First generation college students can face an uphill battle when entering college.
Issues with finances, grades, pressure, and expectations can derail their education. Mimi Tra, now in her senior year of college, has weathered many of these potential stumbling blocks but has persevered and excelled. Assistance League of Charlotte has supported her college education through its Scholarship Program. Mimi started as a freshman at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). Assistance League was able to award scholarship funds during both of her years there.
Mimi’s parents immigrated from Vietnam and settled in Charlotte, where she and her sister were born and raised. After suffering some health issues in her junior year at South Mecklenburg High School, Mimi decided to attend CPCC to raise her GPA in hopes of being accepted at her dream school in Chapel Hill.
Covid-19 suspended in-person classes at CPCC in March of Mimi’s freshman year. She said it was a huge adjustment switching to online classes, but she was determined to make it work from her bedroom classroom and continued to impress her classmates and faculty. She was given the Outstanding Student Award in 2020-21 and posted a 3.95 GPA.
“During my time at CPCC, I was able to mature, find my purpose, and grow tremendously,” she said.
Since her career goal was to work in the medical field Mimi became a certified E.M.T. after high school to experience that field firsthand. She has worked during her college years in this stressful but rewarding position. Her resilience paid off when after
her two years at CPCC, Mimi was accepted into her dream school, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She is pursuing an Exercise and Sports Science major. For her senior year, Assistance League was able to award her a $4,500 Previous Recipient Scholarship.
“I’m beyond thankful that Assistance League of Charlotte really helped me out by avoiding college debt,” Mimi said recently. She explained it was a big transition in terms of academics at UNC but she was determined to succeed and make the most of her college experience.
One of her achievements was planning and coordinating medical mission trips to Guatemala and Costa Rica involving 40 other UNC students.
“I learned so much on these trips. It was eye opening to see the big differences of our country with theirs in terms of medical care.”
These experiences, along with her EMT work where she has “seen it all” especially through the pandemic, has confirmed Mimi’s decision to become a Physician’s Assistant (P.A.) after graduation. She has applied to several P.A. Master’s programs.
Assistance League strives to help high school seniors with financial assistance to start their college educations and beyond. We have been honored to follow and support Mimi Tra in her educational quest.
For further information on the types of Scholarships available, see the Assistance League of Charlotte website for more information.