By Naeisha Rose
Six juniors and seniors from Queens who are heading back to college in the fall received $2,000 each in scholarships from FPWA, a nonprofit, Monday at a breakfast and networking event in Manhattan.
FPWA has awarded college scholarships to students who have overcome hardship and exhibit financial need for over 30 years, according to Antoinette Jones, an FPWA spokeswoman.
“Each of the students demonstrates financial need, good academic standings, but has also overcome adversity and obstacles and that’s the heart of the FPWA scholarship program,” Jones said.
Naudia Arkward, 20, is a junior at SUNY Old Westbury and faced bullying in her tweens and teen years.
“In middle school and high school I dealt with physical abuse, mental abuse, and verbal abuse from my mom and classmates,” Arkward said. “I didn’t grow up with money.”
Now that she has distanced herself from those that harassed her she is pursuing a major in Childhood Education.
“I’m capable of doing a lot and enduring a lot, but this will give me more peace to have that financial support,” Arkward said.
Arkward will use the money towards textbooks for school and use her spare time on developing ideas for her own daycare.
“I will be able to focus on studying hard and just enjoying college,” said the Far Rockaway resident.
Farzana Parveen, who is studying Biology at Brandeis College in Massachusetts was amazed she won the scholarship.
“That was a surprise at first,” Parveen said. “I was pretty shocked.”
As a Bangladeshi-American woman from a traditional family, pursuing a post-secondary education was not easy.
“My father does value education, but he has a traditional view about what women are supposed to do,” Parveen said. “I want to show him that woman can do as much as men,” said Parveen, who created a robotics club that includes information about mechanical engineering.
She has applied to medical school and is leaning towards a future as a cardiologist, but her living arrangement was on her mind.
“The scholarship is going to help me pay for my monthly rent,” Parveen said. “This definitely gave me more confidence to focus on other things.”
At the breakfast ceremony Parveen gave advice to Aura Rivera, a fellow Biology major attending Fairfield University.
“A junior in college who is also applying to medical school asked me how I’m doing,” Rivera said. “She said that I should do this [to apply to medical school] and not this,” said the Jamaica Estates resident.
Rivera is originally from Colombia and came to the United States when she was 9.
“I went to school, but I didn’t know any English at all,” Rivera said. “It was kind of like drown or swim.”
While attending high school, Rivera went to an internship where she saw an open-heart surgery and immediately knew she wanted to pursue medicine.
“I want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon,” Rivera said.
The scholarship will help her avoid steep loans for her final year and pay fees to apply for medical school the following year.
Yuan Chen, from Briarwood is a senior at SUNY New Paltz with a major in Graphic Design and spent five years in foster care, but decided to not let that keep her from going to college.
“Although I still often see my parents, there’s a certain amount of disconnection,” Chen said. “I have channeled my energy into my academics rather than focusing on the disconnection. It’s been a journey of becoming more independent, while remembering there are many people willing to help if I ever needed it.”
She will use the scholarship to pay for art materials for her thesis project.
Manuella Yushuvayeva, 20, from Forest Hills is a junior at Arizona State University and wants to pursue a career in social work, but without the scholarship she would also have to work full-time to pay for tuition.
“This scholarship will be a tremendous break from constantly working and stressing,” Yushuvayeva said. “This award gives me that power of saying that education is hard, and maybe it’s really not for everyone, but quitting is not an option when things like this are possible.”
The last recipient for the scholarship was Ali Karimzacla from Flushing and he is studying Biochemistry at Hunter College. He was not available for an interview.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose