Aiman Masalawala, of Revere, was recently honored at the Massachusetts State House as North Shore Community College’s “29 Who Shine” 2017 designee.
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s “29 Who Shine” awards program recognizes an outstanding student graduate from each of the Commonwealth’s 29 public campuses. Students are required to be state residents who have strong academic profiles and a record of civic leadership and engagement.
A 41-year-old mother from India, who has been in the U.S. for ten years, Masalawala’s desire to obtain a college degree to become a teacher later in life was driven by heart-breaking circumstances. For seven years, she attended school daily with her special needs daughter, serving as her personal aid. She enjoyed both the time with her daughter and the classroom interaction. In addition, she volunteered at the school and even offered free tutoring to needy students. When her daughter passed away in 2012, Masalawala was determined to keep her memory alive through pursuing her own college education. She set about turning her own personal grief and loss into a way to help others in need.
Masalawala enrolled at NSCC and maintained a 3.83 GPA while also working as a teacher’s aide with special needs children in the Revere Public Schools. She notes that working with children is both her dream and her passion. While her volunteerism and civic engagement have shifted from her days in India where she organized free eye camps and walk-in clinics to provide free eye glasses and medicine to the rural poor, her compassion and commitment to serving others is unwavering. In the future, the special needs youth of the Commonwealth will have a true champion on their side.
Masalawala will graduate from NSCC on May 25 with a degree in early childhood development. She was awarded a two-year Foster Furculo Scholarship and will enter UMASS Boston this fall to work towards a bachelor’s in education.
“We congratulate the honorees recognized for their academic accomplishments and look forward to their continued contributions to the Commonwealth,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “The ‘29 Who Shine’ awards are an important recognition of the impressive work Massachusetts’ college students do to make the Commonwealth’s workforce the best in the country.”