Salvation Army Twin Cities Announces 2020 Linden Scholarship Winners

Aug 24, 2020

Nearly 45 years ago, St. Paul native Pearl H. Linden and her two sisters left $1.25 million to several charities, including a $250,000 gift to The Salvation Army. Their instructions were to use the money to help students who need it, but who also demonstrate community spirit and high moral standards. And with that, the Linden Scholarship was created.

“The Linden Scholarship demonstrates how estate planning can help create a lasting legacy that makes a difference in the lives of others,” said Brian Molohon, Executive Director of Development at The Salvation Army in Minnesota and North Dakota.

The one-time, non-renewable scholarship offers $3,000 for students pursuing a four-year degree, and $1,500 for students in two-year programs.

Six local students are now celebrating after each of them has earned a $3,000 scholarship from The Salvation Army to help pay for college this fall. Meet the six Linden Scholarship winners for 2020.

Adekemi Adewola

Adekemi Adewola will be attending the University of St. Thomas this fall to pursue a career as a pharmacist or physician’s assistant. While growing up and watching her mom strive to provide for four kids, Adekemi realized early on that education could provide a path to security and fulfillment.

At Cottage Grove’s Park High School, she achieved a 3.70 GPA (which included several college-level courses) and earned membership in the National Honor Society. Adekemi also was a co-founder of Park High’s Black Student Union, an organization designed to raise awareness of how students’ social and economic backgrounds impact their high school experience, and to shed light on cultural appropriation.

One clear picture of Adekemi’s character came from one of her teachers—who was impressed “with her intellectual curiosity, her willingness to help anyone with anything, and her determination to be successful.” Similarly, she has demonstrated leadership and a strong work ethic by volunteering for several years as a group leader for her church, for a middle-school courage program, and for local soccer camps.

Congratulations, Adekemi!

Pranav Karmacharya

Next month, you’ll be able to see Pranav Karmacharya around the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus, where he will be enrolled in the Carlson School of Management’s Entrepreneurship and International Business programs.

Pranav wasn’t always focused on his education, but a serious event involving a good friend made him realize he needed to change his behavior. With his older sister’s mentorship, he began to work hard on his studies and other activities, receiving twelve “A” Honor Roll awards, a number of leadership awards and, most recently, the President’s Emerging Scholar Award from the University of Minnesota.

In addition to his high school responsibilities, he volunteered more than 1,000 hours, working to encourage school engagement among young students of color, as well as serving in key roles at Divine Worldwide and the MN Children’s Museum. He has also interned at non-profits including Genesys Works and Be The Match. Pranav graduated from Roseville High School after posting a 3.8 GPA and was inducted into the National Honor Society. 

Well done, Pranav! 

Nada Mohamed

Nada Mohamed feels grateful for her volunteering experience. Her mother made weekly service projects mandatory for her and her siblings at a young age, something she really didn’t relish at the time. Over time, however, she began to learn a great deal from the people she served—people who had lost everything still exhibited grace, gratefulness, and optimism. She told us that volunteering with the Optimist Club, her mosque, and other school groups strengthened in her principles of compassion and gratitude.

A graduate of North St. Paul High School, Nada finished with a 3.88 GPA and a transcript that includes Advanced Placement and college classes, as well as National Honor Society membership. She served in leadership roles including soccer team captain, photography club president, and yearbook editor. Her teachers describe her as someone of “tremendous character with significant leadership skills,” “inquisitive, creative, positive, and hard-working” and “a stand-out individual who will impress everyone she meets.”

Nada will use her scholarship when she begins her classes in the Biology program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities this fall. Her dream is to work in the genetics field to help improve the lives of black women.

We salute you, Nada!

Divine Neizer

Church and worship have always played an important role in Divine Neizer’s life; from a very young age, she learned the importance of worship, prayer, music and studying the Word. It was here, too, that she learned that worship also meant assisting others to help improve their situation, and her desire to serve was born.

Divine’s long list of volunteering includes serving at her church, local elementary schools, and St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, and at her school as an ICC ambassador, an AVID program tutor, and as a member of Key Club. She was also active in both soccer and track and field.

Divine graduated from Park High School in Cottage Grove with a 3.40 GPA and an International Baccalaureate diploma.  Her teachers have used words like “determination…commitment…enthusiasm…impressive…excellence” to describe her strengths.

She will be attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities this fall and is pursuing a biochemistry degree. Her dream is to become a practicing physician, though she’s not yet sure in which field.

Kudos to you, Divine!

Owen Tonn

On the surface, Owen Tonn is an excellent student who engaged in many clubs and activities at his school. He graduated from Rosemount High School with a 3.84 GPA, and come this fall he will be studying Finance at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Honors and activities included National Honor Society, Math Team, Student Council, choir, DECA, hockey and trap shooting teams, an academic letter, and more.

But go below the surface, and you’ll find a passion for something more—helping those who can’t help themselves. Owen’s older brother Chase was born with Lissencephaly, a birth defect that requires full-time care. As they grew up, Owen could see firsthand how hurtful people could be through their comments and avoidance. 

So Owen founded a chapter of Best Buddies, a global non-profit that creates opportunities to build lasting friendships between people who are challenged and their school peers. Owen served as the chapter’s president, mentoring more than 20 other program participants, and also attended the Best Buddies National Conference.

Well done and best wishes, Owen!

Chittra Xiong

If you were to look at Chittra Xiong’s Como Park High School transcript, you’d be impressed. It contains many challenging Advanced Placement and PSEO (college-level) classes, and is highlighted by a 4.36 GPA. Her hard work has paid off, as she will be attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities this fall to study Chemistry.

Her love for chemistry was nurtured from participation in a Project SEED program last summer. Sponsored by the American Chemical Society, Project SEED is a paid internship for high schoolers to work in real laboratories, with real scientists as mentors. Chittra believes that a degree in chemistry will be applicable to a wide variety of STEM careers.

On top of her stellar academics, her recognitions and activities included National Honor Society, Asian American Club, Link Crew leader, and the tennis and badminton teams. She attributes her work as a Circle Leader to helping strengthen her leadership skills and an ability to motivate and engage others. Teachers have described her as ambitious, positive, hard-working and optimistic.

Congratulations to Chittra, and to all the 2020 Linden Scholarship winners!

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