At Jenner Law, we believe that education is pivotal for building a better future. We are proud to offer scholarships each year to help usher in the next generation of difference-makers. For our 2023 ‘Make a Difference’ Scholarship, we are happy to announce two winners of the essay competition: Galin Dishoyan and Derek Wilson!
Our winners come from drastically different backgrounds but share a proven common commitment to improving the world. Both Galin and Derek have risen out of hardship and have already taken great strides to create change for the better. With this scholarship, we hope to help them continue on their journey.
The ‘Make a Difference’ Scholarship Competition
The Jenner Law ‘Make a Difference’ Scholarship recognizes students who have demonstrated exemplary academic performance and who show how their degree will help them make a difference in the world. The scholarship was open to both undergraduate and graduate students in the United States. We received more than 1,500 applications, and a member of our scholarship review committee reviewed each one.
The ‘Make a Difference’ Scholarship offered two awards of $2,500: one for an undergraduate student, and the other for a graduate student. To qualify for the scholarship, applicants needed to have met the following criteria:
- GPA of 3.0 or higher
- United States citizenship or other authorization to attend a school in the U.S.
- Enrollment or acceptance to an accredited college, university, or graduate school
- Agreement to the scholarship’s terms and conditions
- The composure of an original essay of no more than 1,000 words about how his/her degree will make a difference.
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More About Our Winners
We had many outstanding submissions for this scholarship, and the selection process was remarkably difficult. Candidly, there were so many amazing applicants that choosing the finalists was not easy. However, after a thorough review, the essays of Galin Dishoyan and Derek Wilson provided remarkably compelling stories.
Galin Dishoyan is an Armenian who was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. She relayed the horrifying story while traveling out of Syria to Beirut:
“I was seventeen traveling from Aleppo, Syria to Beirut when my bus suddenly stopped in the middle of the road, and I heard gunshots. I still remember the faces of the men who stormed the bus holding rifles. They called themselves “Al-Qaeda.”
Galin narrowly escaped the horror of that experience, barely escaping with her life, and was forever changed by it. She lived in Aleppo for four years during the war and overcame unimaginable hardships. She and her family have since immigrated to New Jersey.
“Having first-hand experience in fighting hunger and malnutrition, I participated in the UN’s Humanitarian Relief campaign to aid hundreds of displaced families with food, water, and much-needed medications,” Galin explained.
She has gone on to participate in the UN’s Humanitarian Relief campaign, as well as working as a Youth Policy Leader at YMCA Europe.
Galin hopes to use her education to fight for marginalized groups as a human rights lawyer. Her story is an inspiration, and we are confident that she will use her experiences to help her excel in working to protect others. Galin explained, “By prioritizing marginalized communities, promoting access to justice, and combating human rights violations, I believe that my efforts will lead to a more equitable, just, and compassionate society.”
We are privileged to get to assist her on her chosen path as she pursues her Law Degree as a graduate student at Seton Hall Law School.
Derek Wilson is a United States Air Force veteran who was deployed to serve in Iraq five times before being medically retired due to service-related injuries. Unfortunately, like all too many veterans, Derek slipped through the cracks when attempting to reintegrate into civilian life.
With perseverance and a little help, he managed to pull himself up and has helped others in a similar position while working for a nonprofit focused on helping homeless veterans rejoin the workforce.
He has volunteered with a variety of organizations, including the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, and helped create the Student Veterans Organization (SVO) at ASU where he studies social work. “Now in my third year at ASU studying social work, I am a student success advocate who helps military-connected learners navigate challenges throughout their studies.
I find resources to help overcome those challenges so that my fellow students can continue towards their educational goals,” Derek wrote.
Derek hopes to use his undergraduate education at Arizona State University to help create tools that can help disabled veterans and others going through hard times get the assistance they need to succeed. Derek plans to continue his studies with the ultimate goal of obtaining a doctorate in social work.
“I strive to find successful outcomes for people overcoming homelessness, mental health, substance use, and physical injuries, overcoming being defined by setbacks, and empathetically navigating ways to overcome barriers,” Derek continued. Now 38 years old, married with three kids, Derek has shown inspiring courage throughout his journey. We are honored to provide him with this scholarship, helping him to help others.
Thank You to All Who Applied
We would like to thank all those who applied for this year’s ‘Make a Difference’ Scholarship. We appreciate your time and willingness to share your story with us. Choosing the winners was a challenge because of all the extraordinary essays we received from the 1500+ applicants.
Thanks also to the Scholarship Review Committee who helped review the essays. The reviewers included not only members of the firm, but also friends of Jenner Law: Beth Graham, Adam Gomez, Liz Bailey, Matt Jenner, Molly Cunningham, and Bonnie Dickerson.
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How Jenner Law Gives Back
At Jenner Law, we are committed to giving back to the community. In this effort, not only do we offer our annual ‘Make a Difference’ Scholarship, but we have also established the Jenner Law Donor Fund. The Jenner Law Donor Fund is a charitable trust established to give back to those in need.
Every employee at our firm has contributed to this fund, and we have used the money raised to support a variety of charitable causes, including health care, women’s safety, civil rights, veterans, ending hunger, and animal welfare.
With this aim, we have donated to several charities. If you have a charity you would like us to consider, email us at email@example.com.