Ypsilanti “My mom insisted,” said Senene Abukaram, a sophomore at Eastern Michigan University and winner of the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway Program. During the Big 10 tournament on Saturday, December 4, Abukaram took home the $100,000 grand prize after her mother encouraged her to apply.
To enter the scholarship challenge, participants submitted videos on TikTok explaining their career goal and their plan to achieve it. Abu Karam entered a Tik Tok video highlighting her family and the important women in her life.
“Coming from a long line of strong women, each of them took the opportunity and got out of their comfort zone,” Abu Karam said. “So when I did a TikTok video, I knew I had to mention them.”
He then selected Dr. Pepper Abukaram to compete in the football throwing competition during the Big Ten Championships in Indianapolis. She trained with a family friend who helped her practice the challenge by transforming a cardboard box using the dimensions provided by Dr. Pepper.
“My friend helped me by going different ways to throw the ball,” Abu Karam said. “At one point he decided it was too easy, so he was rolling exercise balls towards me for a distraction.”
After training for a few hours every day for three weeks, Abu Karam’s dedication and sportsmanship paid off.
Abukaram, who specializes in athletic training and is a member of the EMU rowing team, said she’s considering studying abroad, but her primary goal is to become a sports coach for the Indianapolis Colts. In her spare time, Abu Karam works as a coach and referee for youth football teams.
“Thank you, Dr. Pepper, for this opportunity,” Abu Karam said. “I’ve met a lot of great people including the other two contestants, Genesa and Matt.”
To date, the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway has provided more than $12.5 million in tuition fees to students across the country.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern University is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral, and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences, and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors, and concentrations are delivered through the university’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; education; engineering and technology; health and human services; And her high school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about the University of Eastern Michigan, visit the university’s website.