Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students



The open application period for the Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students is currently closed.

2018 winner

Our Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for Graduate Students helps outstanding students from underserved communities attend graduate school.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund is now reviewing the scholarship applications received for the 2024-25 academic year.

Helping more students achieve their graduate school dream

In 2021, The Sallie Mae Fund, our charitable foundation, expanded the Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program for Graduate Students to further promote diversity in higher education and help students access and complete their post-secondary education. In partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund, we’ve already awarded 30, $10,000 scholarships to graduate students, totaling $300,000.

Meet our current scholarship winners

Check out their inspiring stories and how they plan to create a better world.

Myles Edringston 

Myles Edringston
Ohio University

Myles seeks to close the leadership gap in sports for Black athletes through his sports administration degree from Ohio University. His goal is to empower underrepresented students and shape an inclusive sports industry.

Kia Glimps-Smith 

Kia Glimps-Smith
University of the Virgin Islands-St. Thomas, HBCU

As an education doctoral student, Kia actively engages in policy advocacy, develops inclusive curriculums, and enhances teacher training to strengthen community bonds. Additionally, she mentors educators to foster cultural competency and promote anti-bias learning.

Martez Hodges 

Martez Hodges
Bowling Green State University

Aspiring to leverage his master's toward school leadership, Martez teaches middle school English with a vision for administration-level change. Dedicated to advancing social justice, he aims to foster self-advocacy, economic literacy, and goal achievement among students from diverse backgrounds.

Adorah Moore 

Adorah Moore
North Carolina Central University, HBCU 

Focusing on leveraging her degree for social justice in higher education, Adorah aims to enhance leadership with communication, inclusivity, and project management. Committed to advocating for students, she plans to lead discussions with scholars to foster an equitable, reflective, and diverse learning environment.

Nghia Jones 

Nghia Jones
Georgetown University Law Center

A second-year law student at Georgetown University Law, Nia draws from her upbringing in a single-parent household to fuel her ambition. Working with the Racial Justice Institute, she aims to become an appellate attorney, advocating for racial justice and emulating heroes like Thurgood Marshall.

Sheila Sjolseth 

Sheila Sjolseth 
Auburn University

With over 25 years in education and special education, Sheila is pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science. She aims to revolutionize child mental health systems, emphasizing intersectionality and systemic reform to ensure accessible mental health services for all children.

Anyel Thomas 

Anyel Thomas
Clark Atlanta University, HBCU

A social work student at Clark Atlanta University, Anyel will earn her master's in May 2024. Coming from a family with limited education, she's committed to fighting social injustice and promoting workforce diversity. Anyel champions individual strengths to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Abigail Torres 

Abigail Torres
Texas Tech University

As an Environmental Engineering student at Texas Tech, Abigail aims to use her expertise in wastewater treatment for social justice, providing global clean water access. After graduating with her master's, she plans to enhance wastewater plants and extend her mission to developing nations.

Sharon Walsh 

Sharon Walsh
Kent State University

Sharon, a music technology grad from Kent State and experienced pianist, created a film and sound company. Aiming to empower marginalized groups, she believes in starting change personally, offering them stake and agency in their careers.

Grace Wexler 

Grace Wexler
Winston-Salem State University

Grace, a social work graduate student, is dedicated to serving the LGBTQIA+ community, tackling discrimination, and improving access to mental health care. She plans to offer trauma-informed therapy, establish community groups, and create a center to protect LGBTQIA+ rights.

Click below to learn about our previous recipients

University of South Florida

Growing up, Stephanie’s grandmother emphasized, “No te rindas” (Don’t give up). Those words have guided Stephanie on her incredible journey from playing basketball in college and professionally, earning her master’s in social work—and now, in her pursuit of a PhD to advocate for athletes’ well-being.

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

When Matthew began working on the frontlines in Maine’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS), he learned discipline, resilience, and what he wants to do with his life. With his degree, Matthew plans to become a medical director—paying it forward to the emergency services community who became his second family and helped him find his passion.

University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business

Inspired by his experience as a Nigerian immigrant and as an officer in the U.S. Army, Olaseni set out to be a voice for those who don’t have the resources they need to get by. He plans to use his business degree to help improve access to healthcare, and create a better future for his daughter’s generation.

Yale Law School

Alexis is on a mission to make the world a better place for young women. Education has opened her eyes to what’s possible and helped her better understand institutional barriers. With her law degree, she plans to become an advocate for marginalized communities, especially refugee women with disabilities.

Harvard University Law School

Felipe’s family emigrated from Mexico and he became a first-generation college student. His pursuit of a law degree was shaped by obstacles he had to overcome. As a lawyer, he strives to advocate for low-income communities of color and mentor a new generation of lawyers.

Stanford Graduate School of Business

It was through volunteering in the medical field that Joshua’s long-term career goals first took shape. With an MBA, he’ll be able to combine his background in medicine and engineering with business—and pursue his dream of sparking innovation as a healthcare leader.  

University of Georgia

Kristen’s passion for bat conservation and education motivated her to pursue a doctorate degree through the integrative conservation program at the University of Georgia. She plans to continue spreading her love of science and nature through mentorship and outreach, inspiring the next generation of female scientists. 

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Mary is on a meaningful mission—she aspires to reform the healthcare experience to prioritize the well-being of patients, focusing on survivors of abuse. In addition to her passion for medicine, Mary is a creative writer, and performs as both a poet and a musician.

Columbia University

Albert's pursuit of a graduate degree is fortified by his own experiences, including overcoming personal and educational obstacles. He strives to make his story of perseverance an example to underrepresented minorities, showing that they can achieve their dreams, too.

University of Chicago

Cody is passionate about service. With his medical degree, which he begins this fall at the University of Chicago, Cody hopes to continue serving people either as an anesthesiologist or by working in palliative medicine.

University of California, Berkeley, 2020 graduate

Noor was inspired to start studying law after seeing her single mother try to navigate the legal system to get the child support she deserved. Noor hopes to use her law degree to unite people—and continue advocating for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond.

John Hopkins University, 2019 graduate

With a master’s degree in biotechnology enterprise and entrepreneurship, Tevin hopes to become a leader and innovator in genomics. In addition to this work, he wants to be an empowering speaker, inspiring people to become the strongest version of themselves.

Search for graduate school scholarships

Our free scholarship app, Scholly by Sallie helps you quickly and easily search for graduate scholarships. Students who register to use this free tool will be entered to win $2,000 for graduate school.footnote 1

Find grad school scholarships



footnote 1. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Ends 12/31/2024. See Official Rules.