For any student, a full scholarship to Duke University is a remarkable achievement. For Utica Community Schools 2018 graduate Dina Qiryaqoz, she can claim that achievement – times two.
Based on her academic achievements, Qiryaqoz has earned both a QuestBridge and a Rubenstein Scholarship to Duke University for full tuition and room and board.
“This is something I have worked for my entire life,” Qiryaqoz said. “It is absolutely incredible. This is my dream school.”
The QuestBridge scholarship matches high achieving students with full scholarships at 40 of the nation’s top universities. The David M. Rubenstein Scholars Program awards scholarships based on academic achievement, resilience and commitment to social engagement. Combined, the scholarships that Qiryaqoz has earned exceed $700,000.
Qiryaqoz, who graduated this spring from the Utica Academy for International Studies, plans to use the scholarships to pursue a career as a neo-natal surgeon.
In addition to the Duke University scholarships, Qiryaqoz was selected as a scholar through the Horatio Alger Association. The association selects 106 students – out of more than 40,000 applicants – to receive up to $25,000 in scholarships and attend a leadership conference in Washington, D.C.
The conference, held in April, allowed Qiryaqoz and other scholars to meet with 2018 national award recipients recognized for representing the group’s core values of perseverance, integrity and commitment – such as Jimmy John’s owner James Liautaud, former housing and urban development secretary Alphonso Jackson and musician Reba McEntire.
Qiryaqoz credits her UCS background as a key to the success she earned this year. “It’s the connections that you make and the people that you meet here,” she said. “They want you to succeed.”
Specifically, she feels the unique opportunity to attend an International Baccalaureate high school has provided the confidence and experiences for her next chapter as a Duke University Blue Devil. “I have grown at this school,” she said. “I have matured here. I feel very prepared for the future.”
At UAIS, Qiryaqoz was honored as a 2018 valedictorian and is a full candidate for the International Baccalaureate Diploma and a Seal of Global Language. She also participated in Leadership Macomb, Key Club, National Honor Society, Forensics, Amnesty International, and the school’s Medical Club. She volunteered at Beaumont Hospital and Hospice Center of Michigan.