OCC students Maddie Bohrer and Nidaa Aljabarrin are part of a very exclusive club. Both are semifinalists for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Students who are selected will receive up to $40,000 per year to attend a four-year accredited undergraduate school. Nearly 1,500 students from 45 states and the District of Columbia applied. Bohrer and Aljabarrin are among just 456 semifinalists. "It's an incredible opportunity," said Bohrer. "Just being selected to get this far is really exciting. Being part of this network of scholars is even more incredible than the money itself."
Bohrer and Aljabarrin have had distinctly different paths to OCC. Bohrer (Skaneateles HS, 2017) is the third member of her family to enroll at OCC. She's attending tuition-free as a member of the Lillian Slutzker Honors College. "I knew going to OCC was my only option because I don't have the financial means. Knowing it's possible to receive this scholarship potentially takes off a huge burden." She's a Humanities & Social Sciences major considering a career related to international humanitarianism. She's also president of the College's chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa.
Aljabarrin is a native of Syria who came to the United States four years ago. Her native language was Arabic. She learned English while attending PSLA at Fowler (class of 2018) during the day and going to the Northside Learning Center at night. "There were tutors there who helped me a lot. I spent more time around English-speaking people than I would have had I stayed at home."
Aljabarrin is also a member of the Lillian Slutzker Honors College and honor society Phi Theta Kappa. "OCC has really given me a team to be a part of. It's very challenging here but you have enough resources to be successful. We all have each other's backs" Aljabarrin said. She plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in biochemistry, then go to medical school and focus on clinical genetics.
Bohrer and Aljabarrin will find out in April if they have been selected for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Both will earn their associate degrees in May.