My name is Zahra Al-Awadi. I am a first-generation college student from Indianapolis, Indiana. I come from a family that immigrated to the United States just shortly before I was born, making me the only person in my immediate family that is a natural-born American. I am currently in my junior year of studying Electrical Engineering Technology with a minor in Supply Chain Management Technology.
Before attending college, I knew I wanted to become an engineer. I wanted to see things come to life right before my eyes. As I was applying to Purdue, I ran into recruiter Cathy Pullings who enlightened me about the Engineering Technology program that the Purdue Polytechnic Institute had to offer. After some consideration, I realized Engineering Technology was for me. I learn best with my hands, and I would like to learn skills that I can directly apply to the industry.
Once I get into the industry, I would really like to start my career as a Controls Engineer. Then after a couple of years, I would like to work my way into Project Management where I would be able to apply skills from both my major and my minor.
I chose Purdue for many reasons. It is a prestigious school that is globally known for its academic rigor. It is close to home, so if I ever felt home sick, I knew I could see my family. It is a school that felt like home away from home the moment I stepped onto campus for the first time.
With Purdue being populated with 50,000 people, I never knew I could make a big school feel small. Joining organizations and getting involved in student life helped me meet and interact with so many people, I never felt lonely during my time here.
My favorite experience during my time at Purdue is Boiler Gold Rush, as an incoming freshman, as a Team Leader my sophomore year and as a Team Supervisor my junior year. BGR really helped me step outside of my comfort zone, create a community for myself here on campus, and allowed to interact with people of all different backgrounds.
I am lucky enough to be here at Purdue with the support of many scholarships. I am able to enjoy and fully value my education without the overwhelming burden of having to worry about how to pay my way through school.
Truly, without the financial aid the Purdue Polytechnic has offered me, college wouldn’t have been an option. As I mentioned earlier, I am a first-generation student. Although I had moral support from my parents, there was not much else they could help me with while applying for college.
A lot of talented and intelligent students miss the chance of receiving an excellent college education because the lack the funds to do so. It is unfortunate that many students coming from lower class households don’t have the access and opportunity. With the donations towards scholarships, more students are given the opportunity to higher education.
College shouldn’t be a privilege; it should be a right and should be accessible to people of all backgrounds. With the help of scholarships, we are getting closer and closer to making that reality.