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Pomona College Junior Kameelah Rasheed Lands Two Big Scholarships after Whirlwind Trip

Kameelah Rasheed, a Pomona College junior, has received both a Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship and a Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Students of Color Entering the Teaching Profession, which combined will provide up to $46,000 for graduate school study.

Studying abroad in South Africa, Rasheed flew from Cape Town to New York for an interview for a Rockefeller Fellowship. Then, after spending a night in the Big Apple, she got on a plane for England to meet the deadline to interview for the prestigious Truman Scholarship. All this jet-setting exhausted Rasheed, but her passion and dedication must have come through nonetheless. She wound up winning both scholarships.

"She's very energetic," says Paula Goldsmid, the Pomona College graduate fellowships coordinator who helped arrange the travel. "She's very lively ... She's just very passionate about what she wants to do with her life."

A resident of the Bay Area, Rasheed plans to use the scholarships to pursue a masters degree in education with a teaching credential so she can teach in underserved schools and youth prisons. Later she plans to pursue her doctoral degree, preparing her for non-profit work focused on "prioritizing community-based crime deterrence methods in our juvenile justice system."

Rasheed is majoring in public policy analysis with a concentration in the Africa/African Diaspora. In South Africa, she is taking courses in sociology/diversity studies, African studies, Arabic and criminology. She is involved with the University of Cape Town’s Treatment Action Committee, which tries to encourage the South African government to roll out antiretroviral AIDS treatment and works to create awareness about HIV prevention. She is training to conduct workshops in prisons about AIDS, HIV and treatment.

For the Truman Scholarship, Rasheed was one of 75 scholars selected from 602 candidates nominated by 299 colleges and universities. Truman Scholarships provide $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Rasheed is one of 25 winners of a Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship. Fellows receive $12,000 for one year or $16,000 for two years of full-time study in master’s level programs in teacher education or a related field.

Rasheed found out that she won the two scholarships after waiting in a long line to check her e-mail at the University of Cape Town’s upper campus. When she finally logged on, she noticed an e-mail from Pomona College President David Oxtoby with the subject line “Congratulations.” Confused as to why President Oxtoby would send such an e-mail, she held off opening it. Then she noticed another e-mail that said "Welcome, Truman 2005." "I closed the e-mail and reopened the e-mail to make sure I wasn’t imagining this,'' writes Rasheed. "Then I opened the e-mail from President Oxtoby and everything made sense.'' She scrolled down to see the rest of her e-mail and discovered more good news. She'd won the Rockefeller Brothers Fund award as well.

Rasheed is a resident of East Menlo Park, California. Until she was 12, she lived in East Palo Alto, California.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, provides its students with a challenging curriculum in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and fine arts, and an unsurpassed environment for intellectual inquiry and growth. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.