Eman Oria, a Dental Assistant Program student at UEI College in Sacramento, was named the recipient of a 2021 California Association for Private and Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) Memorial Scholarship. She was selected for the Mike Mikhail Memorial Scholarship for Recent Immigrants and First-Generation Americans.
Campus leaders at UEI College in Sacramento held a special ceremony on Friday, Sept. 10 where Executive Director Belinda Alcid presented the award to Eman in front of fellow students, faculty, and her family.
“We are thrilled to celebrate one of our students being selected for a CAPPS Memorial Scholarship,” Belinda said. “Eman Oria has been a dedicated student with nearly perfect attendance and excellent grades, being named in the Honor Roll every month since enrolling. She has worked hard in the Dental Assistant program and truly exemplifies what CAPPS seeks for the Mike Mikhail Memorial Scholarship.”
The scholarship’s namesake, Mohsen Aziz Mikhail — affectionately known as Mike — was born in Cairo, Egypt, and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Cairo University. In 1966, Mike boarded a plane to America with a dream and $11 in his pocket. He worked as a CPA after arriving in America and held Controller-like positions at both public and proprietary educational institutions.
“In 1983, Mike founded Western Career College with Dick Nathanson,” Belinda said. “Mike went on to own four schools, which he sold to Gryphon Colleges in 2004. He returned to career education in 2007, when he acquired Advanced Training Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mike Mikhail passed away in 2010.”
Like Mike, Eman is also an immigrant. She came to the U.S. from Afghanistan in 2015. She is married with two young children.
Eman and her husband faced a number of challenges in pursuit of a better life in Sacramento, but she set her sights on education as a way forward. This focus led to her enrollment at UEI College in the Dental Assistant (DA) program.
“English is my second language, so there were sometimes challenges with that, but UEI has great support and I loved it,” she said. “I chose this career field because I have always had a passion for helping people.”
Eman said being selected for the Mike Mikhail Memorial Scholarship was an uplifting surprise.
“My instructors encouraged me to apply, but I really wasn’t expecting to be picked,” she said. “When I found out the good news, I was so happy! So excited.”
Eman recently completed an externship at a Sacramento dental office. She also plans to pursue the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) certification.
“Congratulations to Eman for this well-deserved honor,” said DA Instructor Celina Fimbres. “She has worked hard throughout the program, and I know she will do well after graduation. We are all very proud of her.”
“I came to this country seeking a better life, and this whole experience has completely changed me and my outlook,” Eman said. “I am very grateful.”