Mayeena is a heartfelt, beautiful soul who practices her Muslim faith with pride, yet realizes the restraints her upbringing has had on her being an independent woman of her dreams. She has had to be the “woman in her home” for many years. She was forced to grow up at an early age, changing her sisters diapers, becoming a “microwave expert” as her mother and father worked long hours.

Her interests are many, from women’s issues to political science to computer technology. She challenged herself in high school as part of the Decathlon Team who took first place nationally in 2016. Her long solitude hours of studying and her ability to work as a team for a common cause will serve her well in college. Now at U.C. Santa Cruz on a L.I.F.T. Scholarship she is excited to explore all the possibilities an education provides without the burdens of financial constraints and family responsibilities. After “focusing on keeping my family stable and prioritizing housework over schoolwork… the L.I.F.T. Scholarship is my ticket to freedom and I want to fully embrace it.”

Mayeena is ready to “experience the opportunities on the other side of fear… I am ready to surpass the expectations of what a woman should prioritize. I am ready to kick butt and ask for help when I need it. I am ready to work hard for myself. I am ready to be free.”