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.
DUNWOODY, Ga.—Believe in yourself.
For 20-year-old Areej Rizwan, that mantra helped her as she ran cross country for her high school. It bolstered her confidence in fixing things as she helped her father tackle small projects around their home. And it gave her the drive to succeed academically in honors courses with the goal to become a Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholar.
That belief paid off recently, as Rizwan was named one of 10 semifinalists for the JKC scholarship.
Born in Bahrain to Pakistani parents, Rizwan came to the U.S. with her parents and her twin brother, Ayman in the ninth grade. “My parents' main goal moving to the U.S. was to get a good education for me and my brother,” she said.
Although she was new to the U.S., she adjusted to her new home country, with the help of her twin brother, she said. “Growing up as a twin we were supportive of each other and close,” she said. That closeness didn’t stop her from competing academically with her sibling. “I am definitely more competitive than he is, and more academically driven,” she said.
After graduating with honors from Flowery Branch High School, Rizwan was thinking of college and initially leaned toward a business degree. Then the COVID pandemic hit.
She took a gap year to consider the goals she had set for herself.
“My brother was studying engineering in high school. I talked to my dad—why can’t I do engineering? I love doing these small fix-it projects at home, looking at how things work,” she said. She switched her career focus.
She enrolled at Perimeter and focused on mechanical engineering.
“I am interested in biomechanics and would like to work with prosthetic construction,” she said. “A lot of my family members deal with diabetes and have had their legs amputated,” she said. She wants to help develop better prosthetics to help improve mobility for patients with amputated limbs.
She hopes that she will be able to continue her engineering studies.
“The Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship would open my doors for education. I’d like to go to Georgia Tech, but I know I can’t afford it. My main goal is to make my parents proud and reach my dreams.”