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The Nargis E. Ragab Scholarship was created by Hacking Immigration Law in 2019 as a community engagement program to increase awareness of the serious immigration issues within the United States. This scholarship is named after Nargis E. Ragab, who came to the United States from El Mansura, Egypt in 1979 in search of a better life. With little money, Nargis struggled to provide for her child and find work.

It is our hope that this scholarship will provide first-generation students with an opportunity to share their stories, and these immigration success stories will serve as a beacon of hope for others.

Our team at Hacking Immigration Law is honored to assist students in the pursuit of their higher education through this financial award for its third consecutive year.

Check back on our scholarship page to see information about our 2022 scholarship when it becomes available.

This year, we are proud to announce our 2021 scholarship winner, Fatima Shamaa!

Learn more about Fatima and our previous winners below:

2021 Winner: Fatima Shamaa

Scholarship winner, Fatima“Hello! My name is Fatima Shamaa, and I am attending Boston University for an entry-level doctorate in Occupational Therapy. I am pursuing this career to work with children who have disabilities grow daily living skills that will allow them to lead independent adult lives. I aim to be a strong advocate for individuals with varying abilities by focusing on their strengths and growth. I chose this scholarship as an act of gratitude and respect for my parents supporting my educational journey. I understand that higher education is costly, and will be doing my part to share the financial stress.

My father was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, while my mother grew up in a small Ohio town. Both of my parents shared a childhood of hardships and a passion for healthcare that made their cultural differences seem insignificant. Together, they worked to provide more stability and opportunities to their children. Theresa and Sherif opened an Islamic school during my childhood to allow their children a safe environment to learn about their culture and religion. 

Many people feel isolation and pressure to represent their community in a positive perspective because the world has not yet embraced the ideals of diversity, inclusion, and equality. I searched for belonging throughout my childhood by studying religion, observing popular culture, and learning history. Ultimately, I found that the world labels groups of people as us versus them. Although I have access to participate as a member of these groups, I do not feel welcome.

In my adulthood, I strive to promote a pluralistic outlook. Being a child of an immigrant, I have experienced life being an underrepresented minority and unable to advocate for my rights. As an Occupational Therapist, I will promote social justice by focusing on people and their abilities. Using community practice and habilitation, I will empower individuals to participate in daily life.

After learning that I was chosen as the recipient of this scholarship, I was in shock! I took a moment to collect my bearings and then called, texted and emailed all of the people who have supported me on my educational journey. Finding this scholarship was a miracle. I am so grateful and honored to be chosen. Thank you!”

2020 Winner: Ivy Wu

The Nargis E. Ragab Scholarship for First Generation Immigrants and the Children of First Generation Immigrants“My name is Ivy Wu, and I am going to be attending the University of Virginia this upcoming year. I plan to major in biology with the intent of applying to medical school after earning my Bachelor’s and then completing residency and obtaining a license in pediatrics. I chose to apply to this scholarship in recognition of the fact that my aspirations of entering the medical field may be costly, and I wanted to do all that I could to ensure that my tuition bills wouldn’t become too overwhelming for my parents.

Both my parents came to the States as teenagers (roughly around my age now) knowing little to no English and started a business as Chinese takeout restaurant owners together for nearly a decade. After years of working alongside them since age 7, I’ve come to realize how much sweat and rigor their jobs really demand of them everyday for 364 days a year, just excluding Thanksgiving’s Day. Despite that, my parents would have both agreed that their hard work was worthwhile if it meant providing my siblings and I a chance to achieve higher education and ultimately lead a better life.

My upbringing entailed life lessons emphasizing the importance of humility, hard-work, and selflessness, which shaped my general passion for assisting others and improving their quality of life. Through community involvement in the annual Vacation Bible School program at my local church and through my time serving Rainbow House Daycare center as a teacher in New York, I have realized my fondness for working with youth. Knowing that my actions as a single individual can have a profound impact on an experience of childhood compels me to a career as a pediatrician: one where I can make a difference — even the small ones — in others’ lives. My dream is to one day open up my own clinic and give back to the underserved populations in the United States with more affordable medical attention for children and ultimately provide relief for their parents who would otherwise be unable to obtain such care. I believe that the price tag of healthcare should never be a reason for a young individual to not receive it. Furthermore, I plan to utilize my Chinese background as well as my years of experience in learning the Spanish language to cross the language barrier and aid more minority patients who can only communicate in their native languages. To serve children and parents even when they are in their most vulnerable times is a privilege, and I cannot imagine a career that would be more fulfilling than the one this scholarship is allowing me to pursue.

After finding out that I was the recipient of this scholarship, I was stunned and absolutely ecstatic; I could barely keep myself composed as I ran to announce the news to my family. Truly, it makes me so happy that an opportunity like this is available to other immigrant children like myself, and I am honored.”

2019 Winner: Alex Quach

“I chose to apply to the Nargis Scholarship primarily to lessen the burden on my parents for paying for college. I think Nargis’ story is particularly inspiring as she sold all her possessions to come to America with her three children. She struggled to raise her children, find work, and assimilate. I think this is like my own parents’ story, as they were also small children and came with few possessions to America, escaping the war in Vietnam. Since my parents’ families struggled to get by after immigrating, they worked as children to help sustain their families. But even then, that ethic of hard work continued. When my parents were married, they set up a booth at a flea market every day, in the blazing Florida heat. It was very demanding as they sold 50-pound domino sets, meaning they would have to haul them from the truck to the market and at the end of the day, from the market to the truck if they didn’t sell enough. Growing up in this environment, I wanted to be able to help my parents. I was able to work at three, paid technical internships over the span of high school, but along the way, I needed a lot of help from my teachers and other resources. Out of these experiences, one cool thing I was able to organize was a college- and career-preparation event that provided resources like resume-building workshops, one-on-one mock interview practice, and personal exposure to professionals in students’ prospective careers. I find it powerful that I was able to channel the energy and drive from my immigrant parents to advance my own eagerness to work internships that my family needed and to be able to provide those resources to others.

After learning that I won this scholarship, I felt empowered that my family’s immigrant struggle has finally been recognized. I’m extremely glad that this scholarship exists to help inspire other families of immigrants.”

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