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Local News

November 2, 2013

Hartwick student escapes war, earns scholarship

A Hartwick College student has a bright future thanks to a recent award.

Utica resident Paw Ser Soe, a recent transfer student from Mohawk Valley Community College, has been awarded a 2013 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. She is scheduled to graduate in 2015.

As a result, “my life has completely changed,” she said in a Hartwick media release. “The foundation has given me a great future that I thought could only happen in a dream.” She could not be reached for comment Friday.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship is given to a community college student to complete their bachelor’s degrees by transferring to a four-year college or university. It provides up to $30,000 per year to each of approximately 75 deserving students selected annually, making it the largest private scholarship for two-year and community college transfer students in the country.

Hartwick’s Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations Maggie Arthurs said she can’t comment on the student because of federal regulations. But the award fits in well with the college’s mission to provide access to students, she said.

Soe was born in the jungles of Myanmar, according to the release. With war in the country as a child, she escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand and lived there until age 19, at which point she immigrated to Utica to reunite with some of her siblings. There, she learned quickly and established herself as a top-notch student at MVCC where she founded the “American & Refugee Students for Closer Connection” organization. She also won the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, was a 2013 Coca-Cola Gold Scholar, and made the All-New York State Academic First Team.

In making her transition from MVCC, Soe cites the faculty and staff as one of the main reasons she chose to attend Hartwick College.

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