TRIO scholars pursue STEM dreams

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'It means I can pursue my dream.' - Zahraa FrelundIraqi refugee Zahraa Frelund could not hold back tears as she explained what it means to receive a scholarship to help fund her STEM academic path.

Alexander Evans, who three years ago was homeless and had not graduated from high school, said his STEM scholarship is helping further his education.

Single mother Cristin Fail said her scholarship will help her acquire knowledge to someday learn more about the undiagnosed degenerative brain disease that took her son’s life.

Her passion is to delve into medical research and unlock the keys to her son’s fatal disease. “I believe I can figure out one day what he had and what took him from me, or at least help people along the way.”

Frelund, Evans and Fail are three of 18 recipients in the first round of SLCC students who, through TRIO, qualified for STEM scholarships worth up to $10,000. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The students were awarded certificates at a ceremony signifying they are TRIO scholars who will work toward STEM-related careers.

“It means I can pursue my dream,” Frelund said. She is studying material sciences and wants to be an engineer in the Air Force and work on improving weapons systems.

More students will be identified to receive the STEM scholarships in successive rounds.