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Four Advocates for Change Named Recipients of Sallie Mae’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students


Sallie Mae today announced it has awarded four graduate students $20,000 each through its Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program. The four aspiring leaders chosen as this years recipients were asked to share what made their journey to graduate school unique and what they hope to accomplish. Each recipient demonstrates passion and promise to create a healthier, more equitable world.

The 2020 Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students recipients are:

Olaseni Bello is a U.S. Army Officer, lawyer, and Nigerian immigrant committed to being a voice for those without the resources needed to get by. Olaseni plans to use his degree from the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business to help improve access to healthcare and create a better future for his daughter’s generation.

Matthew St. Jean is an aspiring emergency medicine physician with experience working on the frontlines in Maines Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Through his degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Matthew plans to continue serving the emergency services community that became his second family, helping him learn discipline and resilience.

Alexis Kallen is on a mission to increase opportunities for young women. She plans to become an advocate for marginalized communities, especially for female asylum-seekers with disabilities, with the help of her law degree from Yale. Alexis has interned at Human Rights Watch, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Justice Centre in Hong Kong. Alexis was a 2018 Rhodes Scholar, Stanford Universitys 127th Convocation Speaker, the 2018 Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award recipient, and a 2017 Harry S. Truman Scholar.

Stephanie Rosado is a former Puerto Rican womens national basketball team player with a masters in social work. Growing up, her grandmother emphasized, No te rindas (Dont give up). Those words have guided Stephanie on her incredible journey from the court to the University of South Florida where she is pursuing a PhD to advocate for athletes well-being and sport social work.

For the past five years, our Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program has offered students the opportunity to access and advance their education, but just as importantly, the program powers confidence to complete their degree, said Nic Jafarieh, senior vice president, Sallie Mae. Helping students along their unique journeys is more important now than ever. We see so clearly the value of an education, and what it can do to power the next generation of activists, nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, and leaders.

To increase opportunity for even more students, The Sallie Mae Fund, the charitable arm of Sallie Mae, will expand the Bridging the Dream Scholarship program in 2021, focusing on both college access and completion for minority and underserved communities. Sallie Mae will award $3 million in scholarships over the next three years through the program.

In addition to the Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program, Sallie Mae offers free, online Scholarship Search tools for both undergraduate and graduate students. In 2020, more than 24,000 students received a total of $67 million in scholarships through Sallie Maes scholarship search tools.

For more information about scholarships, visit


Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM) believes education and life-long learning, in all forms, help 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.

Category: Community and Philanthropy

Ashley Boucher


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