Scholarship Winners

2023 Winners

Martin Honorato

Bio: I am currently a sophomore student at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB) majoring in Biology. I also work as a K12/Community College Peer Mentor at CSUB where advice and guidance are provided to underrepresented and disadvantaged youth in Bakersfield, California. I plan on using the knowledge gained from my degree in Biology along with extracurricular opportunities at CSUB to pursue medical school. I have always aspired to become a physician and believe that the leadership skills learned throughout college and my dedication to community improvement will always help me to improve lives in the future.

Reaction Statement: I would like to give my sincerest gratitude and thanks to those who selected me for the Silberman & Lam’s Rise Above Scholarship. This scholarship is an investment that alleviates me and my family of some of the financial burden that college places at times. I will use this investment towards my future in engaging and changing lives in college and beyond.

Serenity Vejar

Bio: My name is Serenity Vejar, I am a senior at Sato Academy of Math and Science in
the biomedical pathway. I live in Long Beach, California and during college I am looking forward to pursuing a bachelors in health science and attending dentistry school. In my free time I love to go to concerts, the beach, and spend time with my friends and family.

Reaction Statement: Yay! Thank you so much! I feel so honored and grateful to be blessed with financial assistance to pursue my academic journey from Silberman and Lam’s Rise Above. I would like to thank everyone at the firm who took the time to consider my application!

Laura Khuu

Bio: Hello! My name is Laura Khuu. I am a graduating senior at Middle College High School in San Pablo, CA. I was born in Oakland, but grew up my whole life in San Pablo and Richmond, two underserved communities that ignited my passion for community service and volunteerism. I am studying bioengineering, a discipline that intertwines my passions of STEM and service. I aspire to improve health outcomes by engineering medical devices, while mentoring other minorities like myself on their journey to higher education. My passions expand to addressing societal issues, such as food scarcity, environmental injustices, and health disparities. In my free time, I love running track and cross country, spending time with my family, reading, and playing the cello.

Reaction Statement: Waking up to this email announcing that I was one of the winners shocked me – I was in disbelief because I hardly heard back from my other scholarship applications. I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon this scholarship opportunity and even more honored to be one of the winners. This means so much to me. The financial burden of college is too much on my family; I was reminded on a daily basis to apply for scholarships because it’d otherwise be unaffordable, and therefore unattainable. I am endlessly grateful that I am now a step closer to pursuing my dreams of higher education and even better, closing the gender gap in STEM and empowering other girls of color to do the same. Once again, I thank the Silberman & Lam organization for this incredible opportunity. I promise to honor and make the most out of this privilege through my accomplishments, and by striving for excellence in all my goals. Thank you!

Logan Crist

Bio: Logan Crist, a current sophomore at the University of Arizona W.A Franke Honors college, is majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Chinese Language. She grew up in Cave Creek, Arizona where she started to learn Mandarin Chinese at the age of 5 through her elementary school’s language program. Her passions for the language continued to grow throughout all of high school, where she ultimately decided to add this as a minor when attending college. She has just recently declared neuroscience as her major, with passion and aspirations to continue down a cognitive science path. In addition to her studies, she enjoys reading, journaling, working out, and spending time with loved ones!

Reaction Statement: Oh my goodness! I want to thank everyone at the firm who took the time to read through my essay. It can be very hard to show vulnerability when applying for these scholarships, and I am truly grateful that mine has been recognized. With aspirations to study abroad, this scholarship will ease the financial tensions upon paying for my tuition tremendously. I look forward to now having the chance to fulfill these dreams. I am so thankful to be in this position, thank you very much!

Andres Valencia

Bio: My name is Andres Valencia, and I am a first-generation student at the University of Southern California, where I study Business Administration and Real Estate Finance with a minor in real estate development. I’m originally from Yuma, Arizona, so I stay close enough to home, but not so close that it feels like I never left. I am the youngest of three siblings.

Reaction Statement: I am incredibly thankful to receive this scholarship award, and even in awe. Being selected for this award is not a testament to my merit but to the generosity and humility of Silberman & Lam and their 2023 Rise Above competition. My only hope from here on out is that I get to help others much like myself, and give back, to them, by providing scholarships and application resources. Thank you very much to Silberman & Lam; I hope to not only be in touch with you but also to be a walking example of what your philanthropy can accomplish.

2022 Winners

Sydney Manno

Bio: Sydney Manno is a young theatre artist currently studying Environmental Studies and Theatre. She was raised on a farm in rural Pennsylvania and fell in love with dance as a means to express the joy of the nature surrounding her. She has kept that idea at the forefront of her art ever since, passionately making theatre for environmental change with a focus on choreography and arts & environmental education. On top of her studies, she is also training in dance at Broadway Dance Center in New York City.

Reaction Statement: I write a lot of scholarship essays that can sometimes be vulnerable and personal. This essay meant a lot to me and to be recognized for my hard work as a student and what I’ve risen above in my life means a lot to me. I am forever changed and forever grateful.

Grace Sekaya

Bio: Born in Togo, West Africa, Grace Sekaya moved to Alabama at a young age. In a small town, community was discovered through connections made with other immigrant families. There, she learned the importance of community and collaboration which fueled her interest in obtaining a BA in International Studies with a concentration in Global Health at the University of South Alabama. After graduation, she was selected as DIRECT Cancer Research Fellow for the Duke Cancer Institute where she spent a year examining the ongoing disparities in gastric cancer. Now, she attends medical school at Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama. As a medical student, she hopes to continue her passions of mentorship, advocating for children’s overall wellbeing, and building skills to deliver culturally competent care. She hopes to leverage her MD degree to combine her passions for medicine and community work to bring about change within the community she one day will serve.

Reaction Statement: WOW!! Thank you so much to the individuals who took the time to read over and select me for the Silberman & Lam’s Rise Above Scholarship. I took a leap of faith when applying for this scholarship & I am so glad that I took the opportunity to apply. This scholarship will be a big help in taking some of the financial burden off that comes with pursuing my lifelong dream of one day becoming a physician. Medical school has a lot of stressors and money is a big one. Thanks to this scholarship, I am able to worry less, focus on my studies, and do the best I can in classes. I am so grateful to be a recipient of this award. Thank you so much.

Ihfaz Islam

Bio: I am currently a third-year student at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI studying Electrical Engineering. I originally come from Bangladesh, a small South Asian country in the Indian subcontinent. One of my visions in life is to shape the way people live their daily lives through science, technology, and of course engineering. Some of my career interests lie in self-driving and electric vehicles. In my free time, I like to spend time with family, play online multiplayer video games, outdoor sports like basketball and soccer, and learn about developments in software, hardware, and AI industries.

Reaction Statement: I would like to thank you for considering me for your scholarship. Your scholarship will significantly help my family and I to pay for my college education. Please know that your investment will be put to great use. My goal is to be an engineer who uses engineering to help the lives of others. Thank you for helping me in my pursuit of this goal. Again, I am grateful that you have chosen me to receive your scholarship. Thank you!

Alexis Libert

Bio: My name is Alexis Libert, and I am a third-year counseling psychology doctoral student at Felician University in Rutherford, New Jersey. My clinical and research interests focus on the development, dissemination, and delivery of more equitable and accessible eating disorder treatment. I am also passionate about ending hunger for students, and I run our on-campus food security program, Our Sisters’ Pantry. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading fiction, practicing yoga, and running.

Reaction Statement: I am honored and humbled to have been chosen as one of Silberman & Lam’s Rise Above Scholarship winners for 2022. The fact that I received this news on my birthday makes it that much sweeter! I am thrilled to have the support of the firm and look forward to continuing my academic and professional pursuits aided by the generous assistance they have provided. It takes a village to be able to fully embrace the opportunities available in graduate school, and I am immensely grateful to have Silberman & Lam as a part of my village. Thank you to everyone at the firm that made this scholarship possible!