It’s an age-old question asked by high school seniors: What’s next? Many times, the next step involves college, but financial limitations can pose a large obstacle to post-secondary education. Queue Multnomah Athletic Foundation’s Houser Scholarship — one of several it offers to help bridge the gap of equal opportunity. In 2017, then high school senior, now college senior, Annika Steele was the recipient of the Houser Scholarship and admits that her post-high school experience would have been quite different without it.
Rooted in athletics, community involvement, and academics, this scholarship is awarded to a Lincoln High School student who represents these values while also demonstrating financial need to attend their first-choice school. For Steele, her first-choice school was Gonzaga University, but because of the University of Oregon’s more affordable, in-state tuition, she would have attended her second choice. The Houser Scholarship gave her the financial freedom to choose Gonzaga. Four years later, she’ll soon be graduating with a degree in psychology and economics, and beginning her professional journey in Madison, Wisconsin. She will be implementing life-saving software and managing projects for Epic, an innovative health system.
Since 2015, this scholarship has provided funding and freedom for students exploring higher education. Named after Lincoln High School alumni Greg and Pete Houser, this $10,000 scholarship (renewable for two years) is awarded to an incoming college student for any field of study at their school of choice. Annika is a prime example of how scholarships can lessen financial burden and offer students a confidence boost, knowing they are encouraged to pursue their own dreams.
A confidence boost is a significant gift for anyone, especially a first-generation college student. Zainab Naimi is the first person in her family to graduate from high school and to attend college. She will be attending Lewis and Clark College in Portland in the fall. Zainab is recipient of the 2021 scholarship and has the dream to become a translator. Using her personal experience of learning English as an eighth grader, along with Arabic and her native language of Farsi, she will bring a curiosity to meeting new people, growth mindset in trying new things, and natural enthusiasm to her college journey.
Whether a scholarship increases access or fuels possibilities, the acknowledgment and encouragement a scholarship provides is powerful. Donors and volunteers are part of the team that support amazing people moving towards the future and embracing their dreams. Give the gift of that confidence boost by making a contribution to one of the foundation’s scholarship programs today.
Written the MAF Laurie Harquail.
Originally published in the June 2021 Issue of The Winged M magazine.