2022 Diane Thomas Transfer Scholarship Recipient Named

Thursday, May 26, 2022
picture of 2022 Diane Thomas Recipient - Ahmed Alrawashdeh

This year’s Diane H. Thomas Transfer Scholarship recipient is recent Phoenix College graduate, Ahmed Alrawashdeh.

To be considered for this $10,000 scholarship, applicants must submit an essay and personal statement that is reviewed by a mixture of faculty, staff and alumni. The purpose of the scholarship is to help students transfer to a four-year institution so they can continue the work they started at Phoenix College. This scholarship was named after Ms. Diane H. Thomas who wore many hats in her life: commercial photographer, television personality, small business owner, arbiter for the Better Business Bureau, author, freelance writer, photojournalist, and college instructor. Her legacy includes endowed scholarships at Phoenix College and Glendale Community College.

Ahmed, a first-generation college student, graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Arts with plans to study Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Arizona State University in the Fall. He has spent the better part of his adulthood overcoming his own health obstacles while reaching out a helping hand to newcomers to the community.

“Being on the autism spectrum is quite a beast of burden, but nevertheless I am grateful. Grateful for waking up every weekday and volunteering at our nonprofit staffing agency where we help transient Afghan refugees achieve the American pursuit of happiness. I am grateful for my family and how far I’ve come despite great financial and mental difficulty. It’s not easy to get your college degree while you have Asperger’s Syndrome, but I am living proof that it can be done. Without the team at the Office of Disability Resources and Services (DRS) at Phoenix College, I would have never achieved this life changing advancement in my life. ” – Ahmed

Ahmed is no stranger to difficulty. College life was not always easy and there were times he felt he might need to drop out due to financial constraints. He also juggled daily medicine, doctor’s visits, class, homework, food insecurity, and his volunteer time with the nonprofit. Though he faced many obstacles, Ahmed’s outlook on life is positively contagious.

“Every day of my life, I wake up before dawn, pray, take my medicine, and think about how blessed I am to have a home, a car to get to my volunteer job and class, and a college degree even though I have [Asperger’s]. Even with my financial difficulty, life couldn’t be better. Every time I find a job for one of our determined clients, write a referral letter, or even hand out a free monthly bus pass along with a free bicycle to get to their new job every day, it makes every volunteer day feel like the best day of my life. I am a fighter. A survivor. With my Phoenix College associate’s degree, I am a scholar.” - Ahmed