Ten students from Georgia State University’s Perimeter College have been named semifinalists for the 2023 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Jack Kent Cooke award is a competitive scholarship for the nation’s top two-year college students. It provides recipients with up to $55,000 per year, placing the scholarship among the largest private awards in the country for community college transfer students. The following is a profile of one of Perimeter’s ten semifinalists. They are among 459 semifinalists selected from more than 1,700 applicants attending 215 community colleges in 38 states.
CLARKSTON, Ga.—At one point, Mensur Muzyin studied subjects like engineering, statics and multivariate calculus while working several jobs—at the same time—to pay for his college classes.
His work included a couple of tutoring gigs and a weekend position as an overnight parking attendant, which meant he only got two to three hours of sleep a day. Muzyin says his drive to succeed as an engineering student at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College, where he maintains a 4.0 GPA, is what keeps him going.
“It was so hard,” he recalled of working three jobs and excelling in his studies.
“I just did that thinking: ‘today’s hard; I’m going through this just to be where I want to be and it will pay off’.”
Muzyin’s selection as a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Scholarship signals that his hard work is getting noticed. Perimeter College also recognized Muzyin, an Honors College student, with a Scholar of Excellence award during its recent STEM Awards ceremony.
Now 19, he arrived in the United States from Ethiopia fewer than two years ago with an unyielding determination to make himself and his parents proud. As a child growing up in Addis Ababa, Muzyin says he was always good at math and physics and had qualified to attend college. The country’s ongoing civil war, however, made that dream unfeasible. His parents, Abdu and Zubeda Muzyin, insisted that their son would go to college, so they poured their finances into sending him abroad, where he enrolled at Perimeter.
“I feel like I owe them a lot,” Muzyin said lovingly.
Muzyin has flourished as an international student. In addition to his strong work ethic, he has served and continues to serve in multiple campus leadership roles including as former president of the African Student Association and current president of the Clarkston Campus Science Club. He also continues to tutor students and even presented during Perimeter’s STEM Week activities alongside professors and scientists from Emory, Arizona State and Georgia State universities.
Other involvements for Muzyin include participation in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). He was part of the Perimeter team that placed 2nd in a Boeing Flight competition during a 2022 NSBE conference. In addition, Muzyin continues to be a key player in Sincerity, an Ethiopian-based nonprofit that he co-created in high school to help orphans with food, clothing and school supplies.
He’s careful to give thanks to those who’ve supported him along his journey, including professors John Weber, Sahithya Reddivari, Janna Blum, Ilsa Rickets and Anant Honkan. Muzyin is especially grateful to his father, a chemical engineer and mother, a cashier, for their vision and sacrifice.
“I’m here because of my parents’ prayers,” Muzyin said.
After graduating from Perimeter College with his associate degree this May, Muzyin plans to continue his engineering studies at either Georgia Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford or Cornell.
Winners of the 2023 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship will be announced in May.
Story by Kysa Anderson Daniels
Photo by Bill Roa