In the Fall, I will be attending Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. I chose to attend Lincoln University, a Historically Black College(HBCU) because of my cultural, economic, and historical backgrounds.  I am an immigrant student from Senegal whose family migrated to the United States to find a better life and education for me and my siblings.  I was born in the U.S., grew up in Africa and came back with my family in 2019.  When I came, I did not speak any English. I only spoke my mother tongue of Pular and I also spoke French.  I am the first person to go to college in my family and this means a lot to us.  As the oldest sibling, my younger brothers look up to me and I have strived to be a good example and role model for them. 

When we moved to the U.S. in 2019, I was enrolled in the 9th Grade at John Bartram’s High School, in the Elmwood neighborhood of Philadelphia, and was in the ESL Program.  I was able to learn English and quickly improve my oral language skills with my teammates. I also worked hard academically to maintain a GPA above 3.0.  My hard work, discipline and dedication made me Team Captain of the basketball team. 

I feel blessed to receive this scholarship because through Nate’s love for his community and hard work in his community, young high school students, from low-income backgrounds like me, can benefit from this scholarship in attaining our educational goals.

As a graduate of John Bartram’s Highs School who lost two students to gun violence during my senior year, I feel the pain that Nate's family, friends, and community suffered due to his loss. To honor his memory, I will continue to serve my community as I already do through my after program and continue this work in college.  I currently do community clean ups and soup kitchens in my community on Saturdays. I plan to continue doing some more civic engagement work at Lincoln University to give back to my community as Nate did. 

As an immigrant student with many siblings and being the oldest, this scholarship means so much to me and my family because it will help me and go towards my education at Lincoln. I am thankful for this opportunity because one day, I would like to own my own Tech business and give back to my community as Nate did.

\​~ Kalidou Dia (Excerpts from personal statement)

Nathaniel M. Kirkland Scholar: Kalidou Dia