Fatima Santillan, a Gainesville campus-based junior Political Science Major with a Pre-law Concentration, has been awarded the Dr. Barry Friedman Scholarship in Political Science & International Affairs for the 2024-2025 Academic Year. She follows in the footsteps of Victoria Landa, our inaugural recipient. 

Fatima flanked by her Academic Advisor Dr. Trey Wilson and PSIA Associate Department Head Dr. Raluca Viman-Miller

The $1,000 grant comes courtesy of our PSIA Department scholarship which seeks to make learning more affordable, reward students that study hard, and show our students that the PSIA department truly cares about them. The scholarship is named in honor of Professor Emeritus Dr. Barry Friedman, professor of political science from 1992-2021.      

The Scholarship Selection Committee, headed by Associate Department Head Dr. Viman-Miller selected Fatima after receiving various deserving and high-quality submissions. When asked about the selection process and what made Fatima stand out, Dr. Viman-Miller said that “Fatima is a hard-working student with big dreams and a bright future ahead. We had a lot of deserving applicants, but Fatima’s submission stood out because of her academic credentials and the breadth of her involvement with the department. We want to congratulate her and let her know how proud we are of all her achievements so far.” 

Fatima hails from Gainesville, GA and is a graduate of Gainesville High School. When asked how she felt about being awarded the Dr. Barry D. Friedman Scholarship, Fatima said “When I first got the email I felt an incredible relief off of my shoulders because I come from a single income household and I’m a first generation student, so having an education is something that I value and something that I don’t take for granted.”    

“In my past education I had been told to limit myself and be more realistic with what I wanted to do. However, when I got to the University of North Georgia and started working with the Political Science & International Affairs Department, I had a completely different experience. My professors were so supportive from the moment I walked into the classroom, especially Dr. Bibek Chand, Dr. Trey Wilson, and Dr. Dwight Wilson. They emphasized that these limitations were placed on me my whole academic journey, but they are what gives me this unique perspective to offer, and they should be used as strengths not weaknesses. That’s why this scholarship means so much to me, because now I can keep funding my education and I can keep striving for my dream of being an immigration attorney and giving back to my community.” 

Congratulations to Fatima on becoming our second recipient of the Dr. Barry D. Friedman Scholarship! 


[Author: Morgan Adams, PS ’24]