Mohamed Adam, a freshman political science major at Stony Brook University, has been chosen for a prestigious scholarship that would allow him to pay for college with less financial burden.
The Bridging the Dream Scholarship, given by Sallie Mae’s charity arm in collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, provides qualifying students with up to $10,000 in money to help them pursue higher education. Adam was chosen from a pool of more than 1,100 applications.
“Once I submitted all my applications through the Common [Application] I was applying to a bunch of scholarships, just because I wanted to pay for college,” Adam said in an interview with The Statesman. “So I saw the Thurgood Marshall [College Fund] Scholarship and decided to do it, like, ‘Why not?’ I actually think I applied to it the day before, so that was crazy.”
Adam credited his achievement to the levels of academic involvement he displayed in high school.
“I was very involved in my high school, I think that was one of the main reasons I was selected,” Adam said. “I’m also very passionate about everything that I do.”
Adam was able to participate in an internship program through Bank of America prior to arriving at Stony Brook this semester, where he was able to meet and network with influential lawmakers in Washington, D.C., as well as work for a nonprofit that assists troubled youth and the elderly.
The Bridging the Dream Scholarship program, a three-year collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, was launched in 2021. The initiative will provide a total of $750,000 in college aid to high school seniors.
According to Caron Jackson, corporate communications manager at Sallie Mae, the award was inspired by the fact that many students and families struggled to obtain scholarships when determining how they would pay for college.
“Consistently, we have seen that 40% or more of the families of students do not know where to access scholarships,” Jackson said in an interview with The Statesman. “We understand that scholarships can open doors for so many students, and time and time again, we found that so many people are not aware of where they can find scholarships or how to apply.”
Furthermore, the scholarship program has a distinct arm that works just to offer cash for graduate students. While the program is contingent on the two groups agreeing to renew their relationship after the program’s contract ends, Jackson does not expect it to end anytime soon.
“We are coming up to our last year, 2024, but I have a feeling we are going to continue because we’ve had so much success,” she remarked.
In the future, Adam hopes to either join the business industry or become an immigration lawyer, inspired by his family’s background.
“My parents are immigrants, so I have a lot of respect for immigrants, especially because the immigrant story in America is a struggle,” Adam said. “But it’s also beautiful in a sense, like a full circle. My parents came here as immigrants, and here I am trying to become an immigration attorney.”