MUSIC Matters, since its founding in 2011, has always understood the value of an education such as the one that the University of Michigan provides. However, with that understanding comes the recognition that college affordability is a problem many students seeking higher education face. So, in 2013, we founded the Big Thinkers Scholarship, a student-funded, need-based, endowed scholarship, and one of the first of its kind. The $50,000 endowment generates roughly two $2,000 scholarships per year, which are open to all current and incoming University of Michigan students.
Two years ago, we awarded this scholarship to high school student Zahra Makki, who we felt embodied the essence of a “big thinker.” She was born in Beirut, Lebanon, but moved to Dearborn, Michigan in 2006. She is now a sophomore at the University of Michigan, and, on campus, is involved in the Arab Student Association, Arabesque, and the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program. Zahra plans to major in either Public Health or Computer Science, and enjoys learning from and working with her peers, both inside and outside of the classroom. We have greatly enjoyed watching her succeed at the University of Michigan, and we can’t wait to see where she goes next!
Each year, the scholarship is accompanied by a theme. Two years ago, in alignment with the university’s goals and values, the theme was focused around the idea of civic leadership. We were searching for a scholarship applicant who we felt wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries, “think big,” and positively impact the Ann Arbor community for years to come, and we found this in Zahra.
This year, our theme is Change. MUSIC Matters has experienced a large amount of change during these past few years, and from this change we feel as though we have emerged a stronger and more impactful organization. Most notably, we have updated our mission statement to focus more on our education-centered community outreach endeavours and values. Because we know the world around us is constantly evolving, we are always searching for new ways to adapt to it and further our involvement in the community in new ways. We aim to find two open-minded and perseverant scholarship applicants with a desire to bring about a positive change in our community and a willingness to learn from and collaborate with others.
MUSIC Matters takes incredible pride in having the opportunity to help fellow and future University of Michigan students and make a true difference on campus and within the community at large. This year’s scholarship application closed on February 15, and we cannot wait to select the winners later this semester!