A Tradition of Service

Published 12/19/2022 in Alumni Features, Program Updates
Written by Angelina Calderón, Kim Foo Chow, Marcela Correa, Ekram Jiru | 12/19/2022

Scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

The four values of Milken Scholars continue to be exemplified by Alumni well beyond their college years. This Fall, Alumni volunteered alongside current Scholars to help high school seniors in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., prepare for college.

Applying to college can be a daunting process. Alumni and Scholars tuned in virtually and in person to share about their personal college journeys, financial aid tips, and words of wisdom reminding students that they are not alone as they prepare for life after high school.

In New York, Kim Foo Chow, MS ’96, led two college essay workshops at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School – the founding Milken Scholars school  in 1989. For over twelve years, Alumni and current Scholars have returned to the birthplace of the Program and worked one-on-one with high school seniors applying to colleges. This year, volunteers helped 15 high school seniors find the  words to bring their personal statements to life.

“Whether over video chat or in-person, the College Essay sessions were so special this year when I see the Scholars bring out the best in the students working on their essays and gasp with joy as they meet up again with lifelong friends,” Kim Foo Chow said.

On the West Coast, Angelina Calderon, MS ’06, virtually connected Milken Scholars to 25 students  from Rise Kohyang High School and Stella High Charter Academy.

"It was so helpful!" Bright students gushed to their counselor after the Essay Support Session on November 5th.  Each volunteer met with 2-3 students to provide feedback on their essays and ended with an "Advice Whiparound" that the students really enjoyed.

Angelina loved hosting this opportunity for our students and said, “I hope next year we can do a hybrid session in person and virtual. To everyone who volunteered, Thank you! In just a couple of hours, you made a huge impact in our scholars' college application journey. We appreciate you!”

In D.C. Ekram Jiru, MS ’14, partnered with the Institute for East African Council to host a financial aid workshop for local parents and their students. To further emphasize the importance of pursuing all avenues of financial aid, Marcela Correa, MS '96, recounted her experience as an undergraduate student working multiple jobs to pay tuition at Harvard. “Do not be afraid to share details of your family situation beyond what's captured in aid applications,” Marcela advised students as she explained how this revelation  led to a drastic change in her financial aid package.

Getting a chance to connect with these young students reminded Scholars and Alumni of the many individuals who helped guide them through their own college process. Volunteers were happy to pay it forward and continue the Program’s tradition of service.

Congratulations to all high school students and parents/guardians of students applying to college this year! As families work through this exciting and uncertain time, the Milken Scholars Program wishes everyone the best of luck throughout the college application and selection process.