The Importance of Scholarship

Misbahul Fatima

In spite of their talents and drive to succeed, Montclair State University students still face many challenges in pursuing their higher education and professional goals. Seventy-six percent of them rely on financial aid and scholarships to help finance their educations, and thirty percent are the first in their families to attend college. Consequently, scholarships have a significantly positive impact on our students’ lives as these critical resources help them to realize their dreams.

Following are profiles of just a few of the students for whom scholarship support has made a world of difference: 

College of the Arts junior Alexander Winchell has picked a challenging career path. He wants to work in the film industry; ultimately he would like to write and direct feature films. But the Keyport native knows that following his passion may require financial sacrifices after graduation that could make it difficult to be burdened with lots of student loan debt. “Having these academic scholarships will give me a lot more agency in what kinds of jobs I can take after graduation,” he says. Like a lot of academically accomplished students who choose Montclair State, Alex was drawn to the manageable scale of the campus. He was also impressed with the filmmaking department. “There are no other state schools in New Jersey with the same caliber of program,” he says.

It would not be advisable to get between Misbahul Fatima and one of her goals. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences senior from Elmwood Park, who is completing a double major in English and Jurisprudence, maintains a 3.98 grade point average, is an active member of Phi Alpha Delta, the Pre-Law society, and a contributor to the Normal Review, the University’s literary magazine. She has been accepted to four law schools — Rutgers-Newark, Seton Hall, Benjamin Cardoza, and Fordham, and will attend Seton Hall in the fall. But it seems quite clear that she will approach her law studies —  she hopes to concentrate on securities and finance law — with the same focus that she has trained on her undergraduate work.  Misbahul says that, in addition to the assistance her scholarship has provided, she has been mentored by both her professors and Steven M. Resnick ’93, the donor who funded her scholarship. “It provides an extra bit of motivation,” she says. “I want to make him proud.” 

It is hard to imagine how College of Science and Mathematics senior Jungeun Jasmine Lee, who will graduate with a double major in chemistry and education, along with a minor in psychology, finds time for anything but her studies. But Jungeun, who maintains a 3.9 grade point average, also has an impressive mix of extracurricular activities and community service listed on her resume. She serves as a mentor in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in the Sciences program, offering free tutoring in chemistry. She is Vice President of the Chemistry Club and recipient of a Dean of Students Award and the award for Outstanding Student in Organic Chemistry. Ultimately Jungeun hopes to become a high school science and mathematics teacher. The recipient of the Irwin Gawley Chemistry Scholarship, named for a beloved chemistry professor, she notes that the scholarship has enabled her to be an active and contributing member of the Montclair State community despite her financial circumstances. “My family has struggled financially for some time,” Jungeun says. “I cannot thank you enough for your support.” 

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