Meet Kristy Khan, 2019 NJALL Scholarship winner.
Education has always been important to her, but personal and family issues interfered with completing her education during her teenage years. Taking care of family and work became her focus, working 50 hours a week for 20 years.
Kristy channeled her love of education by encouraging her 5 children, who all responded with their own fine achievements. With the support of her aunt, Kristy came face to face with the reality that it was time to focus on her own goals. She enrolled in the Bergen County Technical Schools High School Equivalency Program. Encouraged by her teacher, Jane Kelly, she earned her diploma in December 2018,
Wasting no time, Kristy immediately enrolled in Bergen County Community College, where her A’s and perseverance soon won her an invitation to the Honor’s Program and membership in Phi Theta Kappa’s national honor society. In December of 2020, Kristy completed her Associate’s Degree with honors and started to consider moving on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree.
Thinking practically, she applied to Montclair University, FDU and Berkeley College. However, during the application process, Kristy was surprised to receive a letter from Columbia University, encouraging her to apply. She assumed it was spam and ignored it, but Columbia was persistent. They knew talent when they saw it and continued pursuing Kristy by email. Having received acceptance from all of the colleges, Kristy intrepidly considered the possibility of attending this Ivy League institution. It was their stance on non-traditional students that was most appealing to her. It not only offered an Ivy League education, but was created for students just like her.
In making the final decision Kristy began to think, “I don’t want to limit myself, I do deserve this.” With the support and encouragement of her husband and family, along with a merit scholarship from the University, she is now proudly attending her first semester as a Columbia University student and looking forward to completing her Bachelor’s degree.
At first she worried about withstanding the pressures of an Ivy League institution, but soon realized that she was not alone and started networking with classmates. Although classes are challenging, her advisors suggested, “You need to think like a scholar”. This has helped Kristy adjust to the rigors of the Ivy League world. Mrs. Khan is now considering a major in psychology or anthropology, with hopes of having a career in Human Resources in the future.
More than anything else, Kristy is inspired by her children. “I want them to do better than me.” The feedback she receives from her children, shows that her return to school and achievements have inspired all of the family to value education and pursue their own dreams to the highest levels.
When asked if the NJALL Scholarship played a role in her journey, Kristy responded: “The scholarship was so reaffirming and gave me courage, knowing that NJALL had faith in me and was willing to help me reach my goals.”
NJALL is so proud of Kristy Khan and all she has achieved. We know that the sky’s the limit for this Superstar!
A Special Message from Kristy to other Adult Students:
“Congratulations on achieving one of your goals! It was a tremendous moment in my life as well, but trust me when I say, it only gets better from here. Whether you are considering applying for college or have already done so, remember you have an army of support behind you. NJALL provided me with much more than just financial support, it gave me a supportive community and that is worth so much more. They believed in me and had my back every step of the way, so, I know you will not be alone throughout this process.
College might be daunting for us nontraditional students, but as my favorite author said "fear is a poison produced by the mind, and courage is the antidote stored always in the soul" - Dean Koontz. So, always remember the power you hold because it will get you to the finish line. See you there!”
The 2021 Application is Available: HERE
Be sure to encourage your students/graduates to apply!