Accomplishment, teamwork and care for others are themes that run through Maimouna’s recommendation letters. One teacher wrote that in advanced math classes Maimouna was a terrific member of teams, making sure that everybody understood the steps in the solutions, aided by her command of several languages. She grew up in Harlem, but her parents decided to send Maimouna and her brother to Senegal, where the language of instruction in school was French. When she returned here five years later she was clear-eyed about what she saw. “Every time I get on the train or walk down the street,” she said in her essay, “I see someone asking for help in order to buy food to eat. When I see this, it makes me feel sorrowful.” So she signed up at a soup kitchen, even though it meant not bringing home money from her part-time job. In college she plans to study computer science. She hopes to use artificial intelligence in an app that would direct people seeking food or clothing to nearby places that could meet their needs. “She is going to excel in the STEM field,” one of her teachers wrote, “and happily help her peers along the way.”

Maimouna honored Sadie Dutcher, who led her honors math courses for two years, as her Teacher Who Made a Difference. “She inspired and gave me confidence in my ability to do math,” Maimouna wrote. 

Many thanks to Elena and Kenneth Sparling for sponsoring Maimouna through her college journey.