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Scholar Spotlight: Kyew Doh Say

When Kyew Doh Say applied for the P&H Legacy Scholarship, he thought his chances of being selected were low because he was competing with so many other students. Months later, he was shocked to receive an email informing him that he was the selected recipient! The P&H Legacy Scholarship is a $10,000 renewable scholarship awarded by the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation for high school graduates who will pursue data science; industrial, electrical, mechanical or advanced automation engineering; machining; welding; or other mechanical trades. He credits his high school senior coach, Ana Ramos Contreras, for helping him find and apply for this scholarship.

During Kyew Doh’s junior and senior years at Alexander Hamilton High School, his coaches assisted him with more than just scholarships. They helped him with learning about colleges, applying to colleges and financial aid. He feels they were always there when he needed them.

I really appreciate College Possible for helping me achieve so much, especially my coaches. Without them to help guide me, I might have been lost in my junior and senior years,” he says.

Although he had support throughout high school, Kyew Doh faced difficulties growing up. When he was 9 years old, he and his family came to the U.S. from a refugee camp at the border between Thailand and Burma. The first few years in the U.S. were hard for him; he was not only learning a new language but adjusting to living in an entirely new place. He takes pride in the way he has overcome these difficulties.

Now, he will begin attending the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee to study mechanical engineering. He is interested in mechanical engineering not only because he would like to work with machines but because he sees the field as a way to help improve society. As a first-generation college student and the oldest of three siblings, Kyew Doh considers a college education essential. Being the oldest means he feels especially responsible, both to be a role model for his siblings and to help support his family. He knows his degree will open a door to many new opportunities.

“To me and my family, college means hope,” he says. “Right now, my mom is the only one working to provide for my family. Going to college means that I can find a job with better wages and be the main provider for this family so that my mom won’t have to work another day. I want to give back to my parents and grandparents who have sacrificed so much for me.”

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