The Rhode Island Foundation sent a Cranston student off to college with a scholarship honoring Roger Williams, the state’s founding father.
Angella Nakasagga won the four-year, renewable scholarship through the foundation’s Carter Roger Williams Initiative, which was launched two years ago by philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter.
“Roger Williams had the chance to further his education because of the people around him. Because of the vision of the Carter family, we have the opportunity to encourage students and their parents to think big about their future,” said Jessica David, the foundation’s executive vice president of strategy and community investments, who leads the project.
Nakasagga was one of six students selected statewide based on their academic achievement, financial need, appreciation for Roger Williams’ values and record of community service. They are eligible to receive up to $320,000 over four years. More than 160 students across Rhode Island competed for the scholarship assistance.
Nakasagga is a 2019 graduate of Cranston East High School, where she was a member of the Rhode Island Honor Society, student council, Bolts Broadcasting and the cheerleading squad. In addition, she did a PrepareRI internship and participated in the Brown University Pathways to Medicine Program.
In her application, Nakasagga wrote about what she learned from Roger Williams’ values.
“The steps he took towards creating a space for people to worship their God freely contributed to the freedom that permeates almost every area of today’s society, including religion and politics. As a result, Rhode Island has flourished through tolerance, acceptance, and pride in individuality,” she said.
Nakasagga is now attending the University of Miami, where she will major in health and neuroscience.
“My innate desire to participate in the economic and social advancement of underserved nations around the word through health care has served a self-motivation to pursue a degree involving public health,” she said.
“I hope to gain a robust framework through which I can understand the root cause of the health disparities facing women of color and address pressing health burdens in underprivileged communities,” Nakasagga added. “As I physician, I plan to work with underserved communities by proving medical services and increasing health education.”
The other five recipients are Jacqueline Contreras of Providence, Marissa Henley of Woonsocket, Ezra Monteiro of Newport, Abel Ndungutsye of Providence and Alfusatny Saine of Woonsocket.
In addition to the scholarships, the Carter Roger Williams Initiative hosts a website – findingrogerwilliams.com – that offers educational resources for students and educators and awards grants to schools to underwrite field trips to the State House.
“By providing access to resources and opportunities inspired by our state’s founder and his teachings, we are promoting a sense of place and awareness for all Rhode Islanders,” said the foundation’s David.
The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $114 million and awarded $52 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2018. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.