Mill Valley resident and recent grad Talha Ismail is one of 10 recipients throughout California and Hawaii to receive $25,000 in scholarships from EAH Housing, the San Rafael-based non-profit developer of affordable homes.
The $2,500 scholarship will help Ismail pay for college, as he's heading to Brown University in the fall to study computer science.
As a child, Ismail spent hours tinkering with scraps of motherboards lying around his house, enchanted by their complexities. He describes the experience as one of his most cherished childhood memories.
“The different ridges, bumps, wires and chips on the motherboard repeatedly provoked the same question: how did it all work together to create one experience?” he says.
As he learned more, Ismail began to fix computers and eventually decided that he wanted to pursue the study of computer science in college.
Ismail underwent a highly competitive application process that reviewed academic performance, multiple letters of recommendation, a personal writing statement and interview. But Ismail isn’t the first of his family to attend some of the best institutions of higher education in the country.
“Affordable housing has given my siblings the opportunity to attend world-class institutions such as Stanford University and Cornell University,” he says.
After Ismail’s second sibling was born, his parents moved to the United States from the small town of Surat, India, and settled in Mill Valley.
“As with all immigrant families, they came with a dream for a better life for their children,” says Ismail, “but had to wait to see if this dream would become a reality.”
EAH created its Scholarship Fund to ensure long term success for its recipients. Instead of a one-time grant, students receive annual awards designed to continually provide options as they shape their futures.
“Far too often students with limitless potential are stopped short by financial barriers,” EAH Housing President and CEO Mary Murtagh said in a statement. “The EAH Housing Scholarship Fund is another commitment in our effort to expand access to the American Dream through healthy communities...and now a pathway to higher education.”
Anyone can contribute to the scholarship fund and help students achieve there dreams of attending college. All donations given before September 1 will be matched two to one. A $500 donation would provide a $1,500 scholarship for an EAH student.