Beating the Odds: Aitbouchireb earns full tuition to Bryn Mawr


Senior Rem Aitbouchireb received a full tuition to Bryn Mawr through the Posse Foundation.

Written by Ajay Nair

One week.

Senior Rem Aitbouchireb had the best possible news. She had earned a $200,000 scholarship to a prestigious college.

But she had to keep it a secret. She couldn’t tell anyone, including her family.

She had to hold in the excitement for one week.

The secret is out now. Aitbouchireb received a full tuition scholarship to Bryn Mawr, a women’s liberal arts college in Pennsylvania.

“I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone because [Posse] was still notifying other students as to whether they were accepted or not,” Aitbouchireb said. “Therefore, some students were notified earlier than others. I felt anxious to tell but also satisfied with knowing that I knew and that was all that mattered.”

Aitbouchireb received her scholarship through The Posse Foundation, a college access and youth leadership program. Posse seeks students like Aitbouchireb who demonstrate outstanding academic and leadership potential.

Graduate Mariah Menendez told Aitbouchireb about the scholarship.

“The way she described this scholarship was much more than just the full tuition, but in fact, an opportunity to meet such diverse and talented individuals,” Aitbouchireb said. “I have always wanted to travel and study out of state, so when I noticed Bryn Mawr was one of the choices, I was thrilled”.

When she learned she had been awarded the scholarship, she was shocked.

“But more so, I feel blessed and honored to have been selected. This opportunity means a lot to both me and my family. I plan to take advantage of every last penny and to become the first college graduate in my family,” she continued.

It is no easy task to become a Posse scholar, especially when only a handful of students are chosen. First, students must be nominated by a previous Posse scholar or apply through their counselors. Then there is an interview. Out of about 100 Houston-area students to be selected for the first interview, about half were chosen for one-on-one interviews. Only about 20 are chosen for each college or university in the program to advance to the final round, where they meet with admissions officers and Posse trainers. In the final round, only ten students are selected.

Aitbouchireb is one of ten accepted by Bryn Mawr.

She wasn’t alone on her journey to the scholarship. Social Studies teacher Eugenia Volkova wrote one of the five letters of recommendation for Aitbouchireb.

“I felt some pressure of responsibility to provide a letter that would display Rem’s talents and achievements in the best light possible,” Volkova said. “Rem has a lot of potential and has worked very hard, so she deserves all the support and the best of opportunities.”

“Writing the letter was easy because I am so very proud of Rem in every way. The fact that she has a great sense of humor and that she is very down-to-earth makes it even easier to connect with her and enjoy her company. As excited as I am about her future, I know I will miss her a lot when she graduates.”

Aitbouchireb hopes to be a role model for other students who are pursuing scholarships.

“Though this may seem overstated, never give up. Take advantage of every scholarship Mr. [Jeremy] Gilbert sends to you. Though you may take some major ‘L’s’ (as have I), continue reaching out and applying to as many [scholarships] as possible,” she said.

“All you had to do was sit your heinie at a computer and get to it!”