Mariam Hussain of Yucca Valley Selected as 2023 Greenleaf Scholar

The Copper Mountain College Foundation is proud to announce Mariam Hussain of Yucca Valley as the 2023 Greenleaf Scholarship winner.

Through a rigorous application process, Hussain along with five other finalists, Lola Alvarez, Carter Green, and Allison VanVactor from Yucca Valley High School, and Jadyn Bauer and Jason Pilayan from 29 Palms High School showed their stellar character in written and oral interviews. A celebration ceremony will take place on April 13, 2023, for all scholarship awardees.

“We’re incredibly proud of our Greenleaf finalists,” said CMC Foundation Executive Director Sandy Smith.  “Mariam’s hard work, focus, and dedication to her education is exceptional and inspiring.”

Hussain, a dual enrollment student at Yucca Valley High School, was chosen out of this highly competitive field to receive this year’s Greenleaf Scholarship.  The scholarship will pay tuition, books, and fees plus living expenses while she attends Copper Mountain College and will continue to cover those same expenses while she attends a university to complete her baccalaureate degree.

Hussain is the eldest daughter of an Iraqi-American household.  With two younger sisters, she is graduating early from Yucca Valley High School at age 16.

“Entering the medical field to work in the neurological field is my life imperative, something I have worked toward consistently for several years,” Hussain noted.  “My impulsion to achieve these goals has compelled me to not only graduate a year early, but to complete many of my general education requirements for my degree.  I do not desire to simply become a physician, but rather place myself on the forefront of change to better the lives of hundreds of people.  Attending a university has been a lifelong mission for me; and there is no doubt in my mind that I will succeed.

“As the eldest daughter in an Iraqi-American household, I shouldered a significant portion of the familial structure for my sisters since my parents have had to work a hefty number of hours for their small business. Being the manager of my family since I was 10 has shaped the conscientious, dependable woman I am today. I have had to learn how to guide and encourage my sisters while overcoming their resistance.

“Being the first in my family to graduate high school, let alone attend a university, in America has proven to be an unending challenge, but I will never admit defeat… My fascination with mathematics and physical sciences began from a young age; every question had an answer, yet each answer led to more questions, which fed my voracity to learn.

“Having known my goals since the fourth grade, I determined that my final year of high school was superfluous.  Nearing the end of my sophomore year, I was approved for early graduation from high school.  In June of 2023, I will graduate with a high school diploma and over 30 credits from CMC. My impulsion to achieve these goals has compelled me to not only finish in my junior year, but to complete many of my general education requirements for my bachelor’s degree, so I can complete my educational objectives as quickly as possible.

Endowed by local banker F. Roy Greenleaf Jr., the scholarship is awarded each year to a promising student that is interested in learning, is success oriented, has performed well in school and shows a desire to return to the Morongo Basin upon completion of her education.  Hussain, 16, who touted her work ethic of steel, will graduate with a high school diploma and over 30 credits from CMC in June. She said “People, afraid of the unknown, refuse to swim in the ocean; I intend to dive in headfirst and work diligently to accomplish my goals.” Ultimately, Hussain would like to attend UC Berkeley or UCLA to work in the neurological field of medicine.

The Copper Mountain College Foundation would like to thank all applicants for this year’s Greenleaf Scholarship and reminds high school seniors that a wide range of CMC scholarships begin accepting applications as of April 1.

For more information on how Copper Mountain College Foundation uses legacy gifts, visit

Top photo credit: Happy Kanuch, Yucca Valley High School.

Bottom photo courtesy of Mariam Hussain.

2023 Greenleaf Scholar Mariam Hussain