Hamline News

Hamline Students Earn Gates Millennium Scholarship


Three Hamline University students received a Gates Millennium Scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scholars program provides academic opportunities to remarkable minority students who would most benefit from the award. This year's Hamline recipients are Kawsar Ali, Jessica Buckless, and Ayole Waritu.

A few years ago, college didn’t seem possible for Kawsar Ali. Born in Kenya and having moved to America at the age of six, the idea of attending college in America was always a distant thought for her because of the financial burden school can bring.

Now pursuing her Masters of Arts in Teaching at Hamline, Ali was able to complete her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota and pursue her dreams thanks to the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

“I don’t know what I would have done without the Gates scholarship,” Ali said. “I could have never imagined that I’d be getting master’s degree at Hamline. I’ve had teachers who have made a huge positive impact on my life and other students’ lives. With this degree, I hope that one day I can have that same influence.”

Jessica Buckless made her way to Hamline from the Salish Tribe in northwest Montana. As a child, she would often spend time working at a local food bank managed by her grandma.

“My decision to pursue a teaching degree at Hamline was influenced by my grandma’s example,” Buckless said. “Growing up, I saw how hard she worked to give back to the community and now I want to do the same.”

Buckless said that without the Gates Millennium Scholarship, she probably never would have been able to pursue a graduate degree. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota she is now pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Hamline.

“This scholarship helped my educational dreams come true in every way,” Buckless said. “My professors here at Hamline are amazing and I can tell they really care about me. I’ve developed a lot of great relationships at Hamline which would have never happened without the scholarship.”

Ayole Waritu is another remarkably gifted Hamline student who was awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship. According to the Gates Foundation, over 54,000 students across the country apply for this scholarship each year. These Hamline students are three of just 1,000 people across the country who were chosen for the scholarship this year.