Eight high school seniors from East Multnomah County were awarded a combined $32,000 in scholarships from Kaiser Permanente Northwest to further their educations in health care, with a Centennial High School student and a Reynolds High School student each earning $10,000 awards.
Five of the eight scholarship winners also attend the multi-district charter school, Center for Advanced Learning, which offers a health care track as part of its rigorous career and technical education program.
The $10,000 awards went to Agrin Niroumand from Centennial and Ismahan Dahir from Reynolds. Joanna Carrasco-Anica and Kerstina Nasr from Gresham High School, Ming Fung from Barlow High School, Alina Zubko from Springwater Trail High School and Minh Nguyen and Roxanne Vazquez, both from Reynolds High School, each earned $2,000 scholarships.
Dahir, who will attend Portland State University, plans on becoming a family practice physician. Originally from Kenya, she began her American education at Reynolds Middle School in the seventh grade and is graduating from Reynolds High School and the Center for Advanced Learning in June.
The Kaiser scholarship will help Dahir realize her dream of becoming a physician and "joining Doctors Without Borders and going to Third World countries and helping out," she said.
A similar passion for the underserved inspires Niroumand, who will graduate from Centennial and CAL. She will attend the University of California-Davis and plans on becoming a pediatrician. "I want to travel around the world and help in Third World countries that don't have the quality of medical care they deserve," she said. Niroumand was originally from Iran, but has lived in Turkey and Dubai.
Both appreciate the $10,000 boost.
"My family can't support me for college, and this is really a big help toward me helping people and becoming a doctor. I'm so happy and glad that I got it," Niroumand said.
Kaiser said in the announcement that "the (scholarship) program is part of the organization's ongoing efforts to improve community health by increasing access to educational opportunity and developing a health care workforce that mirrors the communities it serves."
In addition to the students, Reynolds High School teacher Teresa Osborne received Kaiser Permanente's Outstanding Educator award, which includes a $5,000 donation to Reynolds High School. Kaiser called Osborne, who teaches history and the college prep course AVID, "critical to the success of the Reynolds High School recipients."
Osborne has taught at Reynolds for 33 years and said in the announcement that she appreciates the fact that "Reynolds students arrive with diverse perspectives, lives and experiences. They are willing to share their journeys, talk about the obstacles they have had and then continue to work over, around and through those obstacles."
Altogether, Kaiser awarded $535,000 in college scholarships to 141 high school seniors from 133 eligible public high schools in Kaiser Permanente Northwest service area, which spans from Longview, Wash., to Eugene.
In addition, 25 scholarships were awarded to continuing Kaiser Permanente Scholars, who will become college juniors next school year, who originally received the scholarship as high school seniors.
The Kaiser Permanente scholarships come with other perks. Students get help with such things as writing resumes, career development, paid internships and more.
For the second year in a row, more than one third of the scholarship recipients are Latino, Kaiser said. Three-quarters of scholarship recipients hail from diverse backgrounds, reflecting the region's diversity across race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and abilities. More than half of the recipients are bilingual, representing in total at least 19 languages.