Biotechnology major wins two top national Phi Theta Kappa scholarships

Biotechnology major Hanan Ali has been awarded two competitive national Phi Theta Kappa scholarships totaling $6,000.

Hanan Ali, a Southwestern College biotechnology major and international student, has been awarded two prestigious national scholarships by the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Ali was awarded $5,000 and $1,000 for the Phi Theta Kappa’s Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education and the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program, respectively.

The Pearson scholarship was awarded to only 10 students in the country, out of nearly 700 who applied, and comes with $1,000 now and $2,000 for two years at the university Ali transfers to after Southwestern College. The awardees were chosen based on academic excellence, civic engagement, community service and leadership. The scholarship also comes with complementary Pearson textbooks and pairs Ali with a Pearson mentor. Ali will also be honored at the honor society’s annual convention in 2018.

Nearly 1,000 students applied for the Coca-Cola scholarship that was awarded to international students based on academic leadership, scholastic achievement, community service and campus leadership.

“It’s pretty humbling to be selected,” Ali said. “I feel more motivated. To get these two scholarships, it just tells me that maybe I’m good enough. Maybe I’m good enough to do bigger and better things.”

Ali came to the United States in July 2016, leaving most of her family behind in Mombosa, Kenya. She said it was her family who encouraged her to move to San Diego to live with her aunt and to pursue an education here in the biotech industry.

“Speaking to my family back home always keeps me grounded,” Ali said. “It always reminds me of why I came here and why I want to do what I want to do. I want to be a good role model for my siblings and my whole family.”

Ali isn’t only involved in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Southwestern College. She is a student leader on campus as the Vice President of Outreach for the Associated Student Organization and she also helps her fellow students succeed as a math tutor for the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program.

“I love that I came to Southwestern College,” she said. “I wouldn’t have had the same experiences if I had just been thrown into a university.”