UUAA scholarship spotlight: Turning adversity into passion
Meet Nora Ismail, recipient of a 2017 Achievement Scholarship granted by the University of Utah Alumni Association (UUAA) at its annual Spring Awards ceremony. This award is reserved for students who have overcome particular hardship to get an education.
Ismail was born in the U.S. as an American Egyptian/Russian, but her father’s business took them to Dubai when she was 11. Not long after settling in, a community of radical Islamists began targeting her family. Ismail was Muslim, but she attended church with her Christian mother, resulting in more harassment and even death threats from extremists. The persecution became so severe that Ismail was kicked out of school, and her family lost their business, home, and at one point didn’t have money for basic necessities.
At age 17, when Ismail was about to be forced into a marriage with a much older man, her parents desperately sought help and found someone who arranged for her escape back to the U.S., but she had to leave her parents behind. Ismail was taken in by a family in Utah, where she was able to finish high school and prepare for college. She entered the U last fall. Ismail is majoring in business and Middle Eastern studies and hopes to create an organization to empower women and children to get their educations.
When asked what she has enjoyed the most about her experience at the U, Ismail says, “the privilege of getting a chance to have an education. I had my education taken away from me by force and lived without it for a few years, so I got to feel the loss and need for it in my life.”
At the annual Spring Awards banquet, the Alumni Association honored 85 students with scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 per student.
Alumni Association honors academic advisor
The association’s Spring Awards ceremony also included the Perlman Award for Excellence in Student Counseling, which is given annually to a faculty or staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the university through student advising and counseling.
The recipient this year is Maria Creasey-Baldwin, who is an academic advising coordinator with the U’s TRIO Student Support Services, providing support to students who are low income, have disabilities, and/or are first-generation college-matriculated. She has also coordinated a comprehensive six-week summer residential components in which students become familiar with going to college.
Creasey-Baldwin is beloved and respected by students and administrators alike for being deeply committed to helping students in any way needed. “If it was not for her, I would have not gone to school at all,” wrote a student who nominated her for the award. Creasey-Baldwin says the best part of her job is witnessing student self-discovery and seeing them reach their goals. “Being a part of their journey is profoundly rewarding,” she says.
Which counties drive with U pride?
Did you know that every dollar spent on University of Utah license plates goes directly to scholarship funds? Last year, license plates contributed to more than $700,000 for student scholarships! Are you supporting scholarships by driving with U pride? What about your family, friends, and neighbors… see how your county ranks as the Ute-est in the state.
SUPPORT STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS, ONE PLATE AT A TIME
ORDER YOURS TODAY at alumni.utah.edu/plates
Learn more about our scholarships in the fun infographic here.
Where will you fly your flag?
The Alumni Association is offering an incentive for first-time members—a U Alumni garden flag. For as little as $50, you can join a robust network of Utah alumni living all around the world. Becoming a member offers an array of perks and also helps support the association’s scholarship program, which will provide more than $700,000 to deserving students this year.
Association members enjoy benefits ranging from special members-only discounts, event invitations, career networking opportunities, and a subscription to all four issues of Continuum a year. Membership can be purchased annually, for three years, or for a lifetime, and is open to U alumni, family, nongraduates, and other friends of the U.
Visit alumni.utah.edu/membership to join and learn more about additional member benefits and promotions (including limited-edition U Alumni socks). And, if it is a first-time enrollment, start planning now where you’ll fly that U Alumni flag!