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Founder's Scholars

The Fordham Founder’s Undergraduate Scholarship Fund helps Fordham advance its goals and mission of recruiting more underrepresented students of all backgrounds to the University. The Scholarship is awarded to undergraduates whose curiosity of mind and strength of spirit have enabled them to go beyond the boundaries of expectation.

Scholarship recipients must demonstrate a desire for excellence in all aspects of life through coursework, extracurricular activities, and personal experiences. Their characteristics reflect the qualities shared by Fordham's founding members and are mandates for the development of an ethical society.

2021 Founder's Scholar

Isabella Acuña, FCLC ’25

Major: Theatre—Performance Track
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

“Cura personalis defines the Fordham experience. It encourages students to discard any prejudices and see each other through a new lens, opening up to people they may never have met otherwise. It builds students’ ability to honor and be kind to themselves and their community.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Saad Ali, FCRH ’24

Major: Biological Sciences
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

“Fordham’s emphasis on self-reflection was an important part of my decision to come here. At Fordham, students do not just strive academically; everyone wants to help you find the best version of yourself. Through reflection, students are able to constantly and rapidly improve.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Yves Andradas, FCLC ’25

Major: Philosophy
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

“I want to express immense gratitude to the Founder’s Scholarship donors. It was exciting to learn that Fordham would be assisting so greatly in facilitating my attendance, and I feel that the scholarship will have a very large impact on my future.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Helena Beasley, GABELLI ’25

Major: Global Business with a Concentration in Global Marketing with Consumer Insights
Minor: German
Hometown: Madison, CT

“I am confident that my academic growth and success will only continue with the University’s new campaign for the student experience. It will assure that my classmates and I continue to have an inclusive, enriching, and satisfying experience at Fordham.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Michael Bellia, GABELLI ’25

Major: Business Administration
Minor: Business Law and Ethics
Hometown: Wantagh, NY

“I could not have anticipated such a generous scholarship. I hope one day I can give back to the Fordham community, as you did. For now, I intend to do my best and use what I have been awarded to make a difference at Fordham. I look forward to the many opportunities I will have here.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Ryan Boloix, FCLC ’22

Major: Theatre—Performance Track
Hometown: Rockingham, VA

“Without your generosity I would not have the opportunity to put my full focus on my education. I have nothing but a passion for life and a hope to color the lives of those around me in the same way that they color mine.”

Jacob Brozon

Jacob Brozon, GABELLI ’23

Major: Finance
Minor: Anthropology
Hometown: Caldwell, NJ

“Cura personalis reminds me to strive to do the best I can in all areas of my life, whether it be academically, professionally, or spiritually. The holistic student experience is what sets Fordham apart. I am not only getting a great education but also growing as a person.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Katelyn Castillo, FCRH ’24

Major: Economics
Hometown: Bronx, NY

“When I first found out about the Founder’s Scholarship, I was excited about being a member of the Fordham community. I hope that one day I can contribute to Fordham to help other students receive a great education. My passion for the future is to be able to help others.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

David Cepeda, FCRH ’25

Major: Biological Sciences with a Pre-Health Track
Hometown: Bronx, NY

“The Founder’s Scholarship donors have genuinely changed my life. This scholarship will allow me to fulfill my dreams of becoming a doctor, and it motivates me to be a defining member of the Fordham community.”

Conner Chang, Fordham Founder's Undergraduate Scholarship recipient.

Conner Chang, GABELLI ’22

Major: Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing Analytics
Minor: Marketing
Hometown: Bethesda, MD

“Thank you to the Founder’s Scholarship donors for giving me the opportunity to transform my dreams to reality. The Founder’s Scholarship and the support I've received surrounding it have been the fuel to my personal and professional fire.”

Benjamin Coco

Benjamin Coco, FCRH ’23

Majors: English and Physics with a Concentration in Creative Writing
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

“Every day I think about how unbelievably fortunate I am to be a Founder’s Scholarship recipient. I know that because of this scholarship I will be able to succeed in life, and I can’t wait to donate and continue the generosity that was extended to me.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Gabrielle da Rocha-Afodu, GABELLI ’24

Major: Global Business
Minor: Finance
Hometown: London, United Kingdom

“I think our donors have a hand in everything we accomplish at Fordham. Their presence encourages us as a community to continue to put effort into everything we do. Having access to the right facilities, services, and resources increases our desire to do better for both ourselves and our community.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Dillon Delatorre, GABELLI ’25

Major: Business Administration
Minor: Marketing
Hometown: Bronx, NY

“Thank you so much for this great honor. The Founder’s Scholarship was an amazing surprise for me, and your support means the world to me and my fellow recipients. My experience as a student will surely be incredible due to your generosity.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Uziel Dominguez Carrera, FCRH ’22

Major: Engineering Physics
Hometown: New York, NY

“My parents still cannot believe that their son is a Fordham Founder’s Scholar. This scholarship motivated me to excel in my physics and math courses. My parents are thrilled, and proud, that I have received support from the greater University community.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Jenna Dyer, FCLC ’23

Major: Anthropology
Minors: Arabic and Political Science
Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA

“As I move into studying for the LSATs and prepare to apply to law school, I look back at my time at Fordham with immense fondness, and I know I’ll miss it when I have to leave. Thank you for providing the opportunity for me to attend Fordham. I’m so grateful.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Lesley East, FCRH ’24

Major: Anthropology and International Studies
Minors: Peace and Justice Studies
Hometown: Palm Beach, FL

“I have a passion for social justice. I hope to take the tools that I have gained from my Jesuit education and apply them to helping others in the future. Fordham’s curriculum pushes you to not only be a better student, but to be a better student of the world.”

Sharissa Fernandes

Sharissa Fernandes, GABELLI ’23

Major: Global Business
Minor: Computer Science
Hometown: Leonia, NJ

“Cura personalis helps me focus not only on academics but also on the holistic development of myself. Through your generosity, you have made an unparalleled academic experience available to me and other students. Thank you for believing in our abilities.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Ronan Fitzgerald, GABELLI ’24

Major: Public Accounting
Hometown: New Hyde Park, NY

“The new campaign for the student experience will help each student grow academically and be successful. Donors should know that the Fordham student experience is only possible due to their extremely generous support. They have cared for individual students, who in turn pay it forward.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Sydney Guine, FCLC ’24

Majors: Dance and Sociology
Hometown: Granada Hills, CA

“Receiving the Founder’s Scholarship has pushed me to be a model Fordham student and kept me striving for excellence. My dream is to join a professional contemporary dance company, but after retiring, I want to help bring arts education to children around the world.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Hiba Haloui, GABELLI ’25

Major: Global Business with a Concentration in Global Finance and Business Economics
Hometown: Marrakech, Morocco

“I hope through my journey at Fordham I will be able to guide my fellow strong, independent women who have been marginalized in my country. Your support has motivated me into realizing every dream that I silenced due to fear. It is an honor to be a part of the Fordham family.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Jade Jager, FCRH ’25

Major: Political Science
Hometown: Bend, OR

“I chose Fordham because I felt welcomed and knew I would be guided and supported. The Founder’s Scholarship makes me more determined to excel educationally, emotionally, and socially. Thank you for helping to further my education. I am honored and extremely grateful for this generous scholarship.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Coralie Jean-Francois, FCRH ’22

Majors: French Studies and International Political Economy
Minor: Philosophy
Hometown: Carteret, NJ

“Simply saying ‘thank you’ cannot fully express the gratitude that I and other students feel toward Fordham donors. Because of your help, Fordham students are motivated to live out the principle of cura personalis in everyday life, even outside of Fordham.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Aitana Jordan, FCLC ’22

Major: Dance with a Pre-Health Track
Hometown: Long Beach, CA

“Fordham has given me the best chance to live the life I am meant to lead. I will pay that kindness forward and aim to better the lives of those around me. I want to invest my time in the aspects of my community that need help and become an agent of change.”

Hugo Keith, Fordham Founder's Undergraduate Scholarship recipient.

Hugo Keith, FCRH ’23

Major: Comparative Literature
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Fairport, NY

“Academics are only part of the cura personalis approach that Fordham both promises and delivers. At Fordham, we are encouraged to truly become ourselves. A certain moral integrity is common to the faculty, staff, and students.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Maurice King, FCLC ’23

Major: New Media and Digital Design
Minor: Fashion Studies
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

“The Founder’s Scholarship allowed me to continue to study here. It means so much that Fordham continues to look for ways to give back to its students and support them. The Fordham family means community and a sense of togetherness, bound by cura personalis.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Isabella Koenig, GABELLI ’22

Major: Global Business
Minor: Marketing
Hometown: Grayson, GA

“Fordham fosters a campus culture characterized by personal responsibility, respect, a habit of reflection, and the integration of body, mind, and soul. My student experience aligns with this, because I have found that the Fordham community is one that is caring and ready to help.”

Matthias Lee Poy Paxman

Matthias Lee Poy-Paxman, GABELLI ’23

Major: Global Business
Minor: Computer Science
Hometown: Montreal, Canada

“I chose Fordham as it strongly builds upon my Jesuit high school education. At Fordham, I aim to keep building my character, my ability to self-reflect, and my global awareness. I believe these are the pillars for an individual who is committed to changing the world.”

Abigail Lo

Abigail Lo, FCLC ’23

Majors: Humanitarian Studies and Theatre—Performance Track
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

“I would not be able to study at Fordham without the Founder's Scholarship, so I am eternally grateful to everyone who has donated to make my education possible. Fordham is teaching me how to be a better advocate, a better collaborator, and just a better person.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Grace Maietta, GABELLI ’24

Major: Marketing
Minors: Communication, Culture and Digital Technologies and Emerging Media
Hometown: Elmhurst, IL

“I am incredibly passionate about business that amplifies minority voices and promotes ethical and sustainable practices. My career goal is to advocate for other women in a firm that also encourages environmentally friendly business and diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Wes Manginsay, FCLC ’24

Major: Economics with a Concentration in Business Economics
Hometown: Pasadena, CA

“Thank you so much for your contributions to the Founder’s Scholarship. They paved the path for me to be here, attending college in one of the greatest cities in the world. There is no end to the hopes I have because of the opportunity to study at Fordham.”

Brendan McErlaine, Fordham Founder's Undergraduate Scholarship recipient.

Brendan McErlaine, FCLC ’22

Majors: Economics and Mathematics
Minor: History
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

“After Fordham, I aspire to help future potential students. The Founder's Scholarship has profoundly impacted my life, so I want to make that dream come true for someone else. Thank you for your generosity and support for the Founder’s Scholarship. Your gifts have made me a better man.”

Nicholas Ng, Fordham Founder's Undergraduate Scholarship recipient.

Nicholas Ng, GABELLI ’22

Major: Finance
Minor: Philosophy
Hometown: Jericho, NY

“The Catholic, Jesuit values of Fordham have tremendously impacted my development. I see the difference in how I act, speak, and conduct myself, and I also feel it in my soul. It’s very humbling, and I'm glad Fordham was able to help teach me this important lesson.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Abigail Joy Nguyen, FCLC ’24

Majors: Dance and Psychology
Hometown: Oakland, CA

“I aspire to be a professional dancer as well as a movement therapist so I can help others find a source of communication, expression, and healing through dance. I hope to give back in any way I can so that my education can have a greater impact.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Shirley Omari-Kwarteng, FCLC ’25

Major: Political Science with a Pre-Law Track and a Concentration in Business Law and Ethics
Hometown: Toms River, NJ

“At Fordham, I hope to discover myself in all aspects and to test the limits of my abilities as I prepare for my long journey in education. I also hope to get involved in peer communities in which we push each other to become the best versions of ourselves.”

Stephanie Polakowski

Stephanie Polakowski, GABELLI ’22

Major: Global Business with a Concentration in Global Marketing with Consumer Insights
Hometown: Dearborn, MI

“I am constantly inspired by Fordham’s values. The culture created by Fordham motivates me to continue to better myself, both academically within my personal relationships, in order to pay forward the kindness and support that I have received from those around me..”

Olivia Raymundo

Olivia Raymundo, GABELLI ’23

Major: Global Business
Minor: New Media and Digital Design
Hometown: Astoria, NY

“I am extremely grateful to be a first-generation American college student thanks to the Founder’s Scholarship. Fordham is much more than just a school, it is a place where I learn how to be a better student, better person, better friend.”

Jesira Rodriguez, Fordham Founder's Undergraduate Scholarship recipient.

Jesira Rodriguez, FCLC ’22

Major: Psychology with a Pre-Health Track
Minor: Music
Hometown: Tamarac, FL

“My pursuit of personal and moral growth is all tied to my Fordham experience. Throughout everything I have gone through while at Fordham, I have been able to truly say I changed for the better and aim even higher than ever before.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Joshua Screen, FCLC ’24

Major: Theatre—Performance Track
Hometown: New York, NY

“I chose to attend Fordham because there was such a close community. As a student, I feel like there is a lot of care and kindness throughout the Fordham campus. I look forward to giving back and making Fordham and its donors proud.”

2021 Founder's scholar

Isaiah Shavers, FCLC ’25

Major: Computer Science
Hometown: St. Louis, MO

“When I learned I had received the Founder’s Scholarship, it genuinely felt as though someone was lifting me up so I could stand up straighter at Fordham. Your support has lifted an immense weight off my and my family’s shoulders. Thank you for changing my life.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Richard Shrestha, FCRH ’22

Major: Economics
Minors: Business Administration and Classical Civilization
Hometown: Milford, CT

“I felt proud and honored to receive such an illustrious award, which allows me to have financial freedom. I am so happy I came to Fordham, and would love to support those students who shared journeys similar to mine and those who aim to make a difference.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Gaiita Songwe, FCRH ’25

Major: Physics
Hometown: Hanover, MD

“During my time as a Fordham student and beyond, I hope to make people happy. I want to be a person who motivates others and pushes them to be their best. Thank you so much for your generosity and for making my Fordham education possible.”

2021 Founder's Dinner

Rosie Sweeney, FCRH ’23

Major: Journalism with a Pre-Law Track
Hometown: Garden City, NY

“I feel a profound sense of appreciation for the Founder’s Scholarship donors. Their generosity allows a more diverse group of students to be members of the Fordham community. I would not be where I am today without the unwavering support of Fordham students, faculty, and staff.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Kayla Thomas, FCLC ’22

Majors: Dance, Digital Technologies and Emerging Media
Hometown: Cleveland, OH

“The Fordham family is motivating and supportive. It is a community that encourages me to be curious, provides me with guidance through problems, and strengthens my belief in myself. Fordham has been my home for four years, and the Fordham community will be my family forever.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Joshua Valdez, FCRH ’24

Major: Undecided
Hometown: Bronx, NY

“"Thank you, Founder’s Scholarship donors, for your support in allowing more students to be given the opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious universities not only in New York, but in all of the United States.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Sydney Veazie, FCRH ’22

Majors: Classical Civilization and International Political Economy
Minors: History and Theology Religious Studies
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA

“The Fordham community is one of the most helpful, loving, and collaborative groups of students, instructors, and advisers I’ve had the privilege of interacting with. I want to do everything I can to improve and give back to the community that has already given me so much.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Samantha Wong, FCRH ’23

Major: Economics with a Pre-Law Track
Minors: Mandarin Chinese and Political Science
Hometown: Basking Ridge, NJ

“Neither of my parents went to college, and they wanted me to be able to have all the opportunities I could. The Founder’s Scholarship donors made this dream a reality. Thank you for helping me achieve not only my dream but my family’s as well.”

2021 Founder's Scholar

Matthew Zhou, FCRH ’25

Major: Math and Computer & Information Sciences
Hometown: River Edge, NJ

“The Founder’s Scholarship truly shows how Fordham is dedicated to helping its students. I am proud and happy to attend Fordham, and I hope to explore my passions and grow as a person. You have inspired me to push myself forward wholeheartedly.”