We believe that deserving individuals should have every chance to pursue their professional and personal aspirations. That's why, in addition to empowering them with data, Optimal provides quarterly need-based financial assistance to students who are passionate about achieving their higher education goals. We are pleased to announce the winners for the 2022 winter season.
- Undergraduate Scholarship winner: Afrikaan Sahra, completing a bachelor's degree in computer science from Seattle University.
- Community College Scholarship winner: Selina Rodriguez, pursuing an associate degree in nursing from Pima Community College.
- Online Degree Scholarship winner: Ruth Hallows, earning an online bachelor's degree in Alaskan Native Languages and Studies at the University of Alaska Southeast.
In achieving these degrees, each of the three winners hope to better their lives and, more importantly, the lives of those around them. As a former refugee and an immigrant, Afrikaan struggled to find and use the resources that could help his family. "When I first came to the US, my family and I struggled to access social services because of the language barrier and lack of interactive and accessible websites with the right resources and information." The undergraduate scholarship will allow Afrikaan to realize his dream of becoming a computer scientist and help other immigrants as they strive to build new lives.
Selina continues to overcome significant personal and professional challenges as she pursues an associate degree. A single parent of three young children, the oldest of whom faces lasting effects from COVID-19, she hopes to become a registered nurse to provide people with better information about their healthcare choices. The Community College Scholarship will allow Selina to continue paying for school without taking out loans.
Lastly, Ruth, who stepped away from higher education to focus on family, healing trauma, and wellness, is now studying Alaskan Native Languages and pre-nursing with the ultimate goal of pursuing a master's in nutrition. She will use the scholarship to continue her education as a non-traditional student and single parent, and, in the process, aid the healing of others. After winning the scholarship, they expressed, "Support from Optimal increases my ability to focus on learning and earning my degree by helping me meet financial obligations. My heart is well. My mind is well."
If you need financial assistance to help earn a college degree, the Optimal Scholarship Program may help you meet your academic goals. Funds are available to students in community colleges or four-year degree granting institutions, including those who are enrolled in on-campus, online, or hybrid programs. More information, including application deadlines, previous winners, and eligibility requirements, can be found on our scholarships page.