UW Dream Project

May 17, 2013

Celebrating Mentee Success


By Vincent Pham.

Now that our mentees have sent in their deposits to schools and know where they will be attending in the fall, the Dream Project would like to take the time to recognize the incredible accomplishment of one of our students. In this post, we would like to acknowledge the recent success of Hassna R. of Kent-Meridian High School. As a full time IB student, Hassna excelled in her classes with a GPA of above a 3.9 while volunteering as a MultiCare Medical Explorers Member, where she is involved with informing the general public about high blood pressure and diabetes while also working closely with the urgent care department of the local hospital. With her ambitions to work in the medical field as an OB/GYN, Hassna is well on her way to honoring the sacrifices that her mother made, emigrating from Algeria as a single mother.

Last month, Hasna received the prestigious honor of being one of the 1,000 recipients of the Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS) out of 54,000 applicants this year! The GMS is more than a scholarship – it is an opportunity to change an individual’s life. As stated before, The GMS selects 1,000 students from around the nation each year for a good-through-graduation scholarship (including the opportunity to pursue graduate degrees in approved fields of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science) to use at the college or university of the student’s choice.

I have been absolutely blessed to have worked with Hassna as her mentor since Fall Quarter. I am still stunned by how much she has accomplished and her dedication to using higher education as a way to improve not only her and her family’s lives, but for others in the community. From the very first interaction, it was clear how ahead of the game Hassna was. While other students were beginning to explore their options after high school, Hassna had already been applying to colleges and scholarships like the Cola-Cola scholarship. As a mentee, there was no one more responsive to Dream Project efforts than Hassna. She was there at Admission Workshop Weekend in the fall and at Scholarship Workshop Weekend in February. Much to my joy, she even attended the Scholarship Junkies Gates Millennium Workshop that was held two weeks before the application was due. I include all these details not just to brag about how lucky I am to have been Hassna’s mentor, but to emphasize the benefits of actively using all the resources that have been presented over the course of the senior year. With that kind of approach, I believe the question for Hassna is not whether or not she can be successful at the university, but HOW successfully she will be as she attends the University of Washington Seattle campus. Go Huskies!

Here is further information about the scholarship.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship (GMS)

Application Criteria

  • Must be African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • GPA 3.3 or better or earned a high school GED
  • Will enroll in college or university fall of 2013 as full-time first-year student seeking a college degree
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • Meet the Federal Pell Grant criteria for eligibility
  • Student Application Form (Self-reported information and 8 lengthy essays)
  • Nominator Form (First Recommendation: An evaluation of the students academics)
  • Recommender Form (Second Recommendation: An evaluation of extra-curricular and community activities)

For students who wish to apply for the GMS, here are some tips from previous recipients, courtesy of Scholarship Junkies:

  • Choose wisely when asking for a nominator and a recommender. The GMS allows the nominator and recommender to be the same person, but we would suggest finding two different people so that the judges can see your profile from two sets of eyes. When asking for a recommendation, remember to submit a personal data form well in advance so your recommender/nominator has sufficient time to write you a solid letter.
  • Try to ask your nominator and recommender early.  We had an issue last year where a nominator failed to finish his portion of the application until the last day, which caused extra stress.
  • Tell your story convincingly. Show who you are and explain to the GMS scholars why you are unique.  These essays should be long and thorough. They should detail how your life stories have touched you and other people. My essays usually were in a story form and had a central theme followed by the prompt.
  • The GMS seeks young leaders who are active in their communities and demonstrate academic achievement. When listing your activities, choose the ones that most describe your personality and reflect your passions. Chances are you’ll be able to write about them more effectively.
  • When writing the essays make sure to focus on life-changing experiences and elaborate thoroughly. Anybody can write what they did, but only you can attest to how it affected you, the impact it made, how you felt, etc.
  • Choose evaluators who you are close to, and can attest to your strengths and abilities. Preferably somebody you’ve known for more than a year.

To find more information, go to the GMS scholarship homepage: www.gmsp.org