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NAPLES, Fla. (May 20, 2021) – Scholarships for college students are typically designed to support their academic endeavors. But when Dr. Massoud Eghrari and his wife, Tayebeh, established the Isabella Eghrari Scholarship in 2011 to honor Dr. Eghrari’s late wife, Isabella, they added a twist: The scholarship is available to students who have completed their first semester of college with the stipulation that they must spend the funds on something special just for themselves.

Selena Jarquin Vanegas

Selena Jarquin Vanegas, Florida State University

Dr. and Mrs. Eghrari, together with the charitable foundation committee, selected the 16 students who were each awarded $500 during the Isabella Eghrari Scholarship ceremony via Zoom last December.

To express their gratitude and share how they spent the scholarship funds, students recently wrote thank you letters to Dr. and Mrs. Eghrari.

Selena Jarquin-Vanegas, a Florida State University freshman, indulged her love of reading by purchasing more than 30 books with her scholarship money.

Ruthamar Bellevue, Emory University

Ruthamar Bellevue, Emory University

“The books span a variety of genres, mostly fantasy, with gorgeous covers and just as beautiful writing,” Jarquin-Vanegas wrote. “They bring me immense happiness. I am unable to express how much this meant to me.”

Emory University freshman Ruthamar Bellevue said having the scholarship encouraged her to expand her horizons and explore the city of Atlanta.

“My favorite activity was going to the Georgia Aquarium on my birthday to see Beluga whales, different types of sharks, sea dragons, penguins and puffins,” said Bellevue in her letter. “Being selected as a recipient of the Isabella Eghrari Scholarship allowed me to enjoy my first year of college without worrying about not doing fun things because of my finances.”

Alex Soriano, Florida State University

Alex Soriano, Florida State University

Florida State University freshman Alex Soriano used his scholarship money to purchase a guitar and take a course on the stock market – fostering a passion that began when he was 16 years old.

“I want to create a portfolio and establish some passive income throughout my lifetime,” wrote Soriano. “I have truly come to love following the market, and it encourages me and drives me to wake up at 5 a.m. to read the Wall Street Journal or different news articles on a particular day’s reports. I thank you once again for your generosity and hope to someday pass the generous gesture over to other students!”

The Immokalee Foundation’s Postsecondary Program Coordinator, Paulina Magana, said Dr. and Mrs. Eghrari are an inspiration to the students.

“The Eghraris motivate the students to reach beyond their potential and never lose sight of their goals,” said Magana. “The scholarship also gives students the financial freedom to have a little fun and reminds them of the value of taking some time to enjoy themselves.”

For more than 30 years, The Immokalee Foundation has provided a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit

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