The Balkhi Foundation is proud to announce the winners of its 2022 Higher Education Scholarship.

The students chosen as the 2022 Balkhi Foundation Scholars have shown commitment to their academic success, service to their communities, and the tenacity to learn and grow despite the obstacles in their way. Each student on this list has shown academic success in high school and was highly recommended by their teachers. Each Balkhi Foundation Scholar will receive a $1000 scholarship to the university of their choice for the 2022-2023 school year and is eligible to renew their scholarships for up to four years.

Abigail Koester
University of Florida

Abigail Koester is currently attending the University of Florida majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering following her graduation from Sarasota Military Academy in Sarasota, Florida. Abigail served as a member of National Honor Society, as a board member of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, and as a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club. Abigail is also a registered Yoga Teacher who has used her knowledge of stress management techniques to work with the Boys & Girls Club Youth Council culminating in receiving her Girl Scout Gold. Abigail’s ultimate goal is to complete a combined BS/MS degree program before working within the automotive industry. Abigail plans to use the knowledge received in the automotive industry to foster equity by improving access to safe and affordable transportation for those living in historically low-income areas.

Carson Wolber
Cornell University

Carson Wolber is currently attending Cornell University majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics following his graduation from Oldenburg Academy in Oldenburg, Indiana. Carson graduated as class Valedictorian and Student Council Vice President and will be the first graduate from his area to attend an Ivy League University. Carson was also member of National Honor Society and has received numerous awards for high school Track and Field. Carson’s ultimate goal is to become a technology innovator as a software engineer with a focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

What Carson says about being a Balkhi Foundation Scholar: “Being a Balkhi Scholar is a tremendous honor that has greatly supported my academic and career ambitions in a uniquely personable fashion. “

Emma Suchsland
Truman State University

Emma Suchsland is currently attending Truman State University majoring in Psychology following her graduation from Tina Avalon High School in Tina, Missouri. Emma graduated as Valedictorian and senior class president. Emma served as her high school’s president of Future Famers of America and National Honor Society, and Vice President of Future Business Leaders of America. Additionally, Emma is passionate about faith based service and completes an annual service mission in diverse communities around the United States. Emma’s ultimate goal is to become a family and child psychologist who advocates for national and global mental health awareness and care.

Ethan Campbell
Georgetown University

Ethan Campbell is currently attending Georgetown University majoring in Finance and accounting following his graduation from Vero Beach High school in Vero Beach, FL. Ethan graduated as Salutatorian of his class. While in high school, Ethan served as golf team captain, conference coordinator of Model UN. Improving access to education is a passion of Ethan’s and he served as a tutor within his school and in collaboration with the Homeless Children’s Foundation of Indian River county prior to founding the Indian River First Step Academy, an academic and financial literacy tutoring program. Ethan has interned with Piper Aircraft and Raymond Jones – Kanner Group Wealth Management while completing his Securities Industries Essentials Exam. Ethan’s ultimate goal is to become a Behavioral Economist and strive to improve the financial literacy of youth in his community.


What Ethan says about being a Balkhi Foundation Scholar: “The Balkhi Foundation Scholarship program has been instrumental in my journey as a finance major at Georgetown University, providing me with invaluable financial support and access to professional services that have been crucial to my success, allowing me to pursue my education and desired field.”

Katrina Machetta
Columbia University

Katrina Machetta is currently attending the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Human Rights. Katrina graduated Summa Cum Laude from Klein Collins High School in Spring, Texas. Katrina served as the Editor-in-Chief of Legacy Press, Reporter of PBS NewsHour, President of the Creative Writing Club, Senior Class Officer, Teen Council Member of the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, and Teen Court Advocate for the City of Houston’s Municipal Courts.  She currently serves as a Poet-in-Residence for the Heritage Society and has an extensive portfolio of journalist contributions including at the Los Angeles Times, STEM Magazine, and the Navajo-Hopi Observer. Katrina’s ultimate goal is to become a broadcast journalist after pursuing her JD and MBA degrees.

What Katrina says about being a Balkhi Foundation Scholar: “I am honored and grateful to be a Balkhi Scholar. This scholarship gives students a community, a platform, and an opportunity to pursue higher education with the right mentorship and resources to pursue their educational dreams.”

Louis Lee
Northwestern University

Louis Lee is currently attending Northwestern University majoring in Social Policy and Global Health Studies following his graduation from Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, California. Louis graduated as an AP Scholar with Distinction and as Secretary of Student Government. Louis also served as the president of the Sunny Hills Eco-club which created the first dual food-waste and recycling program in a Southern California public school. He served as the youngest member of the Leading committee for Friends for a Livable Fullerton – a community committee aimed at environmental preservation and ecological stewardship – and currently works as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Louis’ ultimate goal is to prioritize patient health and dignity by becoming a healthcare administrator.

What Louis says about being a Balkhi Foundation Scholar: “I am very grateful for the support that the Balkhi Foundation has provided me with their scholarship, as it has provided me with the insight and tools necessary to pursue my higher education pathway.”


Marcus Jeffrey
University of Nevada

Marcus Jeffrey is currently attending the University of Nevada majoring in Mathematics and Chemistry following his graduation from North Star Online School in Reno, Nevada. Marcus graduated with an honors advanced degree and numerous college credits following his extensive dual enrollment throughout high school. Marcus strives to be an advocate for all members of the LGBTQ+ community within STEM disciplines and his ultimate goal is to become a professor of Mathematics or Chemistry while leading students in innovating within STEM fields.

Maryela Cardenas
University of Notre Dame

Maryela Cardenas is currently attending the University of Notre Dame as a Science-Business majoring following her graduation from Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Maryela graduated as an Illinois State Scholar and Valedictorian of her class. She served as president of her school’s National Honor Society, Latino Club, and Interact Club while acting as captain of the school’s Scholastic Bowl and Cross Country Teams. Maryela’s ultimate goal is to attend medical school and open a pediatric care center in her community that addresses the needs of patients and families who are primarily Spanish speaking.

Said Gomez
Georgia Institute of Technology

Said Gomez is currently attending Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in Business Administration following his graduation from Archer High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Said graduated as an AP Scholar with Distinction and as Valedictorian of his class. He was recognized as the Atlanta Journal-constitution Cup 2022 Best All-Around Senior for his high school and has received the University of Georgia Certificate of Merit, Working Fluency Global Seal of Biliteracy Award, and was selected for the College Board National Hispanic Recognition Award. Said’s ultimate goal is to become a health care administrator and eventual Medical Operations Director for a major health system where he can create an inclusive environment within a global network of patients and providers.

What Said says about being a Balkhi Foundation Scholar: “I am honored and grateful to be a Balkhi Foundation Scholar because the scholarship lessened the financial burden on me and has allowed me to get involved with my university’s student-registered organizations and start initiatives that have expanded my community impact and perspective. In addition to its generous financial support, the foundation’s informative resources, such as interview tips & tricks and a question list, helped me obtain an internship at a Fortune 500 company. I am excited to connect with future Balkhi Scholars and learn about the impact they will undoubtedly achieve.”

Zoe Smyth
University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Zoe Smyth is currently attending the University of Minnesota Twin Cities majoring in Biology following her graduation from West-Oak High School in Westminster, South Carolina. Zoe graduated as a High Honor Graduate, National Merit Scholar, and as Valedictorian of her class. While in high school, Zoe served as a member of National Honor Society and Interact, completing service projects with children in her community. Zoe’s ultimate goal is to become a medical scientist researching Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and to open a private research institute where she can mentor students in principles of biology.

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