For Immediate Release
January 24, 2023
Contact Information

Caron Jackson

(BPRW) Sallie Mae Announces 10 Nationwide Recipients of Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students

Recipients Receive $10,000 Each to Pursue Graduate Degrees to Advance Social Justice and Support their Local Communities

(Black PR Wire) NEWARK, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Sallie Mae, through its charitable arm The Sallie Mae Fund, Inc. today announced the recipients of its Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students. The scholarship, in partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund, provides $10,000 to 10 deserving graduate students who plan to use their degree to advocate for social justice and support their communities.

This year’s scholarship recipients are enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), state colleges, and Ivy League universities and were selected from nearly 500 applicants. They are aspiring doctors, nurses, educators, engineers, and social workers, with diverse and unique backgrounds.

This year’s recipients of The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students are:

  • Shawnda Williams, pursuing Master of Public Health at Florida A&M University
  • Marcela Dos Santos, pursuing Doctor of Nursing Practice at UC Irvine
  • Angela Ji, pursuing a Master of Psychology at James Madison University
  • Jacqueline Pauley, pursing a Master of Education at James Madison University
  • Tia Briggs, pursing a Master of Science in Rehabilitation at Langston University
  • Denerick Simpson, pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Savannah State University
  • Ahmad Elhajia, pursuing a graduate degree in Allopathic Medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • Katherine Esser, pursuing a graduate degree in Medicine at University of Toledo College of Medicine & Life Sciences
  • Fabiola Limon, pursuing a Master of Social work at University of Massachusetts Global
  • Tyreece Santana, pursuing a Master of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University

“Obtaining my master’s degree means so much to me, and I am grateful for receiving this scholarship,” said recipient Shawnda Williams, who is attending Florida A&M, a Historically Black College and University. “I know with my degree in Public Health, I will be able to use my knowledge and skills to help people living with HIV/AIDS better manage their disease by connecting them to resources and educating communities on preventative measures.”

The Bridging the Dream Scholarship program is part of a three-year, $3 million commitment made by The Sallie Mae Fund to open doors of higher education to students from all backgrounds, including those from underserved or underrepresented communities. To date, 600 scholarships totaling $2M have been awarded to help students access and complete their education. The application window for the 2023-2024 scholarship opens on Feb 6, 2023 at 12 p.m. ET.

“Higher education is synonymous with opportunity and can be a gateway for students from all backgrounds to do great things and be agents of change,” said Nic Jafarieh, executive vice president, Sallie Mae. “The recipients of our Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students are diverse, future trailblazers aspiring to create a better world. We’re proud to support their unique journey and excited to see what they’ll do next.”

“The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students helps students from all backgrounds pursue an advanced degree with the goal of using that knowledge gained to create an impact in their communities,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President, and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with The Sallie Mae Fund to provide more opportunities to diverse and deserving students.”

In addition to the Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students, Sallie Mae offers a free online Graduate School Scholarship Search tool which provides access to 950,000 graduate school scholarships valued more than $1 billion. For more information visit

Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) believes education and life-long learning, in all forms, help people achieve great things. As the leader in private student lending, we provide financing and know-how to support access to college and offer products and resources to help customers make new goals and experiences, beyond college, happen. Learn more at Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Source: Sallie Mae