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Sallie Mae Awards $100,000 to Help High School and College Graduates Fund Their Futures


Four Students Surprised with $25,000 to Jumpstart Their Next Step in Life Through the #ImStillGraduating ‘Funded Futures’ Contest

NEWARK, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sallie Mae® surprised four high school and college graduates with $25,000 through the company’s “Funded Futures” Contest. The company launched the competition during the Her Campus #ImStillGraduating Class of 2020 virtual graduation last month.

More than 1,000 applications were received, and candidates were evaluated on academic and personal accomplishments, experiences facing adversity, and how they aspire to make an impact in the future. The four recipients chosen include a high school, college, graduate, and medical student.

And the winners are:

Julia Seay is a graduate of Westlake High School in Atlanta, Georgia who plans to attend Washington and Lee University in the fall. She aspires to be the first African American woman to own an environmental firm.

“For the past two years, I’ve been working on a solution for global warming,” said Seay. “Now as a Funded Futures recipient, I have the opportunity to pay for my provisional patent and see my ideas come to life.”

Seay also plans to use the $25,000 from Sallie Mae to continue her environmental studies and to further develop the mental health organization that she co-founded, The Brainy Bunch, which provides Black youth mental health resources.

Isabel De Ramos is a recent graduate from Villanova University. A Philadelphia native, she will attend Drexel University in the fall to earn a master’s degree in Epidemiology. She plans to use her award to use epidemiologic research to improve the health of Philadelphia's disadvantaged populations.

“Without financial worries in the way, I can keep climbing up the hill of education,” said De Ramos. “Thank you, Sallie Mae, for being a great motivator and for helping to support me along this journey.”

Meaghan Murtagh is a graduate school recipient earning a master’s degree in education from Boston University. Meaghan hopes to serve as an advocate for sexual assault and interpersonal violence survivors at higher education institutions.

“With so much uncertainty living in a pandemic, this award has allowed my family and me to take a deep breath and remember that everything is going to be alright,” said Murtagh. “Sallie Mae’s Funded Futures contest has not only lifted our financial burden but has lifted our spirits, too.”

Chizitam Ibezim, is a graduate from University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine. He plans to complete his five-year residency and become a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon for patients in underserved communities.

“I’m still over the moon and in utter disbelief,” said Ibezim. “I feel truly humbled and more hopeful about the future than I have felt in a very long time.”

“Without a doubt, the Class of 2020 is both resilient and inspiring,” said Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. “Their commencement ceremonies looked and felt different this year, but their accomplishments and stick-to-it-iveness have already set them on the path to building prosperous futures. We’re honored to play a part on that journey and look forward to seeing the amazing things that lie ahead for each of these deserving recipients.”

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Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM): Believes education and life-long learning, in all forms, helps people achieve great things. As the leader in private student lending, we provide financing and know-how to support access to college and offer products and resources to help customers make new goals and experiences, beyond college, happen. Learn more at Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Sallie Mae:
Jennifer Ruiz

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