Scholarship America Surprises 12 Dream Award Recipients on Katie Couric’s Talk Show, Katie

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23 MAY 2014
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Scholarship America, Inc., the nation’s largest nonprofit scholarship and education support organization, surprised its first group of 12 Dream Award recipients on Katie Couric’s daytime talk show, Katie, today. (Watch the video of the introduction and announcements!)

The Dream Award is Scholarship America’s renewable scholarship program for financially needy students who have overcome barriers and have successfully started their college education. Awards were made to 12 students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year or higher of education beyond high school; the scholarships are both renewable and increase in amount each year. Scholarship America awarded more than $150,000 to this first group of students, with scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 based on the individual student’s financial need. Each student’s award will increase by $1,000 each year to help them successfully finish school and earn their degrees.

“This is a remarkable group of students with incredible potential,” said Lauren A. Segal, President & CEO of Scholarship America. “They have overcome abandonment, abuse, illness, and homelessness, among other challenges. Their stories are powerful and moving. These students represent the best of American perseverance and the dream to make a better life.” The 12 recipients are:

      • Sarah Ashcraft*, a sophomore psychology major at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Hometown: Dyer, Indiana.

      • Mirrella Bautista, a junior education and political science major at University of La Verne in La Verne, California.  Hometown: Azusa, California.

      • Ryan Bosela, a sophomore student a Pittsburgh Technical Institute in Oakdale, Pennsylvania. Hometown: Hubbard, Ohio.

      • Emelin Garcia Nieto, a senior biology and Spanish major at Columbia College, Columbia, South Carolina. Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina.

      • Charlene Hinton, a junior information technology major at Syracuse University in Syracuse New York. Hometown: Las Vegas.

      • Luis Loza, a sophomore electronics engineering technology and mechanical & manufacturing engineering technology double major at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. Hometown: Sandy Hook, Kentucky.

      • Hector Najarro, a sophomore engineering major at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Hometown: Tucker, Georgia.

      • Lucy Tang*, a sophomore political science and city planning major at University of California – Berkeley. Hometown: Los Angeles.

      • Rodrigo Telles, a senior engineering major at University of California – Berkeley. Hometown: Tracy, California.

      • Shelby Wilson, a sophomore biological engineering major at Mississippi State University. Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama.

      • Janelle Wiser, a junior pre-veterinary medicine major at University of Findlay University in Findlay, Ohio. Hometown: Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.

      • Takashi Yanagi*, a junior business major at University of Notre Dame. Hometown: Urbandale, Iowa.

Katie Couric has been a supporter of Scholarship America for several years, after selecting the charity to be the beneficiary of proceeds from her book, The Best Advice I Ever Got. Couric’s initial donation provided the seed money for the Dream Award. Last fall, Couric invited Scholarship America’s founder, Dr. Irving Fradkin, to appear on her show. “We were honored to announce the Dream Award recipients on Katie, and thank all of our Dream Award donors, including Katie Couric, for helping to make this day a reality,” added Segal.

More information about the award, the recipients and the selection committee can be found on the Dream Award page of this site. The video of the announcements is available here.

*Scholarship America is pleased to announce that Sarah, Lucy and Takashi have also received scholarship awards in the past from Scholarship America Dollars for Scholars, a group of more than 500 independent affiliates that raise funds and provide scholarships to students in their communities.

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About Scholarship America
Scholarship America mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. Since 1958, Scholarship America has distributed more than $3.1 billion in scholarship assistance to more than 2 million students, funding both entry-level and multi-year scholarships and emergency financial grants. More information is available at

The Dream Award

Dream Award Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.

Success By Degrees

Scholarship America's blog, Success By Degrees, covers items of interest to parents, volunteers, educators and anyone interested in the big issues surrounding education, financial aid and postsecondary success. You'll find policy announcements, news releases and more, every week!

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