Isabella Bah couldn’t believe her eyes when she read the letter notifying her of the EagleBank Entrepreneurship Scholarship for $10,000 that she had been awarded.
“It was breathtaking,” she said. “I didn’t even think it was real. Seeing that $10,000 amount on the scholarship letter blew my mind.”
Bah is a first generation college student majoring in finance. The ambitious sophomore also plans on picking up accounting as a double major. She views the EagleBank Scholarship as a “life changing opportunity” for her and her family.
“It was like a breath of fresh air and a weight was lifted off our shoulders. It meant the world,” Bah said. “As a first generation college student, here at Mason, there are plenty of opportunities for students to explore, and with this scholarship, I strongly believe that there is no doubt, that I can explore my true potential.”
As a high school student in Woodbridge, Virginia, Bah participated in the Early Identification Program, which provides resources to first generation college students. She toured the Mason campus, and liked the community aspect.
“I could see myself coming here, fitting in, and loving it,” she said.
Bah works two part-time jobs, including mentoring students in the Early Identification program on-campus. She’s involved with the African Student Association, Black Mambas Dance Team, Black Student Alliance, Mason Changemakers, and Startup Mason.
In the future, Bah is interested in starting a non-profit to help Sierra Leone, where both her parents are from. She met a friend on-campus whose parents are also from Sierra Leone, and they hope to make “some sort of a change and impact in the country, especially given the amount of poverty and corruption.”
After graduation, Bah would like to pursue entry-level jobs, either as a tax associate or in the finance field. She aims to apply the knowledge she’s gained at Mason at the start of her career, so she can eventually transfer those skills to operate her own business.
Bah thanks EagleBank for the scholarship, which will allow her to continue pursuing her goals stress-free.
“This opportunity means the world to my family and I. I want to say it turned my life around, and being able to be here at Mason with professors and resources to shape my path wouldn’t be possible without the scholarship.”