Scholarship Recipients

Our scholarship recipients’ goals are to gain advanced language acquisition and career-specific skills.

Where our SMI recipients are from

Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Congo/Brazzaville, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Georgia, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mauritania, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Ukraine, Vietnam.

Scholarship for Maine Immigrants RecipientsRecipients for Spring 2018

Pamela N., Dem. Republic of Congo–SMCC
Nouhouri E. S., Ivory Coast–USM
Rachel K., Dem. Republic of Congo–USM
Etienne N., Burundi–USM
Armando K., Angola–USM
David N., Dem. Republic of Congo

 Recipients for Fall 2017

Aisa M., Somalia–USM
Davy S., Dem. Republic of Congo–USM
Rachel K., Dem. Republic of Congo–USM
Zeferino B., Angola–USM
Uyen L., Vietnam–USM
Etienne N., Burundi–USM
Alfred K. L., Dem. Republic of Congo–CNA Program, Portland Adult Education
Ghislaine N. B., Dem. Republic of Congo–CNA Program, Portland Adult Education
Odette Z., Burkina Faso–CNA Program, Portland Adult Education


Roya’s Story

Roya Hejabian

After Roya Hejabian graduated high school in her home country of Iran, she was faced with a life-changing decision. As a Baha’i, she had been discriminated against all her life and now she faced the likelihood of not receiving higher education unless she converted to Islam, the country’s official religion. She chose not to change her faith, and instead decided to apply for ‘refugee’ status with the UN.  …Continue Reading.


Ahmed’s Story

Ahmed is from Kabul, Afghanistan, and is a medical doctor by training. Despite the challenges of living under the Taliban regime, Ahmed graduated with a medical degree from Kabul Medical University in 2004. “While I was in medical school I always had a passion to better serve the people in my community and I put a lot of effort into achieving this goal.” Unfortunately Ahmed’s dream of practicing medicine was cut short because of the political turmoil in his country.  …Continue Reading.


Tam’s Story

”My name is Tam Thai. I came from Vietnam. Some people run away from their country to escape a harsh life. But for me, I came here to be with my parents. I want to reunite with them. I want to challenge my life and I want to discover how Americans live.  …Continue Reading.


Oral History Project

Every immigrant brings the story of their journey with them to their new home. SMI’s Oral History Project, established in 2010, has given our scholarship recipients the opportunity to record the stories of their lives and their journeys to our state.

The historian/philosopher Will Durant stated, “Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing things historians usually record; while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks..” The intent of SMI’s Oral History Project is to capture what happened along the banks of the river, without ignoring the impact of what Maine’s immigrants witnessed in the stream.

Their stories, and those of other New Mainers who arrived in the Greater Portland area since the late 20thcentury, can be heard at the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity, part of USM’s Special Collections housed on the 6thfloor of the Glickman Library on the Portland campus. The Sampson Center archives material documenting the ongoing histories of diverse communities. An appointment is advised (207-780-4269).