Testimonial Statements

Hasan Al Dhahabi

Hello WHSF Board of Directors,

I had a long story. I had been in country for less than 5 years. I came with no English. I spoke only Arabic and Turkish. So, I had a very difficult time understanding in school; I did not know what is GPA, SAT, best Universities or scholarships. I was the only Arab/ Turkish student at my school so no one really explained it to me. I had a goal to learn English in less than a year and a half. I achieved my first goal, not that only I learned Spanish as well. Long story short, in my senior year I took my SAT and I received a very good score in it, and I had the 4th highest GPA in my graduate seniors. That gave me the opportunity to apply to a lot of scholarships inside and outside of my university.

I had a better chance of winning the scholarships since I have a good GPA, SAT, and being the first person in my family to go to college. Those factors play very good in some scholarships - in other words most scholarships look on the academic success then read the story of the student.

I have two big scholarships from TAMU: Century Scholar and Regents Scholar. I got them in the first semester of my freshman year. Based on my GPA, SAT, and being the first person in the family going to college.

Sorry for making it long. I want to thank you and all the Heritage Scholarship Foundation for giving me this opportunity and support me in my education journey. Also, I can come to meet you face to face after I come back from my exchange program. I will have the honor to explain everything to you and also thank you again.

With gratitude,

Hasan Al Dhahabi

Student: Texas A&M University

Major: Petroleum Engineering

Graduation: Class of 2021

Aaron Torres


My name is Aaron Torres, I am a first-generation Hispanic majoring in chemistry, minoring in applied physics and seeking a certification from the Nuclear Power Institute. I am a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Scholar of the Nuclear Science and Health Physics concentration which has been recently added to my UHD curriculum. I am certified on Swedish nuclear spent fuel repository with geological considerations and long-term planning waste storage. I am peer mentor for the Scholars Academy, a research leader for the Texas Workforce Commission, and I have been a Supplemental Instruction Leader for Calculus I and General Physics I. I represent the Welch Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Texas Workforce Commission, The Governor of Texas Greg Abbot, The Department of Education, Scholars Academy, University of Houston- Downtown with research at various regional, state, and national conferences. My goal is to get accepted into the Nuclear Engineering Graduate program at the Texas A&M institution.

I applied back in 2015 when I was transitioning from Sharpstown High School to University of Houston-Downtown. I am grateful for the award, it helped me establish a strong foundation for the 3 years I have been at UHD. Attached is a CV that demonstrates my progress. You can also find me in LinkedIn.

Thanks for the support!


Aaron Torres

Princess Jefferson


As a young individual when people ask you what you want to be when you grow up, the answers that you think of are endless. As a child I wanted to be an entertainer and an actress. I used to stand in front of the television and sing and dance, and at that age I just knew that anything was possible. As I grew older I realized anything may be possible, but everything comes at a price. The older I grew, what I wanted to be in life changed; the thought of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life changes constantly, because whatever I do, I know that I want to be happy. Although my perspective career is not for certain, I know that I want to be successful.

I am very fortunate in my life to have been blessed with an opportunity such as the Wilbern Heritage Scholarship. This scholarship has helped me pay for fees towards my room and board, but most importantly it has helped ease my ride into success.

When I was interviewed for the Wilbern Scholarship I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, and I replied, I wanted to be the first African-American Female President of the United States of America. I wanted education to be my platform and I wanted to implement policy that would impact America in a way that would provide great benefit.

I recall that once I gave this response the room fell silent and then the men who interviewed me smiled, they told me anything was possible and that when the time came I had their vote. I remember how my interviewees wondered how I had been so successful in school, all while working and participating in so many extra-curricular activities, how? They asked. Then, I smiled, and I said anything is possible.

It is scholarships like this one that remind me that although this world comes at a cost, there are so many wonderful resources out there to help give assistance on your ride to success. I laugh in the face of adversity because I refuse to be another stereotype; someone who falls between the cracks and crevices of society, and one who has not because she asks not. I asked, and the Wilbern Scholarship gave and for that I am very grateful.

When people ask me what I want to be when I grow up, even though I am studying education policy, I say I don’t know, because I have learned that not everything goes according to plan, but anything is possible, especially with a little assistance.

Thank you to the Wilbern Scholarship Committee for choosing to support me.

Prashantika Gautam


I wanted to thank you all and write a short testimonial to thank you all for the great impact the scholarship has had on me.

I am currently in General Engineering major and soon will be applying for Civil Engineering here at Texas A&M, College Station. The WHSF scholarship has helped me in a way that I don't have added worry in my college life. I buy all my books and required material on time with the scholarship money, with this I can worry less on getting my materials, and focus more on my studies. I certainly would not have bought books if I did not have scholarship money as many people say that book is not that necessary. But I certainly would say it has made my college experience less stressful.

Prashantika Gautam

Texas A&M University

Natalia Salas

WHSF 2017, Testimonial Statement, 8/12/2018

The Willbern Heritage Scholarship Foundation is a great organization that helped me start college on the right foot. They award students for hard work, which not only encouraged me to finish high school strong, but also encouraged me to work hard during my freshman year of college. Willbern is also a huge financial help. This scholarship helped me pay for all the books I needed, as well as tuition. They helped me reach my academic goals because the scholarship took off some of the financial burdens of freshman year.

Kelvin Jerome

WHSF 2017 recipient, statement at completion of scholarship, 8/9/2018

My first year of college was amazing. Yes, I had my ups and downs, but I survived and now fully understand what it takes to be a successful college student. The courses I took my first year were really tough, but I was able to pass them and move on the next level. I am still aiming towards construction project management as my career path, and I also plan on going to graduate school for it as well.

Things have changed a lot since last year, I’ve gotten used to how college works and I’m ready to take on the next challenges that it brings. Maturity played a major part in my first year. The Willbern Scholarship helped me with books and computer programs that were needed for my classes, and without this scholarship I would've struggled purchasing these things. I appreciate this organization so much for giving me this scholarship and will continue to use it as motivation to do better in my educational studies.

Johanna Salinas


I wanted to thank you all and write a short testimonial to thank you all for the great impact the scholarship has had on me.

The Willbern Heritage Scholarship Foundation has helped me so much this past year. Although I decided to stay and finish my basics at Houston Community College, I am very pleased with my decision. This scholarship has taken some weight off my shoulders and has allowed me to focus more in my studies than the economic needs for my tuition and fees. I have coped well with college and I am glad to say I have the support from the Willbern Heritage Scholarship.

My transition from high school to a freshman in college was somewhat challenging and at times made me nervous, yet this scholarship helped me make a smoother transition. Thanks once again to all the gentlemen who took the time to interview me and get to know me, and to the founders of the scholarship for making such a genuine impact in my academic life. Thank you all, Willbern Heritage Scholarship Foundation.

Johanna Salinas

Freshman at Houston Community College