Education is one of the best investments an individual can make in her or himself. And while a talented and motivated student can succeed regardless of their economic circumstances, it is harder if they do not come from a well off or well-connected family. Sometimes much harder.

That's because education involves much more than being admitted to an excellent undergraduate institution. It requires succeeding while there and successfully navigating the job market or graduate school after college. At every step along the way, economically disadvantaged students are less likely to succeed than those from wealthy families because they don't benefit from the same support networks.

We founded the Avicenna Scholars Program to fight this trend, and support talented disadvantaged American Muslim students at every step in their education with advice, mentorship, and a small financial contribution. Our mentor network includes doctors, lawyers, scientists, and businesspeople who have attended some of the best educational institutions in the United States. They know what it takes to succeed while there, and upon entering the job market. At the Andala Initiative, we want to help our scholars successfully launch their careers, not just help them get into school.

We view this work as an investment in the American Muslim and broader American community. We hope that once a scholar graduates from the program, they are inspired to 'pay it forward' and help others as they have been helped. Our goal is to cultivate a cohort of young American Muslim leaders who are deeply committed to both their faith and their nation, one that grows in size and influence with every passing year.