The biographies below introduce you to a selection of our past scholarship recipients. While each story is unique, read a few and you’ll notice they share common traits—challenging academic paths, careers that benefit society, and young adults giving back to their communities.
Ausan graduated from Stuart in 2009. In 2013 he earned a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Tech. For the next four years, he was a Teach for America Corps member in Detroit and continued that work as a middle school English teacher in Philadelphia. In 2017 Ausan was admitted to the prestigious Foreign Service School at Georgetown University and began the two-year program to earn a Master’s degree. Ausan, whose family came to the United States from Yemen, is focusing his studies on mid-East policy.
After graduating from Stuart in 2009, Ayana graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University with degrees in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Financially, Ayana found her freshman year at VCU the most difficult because she did not have a proven academic track record at the time; thus, the JHSSF scholarship was particularly valuable until she was able to receive other grants. In 2017, Ayana earned a J.D. from Emory University School of Law. She is currently a child advocacy attorney for a nonprofit, representing children who have been brought into the foster care system due to abuse or neglect in the city of St. Louis.
Liana moved from Honduras to the U.S. as a sixth grader and later graduated from Stuart with an International Baccalaureate degree. Upon graduating from George Mason University in 2009 with degrees in Philosophy and Spanish, she founded her own nonprofit, United for Social Justice. USJ’s mission is to enable more low-income and at-risk high school students access to higher education. In May 2018, Liana graduated from the David A. Clarke School of Law in Washington, D.C. She passed the bar exam in July 2018 and is waiting to be sworn in as an attorney at the D.C. Court of Appeals. Liana is eager to use her law degree to continue making an impact as an immigration attorney for the most vulnerable members of our society.
Mahnoor graduated from Stuart in 2015 speaking three languages: English, Urdu/Hindi, and Spanish. With the assistance of multiple scholarships—including one from the Justice HS Scholarship Fund—she is today attending the University of Virginia and majoring in Global Public Health. She works as a paid Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research scholar performing research on type 2 diabetes; Mahnoor’s volunteer activities include helping in oncology units at the UVA hospital. At UVA she is the chapter leader for Global Public Health Brigades, an international movement of university students working to improve health conditions in the developing world. In this capacity Mahnoor traveled to Nicaragua to build hygiene stations.
Mariam was two when her family arrived in the U.S. from the Ukraine. She graduated from Stuart in 2012 with an International Baccalaureate degree. She graduated from George Washington University with a degree in International Business. Mariam reports the scholarship from the JHSSF not only helped fund her education but having someone willing to invest in her was extra motivation to do well in school. Since mid-2016 she has worked as an associate in PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Global Intelligence practice in Rosslyn, Virginia. In December 2018, she launched Aria Afghanistan, a business dedicated to supporting Afghan artisans.
Nebal graduated from Stuart in 2013 and then earned a bachelor’s degree in music composition from Lawrence University in Wisconsin. He is grateful his scholarship from the Justice HS Scholarship Fund helped him meet the substantial financial burden of attending Lawrence. After graduation, Nebal returned to Northern Virginia where he continues to pursue opportunities and challenges as a young composer and writer. He performed his Decolonized Arabesques at the DC New Music Conference and is working on an album of Middle Eastern, classical, and electronic music.
Tijani arrived in the U.S. from Sierra Leone in 2005 and graduated from Stuart six years later. Four years after that he graduated with a degree in Global Affairs and a minor in Entrepreneurship Practice from George Mason University. He financed his college education with loans and scholarships—the largest scholarship coming from the JHSSF, which he credits with helping him get off to a good start. Today Tijani is a Senior Community Development Advocate and helps provide training, services, and case management for people—the majority immigrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East—living in a Fairfax County public housing apartment complex. Tijani is currently saving money to attend graduate school.
William graduated from Stuart in 2011; four years later he left the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Architecture. His scholarship from the JHSSF was one of several that helped him pay his way through school. While in school he interned at an architectural firm in Chicago. William volunteered with multiple teams; one of his volunteer activities included him traveling to Nicaragua to design a primary school. William worked a few years on energy-efficient housing before working for the U.S. State Department, where he is an architect with the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations. He intends to pursue a Master’s degree in the design field.
Yong immigrated to the U.S. from China three months before starting Stuart High School. With assistance from the Justice HS Scholarship Fund she earned a degree at the University of Virginia. From there Yong went to the California Institute of Technology, where she earned a Master’s and (in June 2018) a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. While at Cal Tech she volunteered to help local underprivileged high school students. Today she works as a systems engineer for Northrup Grumman in San Diego, California, and provides volunteer administrative support at the Scripps Clinic at Rancho Bernardo.