Husna Ayoubi on stage with three other people holds up the scholarship paper

Husna Ayoubi receives the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. (Photo courtesy of Mesa College)

Mesa College student awarded prestigious Jack Kent Cooke scholarship

May 13, 2024 | San Diego Community College District

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has announced Husna Ayoubi of San Diego Mesa College, as one of 60 community college students selected to receive the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.  This highly competitive award allows students to complete their undergraduate degrees at four-year institutions with minimal financial burden. The award, which covers unfunded institutional aid, can reach as much as $55,000 each year by financing all or a portion of educational costs, including tuition, room and board, books and required fees.

"I am so proud of Husna and Mesa College for such remarkable excellence," stated Dr. Ashanti T. Hands, President of San Diego Mesa College. "This amazing opportunity will open numerous doors, paving the way for Husna to leave her brilliant imprint on the world, just as she was born to do."

Husna is majoring in cognitive science, she has already finished the Medical Assistant Program and recently completed a medical assistant externship at the Palm Care Cardiology Urgent Care Center in El Cajon. From Afghanistan, Ayoubi speaks five languages and volunteers extensively on campus and in the community.  Among her notable achievements, Ayoubi has served as an interpreter at Fort Bliss, Texas, Afghan refugee camp clinic and also has tutored English language learners in the Cajon Valley Union School District.

As a Mesa College Associated Student Government student senator, Ayoubi implemented the campus’s first Teacher Appreciation and Recognition week celebrating and honoring Mesa College faculty and their continuous commitment to excellence. Additionally this spring, Husna was named a Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) 2024 All-California Academic Honor Roll students and a Team Bronze Scholar, an honor that comes with a $1,000 award.

San Diego Mesa College has had multiple students who have been named national Jack Kent Cook Transfer semifinalists over the years. The most recent group was selected from more than 1,600 applicants attending 194 community colleges in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and the Northern Mariana Islands.

According to Community College Research Center research, transfer pathways from community colleges are a significant contributor to enrollment and diversity at four-year institutions. However, a lack of scholarship opportunities for transfer students, as well as other obstacles like losing credits during the transfer process, continue to keep bachelor’s degree completion rates low.

“Community college students remain far too underrepresented at our nation’s top institutions, despite clear research demonstrating their success once they arrive. Our scholarship is one way we aim to ensure that high-achieving students have the opportunity to complete their degree where they want, regardless of their financial background,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Cooke Foundation.

One objective of the scholarship is to give Scholars the opportunity to graduate with as little debt as possible.  The award, which is last dollar funding after all other institutional aid, can provide as much as $55,000 a year.  In addition to the financial support, Cooke Transfer Scholars receive comprehensive educational advising – guidance that is crucial for navigating their transition to four-year colleges and planning their career paths. Cooke Scholars also benefit from access to internship opportunities, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as a dynamic network of over 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni. 

This year’s application saw nearly 1,700 applications from over 380 community colleges. Applicants were evaluated on their academic prowess, financial need, and leadership qualities. A complete list of the 2024 Cooke Transfer Scholars and their respective community colleges is available in the Jack Kent Cooke Newsroom.

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