Science scholar surmounts setbacks to secure national scholarship
Tevin Ali is no stranger to struggles and setbacks. I n f ac t , t hey ’ ve s parked his remarkable academic career.
“My o n g o i n g f u e l f o r these milestones are my parents’ sacrifice to give me an education in the United States, my strug gles and hardships that shaped this success, and all the educators who helped me every step of the way,” Ali said.
Now Ali’s persistence is paying off — literally.
The 26-year- old Boynton B each re sident has been named a winner of the 2018 Sallie Mae Bridging the Dream Graduate Scholarship — the first of its kind from the nation’s saving, planning and paying for college company.
The $ 2 0,0 00 s c h o l a rship will empower Ali to pursue his goal of leading a biotechnology company centered on genomics by way of a master’s degree i n b i o t e c hnol o g y e nt e rpri se and entrepreneurship from Johns Hopkins University.
Ali, whose parents, Hassim and Rita, moved from Tr i ni dad a nd Tobago to Florida to offer their children a better life, made the tough decision to cut his first attempt at college short. After receiving support from friends and family, Ali returned to school and found his inspiration in helping others, as so many had helped him find hi s journey. He graduated from Florida Atlantic University.
Joined by hi s father in Newton, Massachusetts, Ali believed he was participating in a final round of interviews. Instead, Sal- lie Mae surprised him with the $20,000 scholarship.
“Through my journey to grad school I learned that my ongoing mission is to be an agent of change in science, education and the lives of others,” Ali said. “Being a first- generation college student and immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago, things were not handed or c ame easy to me.”
Ali attended Spani sh River High School in Boca Raton for its Biotechnology Academy, but found himself as one of the few minorities in the school, making it hard to fit in. Financial limitations also played a role in his schooling as he could not afford tutoring.
“Everyone around me seemed to know the whole college preparation pro - cess, and by being first-generation it was extremely difficult to navigate to college which eventu ally would play out in trying to navigate through colle ge as well,” Ali said.
Now, he is proud to be a professional public speaker, which “gives him the privilege to inspire others to become the strongest versions of themselves possible on a daily basis.”
S o m e o f A l i ’s o t h e r accompli shments: landi ng a j ob at The Sc r i pps Research Institute, placing first at a 2015 STEM Undergraduate Research Symposium, and being selected to give the keynote address at FAU’s ninth annual iLead Student Leadership Conference. His lifelong dream? “To be a voice who personally empowers others to realize their powering potential to succeed.”
Visit talkwithtevin.com to learn more about his public speaking engagements.
Tevin Ali, who is the winner of the 2018 Sallie Mae Bridging the Dream Graduate Scholarship worth $20,000, will attend Johns Hopkins University to study for a master’s degree in biotechnology enterprise and entrepreneurship.