Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

Martin Scholars History

2015 marked the 20-year anniversary of the Martin Family Foundation scholarships. In this celebration publication, many scholarship recipients share how the Martin Family Foundation’s support has impacted their lives (please also see the UAA article celebrating this milestone).

 

 


Scholars History by Year

2022

Shayne Jones

Shayne Jones

Shoreline Community College

2022 Martin Honors Scholar

Shayne grew up in the small town of Camas, WA which is just outside of Portland, OR. Despite struggling scholastically throughout his young adult life, he had one goal: To spend his life making a positive impact on the people around him.

Once COVID hit, Shayne realized that even with his extensive work in treatment centers, youth on the Spectrum, and at-risk young adults, he was going to have to get a degree in order to make the difference he wanted to. With this in mind, Shayne registered at Shoreline Community College a week before winter term of 2021. He went into the beginning of his college education thinking he was going to face enormous challenge within a classroom setting, but much to his surprise, Shayne found himself not only accomplishing his educational goals but also thriving.

Early on in his education, Shayne’s classes prompted him to start identifying currently neglected and underserved minority demographics. As a queer transgender man, he found a passion for homeless and at-risk youth ignited when he learned that 20-40% of homeless youth identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. After taking a criminal justice class, Shayne learned about the life long negative consequences for those within the prison system and decided to get his Criminal Justice Advocacy Certificate. His latest efforts are homeless rehabilitation and harm reduction. Most importantly, Shayne realized how short community resources are failing those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Because of this and his background working with those who are underprivileged, Shayne decided to devote his life to working with those struggling with substance abuse and decided to pursue a career as a mental health therapist. He intends on getting his Bachelors of Social Work and minoring in Law, Societies, and Justice as well as Human Rights. After his Bachelors is finished, Shayne plans to pursue a Masters of Social Work at the University of Washington. Shayne believes that due to his own personal life changes, anyone with the desire and support in doing so can become their potential.

Shayne recognizes that without a support system filled with love and acceptance, each of us struggle to become the positive force in the world we are meant to be. In large part, his educational and professional goals stem from a core support system made up of his parents, Mark, Cheryl, and Robyn, his sisters, Sydney and MiMi, his chosen family, Eric, Karen, Lucas, Sammie, and Abby, and the families he nannies for, Matt, Rachel, and Molly, and Bianca, Joanna, and Cy. Shayne is eternally grateful to each of these people for their tremendous impact in spurring him to finding his life purpose. To each person listed and unlisted who’s given him the hope and courage to become his best self, he extends a sincere thank you. You’ve changed his life for the better.

Shayne’s near and long-term goals:

To finish my Masters of Social Work and to become a mental health therapist.

Shayne’s tips for future applicants:

Have set life goals in mind for yourself and your career path and practice conveying these. Speak with passion and show the board how giving you the opportunity will better the world around you. Pre-write your essays and revise them until they are clear and concise. Don’t underestimate the importance of your letters of recommendation! Choose those recommending you wisely.

Carlos Morales

Carlos Morales

Whatcom Community College

2022 Martin Honors Scholar

These days, it seems more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of connecting with our food. Getting people excited to know where our food comes from, how it affects our bodies and how fun cooking can be: this is Carlos’s dream. Carlos is originally from Columbia, SC and moved to the northwest from Atlanta, GA. As Carlos’s knowledge as a chef expanded, he decided to open his own small restaurant, “Chop Chop Next,” in July 2015. He immediately gained a special appreciation for the local businesses and found that most of us did better independently when we supported each other collectively and worked together. Carlos began sourcing only locally grown produce and found the customers loved knowing where their food was coming from and they were yearning for a deeper connection and so was he. Carlos was hungry for more of an understanding of how our food systems work. When a community comes together, it provides support, encourages growth and flourishes on trust and cooperation. Weak soil produces weak crops, and strong communities birth incredible individuals which create an unwavering network of cooperation. Carlos is interested in finding and exploring the intersection between our food systems and health systems through pursuing a career in Public Health. Through his research he had discovered the Martin Family Foundation and was impressed and affected with Benn Martin’s compassion and tenacity to help others. Carlos thought to himself that this is an amazing foundation and opportunity to support. With this opportunity it will allow Carlos to reconnect people to the land. He feels like this is the missing piece to solving a lot of our country’s issues. A huge disconnect has been created through the birth of industrialization which has evolved and spread like wildfire through our nation, severing those relations to the land and each other.

Carlos’s near and long-term goals:

Carlos’s near term goal is having a positive impact on the community in Whatcom county where he recently moved from. Carlos currently has the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of the Bellingham Food Bank and want to enact change towards anti-racism as an organization. His longer term goals include getting his MPH with a focus on policy. Policy constantly assists communities or quite the opposite, it can get in the way and create barriers. He is most focused on breaking down these hurdles and talking with communities and creating policies that better serve what those people are needing and looking for while nurturing a holistic approach to personal and economic growth for each individual.

Carlos’s tips for future applicants:

When applying for a scholarship it can be easy to be overcome with excitement and anxiety all at once. I would ask you to remind yourself of everything that it took for you to get to this particular place in which you have the opportunity to apply for the scholarship in the first place. Give yourself the space to breathe before you start writing and ask yourself, “What do I want to bring into my potential future? What vision and impact do I want to have on the community that I’m serving?”. If you have the time, please give yourself plenty of it to think about how you are going to show up as a student, peer, and leader at UW. Be thoughtful, but most of all just be yourself and be clear with what you want out of this experience.

Axel Rochel

Axel Rochel

Everett Community College

2022 Martin Honors Scholar

My name is Axel Rochel, and I am a first-generation college student and DACA recipient born in Durango, Mexico. I migrated to the United States at age five and have lived in North Lynnwood ever since.
As a young boy, I managed to blend in with others rapidly. Learning English and trying to hide my Hispanic ethnicity. I would not dare to speak Spanish as I was afraid to be different from others. But I knew this was not going to be easy. Knowing my family’s sacrifices and my desire for education got me through it all. I am ambitious to have a chance, an opportunity, to be able to pursue a degree and one day give back to the family. The more I grew up and understood things, the more proud I became of my ethnicity and the journey my parents and I went through to get to where we currently are. Being a DACA recipient and living in a state that supports immigrants to further my education is why I can obtain this opportunity to pursue a career in the field of STEM.

What motivated me to apply for this scholarship was to decrease the financial burden on my parents to zero, as this scholarship would cover personal expenses that would help me financially to move closer to campus and not have to commute like I was planning on doing. My parents have already invested a lot of time and money to put me in my position. It’s only right for me to complete my collegiate journey independently so they can focus on supporting their loved ones back home.

As a proud Hispanic Scholarship Fund scholar and SPEEA ACE scholar, having financial support from organizations will help me prioritize my academics and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to complete my objectives and be at the forefront of today’s innovations in power and electricity in the field of automotive/aeronautics or energy utility.

Axel’s near and long-term goals:

My immediate goal is to land an internship next summer in the field of automotive/aeronautical vehicles or energy utility and explore areas that interest me. And continue seeking opportunities to be involved in projects and competition teams to develop my knowledge and skills in the power and electrical systems field. My long-term goal is to obtain a leadership position in a company that suits my passion and curiosities and become a mentor and a career guide for first-generation and Hispanic students.

Axel’s tips for future applicants:

Begin the essay on time! Ensure you don’t feel rushed completing the essay and other requirements to put out your best self and increase your chances of being selected. And once you have your essay completed, reach out to your local faculty members or peers to review your essay.

Arian Ariaye

Arian Ariaye

Green River College

2022 Martin Achievement Scholar

Hi! My name is Arian. I’m a first-generation student studying at Green River College toward an Associate of Science degree. I plan on transferring to the University of Washington, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology. My story begins when my parents decided to take a huge risk of moving from our home country, Afghanistan, to Turkey. They’ve spent days and nights getting through dangerous roads. I was 9 years old and the only thing I could realize was the hope in my parent’s eyes. Turkey was a much safer country. However, there were not enough opportunities for my brothers and I to continue our education in the long run.

In March of 2019, we moved to the United States which was another life-changing decision. Although I had no prior English knowledge, that didn’t stop me from wanting to achieve my goals. I dedicated all the time I had to my studies and took the most out of every opportunity offered to me. I had younger brothers looking up to me, and parents who sacrificed their entire life just so their children can live a better life. Thus, I was willing to give my best shot in all aspects. Ultimately, I aim to become a physician assistant/associate (PA) and advocate the critical role that PAs play in the medical industry just like physicians. The Martin Achievement Scholarship is going to greatly assist me in completing my undergraduate journey at UW, without stressing too much about paying any loans before applying to the MEDEX Northwest PA Program.

At GRC, I’m one of the officers of Math Club where we create a friendly environment for students to socialize and de-stress from the heavy workload of college through various math related fun activities. Besides, I’ve been practicing a Japanese martial art called Aikido for over 7 years. One of my other goals is to have a place of mine where I can teach others (from variety of ages) about the magnificent art of Aikido and inform the future generations to carry on this sport over decades.

Arian’s near and long-term goals:

During summer of 2022, I’ll be taking certified nursing assistant (CNA) and phlebotomy trainings so I can start completing the required clinical hours of PA school. I’m very excited to gain new skillsets while making great friendships along the way. Eventually, other than going to PA school, I look forward to continuing to share my story with people all around the world. I want to be a source of motivation for people like me because if one person can do it, this means all of us are capable of making our dreams come true.

Arian’s tips for future applicants:

My #1 recommendation is to begin your application ahead of time. You’ll most likely have many things going on as a college student while completing your application, and it’s so easy to push things aside just because you have a couple of months before the deadline. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap :).

Christopher Kleeves

Christopher Kleeves

Whatcom Community College

2022 Martin Achievement Scholar

I grew up in Magalia, California. I struggled through school and had little to no motivation to pursue further education. After graduating from high school I worked for a few years at a grocery store climbing up to the position of department manager. Wanting to further my education, I attended Butte Community College for a year, studying Drafting and CAD technologies. Within that year I learned that I did not want to pursue that educational path and that I was also fascinated by physics after I took an introductory physical science class.

I then put my education on hold and decided to join the United States Coast Guard. I spent 4 years in the Coast Guard, working on almost every ship system on the 87ft patrol boat I was stationed on and also conducting at sea safety boardings of recreational and commercial vessels. While in the Coast Guard I fostered an interest in how the machinery worked and could be improved, especially with energy efficiency in mind. While my time in the Coast Guard was coming to a close, I began my education anew at Whatcom Community College, with the new goal of Environmental Engineering.

I quickly got in the groove of online education, due to the ongoing pandemic, and am even working 3 part time jobs to support myself financially alongside the other financial aid I am receiving. To alleviate the financial stress I am currently in and to gain support for higher education, I applied for this scholarship. This scholarship also provides a way for me to connect with other students and scholars who have come from a variety of backgrounds and find a sense of community within the landscape of academia.

Christopher’s near and long-term goals:

I plan on finishing this quarter strong then, over the summer, I will be conducting research at UW through the Clean Bridge to Energy research program under Alexander Mamishev. As I move forward with my education I hope to conduct further research within the realm of energy transfer systems, water sanitation, and waste reuse.

Christopher’s tips for future applicants:

If your school has a writing center, use it. I got help from wonderful people who helped me clarify my essays and resume so that I could apply with a fully flushed out and complete application. Be honest with your experiences and how they shaped you. While there are only so many words to explain who you are and where you are going, being honest and straight forward pays off and helps you know yourself a bit more.

Anaelsin Lopez Lopez

Anaelsin Lopez Lopez

Skagit Valley College

2022 Martin Achievement Scholar

Anaelsin Lopez was born in Phoenix, Arizona but was raised in Mount Vernon, Washington, where she began working in agriculture fields alongside her family. Anaelsin is a first-generation college student at Skagit Valley College where she is completing her pre-requisites to transfer to the University of Washington where she will pursue her degree in communications.

Anaelsin’s passion to advocate for immigrant and migrant communities is depicted in her extracurricular activities: Migrant Leaders Club, Underground Writing program, CAMP, and Interning for IRIS (Immigration Resources Immediate support) – a nonprofit organization that serves immigrant families who are survivors of violence. Anaelsin’s passion to stand for her community has allowed her work to be published in the anthologies, What No One Ever Tells You and When the Dust Rises. Anaelsin’s greatest achievements are a representation of her dedication to bringing greatness to her family, community, and future.

Anaelsin is optimistic for the future, she hopes to one day serve immigrant and migrant communities through a social justice platform. She also plans to continue advocating for underrepresented communities through the diverse environment at the University of Washington. Having experienced agricultural work at an early age motivates Anaelsin to not only pursue higher education but also to inspire others with similar experiences that through hard work anything is possible.

Anaelsin’s near and long-term goals:

One of my many goals is to start a podcast that is meant to empower, inspire, and mentor immigrant and migrant students through their education. I want to begin this journey in hopes to create more opportunities for students who might not have an advantage in their family, school, and/or communities.

Anaelsin’s tips for future applicants:

Do not underestimate the power of your story. Your story is what makes you unique and sets you apart from everyone else. Take your time answering the prompts and speak your truth to people who can help you reach your dreams. As you complete the application, remind yourself why it is important to your future and set this application to be your priority.

Linh Nguyen

Linh Nguyen

Highline College

2022 Martin Achievement Scholar

Linh was born in Vietnam and raised in Seattle, Washington. He comes from a low-income family that immigrated to the United States with the hopes of giving their kids a better life and had dreams for them to be the first ever scholars in the family. As Linh started his academic journey, he was met with adversity. As English is his second language, he struggled with being able to meet the standards of the education requirements and performed poorly. Uncertain of where his academic future may lead, he decided to enlist into the Marine Corps to find his true sense of purpose.

During his Marine Corps service, Linh was exposed to being independent and was mainly drawn to the financial side of independence. Financial literacy was not a topic that was discussed in his home and Linh became curious about it and started to develop a long-term goal of incorporating an educational journey and the pursuit to help his community. He started to learn how to manage his finances and was introduced to the finance world as a young adult and it slowly provided him the tools, he needed to start building his future.

With his new mindset, Linh made the decision to continue where he left off on his academic journey and settled on pursuing a career as a Finance Manager. His goal is to help other families in his community that are experiencing the hardship of being financially unstable. Whether it is the pursuit of higher education, building a better understanding of financial literacy, or helping out with the English language, he wants to be able to reach out and encourage as many people as he can and allow them to see that it is possible to achieve their goals. Receiving this scholarship will be a tremendous help in fulfilling his long-term goal. Not only will it help financially but more importantly it is a confidence booster as Linh can continue on the path of achievement.

Overcoming the doubts that were created in his early years of education, Linh is currently enrolled at Highline College, pursuing his associate degree in business to later on transfer to UW Foster School of Business to finish his B.A. degree in Finance. He is a member of the TRIO program, which helped him navigate through the educational system. In conjunction, he also spends time in the Veteran Service Office to help enroll and guide veterans to pursue their higher education.

Linh’s near and long-term goals:

One of my near term goals is to become a better writer so can communicate effectively to my peers, coworkers, and future clients. For my long term goal, obtain my B.A. in Finance and work towards my career as a Finance Manager.

Linh’s tips for future applicants:

Prepare yourself for the essay. Spend time writing and really express yourself. This your time to tell your story and the challenges you have faced to get to where you are now. Use resources too, like the Writing Center to help if you have problems with articulating what you are trying to convey. Also believe in yourself during the process! You will achieve your goals.

2021

Amanda René Capella

Amanda René Capella

North Seattle College

2021 Martin Achievement Scholar

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him…We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Ghandi

Driven by the belief that our actions contribute to the net outcome of our societal experience, René is an individual dedicated to offering her time, resources, and skills to building a community where every person feels equally safe, creative, and motivated to be their best selves.

Growing up on a 12-acre plot of old farm land, René spent her childhood exploring nature. The solace therein provided space for creativity and introspection which developed into a lifelong pleasure. At Miami University, René studied philosophy, exploring ethics and phenomena. Years later, this rich history and practice of critical thought contributed to Rene’s ultimate decision to step back from the workplace as a professional Software Engineering Lead and commit all energy to scholarship and community.

René currently hopes to study Computer Science and Psychology at the University of Washington to deepen her awareness of possibilities and interactions between technology and the human mind. She attends North Seattle College where she is the Computer Science Club president and Google Developer Student Club Lead for the North Seattle College Chapter. She also actively mentors for all peers in the technology industry. René’s goal is to further the dialogue concerning ethics in technology. She also focuses her energy on creating community with peers to experience how anyone can come together and create positive change.

Outside of school, René is a meditation teacher. She also spends every spare moment with her active and curious children and family who share her passion for improving the lives of their community though service and intention.

René’s near and long-term goals:

My short-term goals are focused on the development of the Computer Science Club’s robustness and role as a rich experience for students and demonstration of community service. Currently awarded the Google Developer Student Club Lead position, I’ve been offered the resources necessary to expand my efforts.

For long-term, my goal is to continue scholarship and community building at the University of Washington with the extra long term goal of dedicating my knowledge and skills to the betterment of my community at home and at large.

René’s tips for future applicants:

Introspection and brainstorming are key to fully answering essay questions. Always searching deeply for your motivations and aspirations is helpful. Also, connecting your motivations to the community (if that pertains to you) is so helpful in conceptualizing and communicating your personal vision to others and how investment in YOU is investment in our community. Your future is everyone’s future. Dream big, dream ethically, and put the effort in :).

Mya Leonhard

Mya Leonhard

Highline College

2021 Martin Achievement Scholar

At the age of 18, Mya has already jumped through many hurdles in life. Her mother had a near-death experience in 2018 with sudden massive hemoptysis lung bleeding, only later to get diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Mya has emotionally and mentally carried those around her while also battling her own mental health struggles. Working two jobs, she helps her family financially especially since her father was laid off in the pandemic last year. Yet, her resilience remains strong.

As a stellar student at Highline College, her next goal is to transfer and graduate with a B.A. in Psychology from UW. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and works at Highline’s Inter-Cultural Center, showing her emphasis on both studies and getting involved with her community. Her leadership skills as president of the Just a SEC: Social Equity Club led to recruitment by Communities for Our Colleges Coalition. This non-profit organization focuses on racial and economic equity through pushing for better state funding in community and technical colleges (CTCs) where many low-income and/or students of color go to for higher education. She successfully worked alongside legislators to pass a law that provides $33 million for CTCs, which includes allotment to grow mental health counseling services at each college.

Through her life experiences witnessing mental health struggles around her and working in communities to alleviate mental health stigmas and provide resources, she is driven to pursue a medical career in psychiatry after receiving her bachelors. She is passionate in her ultimate goal to become a well-rounded physician that leads with empathy and compassion. She has seen how human connections save lives and keep people going. She has many dreams, but never stops dreaming. She has put those dreams into action and will continue to do so.

Mya’s near and long-term goals:

My main near-term goal includes spending more time with my family because without them, I wouldn’t have had the support to get to where I am today. With my mother and father’s support, I always had supportive people around me that would encourage me to try my hardest in my academic and professional goals. That has translated into my motivations to transfer to the University of Washington for my B.A. in Psychology, continue my education for a medical degree, and leading me to pursue a career in psychiatry.

Mya’s tips for future applicants:

Before sending a request to a letter of recommendation writer, it would be good to prepare a resume, curriculum vitae, or a “brag sheet” for the writer to use as a reference. That way, they will be able to write good and applicable points about you that are on paper, along with their own personal input as well. Additionally, it would be best if a request is sent out around a month in advance to allow for time as many letter writers are quite busy with other tasks. For the personal statement essays, the more time you have, the better! I remember starting the application around a month before the due date and got a nice draft 2 weeks in before the deadline. The last 2 weeks were saved for meeting with my advisors and adding my own edits to make sure that the essay includes all the crucial parts I wanted to add in. The last, but definitely not least, tip of all is to reflect on your story and your life. The Martin Board wants to know all about you, so showing your authentic self is most likely going to be your biggest support in this scholarship application.

Mirian Mencias

Mirian Mencias

Highline College

2021 Martin Achievement Scholar

Mirian Mencias is a first-generation student. She is currently a Passport Peer Mentor with TRIO and a member of the conduct committee at Highline College. She is from Honduras la Ceiba, a multiracial student raised in Miami, Florida. Mirian is the mother of five beautiful girls. One of her desires is to demonstrate to her daughters that it is possible to prevail in life no matter the circumstances. She has encountered many challenges, including a car accident that changed her life forever. Mirian had no choice but to reinvent herself and return to school. Her intended major is in Political Science.

Mirian believes knowledge is power, so the only way to fight is by knowing the rules of the game in society. Taking the time to educate herself is the best investment she has made for herself and anyone can make for themselves. She believes that she will continue to use that energy to help propel her forward because those challenges made her a stronger person.

Mirian aspires to advocate for her community and help in whichever way possible by becoming their voice. She has declared herself a fighter and an advocate for her community. Mirian spends a lot of time reading, trying to learn, and when she is not reading or researching for fun, she loves to spend time with her five beautiful girls. She enjoys cooking, gardening, and teaching her girls how to study. Her plan is to one day help her community change for the better, and perhaps even the world, by continuing to support and help those who feel they do not have a voice. Mirian hopes to one day have the privilege of working with our government to continue to make our community a better place.

Mirian’s near and long-term goals:

I would like to be able to achieve an internship with our local government. Hopefully one day in the future I will work with government to make our community a better place for our children.

Mirian’s tips for future applicants:

You are worth it! So stop questioning yourself, and go for it. Take your time, don’t rush; make sure you give yourself plenty of time to write and review your essay. Read it to yourself out loud, and pour your heart out. Try to convey it in the writing. I know it will be challenging at first, but once you start it will flow and becomes more natural. Write your essay about your own experiences, achievement and challenges. Be authentic, but most importantly, you have to believe in yourself. You belong here. Remember this is beginning, so start by applying. Good Luck!!

Clarissa Perez

Clarissa Perez

Seattle Central College

2021 Martin Achievement Scholar

When Clarissa was younger, domestic violence, poverty, and drug addiction plagued her family. Despite this, she always made the top of her class. She found refuge in studying and doing good in school. However, her ambition came crashing down when depression and suicidal thoughts entered her life. She went from being a star student to barely graduating the eighth grade.

When Clarissa transitioned to Chief Sealth High School, it was a fresh start where she could reclaim the power she felt that she had lost. She was a full International Baccalaureate student and a member of various organizations related to youth empowerment and environmental justice. She also found a love for studying abroad when she got to study in Brazil, Germany, South Africa, and Guatemala- all on scholarship! Her high school experience didn’t come without challenges, though. During her sophomore year, Clarissa’s brother was murdered. In the middle of her junior year, she almost passed away in a suicide attempt. Finally, during her senior year, her mother died of a drug overdose.

Clarissa longed so badly to be a leader in her community that would get into college and have nothing stop her, but the pain was too much. Clarissa’s grades fell and she almost, again, barely graduated her senior year. Although she got admitted to UW Seattle her senior year, she knew that she needed to take a gap year to heal her pain. She took an internship at the Inspiring Children Foundation in Las Vegas, NV.

Clarissa’s internship consisted of helping struggling youth learn mindfulness and meditation tools to help them persevere through their adversity. Moreover, Clarissa has spoken at festivals, community gatherings, and formal settings around the country to give talks on mental health and her personal story. During her gap year, she also applied to seventeen colleges and got rejected from all of them! She decided not to give up and now prides herself in attending Seattle Central College.

For so long Clarissa felt that her circumstances would be the end of her. Now, she aspires to become the first person in her family to graduate from college. She has the dream of going to medical school and becoming an emergency medicine doctor. Clarissa’s story is one that shows that no matter what your past entails, you can always rise above it.

Clarissa’s near and long-term goals:

I hope to be a healthy and happy college student! My long-term goal is to get into medical school and eventually become an emergency medicine doctor.

Clarissa’s tips for future applicants:

Remember to pour your heart out into your essays. It is the time where you are able to share you who are, your passions, and your aspirations. Be honest and open, to the extent in which you are comfortable, with the struggles and barriers you’ve endured in your pursuit of higher education. This is your chance to have your story heard- good luck!

Mussie Tsegay

Mussie Tsegay

South Seattle College

2021 Martin Achievement Scholar

Mussie is an immigrant who is chasing the dream of being successful in a country of freedom. He came to the United States from an African country, Eritrea, in February 2019. Growing up in Eritrea was one of the many challenging experiences in his lifetime, as people are stripped of their basic human rights. As a result, Mussie’s life depended on education; the more he learned, the more freedom he could acquire.

To find a change, at age 17, Mussie started his journey to America. He had to cross the Eritrean border illegally on foot. He chose to forget everything he achieved in his education and move to a place he only knew through the media. In addition, Mussie had to take responsibility for his two siblings and protect them from the wild animals and the Eritrean soldiers who secured the border. After three scary days and nights and with the help of some smugglers, he and his siblings were able to cross the border alive. After eight months, he was able to reunite with my parents in the USA.

As an active TRIO member at South Seattle College, Mussie plans to earn his Associate of Science Degree and transfer to UW to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. Growing up in a less developed country taught him that education is essential to solve our world’s problems. Mussie hopes to use his education to improve electric power access and make the world a safe place to live.

Remembering his friends in Eritrea who didn’t have the opportunity to use their talents reinforces Mussie’s strength to finish school. He now takes another step toward becoming the first one from his family to go college and change his future. He plans to face the obstacles and challenge them while enjoying the journey to success that will change life for himself and his family.

Mussie’s near and long-term goals:

Academically, my near-term goal is to get my Associate of Science Degree in South Seattle college and transfer to UW. Additionally, I plan to practice and further my art skills as a hobby. My future goal is to obtain my engineering degree, perhaps including a master’s, as needed. On the way, I want to learn more about this country and further my plan on using my education to be successful and help people in need.

Mussie’s tips for future applicants:

I would advise future students to use the principle of “work smarter, not harder.” Appling to scholarships is much easier than working hard to get the money. Besides, don’t forget the patience and the experience you develop by applying will prepare you for your future. So appreciate all the hardships you overcome and enjoy your success, As success is how far you got from where you started.

Harry Furey-Soper

Harry Furey-Soper

Pierce College

2021 Martin Honors Scholar

My name is Harry, and I enjoy hiking, lifting weights, and working on cars. My academic interests include physics, astronomy, engineering, mathematics, and computer science. I am currently working on a robotics development project called the Artemis Challenge, hosted by the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium. This fall, I am transferring from Pierce College to the University of Washington to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering.

Growing up, I struggled with ADHD and ASD, and I performed poorly in high school. Pierce College gave me a second chance to turn things around. I was much more comfortable in the college environment, and I worked hard towards improving myself academically. I took on a rigorous STEM-focused workload, served as vice president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, received the 2021 Outstanding Student award for Engineering, and finally graduated with my Associates in Science. I feel that my time at Pierce has effectively prepared me for this transfer, and I am excited to get started at UW this fall.

I plan to major in Aeronautics and Astronautics and minor in Experimental Physics, while taking advantage of the many opportunities for undergraduate research programs offered by the College of Engineering. I also aim to complete a capstone project in spacecraft design during my senior year.

After completing my undergraduate program, I hope to remain at UW to obtain my MSAA, which will propel me towards my goal of becoming a NASA astronaut. While working for NASA, I wish to assist in researching advanced propulsion systems that will help mankind explore further into our universe than we have ever gone before. I also intend to help research and develop cleaner propulsion systems, which could allow us to move away from reliance on fossil fuels and work towards a healthier planet.

Harry’s near and long-term goals:

As for short-term goals, I hope to make connections with my classmates, professors, and professionals in the aerospace industry while completing my undergraduate program. I also wish to involve myself in research programs at the UW, such as the plasma science department. My long-term goals include remaining at the UW to pursue a graduate degree in the sciences of aeronautics and astronautics, which will allow me to achieve my dream of becoming a NASA astronaut.

Harry’s tips for future applicants:

Start your essays early, read the prompts thoroughly and carefully. Your essays are used to evaluate your candidacy, so it is important to put a decent amount of time and effort into writing them. If your community college has a writing center, don’t be afraid to ask them for help with proofreading and syntax.

Susan Muthoni

Susan Muthoni

Highline College

2021 Martin Honors Scholar

My name is Susan Muthoni and I am a first generation student studying a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I look forward to working towards getting a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and partaking in research, and innovations from a global health lens so that I can increase the accessibility of healthcare services to third world countries and remote areas.

Growing up in a small town in Kenya, I witnessed firsthand how access to healthcare services is hindered by factors such as lack of awareness, finances, proximity to healthcare clinics and shortage of workers. At the age of 19, I immigrated from Kenya without any immediate family. Thus, I did not have a safety net for when things went wrong and lived paycheck to paycheck. I had to overcome mastering a whole new system, finding a place to live, eating and working all by myself.

Once I stabilized, I enrolled at highline College to study an associates in Pre-Nursing. However, during the pandemic, I found myself couch surfing and facing food insecurity as I took my core science classes. However, I was able to graduate with honors. While at Highline College, I was part of the TRIO program, engaged in research through the Honors program and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa. In my community I volunteered with different organizations such as Kingdom Mysteries International and Seattle Gospel Mission in supporting the homeless community.

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Annan

Susan’s near and long-term goals:

Ultimately, I hope to pursue higher education and acquire a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). I hope to use the opportunity to engage in research and equip myself so I can serve my immediate community in Seattle to bridge access to healthcare services to minority communities. My long term goal would be to help my home country and other third world countries in gaining more access to healthcare services.

Susan’s tips for future applicants:

Do not be afraid to tell your story. Be willing to be vulnerable and talk about your life experiences and how they have shaped you. Choose a topic that matters to you when it comes to essay writing. Practice your interview, be prompt and listen to the questions carefully.

2020

Sam Ayars

Sam Ayars
Everett College
2020 Martin Achievement Scholar

Sam was born in Everett, Washington in 1985, has an older brother, and was homeschooled by his mother. He chose not to enter college immediately after high school because he was unsure of the career he wanted to pursue. In 2015 he was exposed to articles Nikola Tesla had written a century prior regarding Tesla’s thoughts and ambitions related to electricity. Realizing that electricity is now involved in almost every aspect of modern life, Sam decided to join the electrical industry by becoming an electrician.

Before he could begin that journey, however, Sam received critical injuries in late 2015 and he needed extensive medical care for the following year. Along with needing to rebuild his physical strength from scratch, including the ability to walk, nerve damage and joint stiffness left him with a disabled arm. After recovering, Sam assessed his situation and realized that his best career choices would now need to rely on his mind and not his physical capabilities. He decided to become an electrical engineer and began attending Everett Community College in the fall of 2018.

Within weeks of starting his first quarter he joined STEM Club where he was elected as the club’s vice president. Throughout the year he supported the club’s several engineering project teams, helped arrange events and tours, and consolidated the club’s communication and documentation systems. After being nominated by his peers, Sam was selected as EvCC’s 2018-2019 Club Member of the Year.

At university Sam intends to focus his electrical engineering studies on the power and energy field. He’s interested in improving how we generate, transmit, and utilize electricity and has a particular interest in wireless energy transmission. He hopes advancements in those areas will have beneficial ripple effects throughout society.

Sam’s tips for future applicants:
Show how you are committed to your education as well as anything that may be unique about you and your journey. Take advantage of the essay prompts that allow you to share who you are, what you’ve gone through, and where you hope to go in the future. Talk to your advisors. They have a wealth of information and would love to help you succeed.

Allegra Keys

Allegra Keys
South Seattle College
2020 Martin Achievement Scholar

Allegra Keys was born and raised in the Central District of Seattle by a strong single mother, while her father was in and out of prison, battling his addictions. As an infant, Allegra was diagnosed with a degenerative neuromuscular disease that had a prognosis of two years. Her mother was told to “just take her home and love her,” but instead she fought the prognosis and set Allegra up for a life of challenging expectations and flourishing in the face of adversity. By the age of two, Allegra was one of the youngest people in the state to have a power wheelchair that she was able to drive herself.

Despite frequent hospitalizations and only being able to utilize two fingers, Allegra always excelled academically. In 2010, she graduated high school with honors and was set to be the first person in her family to go to college. However, due to a life-threatening hospitalization prior to starting her freshman year at UW Seattle, she was not ready for the academic and social stressors and left school after two quarters.

At this point, Allegra was nearly two decades past her life expectancy and she decided to spend the next several years checking items off of her bucket list – she traveled to new countries, lived independently and began passionately writing and publishing her poetry. Two years ago, Allegra began receiving the first FDA approved treatment for her type of muscular dystrophy – a dangerous and painful ongoing treatment that has reversed the progression of her disease. With hope and health abundant, Allegra enrolled in college with the final goal of Master of Fine Arts; she has already seen some of her writing published in literary journals. Allegra strongly believes that the voices of marginalized populations – women, people of color, and people with disabilities belong in the literary world.

In her free time Allegra volunteers with Crisis Text Line, because if her life has taught her anything, it’s this: we all just want to be heard.

Allegra’s tips for future applicants:
Though it’s hard talking about your hardships, those are the things that make you unique so don’t be afraid of talking about them. Also, don’t try to write everything at once, take your time. Lastly, just be authentic and honest.

Kayla Pezolano

Kayla Pezolano
Highline College
2020 Martin Achievement Scholar

Kayla can be best described as a highly driven scholar with an entrepreneurial spirit. She is set on making an impact in her community and, one day, the world. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Kayla comes from a low-income family who has struggled to break the cycle. Working tirelessly at different jobs, spreading herself thin between the office and the demands of being the head of her family, she knew something had to change. So last year she decided to move to Washington and now calls it her home. However, a change of location couldn’t be the only difference made.

As a former high school drop-out, she went on to complete her diploma online. Soon after, applied to Highline College and now is working on earning a BA in Communication Studies. Throughout Kayla’s journey, she has overcome many obstacles in the pursuit of her degree, including being a first-generation college student from a single-parent household. But the reward of achieving her goals and being someone that not only her family can look up to but others as well keeps her resolve strong.

Kayla’s natural business talents have lead her to accomplish several professional achievements. She has also already begun working on some of her book ideas, seeking to fulfill her goal of being a public speaker and notable author. However, her ultimate goal is to inspire the community with her leadership skills, to make positive changes, whether it be in someone’s personal life or at a higher level. Strong integrity and devout passion to help others permeate her work.

Kayla’s tips for future applicants:
Get it done! I admit as the deadline for this scholarship was approaching I was uncertain if I was going to participate. I experienced some setbacks and was unsure whether I had the time or drive to finish it. So don’t doubt yourself! Make the decision to commit to completing your application and give it your all. Use it as an outlet to express yourself and your goals. A place to reflect on the struggles you rose above. But more importantly, start counting your accomplishments and be confident there’s more to come.

Cassandra Starr

Cassandra Starr
North Seattle College
2020 Martin Achievement Scholar

Cassie hopes to transfer to the University of Washington to pursue studies in civil engineering and education.

Moving to Seattle at age 17 sparked her interest in transportation engineering, when she gained access to more well-developed public transit systems and the ability to travel around the city with ease. After having lived in an area dependent on cars as transportation for most of her life, she was grateful to be able to use the bus. It allowed her to experience rush hour traffic without the stress of driving, but also see Seattle neighborhoods and the importance in having transit access in all communities. This sparked her curiosity in how transportation planning worked, and the ways public transit or traffic systems could be improved to support those in the Seattle area that depend on their development.

However, it took a lot of effort for Cassie to unlearn self-doubt and insecurities in her ability to succeed in both school and STEM. After unwelcoming experiences with STEM and difficulty connecting to formal education, neither felt like her path, despite interest. Like many teenagers, she struggled with how to define her future and her own identity development, while also experiencing the sudden loss of her father in high school.

After being welcomed into a youth development program not long after, she found a valuable community and experience that helped shape her future pathways and confidence in her ability to succeed. It made her passionate about developing quality curriculum and programs that engage with youth, particularly to support those who endure challenging circumstances in school and feel a sense of non-belonging. She hopes to promote opportunities to young people interested in STEM that are welcoming, culturally inclusive, and utilize informal teaching strategies – and incorporate both her passions of study into future work.

Cassie’s tips for future applicants:
Don’t convince yourself it’s not worth applying, and try not to compare yourself to other potential applicants. Everyone’s history is meaningful, so find a way to share yours in essays and what matters to you. When you do decide to apply: reach out for help and resources when you need it, and spend ample time working on those essays!

Camila Christensen

Camila Christensen
Seattle Central College
2020 Martin Honors Scholar

Camila is a computer science student at the University of Washington who is inspired to put her learning into action by volunteering for different organizations. For her, it was a moment of enlightenment when she decided she wanted to become a Software Engineer. Growing up, mathematics, science and technology were far from her reality. She was born and raised in a low-income family in the Southeastern part of Brazil and decided to move to Seattle six years ago.

In 2017, while working tirelessly in a full-time job she enrolled at college to be the first person in her family to acquire an associate degree. Unsure of the career she wanted to pursue, it wasn’t until a year later that she found her passion for technology during a conference that connected young women to companies in the Seattle area. After losing her childhood friend to cancer and having her mom being diagnosed with cancer twice, Camila decided she wanted to pursue a career in which she could make an impact in the lives of others. She decided to become a Medical Software Engineer.

Through her passion for computer science and diversity & inclusion, she learned how she can make an impact in her community. She volunteered at Girls Who Code – an international non-profit organization dedicated to close the gender gap in technology – serving as a role model to the young girls. Furthermore, she is the former president of Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) where she focused on enhancing the experiences of women in STEM by creating a collaborative and supportive environment and she volunteered at a mobile food pantry in Burien providing nutritious food to low incoming individuals diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

Camila’s tips for future applicants:
Believe in yourself, applying for a scholarship can be stressful and overwhelming but you can do it. Start early, get organized and have a second pair of eyes to check your application. When writing your essay, reflect about your story, past experiences and make sure to share what matters the most to you. You got this!

Audrey Santoyo
Audrey Santoyo
Bellevue College
2020 Martin Honors Scholar

Audrey’s tips for future applicants:
Before applying, have the confidence in yourself that you can write powerful essays, believe in everything that you have accomplished in your life, and share your story. As for the application itself, make sure that you allow enough time for the essays, be respectful of other’s time (especially when asking them to write letters of recommendation for you), and make sure that you reflect on everything you have achieved and talk about your goals. Take a deep breath and remember you CAN do this.

Morel Takougang

Morel Takougang
Edmonds Community College
2020 Martin Honors Scholar

Morel was born in Yaounde, Cameroon, a country located in Central Africa. In an environment where parents were skeptical about putting their children through school, and would rather have them work in their farms, his parents still decided to invest in his education. After seeing his desire to learn more about how machines they were using for their farms work internally, they introduced him to one of their friends, Mr. Gweth, a Computer Science graduate.

After spending a summer in 11th grade with Mr. Gweth, and bothering him with millions of questions about how electronics work, Morel fell in love with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. One of Mr. Gweth’s goals is to provide a more concrete way of teaching engineering, so he experimented with that teaching style on Morel. They spent the whole summer breaking down old machines and building circuits from the remaining parts. Although he could not fully understand everything, he knew that with this knowledge, he would be able to build devices that could better the lives of the people around him.

His parents, understanding his eagerness to learn and impact his community, did everything possible to send him to the US, where he would be taken care of by his uncle. Unfortunately, his uncle passed away two years after he moved. As he was trying to emotionally cope with the circumstances, he was faced with the reality of having to provide for his family back home, so he dropped out of school and started working full time.

To stay connected with his education, Morel spent his time off work mentoring and teaching international students, as well as high school students from Cameroon. But to get to the point where he is fully motivated to pursue his education and achieve his goals, he had a lot of help from his friends and family. As his journey at the University of Washington as a Computer Engineer is about to start, he is now looking forward to accomplishing those goals: building technology that would improve the lives of his community in the medical and agricultural fields.

Morel’s tips for future applicants:
The number of essays and rounds can discourage you to apply, but you miss all of the shots that you don’t take! Besides, this scholarship is not principally about your academic achievement. The Martin Family Foundation is really making an effort to know you as a person and understand what you have to offer to your community and the world. So, pour your heart on those essays and be confident!

2019

Yonas Abraha

Yonas Abraha
Seattle Central Community College
2019 Martin Achievement Scholar

My name is Yonas Abraha and I was born in Ethiopia and grew up in Eritrea. As long as I can remember I have always gravitated towards mathematics and science, tinkering with electrical appliances and fixing some of them that needed repair. The country where I grew up, Eritrea, had shortage of electricity and so every household was allowed to have only 12 hours per day of access to electricity and so I was using candles to do most of my home work. One time, when I was only 13, I attended a seminar about solar energy, and I was fascinated by the technology and so with the ambition I had to solve the shortage of electricity, I see solar energy implementation as my new path to solve the problem and that is why I wanted to pursue an Electrical Engineering career. But I had to flee my country because my faith was abandoned by the government of Eritrea and I had to live in a refugee camp in Sudan and finally moved to the U.S. after passing through several South American countries.

Once I got into the U.S., I was given the opportunity to seek asylum and I was granted to stay here and was excited to pursue the American dream. I was accepted for who I was and the once glimpse of hope of fulfilling my dreams came to reality. My parents spend their whole life encouraging and supporting me to acquire education so I can be of great contribution to my community. So, I grew up knowing the importance of education and I value it above anything else and so I resumed my education at Seattle Central to pursue my childhood dream of becoming an Electrical Engineer with a focus on power and solar energies.

Besides my regular job as a driver, which helps me cover my expenses, I am an active member of MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) and the African Association Group at Seattle Central. I also volunteer as a Math tutor for underprivileged people who didn’t get to graduate high school at Goodwill Seattle. It feels extraordinarily fulfilling to be able to change the lives of people and impact them with a positive energy at a nonprofit organization which provides people with employment training and community services to better their lives at no cost to them.

Yonas’ tips for future applicants:
Don’t think your story is embarrassing or isn’t worthy telling. Everyone has their own struggles in life and so don’t be afraid narrating them on your essays. And apply for as many scholarships as you can and you will definitely win some of them. Give your back to giving up!

Raymond Haug

Raymond Haug
Everett Community College
2019 Martin Achievement Scholar

My teen years were challenging. I became involved in the juvenile legal system when I was 14 years old, began struggling with addiction issues before age 15, and dropped out of high school after 9th grade. At that time, I never thought I would enter a classroom again. Nine years later, the day I was released from Monroe Correctional Facility, I walked from the local transit station to Everett Community College in my state-issued gray sweatsuit and enrolled in my first classes. My greatest challenge was not adapting to the academic culture, but overcoming my feelings of shame and misplacement; I didn’t think I belonged on a college campus. After months of keeping my head down, I mustered the courage to apply for a job at the college tutoring center. I explained my past to the hiring board and they still hired me. Encouraged by my success, I applied to and received my first foundation scholarship, which gave me concrete proof that my past no longer had to hold me back or define my future. My self-discipline, study habits, and focus on achievement drove me to accept an invitation into the Everett Honors Program. Personally, I want my professional and academic achievements to set an example for those coming up behind me who face the same struggles that, they too can overcome hardship and social stigma. I want my story to also serve as an example to the broader community that change is possible in everyone. Professionally, I want to become a mechanical engineer and work in the automotive industry. My passion is motorcycles, and I would like to attain a career position in performance motorcycle design.

Raymond’s tips for future applicants:
Get involved in your college community: attend a club recruitment festival, network with fellow students, apply to an honors program. All these opportunities broadened my knowledge of what resources were truly available to me. Secondly, be real in telling your story. The events and situations in your life which you think may have held you back are actually strengths which you can build upon to carry you forward.

Christopher Ponce

Christopher Ponce
Highline College
2019 Martin Achievement Scholar

Chris is currently an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with aspirations of one day becoming a physician. The idea of becoming a doctor never seemed feasible, especially as a first-generation student navigating through the academic process without proper guidance.

Chris was raised in South Central Los Angeles. Although his parents split up when he was young, he always had their continued support. During his junior year of high school, he met his wife, Teddy. Coming from a low socioeconomic status, he thought he wasn’t mentally capable of handling the rigors of college, so he enlisted in the Marine Corps as a Rifleman to try and become successful. A year later, he married Teddy. They now have a lovely three-year-old and are expecting another child.

Chris’s family gave him a strong foundation, but the Marine Corps molded him. The Marine Corps gave him a strong work ethic, enhanced his character, and gave him confidence. With this newfound confidence, Chris realized he could do anything he sets his mind to. Chris wants to show his children that the possibilities are endless with the proper mindset, and that’s when he decided he wanted to obtain a college degree.

After witnessing a fatal motorcycle accident, and feeling helpless, he decided he wanted to complete an EMT course. During the course, he discovered his attraction to medicine. His experiences as an EMT have only solidified his desire to become a doctor.

Chris is now attending Highline College majoring in Biology in hopes of transferring to the University of Washington to finish his pre-medical studies. Chris is involved in TRiO’s Student Retention Program, where he is receiving the proper guidance he was missing and is volunteering at the local fire department as an EMT to give back to his community.

Christopher’s tips for future applicants:
When writing your essays, give yourself an ample amount of time to write them, use as many resources as you can to help with the process, and do not sell yourself short when telling your story!

Sreynin Sam

Sreynin Sam
Highline College
2019 Martin Achievement Scholar

Sreynin Sam is a newcomer to the United States. Her family moved here as immigrants in 2018 from Cambodia.

As an 18 years old girl, Sreynin has encountered so many life challenges. She is a first-generation student. She has strong hope with education. After her parents got divorced when she was 6, Sreynin was the only one focused on excelling in her educational pursuits. Her family members hold a very traditional view of the role a female should play in the household and becoming educated and self-reliant are not a part of their transitional mindset. Despite this, Sreynin kept pushing forward, and earned one of the top scores in Cambodia on her National High School Diploma Examination.

After arriving in the United States, she decided to attend Highline College and get her Associate Degree in Communication as her starting point. Being in Washington for 8 months by herself away from her family, who live in Massachusetts, she not only maintains a good GPA, but also is an active member at TRiO, Phi Theta Kappa, AANAPISI, Center of Leadership and Services at Highline. She is also an outreach ambassador at Asian Counseling and Referral Service, a member of Cambodian American Community Council in Washington, and volunteers in the community over the weekends.

Even though she is a young girl, her dream is to make a great impact to the world by running a non-profit community organization to help students who just entered the U.S. like her, cultivating their potential again. With passion and hope, Sreynin will involve more in communities, help the society and develop herself to be a potential woman in United States. She desires to help make the world better by cultivating the abilities and perspectives of youths in developing countries so that they will be able to make their countries grow.

Sreynin’s tips for future applicants:
You can do more than you might think. If you found that this scholarship is a good fit for you and motivates you to keep doing what you are doing right now, please do not hesitate to apply. Do it with your true passion, and seek help from resources provided in your college as much as you can. Also, do not forget to share your story and your goal. You will make it.

Virginia Burton

Virginia Burton
South Seattle College and Shoreline Community College
2019 Martin Honors Scholar

I am a 46 year old mother of three. I am also an adult first generation college student. As a young child I believed my destiny was to become an attorney. Little did I know I would spend decades in the criminal justice system as a defendant. After years of domestic violence, addiction and incarceration, I made the decision in 2012 to change my life no matter what it took.

After being clean and sober 4 years I was victimized by my husband in my home. Not knowing if I would recover from the event, I decided to take charge of my life and return to school in 2017. I passed each quarter with honors while supporting a family by supervising three programs with Catholic Community Services and attending trial to testify against my husband. It was during this time I recognized the power I held in my own life and my obligation to change the system. I knew in my heart that without help, my husband would walk out of prison the same as he went in. This is when I knew I needed to change the system.

I am passionate about creating hope, changing lives and prison reform. Because of my own transformation, I know it is possible for others to overcome life circumstances. In the midst of my life challenges I decided I needed to aid in changing the system that is affecting so many lives in our country. It is my goal to change the way prison time is structured and help people create lives that are sustainable and independent of the prison system. In order to do that, I must move forward and obtain a degree in Law, Society and Justice at the University of Washington.

Ginny’s tips for future applicants:
Take your time and put your heart into your essays. Don’t be afraid to share about yourself, your life, your struggles and your accomplishments.

Ardi Madadi

Ardi Madadi
Tacoma Community College
2019 Martin Honors Scholar

Ardi Madadi was born in Bern, Switzerland. At the age of 7, he and his family were forced to turn a visionary trip to Iran into a permanent move when his father was not permitted to leave Iran and return to Switzerland. As a child, Ardi became enamored with technology while watching Knight Rider. Obsessed with the idea of an autonomous vehicle, he found himself sitting in a K.I.T.T. prototype, speaking to it as a best friend. As K.I.T.T. evolved in the show, so did Ardi’s ideas. He imagined a spaceship that could converse with him. Each night he would hop into a spacecraft (his bed) and give it verbal commands before “blasting off.” Now, he dreams of programming robots that will roam other planets.

A decade after moving to Iran, Ardi and his family moved to Turkey, convinced that serving in the Iranian military would put his life in danger. The move would prove pivotal in his life as he later converted to Christianity, becoming actively involved in refugee aid efforts and training underground Iranian church leaders. This meant that going back to Iran was not an option. With his Turkish visa soon to expire, he applied for refugee status with the UN and was accepted into the United States. In the summer of 2016, Ardi’s efforts and involvement with refugees was recognized by the State Department when they invited him to speak in Washington, DC.

After moving to the U.S., Ardi began pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Tacoma Community College (TCC). In March 2019, he worked with the TCC robotics team to compete in the ASME competition, where the team ranked in the top 16 nationally.

Ardi aspires to develop software that would run on flight systems and robots and ultimately, help make interplanetary habitation possible for humans. He enjoys volunteering with Girls Who Code, where he focuses on inclusion of minority communities and empowering young women to become independent thinkers.

Ardi’s tips for future applicants:
Start early and do a lot of free writing. Contact your references as soon as you decide to apply. Try to schedule multiple times in a week when you write as opposed to just one or two sittings. Have your friends or family members read your essay multiple times throughout the process.

Caroline Paxton

Caroline Paxton
Skagit Valley College and Everett Community College
2019 Martin Honors Scholar

Caroline’s love of space travel stems from a lifelong love of science fiction. As a young child, while other kids would make up faeries and animals as imaginary friends, she always imagined hers to be robots and aliens. At eight years old, she declared to her family that she would one day be an astronaut. When the government retired the space shuttle in 2011, she felt the hope for a spacefaring future dwindle; however, she held on to her dream and decided to do something about it. Throughout high school she devised a plan to learn how to design better spaceships. She knew she wouldn’t have to travel far to do it. UW’s Aeronautics and Astronautics program offered exactly what she needed to achieve her dream.

Caroline graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 2016 and enrolled in the local Skagit Valley College satellite campus, where she started the foundation courses for her aerospace engineering degree. She quickly excelled in these courses and became a tutor, helping other students learn chemistry and math. She then moved on to enroll in Everett Community College’s more expansive engineering program, which gave her the necessary prerequisites to transfer into UW’s Aeronautics and Astronautics program. There, she joined STEM Club, where she became involved in their rocket project, a multi-year plan to build a twenty-foot-long hybrid rocket and launch it in the Spaceport America Cup. In May 2019, she launched her first high-powered rocket and became a Level 1 certified rocketeer through the National Association of Rocketry.

Caroline aims to work in aerospace research and development to develop the next generation of reusable spaceflight vehicles. She is passionate about STEM outreach and wants to ensure that students of all ages and skill levels have the opportunity to join in on the incredible journey of exploring the universe.

Caroline’s tips for future applicants:
Never self-select out of a scholarship. Applying for scholarships can be daunting when you see previous winners who seem far more accomplished and interesting than yourself, but you never know who else is applying this year. Regardless of how your background compares to others, your story is worth telling.

2018

Mohammed Mahdi Alghezi

Mohammed Alghezi

Mohammed Mahdi Alghezi
Shoreline Community College
2018 Martin Honors Scholar

Mohammed’s dream to become a neurosurgeon is not a mere childish fantasy. While he was an avid and curious reader during his childhood, it was in October 2009, when his uncle was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease that his passion for neurobiology was ignited. His dream began to see the light after receiving a scholarship to Damascus medical school, the most prestigious school in Syria. However, during his first year in medical school, the civil war broke the harmony of his life. His college studies were in constant conflict with the movements of fear and changing nests. Eventually, unable to attend school, he started tutoring high school students in the morning and worked at his uncle’s clinic by day. Being deprived of his studies and needing to escape the suffocating silence of the night, where sounds of children’s peevish whines mixed with the echoes of angry bullets, he found solace in self-studying.

Despite his efforts to break the chains of despair with the strength of resilience, his family was forced to succumb to the successive death threats by terrorists and were forced to leave home. He crossed the Syrian borders and watched as he grew further away from the tenderness and warmth of his homeland. Living among a community of orphans, elderly and destitute people, he wanted to find a way to share the warmth of optimism. So, he found an opportunity to volunteer as a paramedic with the Lebanese Red Cross inside the camp, where he delivered necessary medication to the patients. In return, the hymns of joy and happiness quenched his desiccated soul.

After 5 months of being a camp refugee, he was fortunate to be embraced by the kindness of Seattle where he returned to college with renewed focus. At Shoreline Community College, he pursued an Associate degree in Biology with honors. He has been the vice president of the pre-med club for a year. He currently volunteers as medical interpreter and caregiver for senior and Alzheimer patients. Throughout his experience with the American health system, he realizes the urge to provide patients, regardless of their ethnicity or immigration status, with affordable medical assistance. Therefore, his goal is to be an active member of public health organizations that devote themselves to the health and well-being of the unfortunate communities.

Liban Hussein

Liban Hussein

Liban Hussein
Highline College
2018 Martin Honors Scholar

Born in Columbus, Ohio to Somali immigrant parents, Liban never thought he would earn an Associate’s degree in engineering or be accepted into the University of Washington’s Electrical Engineering program. With many life-changing events occurring frequently, moving from state-to-state seeking better opportunities became a norm and adjusting to unfamiliar academic and social settings proved to be all the more arduous. The road has been extremely difficult, with obstacles constantly obstructing Liban from reaching his goals. After all, he was a first-generation Somali-American student with little to no understanding of how to go about navigating the turbulent academic waters that would soon make themselves apparent.

College was an ideal instilled into Liban at a young age as his own parents’ education had been limited in Somalia. To let the challenges ahead get to him and quit meant not only failure for himself, but for his entire family. He believed that to quit meant that he was not putting in 100% of his effort into the very thing his parents had so desired for his family, namely, an education to help not only Liban succeed as an individual, but for the many generations to come. To truly make good of the sacrifices his parents made for him, Liban had to make use of every opportunity that presented itself.

Liban joined the Running Start program at Highline College as a junior in high school, as well as the ACE Mentor Program in which high school students like himself worked on a year-long project with actual engineers and present their final projects to local engineering companies and business executives. Furthermore, he worked as a Math Academic Excellence Workshop Facilitator in the Highline College MESA, where he created weekly workshops to address student confusions and concerns. At Highline College, he took advantage of many other opportunities, such as working as a Mathematics Tutor, as well as serving as the President of the National Society of Black Engineers Chapter, the first of its kind in a Washington community college. In addition to this, Liban conducted laser research with a team of 5 students and his physics professor to build a Fabry-Perot Interferometer. As for social work, Liban has worked as a lead junior event organizer and interpreter for non-profit organizations, working to help individuals like himself around the world receive basic necessities.

It seems that a tide is turning and that the possibilities are endless for Liban to pursue his dreams. Liban’s goal is to ultimately use his degree in Electrical Engineering to rebuild his homeland in Somalia, namely by revolutionizing the renewable energy sector. Although electrical engineering is Liban’s highest aspiration, he wishes to do more than this, namely by bridging the gaps between different cultures and peoples. At Highline College, he has been involved in several dialogues and tribal talks, bridging gaps between Somalis, Ethiopians, and many others. We live in a troubled world, and Liban has learned through his dialogues with students and staff alike, positive change can spring into existence, regardless of the discussion’s length. Education is key to making a positive impact, and by earning a degree in Electrical Engineering, Liban will work to not only make the lives of those easier in the Horn of Africa, but, ultimately, the world.

Liban’s Tips for Future Applicants:
Be genuine and passionate when reflecting on the required essays! Tell your story, detailing past struggles and how you’ve overcome them. Many of our journey’s have been bumpy, and we’ve needed help along the path from others, among them loved ones and friends. Mention how these individuals have helped you in the process of achieving success.

Christopher Leyva Vera

Christopher Leyva Vera

Christopher Leyva Vera
Skagit Valley College
2018 Martin Honors Scholar

Originally from Tijuana, Mexico, Christopher and his family moved to Whidbey Island in 2003. He went on to graduate from high school in 2012. He took some time off from school until finally deciding to head back to school in 2015 after becoming a DACA beneficiary.

Christopher enrolled at Skagit Valley College in the Fall of 2015 and quickly became involved on campus, serving on various clubs, committees, and other organizations on campus. He served as Student Body President of the Whidbey Island Campus of Skagit Valley College. He was also the Vice President and Secretary of his Phi Theta Kappa chapter. Other clubs he was involved with included Rainbow Alliance, DREAMers Club, and Journalism Club. Committees were also of importance, and that is why he served as a student representative in the following: Student Tech Fee Committee, Services & Activities Fee Committee, Diversity Committee, as well as Student Services Committee. He was employed on campus too, serving as a Program Board Coordinator under the campus’ Student Life office. As a student leader he lead several projects that helped his local community, organizing food and clothes drives to help those who needed it the most. His schedule kept him busy but his grades never suffered — he maintained a 4.0 throughout it all, making the honor roll every quarter he attended Skagit Valley College, winning a President’s medal from his college for this achievement.

He received the highest honor at Skagit Valley College, going on to win the Yates “Student of the Year” Award. His scholastic work resulted in a departmental award from the Social Sciences department at Skagit Valley College as well. Christopher was also a part of the 2018 All-Washington Academic Team; he was a top ranking member and received a medal from the Governor’s office. He has accumulated over 1,500 hours of community service work while attending school full-time. Due to his scholastic and community service endeavors, he has gone on to win various scholarships and other awards — both local and national.

Christopher credits his parents with inspiring him to go above and beyond just simply being a student. He watched as they worked tirelessly to provide both him and his brother with a future in this country. All of his achievements thus far are because of those sacrifices his parents made early on. He aims to succeed in all that he does to show not only his gratitude, but also prove to them that their hard work was not in vain and has paid off — his success does not only belong to him, but also to his family.

Christopher has been admitted to the School of Social Work and hopes to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Social Welfare, double minoring in Human Rights and Law, Societies, and Justice. He wants to continue working and being a part of programs and organizations that provide services that focus on helping disenfranchised minority groups, working towards a much more inclusive perspective that aims to connect individuals of all diverse backgrounds and experiences with the tools necessary for their own success within our society.

Christopher’s Tips for Future Applicants:
Opportunities, no matter how small they may seem to you, can open up doors for your future. Get involved both on campus and off to differentiate yourself from others. Being a great student goes far beyond just grades, it’s about how you apply all that you’ve learned in the classroom in the endeavors you choose to take on in life outside your classes.

Cara Stacy

Cara Stacy

Cara Stacy
Highline College
2018 Martin Honors Scholar

Cara recently graduated Highline College with her Associate of Arts, emphasizing in chemistry. She began at Highline to earn her high school diploma through the Pathway to College program. Throughout her freshman and sophomore years, Cara actively participated in the TRiO Student Support and Retention Program. She was asked to join TRiO’s student staff as Lead Tutor, working with low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities. Cara has trained with Highline College’s Math Resource Center and earned certification as a Level Three Master Certified Tutor. She seeks to be involved with biochemical research, and is planning to major in biochemistry when she transfers to the University of Washington. Her ultimate goal is to improve the lives of others, particularly in marginalized groups, through research and service.

Cara had started her journey at Highline College as a high school dropout, having overcome substance abuse and homelessness. After reaching rock bottom, she received treatment and began her life over again with a renewed sense of purpose. Cara has been involved with Oxford House Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides housing to those in recovery from substance abuse. For this nonprofit, she has served as secretary of Chapter 15 in Washington State. Additionally, Cara has been a member of Justice Scholars Society of Change, a club at Highline that encourages community and campus involvement in students impacted by the justice system. Through overcoming her personal struggles, Cara has developed perseverance and integrity that has contributed to her educational success. Cara hopes, by sharing her story, to eliminate the stigma associated with substance abuse. She seeks to continue serving others as she transitions to the University of Washington, and is excited to discover where her journey will take her.

Cara’s Tips for Future Applicants:
Take advantage of on campus and off campus resources. Do not be afraid to share both your successes and your failures.

David Zarate

David Zarate

David Zarate
Yakima Valley College
2018 Martin Honors Scholar

David Zarate was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia. After the passing of his father, Zarate’s mother decided to move his family to the United States – first settling in East Wenatchee, WA and later Miami, FL. After graduating from high school in 2010, he worked a series of jobs and was unable to pursue higher education due to his immigration status and financial burdens. When president Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in June 2012, Zarate saw an opportunity to do more. He enrolled part-time at Miami Dade College and began working on his prerequisite courses to pursue a degree in chemistry. After having relocated to different parts of the country and having attended different community colleges, Zarate’s experiences as an immigrant and minority showed him a new goal: to pursue a degree in Computer Science with a focus on Data Science as a way to create change in the community. Zarate deeply believes in the power of information, and how this can help tear down barriers and narrow the divisions in our country. On June 2018, Zarate graduated with a DTA in Computer Science from Yakima Valley College and starting this fall will be pursuing a degree in Computer Science at the Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering.

Jade Cutter

Jade Cutter
Tacoma Community College
2018 Martin Achievement Scholar

Jade’s passion for atomic physics and space flight began at a young age, spurred by Brian Greene and her grandfather’s innovative work as a manager for Boeing. As a child, she sat on the kitchen counter multiplying fractions to bake half-recipes with her grandfather, and spent evenings with her mother in secondhand bookshops reading voraciously. Growing up, she was an avid Girl Scout and loved the outdoors.

However, her potential would not be realized until much later, as her late teen years were spent struggling with addiction and homelessness. At nineteen, Jade became pregnant, but soon lost her daughter due to poor health. At twenty, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Her fight with it was brief and successful, but it cost her her fertility. The following years were spent recovering and training at an aikido dojo, and remembering her old passions for engineering.

At twenty-four, Jade returned to college with renewed focus. She is pursuing a Bachelor of both Electrical Engineering and Industrial Systems Engineering, with a concentration in photonics. She has been a member of Phi Theta Kappa for two years and was elected the Public Affairs officer of TCC’s Engineering Club. She oversees major club projects and acts as a liaison between the club and her community. Jade also volunteers for local kids’ science fairs and supervised a regional science team competition. She has been invited to intern at a forensic engineering company and is excited to start field work before even finishing her associate’s.

She currently trains tutors and tutors students herself at the school’s Math and Resource Center, and hopes to one day to work with a major spaceflight contractor, assisting with shielding spacecraft electronics from cosmic rays or advancing photonic laser propulsion. Jade believes the best approach to eliminating gender-based discrimination in the scientific community is for more driven, determined women to enter the industry and prove their competency. She joins the field knowing that every obstacle she conquers is one the next generation may not have to suffer.

Jennifer Franzen

Jennifer Franzen
Everett Community College
2018 Martin Achievement Scholar

Jennifer is currently attending Everett Community College and is part of the college’s Honors program there. Additionally, as part of the Honors program, Jennifer will be completing a capstone project on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger over the course of the 2018-2019 academic year. She plans to transfer to the University of Washington in Fall 2019, where she intends to major in both Philosophy and Mathematics. Furthermore, she is an active member in the campus’ German club and plans to minor in Germanics. Beyond that, she hopes to earn her master’s degree in Library Science to become a librarian.

Before she started at Everett Community College in the spring of 2016 at the age of 25, Jennifer had been out of school since she was thirteen, having dropped out due to severe anxiety and panic attacks. For much of her adult life Jennifer had felt as if she was too far behind to have any hope of catching up, both academically and socially. However, overcoming this feeling, she was eventually able to find the will and motivation to give college a shot. Time and money were concerns for her, so, in an attempt to reduce the total number of classes she would need to take, she self-studied all the mathematics that she missed over the years. After spending several months teaching herself math, she was successful in placing directly into calculus. While studying, Jennifer discovered she really enjoyed math, and, as a result, eventually decided on Mathematics as one of her majors. Her newfound love of math also motivated her to apply for a peer tutoring position on campus shortly after the start of her first quarter. Through tutoring she helps her fellow students in math for both the campus’ drop-in tutoring center as well as the TRiO program.

Catherine (Kate) Tanski

Catherine (Kate) Tanski
North Seattle College
2018 Martin Achievement Scholar

Kate grew up on the coast of Maine, spent ten years working on boats, and is now going to school for mechanical engineering.

Her goals as an engineer are not only to improve the efficiency and accessibility of objects and systems, but to use her education and experiences to open the door of opportunity for as many people as she can. Many years of exploration have taught Kate that she practices her values—normalizing learning challenges, non-traditional skillsets, and compassionate communication—through engineering.

When Kate was growing up she had a very difficult relationship with formal education. Instead of going to college, she went to trade school for traditional wooden boatbuilding. Working in various roles (as marine carpenter, experiential educator, deckhand, mate, assistant engineer, and marine regulatory administrator) gave her the chance to explore practical, non-academic experiences that helped her learn how she learns, and how to teach others to teach her.

Boats, shipmates, students, and the ocean have taught Kate the most valuable lessons she’s learned so far. Those lessons—caring for people and the ecosystems around us, patience with the unexpected, the vital importance of regularly learning new things, that every person has something to contribute, and that every experience has something to teach her—combined with her varied experiences, have brought Kate here, to school for mechanical engineering.

She’s finally figured out how to combine her values of service, compassion, and hard work with her strengths of creative problem solving, incremental systems improvement, and mechanical aptitude. Kate is looking forward to the adventures to come.

Kate’s Tips for Future Applicants:
There are a lot of people out there who would love to help you figure out how to write the essays, manage the deadlines, and follow all the guidelines for scholarships. They want to see you succeed. Connect with them. Nurture your community, and lean on it when you need a hand. Dream big, work hard, and ask for help when you need it.

2017

Taylor Moreno

Taylor Moreno
Grays Harbor College
2017 Martin Honors Scholar

Growing up and into his first years of high school, Taylor was very focused on the here-and-now. His future seemed too distant to concern himself with, so he remained content with doing well academically and helping those around him in his church and community. With career choices ranging from web designer to astronomer, Taylor hadn’t found a clear life focus. He just knew that he wanted to do something that would impact people’s lives.

A few days after celebrating his 15th birthday in January 2013, Taylor’s mother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the course of nearly three years, she battled that cancer four times. During these times, Taylor acted as her full-time caregiver and stayed with her at virtually every hospital and clinic she went to. He thus gained the opportunity to talk with many different healthcare professionals as well as many cancer patients, their families, and their caregivers. After learning the stories and motivations behind so many patients and practitioners alike, Taylor realized that a passion for the medical sciences had grown in him and decided to focus on it.

On September 21, 2015, his first day of college became his last day with his mom. Although the whole experience was incredibly painful, Taylor says his faith, family, and friends helped get him through it and consequently gain the motivation he has today. Taylor is now transferring to major in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in order to prepare for a career in medical research. The academic journey ahead will be a long one, but he is looking forward to it as he explores the impacts he can make to better himself, help those around him, and one day hopefully join the fight against cancer.

Max Steiner

Max Steiner
Seattle Central College
2017 Martin Honors Scholar

Born in Boston, Max grew up in Austria before ultimately moving to Seattle after his twentieth birthday. Based on his background in music, he initially aspired to develop behaviors, cultivate a mindset, and make connections that would allow him to advance his musicianship. In that pursuit, Max spent five years on practicing, rehearsing, recording, performing and touring while covering finances with part-time work.

Through a recent string of experiences abroad, Max’s focus shifted to the natural sciences, in particular chemical engineering. He quickly realized that it offered many aspects he appreciated: collaboration between experts of different fields, direct application of skill toward a specific project or product, opportunities for independent research, relevance in a larger societal context. He was hooked. In one form or another, Max had encountered these qualities in music as well but had never been able to fully develop them on his own. With chemical engineering, however, he seemed to have found a definitive pathway to exercise those principles he deemed important personally as well as professionally.

The two years Max attended Seattle Central College taught him more than what the required coursework had to offer. He was inspired by the diversity of the student body and each of his cohort’s unique background. It pushed him all the more to reach out to get involved: he worked in student leadership, tutored chemistry, and math at MESA, assisted as a TA in a Research Writing class, participated in a chemistry research project, and was employed as an assistant laboratory technician in the SCC chemistry labs. Max’s studies and experiences undoubtedly shaped his long term intent as a chemical engineer: he plans to contribute to advances and applications of clean energy technology. This path is intimately related to environmental sustainability issues in which he hopes to gain a voice. Max feels that completing his undergraduate degree at UW is a significant step toward achieving that goal.

Erin Herman-Kerwin

Erin Herman-Kerwin
Olympic College
2017 Martin Achievement Scholar

Erin is a driven woman motivated by her past and inspired by what she can do for her community as a future doctor and statistician. Her dream of increasing access to health care with statistics and medicine would not be possible without a strong education. Olympic College offered Erin a rare opportunity to rebuild her academic foundation. After community college, she is attending the University of Washington to major in Statistics. There she will learn the tools necessary to be involved in the medical solution, redesigning and evaluating clinical trial results in preventative health care and affordable medications.

Today her experiences inspire her and push her to reach beyond herself and into community service. She volunteers at a women’s health clinic as a health advocate, tutors developmental mathematics, and volunteered at the 2016 Seattle King County Community Clinic. Her pursuits in academia are so much more than a degree or a career. It is a validation there is a life after crisis and the key exists within healthy communities, and education.

Sharon Jang

Sharon Jang
Tacoma Community College
2017 Martin Achievement Scholar

Sharon is currently attending Tacoma Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Washington in the fall of 2018. Her ultimate educational goal is to receive a terminal degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences with a specialization in audiology or speech-language pathology.

There are several reasons why she finds this field of study fascinating and inspiring. One reason close to her heart is the Deaf community’s development of strong resilience in a world filled with hearing individuals. Similarly, what she finds most inspiring about audiology and speech-language pathology is knowing that her interventions will help facilitate an individual’s process of communication and that those skills will help them throughout their everyday life.

Along with her tenacious dedication and motivation to this field, Sharon’s affinity for a sustainable focus in extracurricular activities led her to demonstrate the continuous ability to step out of her comfort zone. This includes starting a club that works on a small scale to increase raising awareness of the North Korean humanitarian crisis by defining North Korea by its people rather than its politics. At the same time, she is enthusiastic to continually advance her leadership skills as she takes on an officer position in Phi Theta Kappa. Sharon took this opportunity to implement the leadership skills she is learning with a network of fellow scholars and servant leaders and to expose herself to another facet to increase productivity and cultivate her school community. She is beyond thrilled to continue advancing and strengthening her leadership skills as she imagines the greater number of opportunities she will be open to when transferring to UW.

Tam Mai

Tam Mai
South Seattle College
2017 Martin Achievement Scholar

Tam Mai was born and raised in Viet Nam, a developing country, for 18 years. Her family moved to the United States two years ago. Living in a different country has not been easy for her. As an immigrant, Tam has had to face many challenges and difficulties such as differences in culture, language, finances, the education system, etc., but the most difficult thing for her is the language. When Tam started school in the US, she didn’t understand anything or anyone. She felt like she didn’t belong to this country. However, she learned never to give up on her dream. That’s why she decided to take ESL classes for one year and just focus on English. After a year working hard to learn the language, she is able to attend her college classes and do well. She feels this experience has taught her that persistence will always pay off eventually.

Working on computers and learning about programming is Tam’s favorite thing to do. That’s why she is getting an Associate of Science degree at South Seattle College. Then she plans to transfer to the University of Washington to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. With one more year before transferring, she is working hard to maintain good grades. She also spends a lot of time volunteering at South Seattle College and within her community to create a good environment where she and her family live. In the future, Tam wants to use her knowledge of Computer Science to create new education applications for children, so they can study wherever and whenever they want, which will give them the opportunity to develop their perceptions and personalities.

Tekhong Meach

Tekhong Meach
South Seattle College
2017 Martin Achievement Scholar

Born and raised in Cambodia, Tekhong Meach immigrated to the United States in 2014. He started working as a food assembler before he began his educational journey at South Seattle College in Winter 2016. Despite his language barrier, he decided to go back to school because of his passion in science classes. Eager to get involved and learn more about resources available on campus, he joined the TRiO Student Success Services program, the AANAPISI program, the Women in STEM club, and the Ready Set Transfer Academy. Those resources have helped advance his academic understanding and encourage him to keep working hard to achieve his goals. With his outstanding academic performance, Tekhong is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Tekhong is working two part-time jobs while attending school full-time. Besides his off-campus job on weekends, he also works as a peer tutor at TRiO, where he has the opportunity to work with his peer students. He helps explain and share his knowledge of math and physics to his peers who have difficulties understanding the lectures in class. He helps them to better understand the subjects, gain academic and educational support, and become more self-reliant students. With his desire to help improve his community, Tekhong also volunteered as a study zone tutor at KCLS library. He worked with kids and adults and helped them improve their math skills. Tekhong is majoring in Computer Science. His interest in the field of Artificial Intelligence inspires him to explore and learn about programming languages. He constantly expands his curiosity through research in the AI field. He is looking forward to participating in undergraduate research at UW to obtain more knowledge in AI. He wants to use his knowledge in AI to explore more innovations that will positively impact and help improve the community.

2016

Musa Abdi

Musa Abdi
South Seattle College
2016 Martin Achievement Scholar

Andre Bland

Andre Bland
North Seattle College
2016 Martin Honors Scholar

Jane Harrell

Jane Harrell
Tacoma Community College
2016 Martin Achievement Scholar

Robert Pedersen

Robert (Bobby) Pedersen
South Seattle College
2016 Martin Achievement Scholar

Patricia Saya

Patricia Saya
Highline College
2016 Martin Honors Scholar

Khatsini Simani

Khatsini Simani
Seattle Central College
2016 Martin Honors Scholar

2015

Clare Campbell

Clare Campbell
Everett College
2015 Martin Honors Scholar

Mahboobeh Hosseini

Mahboobeh Hosseini
Bellevue College
2015 Martin Achievement Scholar

Elizabeth Jatta

Elizabeth Jatta
Highline College
2015 Martin Honors Scholar

Sarah Ann Phillips

Sarah Ann Phillips
South Seattle College
2015 Martin Achievement Scholar

Keino Robinson

Keino Robinson
Green River College
2015 Martin Honors Scholar

Sugar Sylvain

Sugar Sylvain
South Seattle College
2015 Martin Achievement Scholar

Austin Tugade

Austin Tugade
South Seattle College
2015 Martin Honors Scholar

Uri Zvi

Uri Zvi
Highline College
2015 Martin Honors Scholar

2014

Andrew Escobedo

Andrew Escobedo
South Puget Sound Community College
2014 Martin Honors Scholar

Niloofar Ghodsian

Niloofar Ghodsian
South Seattle Community College
2014 Martin Achievement Scholar

Katrin Hosseini

Katrin Hosseini
Green River Community College
2014 Martin Achievement Scholar

Claudia Janeth Linares

Claudia Janeth Linares
Highline Community College
2014 Martin Honors Scholar

Elizabeth Oestreich

Elizabeth Oestreich
North Seattle Community College
2014 Martin Honors Scholar

Benjamin Pennant

Benjamin Pennant
Cascadia & Everett Community College
2014 Martin Honors Scholar

Raegan Ramynke

Raegan Ramynke
Yakima Valley Community College
2014 Martin Honors Scholar

Amina Sheikh

Amina Sheikh
South Seattle Community College
2014 Martin Achievement Scholar

Tim Sundine

Tim Sundine
Everett Community College
2014 Martin Achievement Scholar

2013

Justin Anderson

Justin Andersen
Highline Community College
2013 Martin Honors Scholar

Mason Christensen

Mason Christensen
Highline Community College
2013 Martin Achievement Scholar

Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson
Green River Community College
2013 Martin Honors Scholar

Eric King

Eric King
Seattle Central Community College
2013 Martin Achievement Scholar

Pooja Sethi

Pooja Sethi
Everett Community College
2013 Martin Honors Scholar

Lydia Smith

Lydia Smith
Highline Community College
2013 Martin Achievement Scholar

2012

Anna Johnson

Anna Johnson
Seattle Central Community College
2012 Martin Achievement Scholar

Siyu Lu

Siyu Lu
Edmonds Community College
2012 Martin Honors Scholar

David Olsen

David Olsen
North Seattle Community College
2012 Martin Honors Scholar

Elizabeth Reid

Elizabeth Reid
Green River College
2012 Martin Achievement Scholar

Miriam Williamson

Miriam Williamson
Seattle Central Community College
2012 Martin Achievement Scholar

2011

Sebastian Anderson

Sebastian Anderson
South Seattle Community College
2011 Martin Achievement Scholar

Dimitry Antipov

Dmitry Antipov
Shoreline Community College
2011 Martin Honors Scholar

Holly Battersby

Holly Battersby
Whatcom Community College
2011 Martin Honors Scholar

Koffi Noel Fadonougbo

Koffi Noel Fadonougbo
Highline Community College
2011 Martin Achievement Scholar

Sean Huertas

Sean Huertas
South Seattle Community College
2011 Martin Achievement Scholar

Buchheng Kak

Buchheng Kak
South Seattle Community College
2011 Martin Achievement Scholar

Irene Malloch

Irene Malloch
North Seattle Community College
2011 Martin Honors Scholar

Bradley Pierce

Bradley Pierce
Bellevue Community College
2011 Martin Honors Scholar

2010

Patrick-Gabriel Clarke

Patrick-Gabriel Clarke
North Seattle Community College
2010 Martin Family Honors Scholar

Danna Culhane

Danna Culhane
South Seattle Community College
2010 Martin Achievement Scholar

Bronsyn Foster-Springer

Bronsyn Foster-Springer
Olympic College
2010 Martin Family Honors Scholar

Heather Fuentes

Heather Fuentes
Seattle Central Community College
2010 Martin Achievement Scholar

Muhamedarifeine Manhsour

Muhamedarifeine Manhsour
Seattle Central Community College
2010 Martin Achievement Scholar

Ava Marie Munson

Ava Marie Munson
Shoreline Community College
2010 Martin Family Honors Scholar

David Opincarne

David Opincarne
Green River Community College
2010 Martin Family Honors Scholar

Dylan Ward

Dylan Ward
Seattle Central Community College
2010 Martin Family Honors Scholar

Jason Yabandeh

Jason Yabandeh
Bellevue College
2010 Martin Achievement Scholar

2009

Gregory Bertsch

Gregory Bertsch
South Seattle Community College
2009 Martin Honors Scholar

Jaison Briar

Jaison Briar
South Seattle Community College
2009 Martin Achievement Scholar

Sochetna Chhay

Sochetna Chhay
South Seattle Community College
2009 Martin Achievement Scholar

Jeung Hwa (Victoria) Choe

Jeung Hwa (Victoria) Choe
Green River Community College
2009 Martin Honors Scholar

Vincent Ethier

Vincent Ethier
Seattle Central Community College
2009 Martin Honors Scholar

Amanda Neice

Amanda Neice
Everett Community College
2009 Martin Achievement Scholar

Johonna Nutter

Johonna Nutter
Seattle Central Community College
2009 Martin Achievement Scholar

Alexander Ruiz

Alexander Ruiz
Columbia Basin Community College
2009 Martin Honors Scholar

Nickolas Stelzenmuller

Nickolas Stelzenmuller
Seattle Central Community College
2009 Martin Honors Scholar

Ephrem Yemru

Ephrem Yemru
Highline Community College
2009 Martin Honors Scholar

2008

Eric Evangelista

Eric Evangelista
Everett Community College
2008 Martin Honors Scholar

Jason Flint

Jason Flint
South Seattle Community College
2008 Martin Honors Scholar

Nhi K Lac

Nhi K Lac
South Seattle Community College
2008 Martin Achievement Scholar

Jennifer Marker

Jennifer Marker
Everett Community College
2008 Martin Honors Scholar

Diem Hong Thi Nguyen

Diem Hong Thi Nguyen
South Seattle Community College
2008 Martin Achievement Scholar

Diem Hong is on a pre-pharmacy track at South Seattle Community College. Since receiving the Martin Achievement Scholarship, she has been tutoring for Student Success Services and volunteering in her community through the Gift of the Earth event and White Center Food Bank.

Diem Kieu Thi Nguyen

Diem Kieu Thi Nguyen
South Seattle Community College
2008 Martin Achievement Scholar

Jarica Quick

Jarica Quick
Cascadia Community College
2008 Martin Honors Scholar

Steven Simpkins

Steven Simpkins
Highline Community College
2008 Martin Honors Scholar

Shauna Stadnik

Shauna Stadnik
Green River Community College
2008 Martin Honors Scholar

Anna Zinchenko

Anna Zinchenko
Highline Community College
2008 Martin Honors Scholar

Anna is a Nursing major and intends to graduate in 2010. She has been supporting her field of study through volunteer work at St. Francis Hospital Emergency Department and participating in research at Harborview’s Burn Center.

2007

Joseph Burnett

Joseph Burnett
Highline Community College
2007 Martin Achievement Scholar

Katherine Byrne

Katherine Byrne
Cascadia Community College
2007 Martin Achievement Scholar

Mary Hake

Mary Hake
Pierce College
2007 Martin Achievement Scholar

Alice Lee

Alice Lee
Highline Community College
2007 Martin Honors Scholar

Jeremy Mathews

Jeremy Matthews
Edmonds Community College
2007 Martin Honors Scholar

David Moore

David Moore
Seattle Central Community College
2007 Martin Honors Scholar

Chris Garrido Philp

Chris Garrido Philp
Everett Community College
2007 Martin Achievement Scholar

Lara Schrier

Lara Schrier
Seattle Central Community College
2007 Martin Achievement Scholar

Alice Shieh

Alice Shieh
Olympic College
2007 Martin Honors Scholar

Conan Storlie

Conan Storlie
North Seattle Community College
2007 Martin Achievement Scholar

Crystal Tallent

Crystal Tallent
Highline Community College
2007 Martin Achievement Scholars

2006

Ashley Baker

Ashley Baker
Seattle Central Community College
2006 Martin Honors Scholar

Bryan Bartley

Bryan Bartley
Seattle Central Community College
2006 Martin Honors Scholar

Lisa Esperum

Lisa Esperum
Skagit Valley Community College
2006 Martin Honors Scholar

Byran S. Francisco

Byran S. Francisco
Seattle Central Community College
2006 Martin Achievement Scholar

Donna Freedman

Donna Freedman
North Seattle Community College
2006 Martin Honors Scholar

Seth Gordon

Seth Gordon
Seattle Central Community College
2006 Martin Honors Scholar

James Gray

James Gray
Seattle Central Community College
2006 Martin Achievement Scholar

Celeste Hoffman

Celeste Hoffman
Seattle Central Community College
2006 Martin Achievement Scholar

William Mari

William Mari
Bellevue Community College
2006 Martin Honor Scholar

Alexander Otier

Alexander Otier
Seattle Central Community College
2006 Martin Achievement Scholar

Siv Prince

Siv Prince
Shoreline Community College
2006 Martin Honors Scholar

Jennifer Reilly

Jennifer Reilly
Highline Community College
2006 Martin Honors Scholar

Kathleen Silva

Kathleen Silva
Seattle Central Community College
2006 Martin Achievement Scholar

2005

Lensa Etana
Lensa Etana
Spokane Falls Community College
2005 Martin Honors Scholar

Mathew Goodwin

Matthew Goodwin
Seattle Central Community College
2005 Martin Honors Scholar

Jayson Jochim

Jayson Jochim
North Seattle Community College
2005 Martin Honors Scholar

James Krieger

James Krieger
North Seattle Community College
2005 Martin Honors Scholar

Ming Li

Ming Li
Wenatchee Valley Community College
2005 Martin Honors Scholar

Beth Scholler

Beth Scholler
North Seattle Community College
2005 Martin Achievement Scholar

Ethopia Zerfu

Ethopia Zerfu
South Seattle Community College
2005 Martin Achievement Scholar

2004

Shamin Ghandami

Shamim Ghandami
South Seattle Community College
2004 Martin Achievement Scholar

Severin Gose

Severin Gose
North Seattle Community College
2004 Martin Honors Scholar

Peter Perez

Peter Perez
Seattle Central Community College
2004 Martin Achievement Scholar

Elise Saba

Elise Saba
North Seattle Community College
2004 Martin Honors Scholar

Igor Tikhonov

Igor Tikhonov
Shoreline Community College
2004 Martin Honors Scholar

2003

Maliha Ayub

Maliha Ayub
South Seattle Community College
2003 Martin Achievement Scholar

Myung Suk Chee

Myung Suk Chee
Seattle Central Community College
2003 Martin Achievement Scholar

Colby Harris

Colby Harris
South Seattle Community College
2003 Martin Honors Scholar

Jan Edward Lauderbaugh

Jan Edward Lauderbaugh
Seattle Central Community College
2003 Martin Achievement Scholar

Loyce Mbewa

Loyce (Mbewa) On’Gudi
Seattle Central Community College
2003 Martin Achievement Scholar

Brandon Stogsdill

Brandon Stogsdill
Pierce Community College
2003 Martin Honors Scholar

Thao Ha Vu

Thao Ha Vu
North Seattle Community College
2003 Martin Honors Scholar

2002

Adriana Cardenas

Adriana Cardenas
Seattle Central Community College
2002 Martin Honors Scholar

Yen Hoang Duong

Yen Hoang Duong
North Seattle Community College
2002 Martin Achievement Scholar

Cesar Escobar

Cesar Escobar
North Seattle Community College
2002 Martin Achievement Scholar

Andria Green

Andria Green
Bellevue Community College
2002 Martin Honors Scholar

Edward Gonzales

Edward Gonzales
Seattle Central Community College
2002 Martin Honors Scholar

Shahra Jafari

Shahra Jafari
South Seattle Community College
2002 Martin Achievement Scholar

James Larrabee

James Larrabee
Seattle Central Community College
2002 Martin Achievement Scholar

Anna Le

Anna Le
North Seattle Community College
2002 Martin Achievement Scholar

Amanda Morgan

Amanda Morgan
Seattle Central Community College
2002 Martin Honors Scholar

Tina Norman

Tina Norman
North Seattle Community College
2002 Martin Achievement Scholar

Cristina Pacheco

Cristina Pacheco
Peninsula College
2002 Martin Honors Scholar

Cynthia Peacock

Cynthia Peacock
Highline Community College
2002 Martin Honors Scholar

2001

David Atik

David Atik
Seattle Central Community College
2001 Martin Honors Scholar

Joyce Barnet

Joyce Barnet
South Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Alicia Cole

Alicia Cole
South Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Lisa Cooper

Lisa Cooper
North Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Jennifer Devine

Jennifer Devine
Yakima Valley Community College
2001 Martin Honors Scholar

Zeadryn Ensor-Estes

Zaedryn Ensor-Estes
Seattle Central Community College
2001 Martin Honors Scholar

Emily Bernadette Gardner

Emily Bernadette Gardner
Seattle Central Community College
2001 Martin Honors Scholar

Susan Gregory

Susan Gregory
South Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Gwendolyn Jackson

Gwendolyn Jackson
South Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Diana Kramer-Spence

Diana Kramer-Spence
North Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Honors Scholar

Cynthia Masterson

Cynthia Masterson
Seattle Central Community College
2001 Martin Honors Scholar

Mathew Nguyen

Mathew Nguyen
South Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Honors Scholar

Kiana Parker

Kiana Parker
Shoreline Community College
2001 Martin Honors Scholar

Charity Ranger

Charity Ranger
South Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Mahnoosh Shadbakht

Mahnoosh Shadbakht
South Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Johnson Steele

Johnson Steele
South Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Terrace Strand

Terrace Strand
Seattle Central Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Medina Tadele

Medina Tadele
North Seattle Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Joao Teodoro Filho

Joao Teodoro Filho
Seattle Central Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

Laun G. Truong

Luan G. Truong
Seattle Central Community College
2001 Martin Achievement Scholar

2000

Mitchell Gaikowski

Mitchell Gaikowski
North Seattle Community College
2000 Martin Honors Scholar

Dawit Gebrekidan

Dawit (Teklemichael) Gebrekidan
Seattle Central Community College
2000 Martin Honors Scholar

Max Hunter

Max Hunter
Seattle Central Community College
2000 Martin Honors Scholar

1999

Michelle Fallon

Michelle Fallon
Everett Community College
1999 Martin Honors Scholar

Jonathan Fay

Jonathan Fay
Seattle Central Community College
1999 Martin Honors Scholar

Cristina Pacheco

Cristina Pacheco
Peninsula Community College
1999 Martin Honors Scholar

1998

Angela Lim

Angela Lim
North Seattle Community College
1998 Martin Honors Scholar

Chris McGann

Chris McGann
North Seattle Community College
1998 Martin Honors Scholar

Kendra McQuiston

Kendra McQuiston
Peninsula Community College
1998 Martin Honors Scholar

1997

Jodi Judge

Jodi Judge
South Puget Sound Community College
1997 Martin Honors Scholar

Ray Robinson

Ray Robinson
Seattle Central Community College
1997 Martin Honors Scholar