Sci­ence scholar sur­mounts set­backs to se­cure na­tional schol­ar­ship

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Western Palm Beach County - - Front Page - By Faran Fa­gen Spe­cial to The Palm Beach Post

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.

CON­TRIB­UTED

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.

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