Homeless Student Earns Full Scholarship to Georgetown University

Rashema Melson, the Anacostia High School senior who has lived in a homeless shelter for the past two years, has gained local fame for the perseverance that she displayed in academics. Georgetown University has offered the 18-year-old girl a full scholarship for the excellence she displayed in graduating from high school with a 4.0 grade point average.

Melson has lived in the homeless shelter, which used to be D.C. General Hospital, where missing eight-year-old Relisha Rudd once lived.

“We have selected Rashema Melson for the resilience that she portrayed in her academic career. Despite the tough personal background she comes from, she pulled through and displayed excellence,” said Cinthya Salaz, director of Georgetown University’s Community Scholars Program.

Melson is eligible for two scholarships: the Community Scholars program, a scholarship program offered to bring ethnic diversity to Georgetown’s campus and the 1789 Scholarship, a scholarship funded by the alumni, parents and friends of Georgetown University to retain students who display excellence in academics.

“In order for a candidate to be invited into the Community Scholars program, the applicant must have a nomination from their high school admission counselor,” Salaz said. “When the application proceeds, the application goes through review by our team. Every year we receive about 150 applicants and only 60 percent make it through.”

As a part of Georgetown University’s effort to create a support system for new students, Melson plans to attend a five-week-long summer school program to get ahead in her undergraduate studies in biology.

“We are excited to bring diversity into our school by offering excellent students from the District the opportunity to be enrolled in our school,” said Charlene Brown-McKenzie, director of the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access at the university.

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