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Contra Costa NOW Offers Two University Scholarships For Accomplished Young Women Of Color

The Contra Costa Chapter of NOW is pleased to announce the winners of their first university scholarships. The scholarships, in the amounts of $1000 and $500, were earmarked for two young women of color based on their academic and social-activism accomplishments.

Initially, the chapter was able to offer only one $1000 scholarship when it was first announced on our website. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous NOW member who provided the second $500 scholarship, NOW was able to offer two scholarships instead of one.

Thyra Anastasia Cobbs will be attending UCLA beginning in Fall 2021, studying the intersection of mental health and African-Americans. Sia´h Fanta Jimissa, who will be attending UC Berkeley next fall, will be pre-med, and aspires to be a physician working in developing countries. Please see their brief bios below.

According to CC NOW´s president, Jeanette Cole, “We are delighted at the outcome of our chapter´s first endowment of scholarships for university study, which the board of directors specifically earmarked for young women of color who not only had achieved impressive academic honors, but also demonstrated a strong embrace of social activism for the  betterment of their communities. NOW has a long history of supporting young women and marginalized women, and this initial effort to provide financial support to young women’s education is the logical next step for our chapter.”

The Chapter´s Scholarship Committee received several excellent applications, and hopes to continue the scholarship initiative into the future.

 

THYRA ANASTASHIA COBBS, AGE 20:

Thyra Cobbs´ childhood was marked by horrendous personal trauma, which could have resulted in her life having taken a very different direction.

Things began to turn around when she enrolled in Los Medanos College (LMC), participating in a summer bridge program to help her navigate college as a first-generation student, and becoming a student ambassador. Enrolling in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) offered Thyra opportunities to build meaningful relationships with other low-income, first-generation students, and eventually become a peer mentor, allowing her the chance to enhance the experiences of African-American students at LMC. After being accepted into the LMC Honors Program, she was selected to present her research on best practices to better understanding of how extracurricular activities impact the academic success of African- American students, at the selective Bay Area Honors Symposium at Stanford University.

Thyra started a Black book club, and was also elected president of LMC Associated Students, actively working with administrators, faculty, and staff to help support the African-American student community. She currently works with the VP of Student Services at LMC and a Stanford psychologist to investigate how culturally empowering courses can impact the mental health and academic success of Black college students and to improve their persistence rates.

Thyra´s current studies include psychology at LMC/Foothill College, and African-American studies at Contra Costa College and De Anza College, and she will be transferring to UCLA in Fall 2021 to double major in Psychology and African-American studies. Her interests include the psychological effects of colonialism on Africa and the psychological slavery experienced by African-Americans. According to Thyra, her ultimate academic goal is to pursue a Ph.d in psychology so that “I may conduct psychological research on African-American communities. It is my passion to develop a psychological theory that can explain and describe the current status of Africa and its diaspora.¨

 

SIA´H FANTA JIMISSA, AGE 19:

Sia´h Fanta Jimissa will attend UC Berkeley beginning in the Fall 2021 semester, after taking classes as part of their Early Academic Outreach Program.

As the captain of her high school’s girls´ basketball team, Sia´h helped rebuild the team by fostering stronger team chemistry through bonding and motivational activities. While working as an intern for UC Berkeley’s Black Retainment and Recruitment Center, she served as a strong role model for other Black high school students, providing one-on-one mentorship and college essay support. Sia´h also plans to continue working with high school students and becoming more involved with the Black community at UC Berkeley in the hopes of creating a better experience for Black students.

Sia´h plans to major in Integrative Biology and Public Health on the pre-med track, with the goal of becoming a physician. She wishes to work at the intersection of medicine and government to promote health equity in developing nations. This goal is a direct result of her family’s experience with an inadequate healthcare system in her native country of Sierra Leone.

According to Sia´h, “The relationship between the Black community and healthcare professionals . . . cannot be fully understood without examining the historic maltreatment suffered by Black people from powerful institutions including the US government. . . . I need to be knowledgeable about my community’s history … and comfortable using an interdisciplinary approach to medicine so that I can help solve persistent problems.