Sallie Mae Announces 10 Nationwide Bridging the Dream Scholarship Recipients for Graduate Students

Recipients receive $10,000 each to pursue higher education to advance Social justice and support for their local communities

NEWARK, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sallie Mae, through her charitable arm The Sallie Mae Fund, Inc., today announced the recipients of her Bridging the Dream Scholarship for graduate students. The scholarship, in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, provides $10,000 to 10 deserving graduate students who plan to use their degree to advocate for social justice and support their communities.

This year’s scholars are enrolled at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), state colleges, and Ivy League universities and were selected from nearly 500 applicants. They are aspiring doctors, nurses, educators, engineers, and social workers from diverse and unique backgrounds.

This year’s recipients of the Bridging the Dream Graduate Student Scholarship are:

  • Shawnda Williams, pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Florida A&M University

  • Marcela Dos Santos, pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice at UC Irvine

  • Angela Ji, pursuing a master’s degree in psychology at James Madison University

  • Jacqueline Pauley, Master of Education student at James Madison University

  • Tia Briggs, Master of Science in Rehabilitation student at Langston University

  • Denerick Simpson, is pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at Savannah State University

  • Ahmad Elhajia, is pursuing graduate studies in allopathic medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

  • Katherine Esser, pursuing a graduate degree in medicine at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences

  • Fabiola Limon, pursuing a Masters in Social Work at the University of Massachusetts Global

  • Tyreece Santana, is pursuing a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University

“Getting my master’s degree means so much to me and I’m grateful to have received this scholarship,” said recipient Shawnda Williams, who attends Florida A&M, a historically black college and university. “I know that with my degree in public health, I will be able to use my knowledge and skills to help people living with HIV/AIDS better manage their disease by connecting them to resources and educating communities about preventive measures.

The Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program is part of a three-year, $3 million commitment by the Sallie Mae Fund to open the doors of higher education to students from all backgrounds, including those from underserved communities or under-represented. To date, 600 scholarships totaling $2 million have been awarded to help students access and complete their studies. The application window for the 2023-2024 scholarship opens on February 6, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

“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,” said Nic Jafarieh, Executive Vice President, Sallie Mae. “The recipients of our Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students are diverse, future pioneers aspiring to create a better world. We are proud to support their unique journey and excited to see what they do next.

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

In addition to the Bridging the Dream Scholarship for graduate students, Sallie Mae offers a free online graduate scholarship finder that provides access to 950,000 graduate scholarships worth over $1 billion. of dollars. For more information, visit

Sally Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) believes that education and lifelong learning, in all its forms, helps people achieve great things. As a leader in private student loans, we provide financing and expertise to facilitate access to college and offer products and resources to help clients achieve new goals and experiences, beyond the university. Learn more at Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its affiliates are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Category: Community and Philanthropy


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Sallie Mae Announces 10 Nationwide Bridging the Dream Scholarship Recipients for Graduate Students

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