Buki: UC-Santa Barbara, Class of 2017

"Sacrifice, simply put, is the basis of my family," Buki said in her winning application for the Scholarship America Dollars for Scholars Community Volunteer Service Award.

Buki’s parents emigrated from Nigeria to the U.S. knowing the value of education for future success. Watching her father work two jobs and her mother contribute long hours at work and home, Buki learned the importance of perseverance to reach her goals. She worked three part-time jobs in high school to help her family financially, while staying academically sharp and involved in her community and church.

Once Buki entered college, she would be the youngest of four sisters enrolled in a postsecondary program – at the same time. "Without help, it was just impossible," she said when thinking about how to pay for college.

Thanks to the scholarship from Scholarship America, Buki was able to attend the college of her choice. And with the start of her postsecondary education, her passion for HIV/AIDS medication research can be fully realized. "If you want a better life," she said, "college will provide that."