Scholars on the Pathway to Success
We are delighted to welcome BP America and Coller Capital as our first Pathways Partners following the launch of the program earlier this year. Thanks to their commitment, five students were selected from our 2019/20 class of scholars to receive scholarships through the program. BP America’s area of focus for their Pathways scholarships was STEM, and we caught up with the recipients to learn more about their journey and goals for the future.
Nathalia comes from a long line of educators. She enjoyed a career as a primary school teacher in her home country of Ghana before immigrating to the US with her husband and young son. The move proved difficult as she discovered that to continue teaching, she would have to get a whole new set of qualifications—essentially start over—and her husband was largely unsupportive of the idea. After the birth of her second child, she decided that in order to make a better life for her family, she needed to go back to school. She was working as a home health aide when one of her clients told her about getting her GED. From there, she enrolled in Bronx Community College, earning her Associate Degree in Liberal Arts before transferring to Lehman College to pursue her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a Minor in Education. As a newly single mother of two young children, juggling school, work and home was emotionally, physically and financially draining. She found herself having to choose between books and childcare. Receiving the St. George’s Society’s Scholarship was “like a dream come true”.
With the fall semester approaching, she is already looking beyond graduation. She plans to pursue her M.A. in Early Childhood Education and return to the classroom.
An aspiring cardiologist, Rushani firmly believes “a healthy mind and body must start from a healthy heart.” He was 19 when he moved to New York from Jamaica. Having already completed his first year at the University of the West Indies, he was determined to return to school and complete his degree.
His interest in medicine stems from a deep desire to help others. A summer internship doing cancer research and his experiences volunteering in hospitals throughout the city—especially a stint in the cardiology unit at Montefiore Hospital—strengthened his drive to succeed.
Recognizing the need for diversity and representation in medicine, he observed how patients were more open and at ease with him than some of their doctors because he was culturally similar to them. “That was one thing that led me to believe I’m destined to do this.”
The scholarship will enable to focus on completing his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and begin the demanding process of applying to medical school. To BP America and the people who made his scholarship possible, he says,
Now entering the final year of her Computer Science degree, Asifa is excited to embark on a career as front-end developer. Ever curious, she fell in love with computers in high school in her home country of Bangladesh. She views the tech industry as an opportunity to not only ask (and answer) questions, but also a place that nurtures creativity and innovation. While moving halfway across the globe was a big adjustment culturally, Asifa is glad she took the chance and made the change.
Her scholarship will enable to her to reduce her work hours so that she can take more courses and finally buy a computer of her own.
Opportunity and the chance at a better life were top of mind when Godson and his family immigrated to New York from Ghana in early 2012. The second oldest of five, he was intent on going back to school, but was unsure of what direction to take. It was while he was working as a transporter for a senior rehabilitation facility that he discovered what would become his life’s passion: occupational therapy.
He recalls his feelings of helplessness when dealing with his aging grandparents growing up, “I was young and didn’t know how to help.” He views occupational therapy as a way to empower individuals—giving them independence and improving their health and well-being. He is especially keen to work with seniors and young children with disabilities.
Godson’s journey hasn’t been an easy one. The balancing act between being a full-time student while also working full-time has taken its toll, but he refuses to be discouraged. Receiving the scholarship was both a great relief and a reassurance. Following graduation, Godson plans to pursue his Master’s in Occupational Therapy and eventually return to Ghana to open a practice where he can offer the treatment and services that were unavailable when he was young.