017 New Visions Scholarship Winners

This year’s New Visions scholarship winners come from all walks of life, but they have a few things in common: tenacity, commitment, a passion for STEM and indomitable drive for changing the world through social justice and advocacy.

Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. Five of our scholarship winners are looking to change that statistic.

As a youngster, Emily Lin’s trips to Home Depot with her dad as a shy little girl taught her that even when people underestimated her, she could “figure things out.” Her passion for knowledge has piqued her interest in deep sea and space exploration. This fall, she’s studying engineering at Georgia Tech University.

Watch New Visions Scholarship Winners Reflect on the Educator Who Inspired Them to Succeed. 

Shumaila Bibi spent her early years in Pakistan daydreaming of the quality education she would receive in America. Leaving her mom and sister behind, Shumaila migrated to New York in 2014 with her dad, two brothers and grandfather. Taking college courses for credit, interning at Montefiore and maintaining the highest average in her class at Bronx Academy for Health Careers prepared her for a career in medicine. The valedictorian of her class, Shumaila is continuing to motivate herself as a freshman at Fordham University.

Often times, the dreams of going to college for talented high school seniors are thwarted by the exorbitant cost of college tuition. The New Visions scholarship, now in its ninth year, awards well-deserving students $20,000 scholarships to help offset the cost of attending the college of their choice.

Through a generous leadership gift from New Visions board member Ralph Schlosstein and his wife, Jane Hartley, New Visions has awarded scholarships to 80 New York City high school seniors who have gone on to attend colleges across the nation including Princeton, Yale and Dartmouth and have launched careers in finance and medicine.

Artfully describing her experience of poverty in an essay, Lauren Germosen had no grasp of the magnitude of the circumstances that she and her mom faced living in a homeless shelter. In her childlike naivete, she said, “I was the freest I’d ever been."

Today, eight years later, she celebrates a new freedom, one that comes from studying psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, with hopes of becoming a psychiatrist some day.  “Completing my degree is paramount,” she says.

Lauren, along with many other New Visions Scholarship recipients, have learned to negotiate personal hardship and turn it into academic success.

Jord’n Earle found an outlet in the performing arts, as a young man coping with the absence of his father. “Ever since I was fourteen years old, I religiously watched Glee,” he said. “I would memorize my favorite songs.” Today, with his passion for the arts and his leadership experiences during his four years at New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science III, Jord’n is pursuing a degree in business at Howard University. He hopes to one day run an organization for low-income youth to help them excel both in the arts and in school.

With plans to also pursue a degree in economics, Tasmida Mollah, a Hillcrest High School attends Fordham University. There, she hopes to study abroad and deepen her passion for providing children in her home country of Bangladesh with access to quality education.

Youma Traore and Donnyv Pierre have no qualms about their devout focus and dedication to their education.

“Education is my plan A, B, C and D,”says Youma. Recently named the 2017 Valedictorian at Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics, she now attends Brown University, with plans to study political science.

Donnyv isn’t certain of a career path after he graduates from Hunter College in four years, but instilling the importance of education in young people is his priority.  He plans to inspire them with his dad’s advice: “Education is what no one can take from you.”

Motivated by social justice advocacy and women’s rights, Gabrielle Francis and Fatoumata Barry have plans to shatter the glass ceiling that exists for women in other countries. Gabby, who attends The New School and plans to pursue global studies, has interned with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and wants to create a platform as a queer woman of color, to be a voice for the voiceless women, people of color and LGBT community all over the world.  

Fatoumata, affectionately called Fatou by her friends at Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change, knows the physical and emotional pain of being voiceless. As a female child born into a traditional Guinean household, Fatou had no say in her culture’s ritual of female genital mutilation. Today, she is a passionate advocate for global women’s rights. She is studying medicine at Spelman College, with the goal of  one day providing adequate medical health care to women all over the world.

As the students look forward to what college will bring, they reflect on the lessons that life has taught them thus far.

Both Joarlyn Vasquez and Rosa Gil attend Brandeis University and New York University where they study neuroscience.

When Rosa enrolled at Knowledge and Power Preparatory International Academy High School (KAPPA), she didn’t speak any English.

Today, she is the Valedictorian of her class, proving her mantra, just as the other 11 scholarship recipients have: “You can do anything when you try. Just try.”

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