Urwa Hameed, a pre-law Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences student majoring in political science and international studies who spent last summer studying abroad in one of Europe’s oldest conflict zones, has been awarded the 2020 Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship.

Presented to a junior each spring, the scholarship recognizes strong academic record, active engagement in Asian American issues, and service both on and off campus to the Asian American community.

Urwa Hameed

Urwa Hameed

“This award is a reaffirmation of my passion and strengthens my zeal for advocating for the rights of the Asian Americans both at Boston College and in the larger community,” Hameed said. “I hope to attend law school after graduation so I am better equipped to analyze, understand, and reform the current institutional injustices against minorities in the United States.”

The Aquino Scholarship presentation, which took place online, included remarks by University President William P. Leahy, S.J.

“I was overwhelmed with gratitude when Fr. Leahy announced my name as the winner. I wish the ceremony could have been [held] in person, but it truly was the highlight of my year, and I look forward to meeting the committee members when we return to campus,” Hameed said.

Through a McGillycuddy-Logue Travel and Research Grant, Hameed—who has a concentration in conflict and cooperation—studied the Philosophy of Peace and Hospitality  in Croatia and its neighboring countries, at the crossroads between the political and religious systems of the East and West.

“We spent almost a month traveling, studying, and meeting different individuals; each had a personal connection with the siege in Sarajevo and held contrasting opinions about the war,” she said. “We visited war memorials, listened to the stories of war survivors, and spent time in a warehouse where prisoners of war were kept under horrible conditions.

“This unique experience can never be translated with books, words or lectures, as the site itself had a major impact on us,” she added. “This trip taught me how to gauge my attention and understanding of sensitive events with contrasting perspectives.”  

Admitted as a member of the class of 2022, Hameed is on track for early graduation and is a candidate for the BC Law 3+3 Program. A UGBC senator, she serves as vice president of the Parliamentary Debating Union of BC, a Stride Lead mentor, and an ambassador for the AHANA Outreach Committee. She is a research assistant for the departments of Philosophy and Political Science. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, she planned to conduct research on the political rights of women in Pakistan this summer.

“I am thankful to God for deeming me worthy of this [scholarship],” Hameed added, "and would like to extend my thanks to all my professors who have been a crucial part of my development, my family for being my support system, and my friends who hold me up every time I am down.”

Also nominated for the Aquino Scholarship were:

Ivan Ip, a Carroll School of Management student pursuing a double concentration in finance and information systems, with minors in applied psychology/human development and computer science. He is BC’s Asian Caucus co-director of service and education and will serve as treasurer during the upcoming academic year. Ip works for EagleTech in O’Neill Library and as a teaching assistant in the Carroll School’s Information Systems Department. His volunteer work with non-profit organizations includes the Chinese-American Planning Council, United East Athletics Association, and Asian Community Development Corporation.

Branden Lee, a Morrissey College student and child of first-generation immigrants, is a biology major with a concentration in microbiology and hopes to attend both law and medical schools following graduation. A class council president, a mock trial program participant, and director of his own biomedical engineering organization, Lee hopes to combine his fluency in STEM, law, and medicine to improve the lives of others, especially Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Czar Alexei Sepe, a Morrissey College student majoring in political science and history with a pre-law focus. A campus ambassador for Teach For America and a UGBC senator, Sepe is involved in BC’s Knights of Columbus organization, a vice president of the Learning to Serve club, and is a member of the Jenks Leadership Program student advisory council.

University Communications | May 2020