Real Life Scholarship Winners

SambukaSam Havugimana was born in the small village of Kyanwali, Uganda, to parents who had fled from Congo due to war. Despite many challenges, Sam was determined from an early age to pursue his education. In 2016, Sam received the news that his family would be moving to the United States. They arrived in 2017, and though they faced numerous obstacles, they were grateful to have a caseworker who helped them navigate their new life. Sam attended Granite Park Junior High and then Cottonwood High, where he gradually adjusted to the education system and made friends. After graduating high school with a 3.2 GPA, Sam enrolled at Utah Valley University to study Social Work. He hopes to become a social worker and help other refugees in the same way that social workers helped him when he arrived in the United States. Despite the many challenges he has faced, Sam remains determined to achieve his goals and make his family proud. He believes that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. 

Ler Sa Way was born in Myanmar but spent most of her life in a Thai refugee camp. She is the oldest daughter in a family of eight siblings, and her parents had to work very hard to provide for them. In 2015, when Ler Sa Way was 11 years old, her family moved to the United States. Although life in the US has been challenging, it is much better than the camp. Despite the challenges she has faced, Ler Sa Way is determined to succeed. She is a senior in high school and wants to be the first person in her family to go to college. She plans to attend Salt Lake Community College and study communication. She is interested in a career as a flight attendant or a salesperson, and eventually wants to open her own restaurant to share her culture’s cuisine with others. Ler Sa Way is grateful for everything her parents have done for her and is determined to make them proud. She wants to create a better life for her family and is willing to work hard to achieve her goals, including finding scholarships to help pay for college. With her positive attitude and hard-working nature, Ler Sa Way is sure to achieve great things in the future. 

Ikran Muktar was born in a small town in Somalia, where she lived with her family until the age of twelve. In search of better opportunities, education, and a better life, her family moved to a refugee camp in Ethiopia, where they lived for eleven years. During this time, Ikran and her siblings received some education, but their ultimate goal was to come to America. After five years of waiting and working towards their goal, Ikran and her family finally arrived in the United States. As a senior in high school, Ikran is now planning to attend college and study psychology. Her interest in this field stems from her fascination with human behavior and the mind. Ikran is passionate about helping immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers overcome mental health challenges and build better lives for themselves. She wants to be a positive role model for the younger generation, encouraging them to pursue their dreams without fear or hesitation. Ikran hopes to receive a scholarship that would help her expand her knowledge and expertise in psychology so that she can better serve the communities she wishes to help. 

Lah Poe Kpaw Gay is a hardworking and driven individual who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. Growing up, she experienced many challenges, including living in a refugee camp and adjusting to life in the United States. Despite these challenges, Lah is grateful for her parents and the sacrifices they made to provide her with a better life. Lah is a determined individual who understands the importance of education. She believes that obtaining a higher education is essential for living a good life and hopes to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. Lah is still exploring her options and trying to determine the best course of study for her. Throughout her life, Lah has demonstrated a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn. She enjoys working with her hands and has taken classes in fashion studio, sewing, and interior design. Recently, she has developed an interest in interpreting and hopes to use her language skills to help others communicate more effectively. 

Sesait Okubamarlam is a driven and hardworking individual who was born in Eritrea, Africa. At three years old, Sesait moved with her mother, older brother, and younger sister to Ethiopia. Sesait learned the value of hard work and began helping her mother prepare the family’s meals, and selling the extra to raise money for her education. In 2010, Sesait and her family moved to Utah, where she began a pre-kindergarten program for children who spoke English as a second language. As she progressed through school, Sesait became more interested in her future and focused on taking classes that would develop skills necessary to succeed in life, such as computer classes, cooking classes, and chemistry. Sesait’s passion for education has led her to dream of becoming a scientist or a flight attendant, as she wants to use her skills to travel and help people, especially those coming to the USA from other countries who speak Tigrinya like her. Sesait’s story is one of perseverance, determination, and a love for learning. 

Alaa Elsir is a first-generation college student with a passion for helping her community. Growing up, Alaa witnessed her mother’s struggles as an immigrant in America and was inspired to seek higher education to create a better life for her family. Despite not having much growing up, Alaa was taught the importance of giving and developed a desire to help others. Alaa’s goal is to earn her master’s degree in social work and open a business supporting women of color who are victims of domestic violence. She believes that education is extremely valuable and hopes to use her knowledge and skills to benefit her community. Alaa’s commitment to helping others is evident in her actions and her desire to make a difference. She believes that everyone deserves a chance for a better future and is dedicated to helping alleviate their suffering.  

Eric Ansah is originally from Ghana. From a young age, education was emphasized in Eric’s family, and he was a good student who worked hard to achieve good grades. After graduating from high school, he pursued a degree in Telecommunication Engineering, but was unable to complete it due to the passing of his mother, who was sponsoring his education. As a result, he had to work hard to take care of himself and his younger siblings. Despite these challenges, Eric decided to pursue his passion for IT-related careers, and moved to the United States. He had to adjust to a new culture, make new friends, and navigate a new education system, and faced financial struggles that prevented him from immediately pursuing higher education. Eric’s career goal is to become an expert in cybersecurity and use his skills to help protect businesses and government organizations from cyber threats. Despite the challenges he has faced, he remains grateful for the opportunities he has had to pursue his education and career goals. He is proud to be in college and excited to see where his career will take him in the future. 

Josue Mukambilwa is a senior at Murray High School who is determined to achieve his academic goals. Josue has been in the United States for four years and has been facing numerous challenges, including adapting to a new culture and learning English. However, his dedication and perseverance have helped him overcome these obstacles.   He loves math and after graduating from high school, he plans to attend Salt Lake Community College to pursue his passion for engineering. Josue’s ultimate goal is to graduate from college and secure a good job. In his life, he has overcome many challenges and hopes to pursue and achieve his dreams through his college education.  

Meet Our 2023 Real Life Scholarship Winners
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