FAU Awards 20 Florida First-Gen Students Full Scholarships

First-generation college students often are more motivated to succeed than fellow students; however, they also face significant issues, particularly with respect to finances and acclimating to a post-secondary learning environment.

Florida Atlantic University is out to change that. Celebrating the college Class of 2022, FAU’s Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program has awarded full scholarships to 20 first-generation, low-income students from across Florida. The awards provide the financial resources and personal support to help them through college. A list of recipients and their high schools follows.

Through the program, students receive tuition, four-year on-campus housing and additional resources needed to graduate debt-free from FAU. From acceptance through graduation, every scholar follows an established path to ensure their success. ThroughThe Path, supplementary tools, including career planning, mentoring and financial literacy, among others, are provided to prepare recipients for successful collegiate careers and meaningful post-graduate lives.

The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program was developed by FAU President John Kelly and first lady Carolyn Kelly, along with Boca Raton philanthropists Aubrey and Sally Strul.

“Some of Florida’s most talented high school graduates accepted to Florida Atlantic University will never step foot on campus,” said Co-Founder John Kelly. “Not because they lack desire or are unwilling to work hard for a college education, but simply because they can’t afford it.”

A former first-generation student, Aubrey Strul understands the crippling burden of school debt and actively works to build the fund. To help catapult the program, the Struls gifted an initial investment of $1 million. The program was launched last year and granted full scholarships and comprehensive support programs to four deserving students. Since then, generous donors have significantly increased the number of students the Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program can assist.

Donations supporting first-generation scholars’ success are welcome online atkellystrulscholars.fau.edu/give/ or by calling (561) 297-4897.


Following is a list of 2018’s Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars:

  • Jaireen Ruiz – Lake Worth High School (Lake Worth)
  • Luisana Munoz – American Senior High School (Hialeah)
  • Connor Manford – Matanzas High School (Palm Coast)
  • Jacob Browne – Land O’ Lakes High School (Pasco County)
  • Ayanna Jarido – J.P. Taravella High School (Coral Springs)
  • Reginaldo Elie – Boca Raton Community High School (Boca Raton)
  • Megan Tongo – Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School (N. Miami Beach)
  • Williamson Emilcar – Boca Raton Community High School (Boca Raton)
  • Alyssa Lowe – Nova High School (Davie)
  • Kendra Flash – St. Lucie West Centennial High School (Port St. Lucie)
  • Tashyra Johnson – Belleview High School (Ocala County)
  • Aquanna Cartwright Atlantic Community High School (Delray Beach)
  • Luz Brito – Hialeah Gardens High School (Hialeah Gardens)
  • Maresa Rivellini – Lemon Bay High School (Charlotte County)
  • Valeria Tineo – St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale)
  • Michel Isaac – Boca Raton Community High School (Boca Raton)
  • Jacob Atkinson – Fort Myers High School (Lee County)
  • Jacob Shaver – Indian River Charter High School (Vero Beach)
  • Jessica Shaver – Indian River Charter High School (Vero Beach)
  • Torey Lundy – Stanton College Preparatory School (Jacksonville)

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