Five new Scholars arrived at The New College of Florida last August 2014. This was certainly an exciting day for our first five students to start a four years University degree filled with challenges and hard work for these upcoming Middle Eastern female leaders of the future.

But prior to engaging in this new adventure, they had to successfully pass  the foundation’s screening tests and  meet all academic requirements of other New College students, including the provision of SAT or ACT scores, and have demonstrated proficiency in the English language. Considering their results on these initial tests, we are confident that they will put all the efforts and energy in achieving the goals they have set for themselves and later become the examples for generations of girls in their home countries.

They are currently going through orientation with their fellow first-year students, and live in the College’s dormitories.  The scholarship program covers all costs of pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at New College, including tuition, room and board, books, lab fees and supplies. The Daughters for Life Foundation also provides for the cost of the student to travel home and return to college once a year.

We are pleased to introduce these four smart and talented ladies:

Leen Al Fatafta is from Amman, Jordan. She graduated in the Scientific Stream from Jubilee School in Amman. After high school, she joined a language certificate program in Turkey. In addition to volunteer work with refugees, and starting a reading club, she has participated in debate through Jubilee Model UN, Model Arab’s League, and her high school’s Arab Summit and Parliamentary Council. She said her primary academic interests are political science and gender studies, stemming from growing up in the Middle East, and said her guiding principles are freedom of choice, freedom of speech and equity.

Najla Fawwaz is from Eilaboun, Israel. She graduated from Sisters of St. Joseph High School in Nazareth two years ago and has been working since then. She has a love for languages, and participated in a high language course in Germany with students from other countries. She has done volunteer work, rebuilding and cleaning roads and parks in Arab and Jewish villages, as well as reading to children with cancer and assisting at a children’s summer camp. Her primary academic interest is biochemistry and she hopes to attend medical school and become a doctor.

Racha Masara is from Latakiya, Syria, where she graduated from Private National High School. She has participated in debate and math competitions, and is particularly interested in theater, dance and music. Her main interests outside of school are playing guitar and reading. Her primary academic interest is in literature and the study of foreign cultures. After graduation from college, she hopes to be a writer and filmmaker.

Loureen Sayej completed her high school studies in Palestine at Ramallah Friends School. She joins New College from Muscatine Community College in Iowa, where she co-hosted a television show on international topics, was president of the student senate and secretary of the honor society. In Ramallah, her volunteer work included teaching English in orphanages, and cooking and cleaning in nursing homes. She attended Seeds of Peace international summer camp, as a camper and then as a leader. Her academic interests include international and area studies, economics and political science. She hopes to work for the United Nations or a non-governmental organization as an advocate for women’s and children’s rights.

Ayah S.Y. Tafesh is from Gaza Strip, Palestine, she studyied at Yasser Arafat for Talented High School as a senior, she was a YES (Youth Exchange and Study) student in 2012-2013. Ayah has participated in Robotics Club as the programmer and was also the Assistant of the director for a high school musical last year. She likes to get involved in community service, and finished over 100 hours of voluntary work and got the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Ayah enjoys sciences, computer, cooking and outdoor activities. Ayah is now enrolled in Biology, Literature, Natural Sciences at the New College of Florida.

The New College of Florida and The daughters for Life Foundation is proud to have made these five students’ dreams a reality. In the upcoming year, there are more scholarships offered as part of this partnership of the foundation and the College for the 2015 academic year and it is our hope that with the help of our generous sponsors and donors this number will grow even bigger in the upcoming years.