Recognizing our 2019 scholarship recipients

2019 scholarship recipients, LSS staff and reception speakers from left to right: Basir Jalali, Michelle Guilfoil, Lynn Tedesco, Susan Haine, Kevin Craft, André Bisimwa, Mahsa Ahmad, Aya Turki, Tanya Vitusagavulu, Omar Miralikhel.
Kevin Craft
From the Maryland Governor’s Office, Kevin Craft addresses the reception

On July 27, LSSNCA hosted a Scholarship Reception to celebrate the achievements of the Bold Journey and Elizabeth Weisberger Scholarship recipients. The 2019 recipients are Mahsa Ahmad, André Bisimwa, Basir Ahmad Jalali, and Mohammed Omar Miralikhel.

The event took place at the Fellowship Hall of the River Road Unitarian Church in Bethesda and was attended by recipients, their friends and family, LSSNCA staff and board members, scholarship judges, and representatives of the Maryland governor’s office, including Commissioner Carolann Alt and Kevin Craft. The program concluded with unscheduled and spontaneous expressions of appreciation by the scholarship recipients who were grateful not only for the opportunity to continue their education but for the encouragement that receiving the scholarship represented.

Please help us in congratulating the following recipients:

Ms. Mahsa Ahmadi

MahsaMahsa is a 20-year old woman from Afghanistan who is pursuing a bachelor’s in Neuroscience (PreMed) from George Mason University, with the goal of becoming a psychiatrist. Mahsa’s medical studies were disrupted when they left Afghanistan but her desire to complete her education in the United States is obviously a top priority for her and her family. Mahsa is a talented young woman who speaks several languages (Turkish, English, and Dari) and has received awards in poem recitation and mathematics, among other subjects. Mahsa’s positivity, drive, desire to help others, and support her family are what stood out most in her application. Mahsa is being awarded both the Elizabeth Weisberger Scholarship and a Bold Journey Scholarship.


Mr. Basir Ahmad Jalali

BasirBasir is a 32-year old man from Afghanistan and is pursuing a certificate in Budget and Finance at Georgetown University, with the goal of a career in that field within the U.S. He holds a bachelor’s in International Law from India and extensive education and professional experience. Among his many talents, Basir speaks and has studied several languages, including English, Dari, Pashto and Arabic. Basir holds a noted commitment to his family, a strong work ethic, a determination to succeed, and is extremely humble despite accomplishing a great deal while facing many challenges. This is Basir’s second scholarship with LSSNCA to complete his Georgetown studies and we congratulate him on being awarded a Bold Journey Scholarship.


Mr. André Bisimwa

AndreAndré is a 20-year old, young man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He is pursuing a bachelor’s in psychology at Goucher College, with the goal of becoming either a therapist or a lawyer. He is a youth leader in Appalachia, a volunteer, and a soccer star. André stood out to our judges because he faced extreme hardship with dignity, positivity and grace. He has a humble demeanor and a desire to “pay it forward.” This is André’s second scholarship with LSSNCA and we congratulate him on being awarded a Bold Journey Scholarship.


Mr. Mohammad (Omar) Miralikhel

OmarOmar is from Afghanistan and is wishes to pursue a certificate in Cartology and Geological Information Systems (GIS), with the goal of continuing his career as a successful geologist. He has extensive and impressive experience in mapping, GIS, and has worked on projects to lay the groundwork for aiding people living in remote areas prone to disaster situations. Omar had to leave his family behind in Afghanistan to come to the U.S. but we are proud to announce that his wife has recently joined him and they are expecting a child! Our scholarship judges noted his positivity, competence, and reputation of being very well-respected in his field. We are excited to award Omar a Bold Journey Scholarship to progress his education and career in the United States.

2019 Scholarship Reception Program

  • Welcome — Lynn Tedesco, Interim CEO, LSSNCA
  • Impact of Scholarships — Tanya Vitusagavulu, Maryland Director, Refugee and Immigrant Services
  • Recognition of Recipients — Michelle Guilfoil, Scholarship Judge
  • Presentation of Governor’s Citation — Kevin Craft, Maryland Governor’s office
  • Summation and Future of Scholarships — Susan Haine, Grant Development Director, LSSNCA


Mahsa TY
Thank you email received from Mahsa after the event. 

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s