Ethiopian Heritage Scholarship

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Ethiopian Heritage College Scholarship Fund

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is accepting applications until midnight Friday, June 25, for our firm’s 2021-2022 Ethiopian Heritage College Scholarship.

The scholarship is open to high school seniors in the DC metropolitan area planning to attend an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university in the upcoming academic year. The recipient will receive a $1,000 annual award, up to a maximum total award of $4,000, to use toward school-related expenses such as tuition, housing or textbooks.

In addition to providing high school transcripts and other documents, applicants must also submit an essay on how they will make the world a better place, a life experience that has affected their attitude, or a person who has significantly influenced their life.

“Over the years, we’ve awarded more than $40K to college-bound high school seniors from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia as they work hard to further their education and earn degrees,” said Senior Partner Ira Sherman, who created the scholarship in 2008. “Our firm is proud that many of our scholarship recipients have gone on to become thriving members of our local communities.”

In her 2020 winning scholarship essay, Samerawit Dereje wrote about a young boy’s request for basic supplies in an Ethiopian market. Her mother’s instinctual generosity profoundly shaped her system of values and cultural norms, and taught Ms. Dereje the importance of bridging economic gaps and inequities.

“One of the things our panel of judges enjoys most each year is reading the essays. A simple act of giving encouraged Samerawit to explore ways she could aid in humanitarian efforts,” Sherman said. “It’s inspiring to learn how these young adults are pursuing a higher education with the mission of making positive changes in our communities after graduation.”

The 2021-2022 application deadline is June 25, 2021. Download the application and rules.

Past Recipients

Samerawit Dereje 2020 EHCSF Winner

Samerawit wrote of her inspiration to pursue humanitarian aid efforts in response to a simple act of giving. In her winning essay, Samerawit recounts how a young boy’s request for basic supplies in an Ethiopian market, and her mother’s instinctual generosity in return, profoundly shifted her system of values and cultural norms. Samerawit has worked to bridge economic gaps and inequities in underprivileged Ethiopian communities. She has donated over 200 boxes filled with books, school resources, clothes, hygiene necessities, and medical supplies through her role as Miss Ethiopia USA 2018-19 and as a founding member of the Hayfield Ethiopian-Eritrean Society. The scholarship will aid her in her studies at George Mason University this fall.

Nubia Teklu 2019 EHCSF Winner

Nubia grew up in a country struck by poverty and a military coup. After immigrating to the U.S., her mother’s passion to help those she left behind became an inspiring display of selflessness that touched not only those in the Ethiopian community, but her as well.

While in high school, Nubia gained the skills to help her mother’s non-profit thrive and further its mission of helping others. Her experiences working in a cultural context and with all types of people exposed her to greater issues beyond her immediate environment, and made her a global citizen who extends a helping hand to those in need of help – locally and abroad.

As she moves on from West Springfield High School in Virginia to Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, she’s hopeful her higher education will provide even more resources for her work in emerging markets. We wish Nubia the best of luck!

Veronica Abebe 2018 EHCSF Winner

Veronica and her family immigrated to the United States when she was 11 years old, an experience that left her in awe of her new country and her new future. In the U.S., her family settled in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she attended John F. Kennedy High School and excelled as a student, taking numerous AP classes and earning a 4.77 GPA. She also performed over 375 hours of community service.

Veronica will be using the EHCSF award to aid her in her studies at Princeton University.

Rackeb Mered 2017 EHCSF Winner

Rackeb was born in the U.S. and raised in Alexandria, Virginia shortly after her parents immigrated to America from Ethiopia. Rackeb’s winning essay was an inspirational story of how the death of a loved one and the selflessness he exhibited during his life motivated her to give back and support others.

With the help of her family, Rackeb created a foundation in his name to help the homeless and others in need. Rackeb will be attending Duke University in Fall 2017.

Biruk Negash 2016 EHCSF Winner

Biruk was born in Ethiopia and moved to Annandale, Virginia as a young child. Biruk is a student at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. She hopes to make a difference in the lives of youth by pursuing a career in law as a juvenile criminal defense attorney.

In addition to helping children obtain a second chance, she also believes it is important they have the tools and resources needed to drive future success.

Lidya Daniel 2015 EHCSF Winner

On a trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to visit her family, Lidya’s life was forever changed by the children she met in one of the city’s orphanages.

Lidya was moved to volunteer at the orphanage throughout her stay, and upon her return home she continued think of ways she could help the orphans back in Ethiopia.

Lidya started as a freshman at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2015, and she hopes to one day to return to Ethiopia to help the children who captured her heart.

Kifle Woldu 2014 EHCSF Winner

Kifle Woldu’s parents emigrated from Ethiopia shortly before he was born. They worked hard to start their own business and provide a better life for Kifle. All throughout his career as a student Kifle strived to achieve academic success.

His diligence and persistence earned him admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he started in the fall of 2014. Kifle is majoring in Computer Science and was most excited to tackle his Multi-Variable Calculus and Chemistry classes.

Kifle believes in “maximizing every opportunity” presented to him, and he would like to one day be the owner of his own startup company.

Makeda Yohannes 2013 EHCSF Winner

Makeda Yohannes currently attends Columbia University, in New York City.

Kalkidan Alemyehu 2012 EHCSF Winner

Kalkidan Alemayehu emigrated from Ethiopia in 2008. She currently attends Christopher Newport University, in Newport News, Virginia. She is majoring in accounting with a double minor in leadership studies and information science. Kalkidan chose to study accounting because she believes that the main language of business is math. She hopes to one day work for an NGO or start her own non-profit organization.

So-Hyun Baik 2011 EHCSF Winner

So-Hyun Baik attended Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Yonit Addisie 2010 EHCSF Winner

Yonit Addisie attended Princeton University, in Princeton, New Jersey. Yonit is currently working as a post-baccalaureate intern at the National Institutes of Health. This prestigious position will give her a great opportunity to build experience working in the biomedical field while still remaining close to her home and family in Maryland.

May 2018 Update – I feel that the EHCS scholarship was very much a part of my journey, and I know that the firm would be happy to learn of my progress. After doing a three year internship at NIH, I am now completing my master’s degree at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. I will hopefully be graduating at the end of May! My next step is to apply to medical school this summer, and my ultimate goal is to do clinical research. I am continually grateful for the support I have received from the law firm!

Ida Daniel 2009 EHCSF Winner

Ida Daniel attended the University of Maryland, in College Park, Maryland.

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