Washima Fairoz

Biddeford High School, 2018
University of Southern Maine, 2022
Hometown: Biddeford

“When I applied to the Mitchell Scholarship in high school, I had lost faith in myself and my ability to attend college due to very challenging circumstances. It was only the Mitchell Institute who saw the potential in me and believed in me—even more than I believed in myself.”

As a first-generation college student, Washima has always felt deprived of opportunities, and she has found those opportunities—to connect, to learn, to grow—with the Mitchell Institute’s system of supports. When she lost her part-time jobs and income at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was able to turn to the Institute’s SOS Fund, an emergency fund for Scholars, which she credits with keeping her in college and focused on her goals.

What are your goals in college?
I want to grow as a learner and continuously hone my English reading and writing skills. I want to be able to get a job right after graduation, and start applying for law school then as well.

What has been your most useful interaction with the Mitchell Institute thus far?
The “no-agenda" meetings with Institute staff have been really useful and stress-relieving for me—especially during exam weeks! Furthermore, the SOS Fund literally gave me the chance to survive the pandemic when I lost my jobs and was on the verge of dropping out of college. I will always remember that if it wasn’t for my Mitchell Institute family, it would be impossible to be where I am now!