Succeed despite your circumstance. That is the motto of scholarship winner Amir Paul’s life. Born in Washington, DC to a native Washingtonian and Vietnam Veteran father whose PTSD caused him and his four siblings to enter foster care at the age of 10, Amir Paul remained dedicated to succeed despite the circumstances in which he found himself. At the age of 15 Amir received admittance into The Groton School in Massachusetts, which as he recalls “was the polar opposite from the streets of DC—from eating mumbo sauce to hollandaise.” Amir eventually went on to attend and graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University where he served as a mentor, member of the student government, rugby player, and fellow “social-scene enthusiast”.
Upon graduation, he began working full-time at the Department of Commerce in downtown Washington, D.C. while taking care of his 13-year old brother. Remaining true to his commitment in helping others, Amir worked one night a week for a non-profit dedicated to helping DC youth gain entry into college, which boasts a 90% success rate. After a year at the Department of Commerce, Amir married and moved on to the Department of Veteran Affairs, where he is today. Amir shared, “I am now the proud father of a 6-month old baby girl whose nickname varies based on her situation (i.e., fussy baby, sleepy baby, smelly baby). My career mission is to work for agencies that need hard-working employees to improve their current state-of-being to improve the services they provide and increase morale.”
“I am forever grateful to Pam Spearow—who is a Key graduate and the person who not only told me about the program, but encouraged me to apply” shared Amir. “Not only has this program made me a much better employee, it has made me a better father and husband through understanding myself better.”
“When [Director] Bob [Tobias] told me that I won the Don Zauderer scholarship, I was speechless. I became even more humbled to receive this award when I learned more about all that is Professor Zauderer, whose transformational leadership and ‘professor wit’ has made a tremendous impact on all of his endeavors. By no means do I consider myself worthy of this award but I guarantee that I will do everything that I can to become worthy of an award that honors Professor Z.”
Congratulations to Amir, a student who embodies the Key mission and values.