South Cobb High School 2013 graduate Halimo Hassen has been named a Schwarzman Scholar – one of 129 students from throughout the world recently receiving a full scholarship to complete a one-year master’s degree program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
A sociology major at Dartmouth College, she plans to complete a master’s in international affairs, concentrating on public policy, according to a recent Dartmouth News story. She will journey to China in 2017.
“I’m hoping the scholarship will serve as an experience that will allow me to continue to give back throughout my life,” she said in an interview for the college’s story.
In the South Cobb High community, Halimo Hassen’s new honor is certain to add to her reputation an inspirational role model – and for students engaged with the Cobb County Public Library System. Her local library is South Cobb Regional Library and she served as a summer volunteer at Stratton Library with Branch Manager Patricia Ball, she said in an email to the library.
“Cobb libraries served as an invaluable resource in my development as a student and community member,” she said. “Whether I was volunteering at the local library or completing summer reading, the libraries made education accessible throughout the year.”
The Schwarzman Scholars program is inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, a highly-selective program providing scholarships for more than a century for students to attend the University of Oxford in England. Like the Rhodes, Schwarzman Scholars are chosen in large part due to the students’ commitment to be leaders serving others. The program was founded in 2015 by Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO, chairman and co-founder of the Blackstone investment firm.
“Halimo is a remarkable student with a passion for public service,” said Dartmouth Provost Carolyn Dever, the college’s chief academic officer. “That she has been recognized on this international stage should make the entire Dartmouth community proud.”
The Schwarzman is the most recent major scholarship for Hassen. Among them is winning the Gates Millennium scholarship during her senior year at South Cobb High. The next year, her younger brother Hassan Hassen also received the Gates Millennium scholarship as a South Cobb senior. Halimo and Hassan joined their older brother, Ridwan Hassen, as students at Dartmouth. Ridwan Hassen was named a 2015 Rhodes Scholar.
The Hassen siblings, children of Ethiopian and Somali refugees, are first-generation college students. Each of them have served as mentors for students at the Ivy League school and volunteers for community organizations.
In an interview with the Library System a few days after he won the Rhodes scholarship, Ridwan Hassen said recognizing life’s challenges can be leveraged for motivation for reaching personal goals was a major breakthrough for him and it’s a message he shares with others. “Use your adversities and your struggles to power you through,” he said.
Halimo Hassen will spread the message to young students to “dream big and do more,” she said in the interview with the college.
“Throughout my time in college, I’ve started initiatives that have assisted low-income, high-achieving high school students in the college admissions process,” she said in the Dartmouth interview. “In the future, I hope to expand these initiatives to a broader scale and help to work towards ameliorating educational disparities.”