August 21, 2014

Charting new territories

For the first time, two students from New York City were inducted into the Earl Woods Scholarship Program. They will join 14 first-generation college students who were selected for the program based on their commitment to community service, academic achievements and financial need.

Meet the first scholars from New York.

“When they told me about the scholarship I thought they were punkin’ me!,” Keisha Osei said about the phone call notifying her of acceptance into the program. “There were so many other kids in my school that I thought were better, it just didn’t seem real.”

This is one common thread among the stories we hear every day at the Tiger Woods Foundation- none of them believe they are good enough.

Despite her humility, Keisha wrote a compelling research paper on the “stop and frisk” policy in New York City. Recognized for her fair handling of a controversial issue, she presented her paper at a social justice exposition at New York University. Her interest in public policy has led her to major in public health at Ithaca College.

Efosa Ehrunmwunse naturally fell into a leadership position on her high school basketball team. Her leadership on the courts organically spread into her studies, and soon she was tutoring her fellow teammates. “I became the enforcer,” she said. “Not only did I help tutor them when they needed it, but if I caught them out of class I would remind them that their grades were important if they wanted to stay on the team.”

She turned her love of basketball into a career path, and decided to major in physical therapy at Ithaca College.

We are thrilled to welcome these two amazing scholars to the Tiger Woods Foundation family. Keep an eye on them throughout their college journeys, we will be hearing more from them.

Read on for the official press release regarding our new Class of 2018 Scholars.


Tiger Woods Foundation expands reach to New York with eighth class of first-generation scholars
Tiger Woods Foundation names 16 scholars to the Earl Woods Scholarship Program

IRVINE, Calif. — Seventeen first-generation students will attend college with the assistance of the Earl Woods Scholarship Program, the Tiger Woods Foundation announced Wednesday. The scholarship program welcomes four students from Boston, ten from Orange County, and new to the program, two students from New York.

“We are very excited to expand the Tiger Woods Foundation and the Earl Woods Scholarship Program’s reach to New York,” Kathy Bihr Ed.D., Vice President of Programs and Education at the Tiger Woods Foundation, said. “The Earl Woods Scholarship Program gives underserved youth the opportunity to attend college and succeed, and we are proud to extend this initiative to more students across the country.”

The Earl Woods Scholarship Program was founded in 2007 in honor of Tiger Woods’ father, Earl, and his dedication to helping others succeed. Scholarships are awarded to high-achieving students with demonstrated financial need and a proven commitment to community service.

At the heart of the Earl Woods Scholarship Program is the foundation’s approach to working one-on-one with each scholar. Once enrolled in the program, scholarship recipients are immersed in a unique community of mentorship and support. Benefits include a dedicated mentor that serves throughout the student’s time in college and beyond along with internship placements and specialized workshops designed to help the first generation scholar succeed. Further, in working with each scholar, the foundation assists as needed with post-graduation job placements and negotiations.

In addition, the Earl Woods Scholarship Program prepares scholars for a clear and focused exit strategy upon their transition from college into the next stages of their career path. Scholars are provided support and coaching in areas of grad school prep and/or developing practical skills for navigating entry into the career market.

To date, 100 percent of scholars reach graduation day and go on to successful careers.

“I felt I lost everything”

Oscar Chavez of Anaheim, California, will be the first person in his family to attend a four-year college at Wabash College.

“One of the greatest challenges I faced as a child was losing my home. I felt I lost everything,” Chavez said in his application essay. “My parents got divorced when I was 10 years old and then we started losing everything. There were nights I couldn’t sleep, because I could hear my mom sobbing through the vents.”

“I grew so worried about the bills being paid, that I started thinking of new ways to get money instead of focusing on my schoolwork, and as a result, I started falling behind in class. I told my mother that I wanted to get a job to help.”

Chavez, his siblings and his mother started to look through dumpsters for clothes, appliances and toys to sell at yard sales. His mother picked up a job cleaning homes, but despite these efforts, the Chavez family lost their home three months later.

“I was completely scared and desperate for a solution. We had to move into my aunt’s apartment and I remember feeling embarrassed as I walked into the apartment with my arms filled with luggage,” Chavez said. “I tried to support our family as much as possible. I would walk around the streets for hours, collect every coin I saw and give it to my mom.”

Shortly after, Chavez’s mother found a job and the family now rents their old home.

“In that one year of suffering and being homeless, I witnessed the reality of the real world. I learned that in order to achieve in life, I must work long and hard. I want to contribute something to families, build them shelter and safety, a place they can call home.”

Chavez will be attending Wabash University in the fall and plans to major in biomedical engineering.

Meet the Class of 2018:

Boston scholars:

Casey Fang, College of the Holy Cross
Charbel Hannah, Emmanuel College
Eunyque Sykes, Bucknell University
Henry Tsang, Harvard University

New York scholars:

Efosa Erhunmwunse, Ithaca College
Keisha Osei, Ithaca College

Orange County scholars:

Oscar Chavez, Wabash College
Joanna Cheung, UC San Diego
Anita Chheang, UCLA
Alondra Contreras, Whitman College
Quyen Nguyen, Juniata College
Lizette Rodriguez, Brown University
Liliana Suarez, NYU
Karina Trujillo, UCLA
Phuong Vo, Williams College
Maria Zepeda, UCLA