Scholarship Recipients Pursue Career Goals, Ambitions at AUC

“I have one concrete goal, which is to be a force for progress wherever I am in the universe, and this goal has translated into a dream of developing Egypt so that it is a top country worldwide across all fields,” said Mazan Ayman, an electronics engineering senior and recipient of the Ayman Korra Endowed Public School Scholarship. “Studying at AUC has helped me a lot through its high-quality education and facilities. The extracurricular activities have given me the chance to work in a smaller but similar environment to the outside world, which has developed my soft skills and managerial abilities. I was also fortunate enough to make use of AUC’s unique exchange program and spend a year at UC Davis in California last year, which provided me with positive energy and lots of ideas that I am eager to test in Egypt.”

Like many scholarship recipients at AUC, Ayman is pursuing his undergraduate education at AUC in hopes of achieving his individual and career goals, as well as dreams for his country. This year, the University has allocated 15 percent of its tuition income, more than LE 132 million annually, to provide students with scholarships and financial aid that would assist them in meeting the expenses of their education. From the Public School Scholarship Fund and Tomorrow’s Leaders Middle East Partnership Initiative to Empower and AUC-Misr El Kheir program, scholarship recipients are some of the top-performing students at the University, and many have gone to prestigious graduate schools abroad. Recognizing their achievements, an awards ceremony will be held for scholarship students on October 1, from 11 am to 2 pm in Mary Cross Lecture Hall, and will feature presentations by scholarship students and alumni.

For some scholarship recipients, coming to AUC is a chance to study in a diverse, non-traditional community. “I have many goals in my life, and I’m happy to say that I’m currently in the process of achieving one of them –– studying abroad,” said Bayan Abdulaziz Hassan, an incoming freshman from Bahrain who is attending AUC as part of the Tomorrow’s Leaders scholarship program, which provides tuition coverage and internship opportunities to students from the Middle East and North Africa region with demonstrated leadership potential. “Studying at AUC will help me become a well-rounded, responsible and independent person, as I’ll be exposed to different people. I’m really enjoying the liberal arts classes that I’m taking as part of the Core Curriculum, and I am having a different experience by being a complete stranger in another country. I have to learn to fit in a new community, new culture and even a new language, and I find that very intriguing, especially at AUC. This is what I dreamed of my whole life, and I will not let this chance pass by.”

Incoming freshman Qais Gaber, also a recipient of the Tomorrow’s Leaders scholarship, dreams of building a sustainable economy and boosting the tourism sector in his native Yemen, in order to enhance the country and improve the community. “I believe that studying at AUC will develop my intellect and creativity, hopefully enabling me to come up with new ideas to help communities in Egypt as well as in Yemen,” he said. “During my time at AUC, I plan to join many clubs that will empower me with new ideas and methods for implementing effective projects to improve my society.”

According to Khaled Dahawy, vice president for student affairs, nearly 60 percent of AUC students receive some form of financial assistance, either through scholarships or financial aid. One of the most successful scholarship programs at the University is the Public School Scholarship Fund (PSSF). Established in 1990, PSSF grants full undergraduate scholarships every year to 20 of Egypt’s most outstanding public-school students, and is partially supported through the contributions of corporations and individuals. More than 70 percent of its recipients have graduated with high or highest honors, and some have received the President’s Cup, awarded to students with the highest grade point average in the graduating class.

One of the most recently established scholarships at AUC is Empower, which offers five top students from Assiut, Beni Suef, Menya, Sohag and Fayoum governorates the opportunity to pursue an undergraduate education in the major of their choice. Established last year, Empower is open to students from both public and private high schools who have demonstrated involvement in civil society or community service, as well as a history of academic excellence.

Empower scholar Mohamed Ashraf, who was born in Minya and raised in Assiut, is embarking upon his first semester at AUC. Ashraf has diverse interests, and plans to major in mechanical engineering and minor in philosophy. “I want to make an impact on my society, especially by playing a role in ending illiteracy and improving education in Egypt,” he said. “That is why I applied for this scholarship –– to gain life experience from the civic engagement activities and other extracurricular options. These offerings make AUC unique from other universities in Egypt.”

This year, Misr El Kheir Foundation, a nonprofit organization, has offered another five students from those same governorates a scholarship to pursue their undergraduate education at AUC. In addition, two programs targeting students with exceptional academic records were offered to AUC students: the Academic Achievement Scholarship, which identifies the top 25 percent of enrolling students and reduces their tuition by 30 percent, and the Honors Scholarship, which is awarded at the beginning of each academic year to the top five students who have achieved the highest scores at the national or regional level in their high school diplomas. Moreover, students who excel in national and international sports, or those who participated in cultural activities, have the opportunity to receive a 15 percent reduction in tuition.

As Chouaib Hamek, an incoming freshman from Algeria majoring in computer science, put it, receiving a scholarship to study at AUC provides the basis for realizing one’s dreams. Hamek hopes that his education at the University would enable him to one day own and operate an international software development company. “Studying at such a prestigious University will certainly provide me with everything I need be a good programmer, and that’s the first step toward achieving my goal,” he said.

Photo caption: The new and returning class of the Tomorrow’s Leaders scholarship recipients, who come from across the Middle East and North Africa