Bridging the Gap

BRIDGE 1

For the Academic Year, 2018-2019, ULYP welcomed 114 students to the Bridge program, joining the returning scholars at universities in Lebanon, North Cyprus, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Spain and, for the first time; Malta! Thanks to all our donors and partners, ULYP’s new cohort is now well established in their universities and have just completed their first semester.

Of course, the Bridge Program is not only about scholarships. Diala Diab, who studies Medicine at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, and Maysam Azzam, BA Media and Communications, AUB Class of 2018, both represented ULYP at the Investing in the Future Conference: Youth – Challenges and Development Opportunities (IIF Mena 2018); a regional conference hosted by the Big Heart Foundation, one of our major donors in Sharjah, UAE. Diala and Maysa participated in the session entitled “Engaging Youth in Regional Development” aiming to empower all young people with a voice in the making of decisions that affect them.

ULYPAA and a BRIDGE Star

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The ULYP Alumni Association (ULYPAA) annual subscription fees have been collected and were matched with a scholar. Abdulrahman Al-Mousa is now enrolled at Texas A&M University, Qatar. He started in the Fall 2018 semester and has now completed his first semester with an outstanding GPA of 4.00! This very important milestone validates ULYP’s mission and vision to continue granting youth equal access to opportunities and education. It also highlights the generosity of the ULYP Alumni; giving back to others the same chances they were offered, in one form or another, and helping us continue our work to support a larger number of students!

Bridging the Gap

Bridge Graduation

This has been the busiest ever summer for the Bridge Program; we celebrated the graduation of 84 students, matched over 110 new students starting university with scholarships, and engaged 160 potential scholarship students in our University Preparation Course (UPC). We’re growing at a pace we couldn’t have ever imagined.

DukeEngage
For the 6th year running, eight volunteers from Duke University participated in the DukeEngage Program in Lebanon. The volunteers provided additional SAT preparation to our UPC students.
SAT preparation is just one part of our students’ lengthy university application process. Over the next two years, these students will be given college guidance and counselling, before being matched with donors and funding for Universities in Lebanon and across the world.
A special thanks to Dr. Maha Al Houssami and Julia Daley from the DukeEngage Programs and the wonderful Duke students for their invaluable contribution to UPC 2018.

Scholarships
Over 110 students, the intake of 2018 – 2019, just crossed the bridge into their universities in Lebanon and abroad. This could not have been possible without the generous support of our donors, staff, and volunteers.
Applications for the Bridge Program will open in October 2018 and is open to all. Here’s to another year of students having access to higher education!

Graduation
84 students graduated from the Bridge program this year. Our bright Bridge Program participants celebrated their graduation from university, bringing the number of Bridge alumni to 411.
The ceremony was magical, tearful, sentimental and inspiring. The president of Lebanese American University, Dr. Joseph Jabbra, delivered a moving keynote speech filled with words of encouragement and enlightenment.

Bridge Student Success Story: Darin Yassine

Darin Certificate

On the 8th of August, our founder Melek Nimer and the ULYP Bridge team received a letter from one of their students, Darin Yassine.
“I am writing with so much respect, gratitude, and warmth in my heart. I am writing to whole-heartedly thank you for being such a great person and taking such a huge part in my short story of success.”
After completing her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, Darin was determined to pursue the Doctor of Pharmacy degree but needed financial support for the tuition fees. Darin searched high and low for someone to fund her dream. Her drive and hard work led her to the president of LAU, Dr. Joseph Jabbra, who referred her to Mrs. Nimer and ULYP.

“I can say, genuinely, that my determination, thrive, and limitless hope were born at first when I met Mrs. Nimer.”

Through Dr Jabbra, the ULYP family and other kind-hearted donors, Darin received enough money to attend the University course she had hoped for. Thanks to Darin’s extraordinary commitment, and the support she received, she she was able to enrol on the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the Lebanese American University. In July 2018, Darin graduated from LAU with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree with distinction.

On top of all this, on March 2018, Darin was accepted for a 12-month international post-graduate Year-1 residency at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, among 30 other applicants. She is therefore able to practice as a clinical pharmacist while she continues her educational growth.

“As I am starting a new chapter in my life, I thank God from the bottom of my heart that each of those exceptional individuals crossed my path, and gifted me an eternal hope in tomorrow-which I will hold in my heart forever. At this moment in time, I am counting my blessings. I am also feeling immense excitement for the next challenge.”

This was such a wonderful letter to receive; a perfect example of the positive attitude, exceptional intellect, hard work and inspiring optimism shown by the youth in Lebanon; and a reminder of how important ULYP’s work can be.

Getting closer and closer towards my dream

Firas Abdul Ghani is one of ULYP’s top achieving scholarship students. He is now in his third year studying Electric and Electronics Engineering at Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey. His university fees are generously covered by the university itself.

“It was a great chance when I was introduced to ULYP in 2010 as it gave me the opportunity to attend a good university to do my undergraduate study. You could say that I am the ambassador of ULYP in my university as I help the students that come to my university through ULYP, in their university registration process, bank issues, resident permits and dorm issues.

For my first two years at Bilgi University, I was the student with the highest GPA in my faculty and this continues in my third year. Because of this my Electronics professor, Yiğit Dağhan Gökdel, asked me at the end of my second year to work on a scientific research project with him. I was really happy, it was as if my dream came true. It is a two year project which officially started in November 2013 and will finish in August 2015. The name of the project is “Design and Fabrication of a Biopsy Catheter Capable of Doing In-Vivo Cell Imaging for Early Cancer Detection” funded by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, TÜBİTAK. It is a new imaging/early diagnosis method of cancer cells that is cheaper, portable and doesn’t involve radiation. I am responsible for designing an Optical micro electro mechanical system scanner. During the first two months, I read and researched about Micro technology, and now I am in the design and testing process. In addition to this, I will write a research paper with my professor, which we hope will be published in worldwide scientific journals. Publishing a scientific paper while being an undergraduate is a big challenge and not an easy task. People usually don’t try to get published until they are doing their master’s degree. We will also join two conferences this summer to show our work, one in Italy and the other in Istanbul.

I feel really enthusiastic about my future. I plan to join two projects next year; one of them is another TÜBİTAK project, the other a Robotics competition between Laureate Universities in Europe. After graduating I will continue my Master studies in the Electronics and Biotechnology domain. My long term dream is to be the first Palestinian who enters the Nobel Prize winners list.

Istanbul was the right place for me. I have had a good time and gained valuable experience, and I believe that Turkey will be my bridge towards Europe. I want to thank ULYP which was the main reason I came to Turkey and achieved all of this. I also want to thank Mrs. Melek and her group for their great effort, my family and friends for their support and my Professor who has supported me from the beginning.”

Firas