Zahra, 18 – FUNDED

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Michigan native Zahra Sule is working hard to defy setbacks and achieve her goals of becoming an animation business owner. A recipient of the 1,000 Dreams Fund Scholarship, Zahra will be the second generation in her family to attend college — and looks forward to attending the Rhode Island School of Design this fall.

What is your professional dream?
I want to create my own animation business that reflects my identity and experiences.

How will you use the 1,000 Dreams Fund Scholarship?
I used all the money to pay for my tuition.

How is this helping you get closer to your dream?
My mother was the first member in my family to graduate from college. As a result, she has become the most successful person in our family. She has done everything in her power to make sure that I have a better life. She often has to support everyone. She helps my grandmother, uncle and three of my cousins. Having to support so many people is difficult and my art college tuition puts additional strain on her. This scholarship helps me to relieve my mother’s burden.

What advice do you have for other young women looking to go for their dreams?
Your dreams are important and do not substitute them, no matter what! Remember that everybody falls — but when you fall, fall forward.

Any setbacks? How did you get around them?
As a historically underrepresented student at an elite institution, I have felt isolated and experienced self-doubt about my worthiness. Nonetheless, I remind myself of the sacrifices made for my benefit and this inspires me to excel. I have a dream that I want to accomplish and I should not let anything prevent me from doing that!

What’s next for you?
My next goal is to get an internship position for the summer. During the summer, I will be taking animation courses to get ahead for next year. Also, I am looking into studying abroad. After college, I want to work at Pixar, DreamWorks or Laika.