Prepared Mithat Gashi/
Vatra’s Educational Foundation awarded scholarships to six Albanian American students. Each of the recipients was given a scholarship of $950 this year.
The purpose of Vatra’s educational foundation is to provide financial aid in the form of scholarships to deserving students of Albanian lineage. Vatra has awarded scholarships for over fifty years to Albanian American college students.
One of this year’s scholarship recipients wrote, “By awarding me this [scholarship], you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.”
We call upon members of the Albanian American Community and individuals who have benefited from Vatra’s scholarship in the past to support Vatra’s Educational Foundation. Make a donation today to:
Vatra’s Educational Foundation
2437 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458.
Vatra would like to congratulate this year’s recipients for their academic accomplishments and for service to their community.
This year’s scholarship recipients are:
Bajram was born in Ferizaj on June 22, 1991. He studied natural science at the gymnasium Kuvendi i Arbërit in Ferizaj, and graduated with a remarkable academic record. After graduating from high school, Hoxha enrolled at the University of Business and Technology in Prishtina. A semester later, he transferred to Northwestern Polytechnic University in California. As he describes it, his passion for computers knows no limits.
Despite his young age, Bajram has helped establish several formal and informal computer scientist groups, and has worked as a volunteer for both governmental and non-governmental organizations.
“Not only does he have a keen intellect with a solid repertoire of technical skills, but he also possesses great attention to detail and a rational approach to the challenges put forth that have gained him a reputation for being a thorough and goals-oriented researcher. Bajram single-handedly proposed, designed, and implemented a turn-key solution for allowing students to create their own blogs for their university clubs with the use of a CMS, which is one of his products as well.” Kevin Skovich, Chief Web Officer, Northwestern Polytechnic University.
Flaka Hyseni is an electrical engineering student at the Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado. She was born on March 1, 1989 in Prishtina, Kosova. At a young age, Flaka showed interest in math and science, earning several awards in physics and math competitions as a student at the Hasan Prishtina Elementary School. Her interest in the field of science and mathematics increased when she was in High School. She enrolled at the University of Prishtina’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and when she moved to the United States a little over two years ago, she entered the Metropolitan State University of Denver and plans to graduate in 2014 with a Bachelor`s degree in Electrical Engineering.
Flaka wants to pursue a master’s degree at the Colorado State University in September 2014. As a focused, responsible, and hard working engineering student, she plans to return to Kosova and contribute to the development of its economy and educational system.
“Flaka demonstrates the exceptional intellectual ability required to understand and apply the various mathematical concepts presented in my math class…Flaka’s self-motivation and keen desire to learn are to be commended in this day and age when, to many, a good grade is the only matter of importance.” – Isane Bajrami, Professor of Mathematics.
Arta is an undergraduate student at Kean University, New Jersey, where she is studying Marketing and Psychology. “In the Marketing field,” Arta says that she has “focused on the aspect of Consumer Behavior. This area allows Arta to blend her interest in Marketing and Psychology.
Arta hopes that in the future she will be able to aid “firms and organizations, in humanizing their strategies in marketing and understanding issues” related to the way consumers reason to make choices and demands.
Arta was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 29, 1992. She is the daughter of Mehmet Kadrijaj, a member of Vatra, who recently donated a large collection of books to the Vatra library.
“Students like Arta are a professor’s dream and they really make teaching so rewarding…. She performed one of the finest oral presentations I have personally witnessed in a history classroom. She has become a very active member of her community by volunteering at a number of prominent organizations including Staten Island University Hospital and Convoys of Hope, which helped to organize aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.” –Prof. Matt Iannucci, Kean University, NJ.
Krisela Karaja is a third-year undergraduate Honors student at the University of Connecticut,double-majoring in English and Spanish literature, with an additional concentration in Creative Writing. She was born in Berat, Albania and was two years old when she and her family came to the United States, residing first in East Hartford, CT and then settling in Windsor, CT.
Krisela graduated as Valedictorian of her high school class in 2010. Her passion for literature was in fact sparked in her high school AP English classes, taught by Mr. Samuel Scheer, and has continued since then. At UConn, Krisela is especially dedicated to the Albanian Student Association (ASA), of which she is the current Vice President. Being part of the ASA has allowed her to reconnect with her Albanian roots and create strong friendships with other fellow members of Albanian origin. She is also part of UConn’s prestigious 2013 Leadership Legacy cohort and currently serves as the Poetry and Foreign-Language Editor of the university’s literary magazine, the Long River Review.
Krisela is the daughter of Margalina (Oço) Karaja (deceased) and Stathaqi Karaja. She has a supportive stepmother, Rajmonda Karaja, and stepsister, Entela Trenova. Krisela says that her older sister, Jonela Karaja, is her ultimate inspiration and greatest mentor.
She hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in either English or Comparative Literature, while simultaneously integrating her love of languages—both Albanian and Spanish—into her career. She aspires to become an established author and university professor and hopes that one day she will educate students about the importance of multicultural literary studies in our increasingly global world.
Krisela is an extraordinary student. When she writes, she poses questions –big ones- to the texts she is writing about…. In a stunning essay on Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, Krisela drilled into what she identified as the bourgeois complacency of Chesterton’s attempt to justify the ways of God to man and, before she was finished, attempted to respond to the same problematic questions, which she now posed to herself. If Yeats is right that ‘rhetoric is quarrel we have with others, and poetry is the quarrel we have with ourselves,’ Krisela here reveals herself as a poet…. She left her native Albania when she was two; she is bi-lingual and is deeply involved in leading the Albanian student organization.” Prof. Jonathan Hufstader, Director of Honors in English, University of Connecticut.
Tea Memeti is pursuing an bachelor’s degree in Accounting at the University of Connecticut in Stamford. She was born on May 15, 1994 in Walenstadt, St. Gallen, Switzerland. Her family migrated to the United States and settled in Texas when Tea was one year old. After living in Texas for ten years, she and her family moved to Stamford, Connecticut.
Tea completed her high school studies with honors at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering. While in high school, she developed an interest in Accounting. Tea expects to earn a bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 2016 and plans to become a certified public accountant and complete a master’s degree thereafter.
Tea is the daughter of Adnan Memeti, a Presheva born writer, poet, activist in the Albanian-American Community, member of Vatra, and President of the Society of Albanian–American Writers.
“Tea is from a family that values education and therefore is disciplined, motivated and strongly committed to her education. She is a student who shows pride in her work and inspires others with a positive attitude.” –Jeanne R. Lauer, Lead Technology Teacher at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering.
Blerta is double majoring in English and Human Rights at Hunter College and plans to complete her undergraduate studies in 2014. Blerta was born on December 10, 1992 in Bronx, New York. She attended P.S. 175 in City Island up to the fourth grade and later attended Ismail Qemaili in Kosova up to the seventh grade, where she learned to read, write, and speak Albanian fluently. Her family moved back to the United States. When she was a student Lehman High School, she took advanced placement and honors courses and was inducted to the ARISTA National Honor Society.
As a high school student, Blerta distinguished herself by participating in multiple extracurricular activities. She was the president of her Model UN club, captain, driver, and robot programmer of her Robotics team, member of two aid/relief clubs, Vice President of Building with Books and delegate of the AIFL (American Israeli Friendship League), where she travelled to Washington DC and Israel as part of a student lead delegation.
After graduating from Lehman High School in 2010, Blerta enrolled at Hunter College, where –in addition to her desire to study English Literature- she developed a strong interest in Human Rights. After her undergraduate studies, Blerta intends to complete a master’s degree and a doctoral degree. She wants to become a professor of English and one day start a humanitarian relief organization.
Blerta is the daughter of Ramiz Mujaj, an active member of Vatra, who himself has revolved his life around the progression and support of the Albanian people.
“Ms. Mujaj is always happy to encounter a new challenge and she embraces rather than shies away from difficulty. She earned straight A’s in all her coursework in my class, an upper-division literature course. This is a grade reserved for only my truly exceptional students and Ms. Mujaj is certainly one of them.” –Jane Bolin, Professor of English, Hunter College, City University of New York.
“Blerta committed herself to the study of the twentieth century’s most challenging philosophers, such as Derrida and Lacan, and mastered their ideas. …and proved herself to be one of the best of her classmates.” –Prof. Jennifer Gilchrist, Hunter College, City University of New York.