Sophomore receives $40,000 merit scholarship


Sophomore Samaya Iman received Emerson’s “Aspire Scholarship.”

By Hannah Nguyen, News Editor

A sophomore media arts production major received $40,000 in scholarship money each year after winning one of Emerson’s most prodigious scholarships.

Samaya Iman was announced as the recipient of the college’s “Aspire Scholarship”— which ranges in amount from $10,000 to $40,000 annually. The scholarship is typically awarded to incoming students at the top of Emerson’s applicant pool, and those that earn the scholarship must demonstrate high levels of academic distinction, leadership qualities, and community service, according to Emerson’s admission website.

When she discovered she won the scholarship, Iman was surprised and relieved—particularly because paying for college had been one of her major concerns about leaving home in Texas.

“I was nervous because I [realized] this was actually about to happen—I actually [had] a shot at leaving,” Iman said. “I’m grateful for the scholarship, and I’m glad that I took the chance on myself to build up my portfolio and was just active about wanting to learn more about something that I was interested in.”

Iman transferred to Emerson this semester, after having spent two semesters at the University of Houston. Emerson was her first choice of college after graduating from high school in 2020, but she decided not to attend due to a lack of financial aid, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a child, she did theatrical acting and briefly wanted to be an actress. At one point, she lost interest but rediscovered her interest after working on short films in summer programs. 

Along with her professional experiences shadowing and interning, Iman produced a short film that she wrote, cast, directed, and edited herself. She was also the creative director of multiple photoshoots.

Like many Emerson students, Iman considers herself a storyteller—a love that stemmed from her upbringing as an only child. She treated reading books, writing her own stories, and creating short films as forms of escapism. 

“It was just an activity to do [when I was] bored by myself,” she said. “When creating content or creating media, it’s very powerful because you can change people’s perspectives, you can inform people, and you can entertain them.”

Iman said she is looking forward to being around more like-minded and creative people at Emerson.

“It’s going to be a great place to not only make meaningful friendships but also just network because when you graduate these are going to be the people that you work with,” Iman said. “I want to put out the right messages and make people laugh, but I want to also inform people about important topics in a cinematic way.”