We are thrilled to announce the winners of the first Project Fairness scholarships.
These scholarships are awarded annually to current and former foster youth who are pursuing higher education. Project Fairness provides them with financial support to participate in an educational program, and mentoring to help them achieve their academic and professional goals.
The 2018 Project Fairness scholars were selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants, and distinguished themselves for their leadership, resilience and commitment to helping others.
Rajiv Goswami is starting his sophomore year at Georgetown University as a projected Government major. His experience in the foster care system in New York City meant he was directly affected by politics and government, and he aims to navigate the political system to better the lives of future generations of foster youth. Rajiv’s ultimate career aspiration is being elected to Congress with the aim of uplifting marginalized and underserved youth including foster youth, undocumented youth, and youth from low-income backgrounds.
Rajiv faced challenges as a high school student from being in foster care for the last four years. The instability in housing often left him in homes that were distant from his magnet high school. Many foster homes did not have internet access or even computers, forcing Rajiv to maximize his phone and the limited library resources in order to access his email and online clouds where his teachers would upload homework assignments. When Rajiv isn’t doing his school work, he can be found jogging or playing tennis. His favorite tennis players include Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Hannia Martinez is a sophomore at San Diego State University. She was born in Mexico City to a teen mother and alcoholic father, and she came to the United States at the age of four. She grew up in an abusive household that neglected her but still rose above the adverse circumstances. Since transitioning into foster care, she has flourished in the loving, supporting, and nurturing environment she has been provided with by her foster mom. In 2017, Hannia graduated from St.Helena High School with a 3.8 GPA and just finished her freshman year at San Diego State University with a 3.21 GPA as a psychology major, with a minor in sociology.
Hannia is striving for a higher education so that she can one day give back to foster youth, as a children’s or immigration attorney. Her goal is to graduate from San Diego State University in four years, and attend law school after a year of work experience. She was hired at the on-campus Housing Office in April and has been working 20 hours a week, and she joined the Criminal Justice Student Association. Aside from her school life, Hannia has also become well acquainted with San Diego and made a lot of new friends.
Tyshame Reid is a native of Brooklyn, NY and is pursuing a masters degree in accounting at SUNY Albany. He is 23 years old and has been in foster care for a total of 13 years. As a teenager, he enjoyed writing poetry and boxing. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Buffalo State College with a B.S. in Business Administration.
Tyshame recently made a big sacrifice by resigning from his job as a Credit Analyst for the New York Business Development Corporation so that he can focus on school. The transition from being a full-time employee to a full-time student will be very difficult, but he made a similar sacrifice about eight years ago when he was in high school. He noticed his grades were slacking because he spent the majority of his time working. Once he resigned from the two jobs he held, he regained his focus and was able to graduate high school in three years instead of four years. The Project Fairness scholarship is supporting him to focus on school now, and he is sure the sacrifice will pay off once he successfully completes his master’s program.
Tianna Wolin is a Student Success Center manager in the Cajon Valley Union school district in California. She assists middle school students with a positive alternative setting and techniques when they are struggling with behavior in class. Tianna is also a full-time student at Cuyamaca College working towards her Education degree, and she will use the Project Fairness scholarship to pursue this goal. She is the first in her family to attend college and she hopes to become a principal in the future.
Tianna volunteers a lot of her free time. She teaches youth groups, assists to facilitate toy, clothing and food drives, and gives back to the foster care system by advocating for foster children in court. When not volunteering in her community, Tianna enjoys spending time at the beach with her dog, reading, and attending concerts. Her past doesn’t define her future!