ANN ARBOR, Michigan (April 25, 2019) – For the second straight year, a Washtenaw Community College student is the recipient of a highly competitive Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship that provides students up to $40,000 annually for as many as three years to complete their bachelor’s degree.
Ahmed Ghalib, a 22-year-old Ann Arbor resident, is one of 61 community college students in the nation awarded the scholarship, the foundation announced on Wednesday. WCC alumna Maria “Paula” Salazar was a Cooke Transfer Scholarship recipient in 2018.
Ghalib is a Computer Science major with a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the college’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society with plans to pursue an Information Science degree in the fall. He lists the University of Michigan, Cornell University, Columbia University and the University of Southern California among his possible destinations.
Ghalib was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and came to the United States with his family in 2008. After graduating from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School in 2015, he worked in retail and hospitality positions for two years while focusing on his own tech-related project during his free time. He enrolled at WCC in 2017 to become more technically involved with other engineers in that software venture.
“I started from the very bottom of the math sequence, but was fortunate enough to meet (WCC faculty member) Jason Davis, who not only made me love mathematics, but inspired me to aim for more than an associate degree,” Ghalib said. “I have been more than fortunate to have spent the past two years at WCC. Beyond the priceless education and personal skills developed at this institution lies the foundation of its greatness – the instructors. They’ve made a profound impact on my life, personality and mindset. I will forever be in debt to their efforts, kindness and wisdom.”
Ghalib was one of nearly 1,500 students to apply for the scholarship. According to a release, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation evaluated submission based on academic ability, persistence, leadership and service. The recipients selected represent 18 different states, have a median household adjusted gross income of $28,000 and an average GPA of 3.93.
In addition to a monetary award, Cooke Transfer Scholars receive educational and career advising, internships, study abroad opportunities and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a network of nearly 2,500 fellow Cooke Scholars and alumni.