University's library.
The winners get more opportunities for access to higher education. Photo: Pixabay.

Sallie Mae introduces its 10 Bridging the Dream scholarship recipients

The grant is intended for graduate students.


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The charitable arm of the Sallie Mae, The Sallie Mae Fund Inc., recently announced the winners of $10,000 in resources toward graduate degrees that advance social justice and support local communities.

The scholarship, which is awarded in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, awards these funds to 10 deserving graduate students who plan to use their degree to advocate for social justice in their communities.

Nic Jafarieh, executive vice president of Sallie Mae, stated:

Higher education is synonymous with opportunity and can be a gateway for students from all backgrounds to do great things and be agents of change.

Get to know: Bridging the Dream 

The Bridging the Dream scholarship program, part of a three-year, $3 million commitment by The Sallie Mae Fund, provides higher education opportunities to students of all backgrounds, including those from diverse or underrepresented communities.

To date, 600 scholarships totaling $2 million have been awarded to help students access and complete their educations.

The application window for the 2023-2024 scholarship opens on Feb. 6, 2023 at 12 p.m. ET.

Who were this year's recipients?

“The recipients of our Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students are diverse, future trailblazers aspiring to create a better world. We’re proud to support their unique journey and excited to see what they’ll do next,” added Jafarieh.

This year's scholarship winners are enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), state universities, and Ivy League institutions.

They were selected from nearly 500 applicants and are aspiring to become doctors, nurses, educators, engineers, and social workers, with diverse and unique backgrounds.

Here are the recipients: 

  1. Shawnda Williams, pursuing a Master of Public Health at Florida A&M University
  2. Marcela Dos Santos, pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice at UC Irvine
  3. Angela Ji, pursuing a Master of Psychology at James Madison University
  4. Jacqueline Pauley, pursing a Master of Education at James Madison University
  5. Tia Briggs, pursing a Master of Science in Rehabilitation at Langston University
  6. Denerick Simpson, pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Savannah State University
  7. Ahmad Elhajia, pursuing a graduate degree in Allopathic Medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  8. Katherine Esser, pursuing a graduate degree in Medicine at University of Toledo College of Medicine & Life Sciences
  9. Fabiola Limon, pursuing a Master of Social work at University of Massachusetts Global
  10. Tyreece Santana, pursuing a Master of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University

“The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students helps students from all backgrounds pursue an advanced degree with the goal of using that knowledge gained to create an impact in their communities. We are pleased to continue our partnership with The Sallie Mae Fund to provide more opportunities to diverse and deserving students,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. 

In addition to the Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students, Sallie Mae offers a free online graduate scholarship search tool that provides access to 950,000 graduate scholarships valued at more than $1 billion.

Get to know: Sallie Mae

It is the leading organization for private student loans, offering financing and knowledge to support access to college and providing products and resources to help clients achieve new goals and experiences beyond college.


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