Meet the Winners of the Student Loan Hero Scholarship

Student Loan Hero is thrilled to announce the first-ever recipients of our $1K Scholarship for the Fall 2016 semester.

We are pleased to award $4,000 in scholarships to six deserving students to help alleviate educational costs. Student Loan Hero granted two finalists the main prize of $1,000 each, and runner-up prizes of $500 to each of four semi-finalists.

Scholarship applicants were asked to submit an essay describing their financial challenges and goals. The submissions were judged by four personal finance professionals.

The Student Loan Hero $1K Scholarship will again grant two awards of $1,000 for the Spring 2017 semester. All students actively enrolled for that semester are invited to apply for the next round of awards. We will accept submissions from Nov. 15 through Jan. 1, 2017.

Meet our six finalists and semi-finalists for the Fall 2016 semester.

Anthony Jones, Roseman University

Main prize: $1,000

Anthony Jones is studying at Roseman University to be a pharmacist, with the goal to be a retail pharmacy manager in an area that serves the poor and socio-economically disadvantaged.

Born and raised in Galveston Island, Texas, in its low-income housing projects, Jones “figured out at an early age that education was my way out of the cycle of poverty and low expectations that I had been born into.”

Once in college, Jones completed 18-hour course loads while working graveyard shifts at a call center so he could cover his college costs and help support his mother and sister back home.

“I wish I didn’t have to worry about money so much in college, but I know that hard work crafted the human being I am now,” Jones says.

“Above all, I am most proud of how I have evolved from a student overwhelmed with family, pressure, and expectations to a husband and a father of four who confronts each with maturity and experience.”

Jones’ children range in age from 3 to 9 years old. His passions include tennis, Southern sweet tea, and his studies at pharmacy school. Jones says if he could have a conversation with anyone dead or alive, it would be a toss-up between Abraham Lincoln and Lenny Kravitz.

Ravand Samaeekia, University of Illinois at Chicago

Main prize: $1,000
Student Loan Hero 1K Scholarship

Ravand Samaeekia is a first-year medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He completed his first BS degree in Biology at Bahai Institute for Higher Education in Iran, his MS in Cell and Molecular Biology at Illinois Institute of Technology, and his second BS degree in Applied Chemistry at Northeastern Illinois University.

Samaeekia’s research on molecular pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s at Northwestern University and breast cancer at the University of Chicago has been featured in several scientific publications.

An Iranian refugee and a first-generation college graduate, Samaeekia has pursued his medical studies in the US without family, friends, or financial support.

“Despite having continuous financial struggles to afford my life and education expenses, I have never been distracted from reaching my life goals.”

Having experienced persecutions, human right deprivations, and life as a refugee, he is determined to serve and contribute to the betterment of overall health in underserved communities.

Levi Jessop, Southern Utah University

Runner-up prize: $500
Student Loan Hero 1K Scholarship
Levi Jessop, a sophomore at Southern Utah University, is studying Finance and plans to minor in Marketing.

He’s passionate about obtaining higher education and becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Jessop hails from a small town in Utah and is a survivor of a polygamous sect, which he says armed him with “an undying appreciation for education and those involved in its administration. I was trapped and education has set me free, and will continue to do so.”

Michelle Nathalie Ramirez, DePaul University

Runner-up prize: $500
Michelle Ramirez, a senior at DePaul University, is double majoring in Latin American and Latino Studies and Sociology, with a minor in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Resolution.

She’s a first-generation Latina college student and credits her mother (from El Salvador), father (from Mexico), siblings, and friends for playing such a crucial role in her academic successes.

Ramirez has overcome significant financial barriers to pursue her education. “These challenges have taught me the power of aspiring to attain a higher education not only for myself and my family, but to serve as a positive mentor for the growing numbers of Latinos in the United States,” she says.

After graduation, Ramirez hopes to work in a nonprofit sector specifically catering to underprivileged youth, and expects to complete her bachelor’s degree in June 2017.

Jennifer Te, Roseman University

Runner-up prize: $500
Student Loan Hero 1K Scholarship
Jennifer Te is a pharmacy student at Roseman University of Health Sciences. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and Clinical Microbiology.

As a wife and mother with one daughter, Te is a family-oriented person and devoted Christian.

Te hopes her education will help secure a more stable future for her family. “While overcoming … financial challenges has built character among my family, I would like those challenges to end with me,” Te says.

Helen Woldemariam, Roseman University

Runner-up prize: $500

Helen Woldemariam was born and raised in Ethiopia. With the support and sacrifice of her parents, she became a first-generation college student and graduated from a pharmacy college there.

After working in the pharmacy field, she immigrated to the United States. Woldermariam is continuing her studies with the goal to become a pharmacist in the US.

“I am very inspired, dedicated, and honored to get this opportunity because I feel it is my true calling to be a pharmacist,” Woldermariam says.

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Published in Success Stories