Bawany and Austin Named 2012-2013 Recipients of Excellus Undergraduate Diversity Scholarship
As part of its Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Monday, St. John Fisher College announced the 2012-2013 recipients of the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Undergraduate Diversity Scholarship. Ms. Yesenia Garcia-Key, Community Engagement Coordinator, Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield, presented Mohammad Husain Bawany ’13 and Kaelen Austin ’13 with $500 scholarships in recognition of their involvement in Fisher clubs and organizations whose programs reflect a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice.
While attending Fisher, Bawany has blended academic rigor with his penchant for service and community outreach. As a M.K. Gandhi Institute Service Fellow, he has worked to promote the understanding and acceptance of differences on- and off-campus. Through his fellowship, he organized the Coexistence Dinner and Dialogue, an event that brought 80 students and administrators together from area colleges to the St. John Fisher College campus in order to engage in active dialogue regarding their various faith traditions. Along with his participation in community service, he has maintained and pursued his interest in scientific research through the College’s Science Scholars program.
Bawany currently serves as the President of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and recently coordinated Henna Fest, a program that allowed students to enjoy professional henna services while giving back to their community by creating goodie bags and refugee bracelets for local refugee children. Additionally, he is a member of the Student Government Association Senate and Measure 13.
As a Biology and Religious Studies dual major, Bawany hopes to attend medical school after graduation. He has a special interest in medical research, and was chosen to participate in the 2012 Strong Children’s Summer Research Program, a paid research opportunity at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Bawany was also the recipient of the 2012 Jennifer Koon Courage Award for Peacemaking.
Austin has become increasingly more involved during her time on campus. In her sophomore year, she became the Secretary and Public Relations Officer of the Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA). In 2011, she was elected President of GSA, and has since worked to improve the club and make it a more active presence on the Fisher campus, by helping to plan several large events.
Along with her club involvement, Austin has been a Resident Assistant (RA) for the past year. As an RA, she has worked to provide a safe space for all students at Fisher, consistent with the principles of the GSA.
A Psychology major, with minors in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies, Austin has been recognized on the Dean’s List every semester at Fisher. Following graduation, she hopes to complete her master’s degree in Social Work and continue to help the LGBT community through outreach programs.
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield began the scholarship program at Fisher during the 2005-2006 academic year. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to two full-time sophomore, junior, or senior Fisher students. Excellus Diversity Scholars serve as student co-chairs for the College’s Day of Celebration Planning Committee or for another designated campus-wide initiative.