Long Beach Rotary Scholarship Foundation named Cal State Long Beach student Yasmeen Azam as the recipient of its largest scholarship on Wednesday, commemorating the organization’s centennial anniversary.
Presented at the Miller house, home of CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, the one-time special scholarship of $15,000 was awarded to Azam on Wednesday. She was selected by the Rotary Club for her leadership qualities and plans to positively impact society after graduation.
Jane Netherton, Chair of the Long Beach Rotary Scholarship Foundation, presented Azam with the ceremonial check and award during the backyard celebration and said the accomplishments the 21-year-old has made in her young age “blew her away.”
“The big thing is she has the Rotary values, she wants to give back, she wants to take care of people [and] she has a global perspective,” said Netherton, who was part of the recipient selection committee. “Rotary is an international club and just wanting to give back to the community is what we are all about and she fit that perfectly.”
Azam, president of the Muslim Student Association and a senator at large for CSULB’s Associated Students Inc., is known for her role as a youth speaker in the United Nations, work with youth refugees, leadership in the “Muslims Against Hate” organization and her role as CSULB’s Student Leader of the Year.
“I feel very humbled that I am in a room with such accomplished people and that they are all coming out to me giving me resources so that one day I can be someone that has contributed and continues to contribute to communities,” said Azam during the commemoration.
Although her global perspective is what set her apart from the 17 CSULB applicants who were competing for the award, the fact that she is one of quadruplet siblings is what she says gave her an individualistic drive.
“We were constantly pushed to be our most authentic versions of ourselves because we were always in comparison to each other,” said Azam.
The centennial scholarship awarded to Azam was the second she received from the Rotary Club, which was only available to current Rotary scholarship recipients who are both high achievers and scheduled to graduate in spring 2018.
Conoley expressed her gratitude and satisfaction with the opportunities the Rotary Club presents to students.
“Across every one of our programs, students are distinguishing themselves, not just in California [and] not just in our nation,” said Conoley during her speech. “The ability to offer our students, 96 percent of whom are California students, a great education for some of the lowest tuition costs in the country, in fact the lowest, is a great honor for me because I know we can invest in their future.”
The ability to make an impact in communities is an idea Azam also hopes other students keep in mind.
“If we de-center the idea of service, it is like the point of why we are trying to do what we are doing becomes lost,” said Azam. “In this individualistic society we just have to remember and stay grounded in the idea of pursuing whatever we want to pursue for the sake of bettering them.”
Although the specific centennial scholarship awarded to Azam was a one-time offer, students are encouraged to reach out to the Rotary Club Scholarship Foundation, who has funded over 4,250 annual scholarships since its establishment and will continue to offer scholarships to students at CSULB.
Editor’s Note: Yasmeen Azam also co-authored a letter to the editor that is running in the Opinions section of today’s paper. The scholarship event covered in this article occurred Wednesday and the Daily 49er received the letter to the editor Wednesday morning. The timing of these two articles is happenstance.