(Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently honored Azana Sall and Izdihar Benjamin, both of East Orange, New Jersey, for being named the Essex County recipients of the 2020 Scholarship Program Award from the New Jersey Association of Counties (NJAC) Foundation and Investors Foundation. The Board’s commendations were sponsored by acclamation and delivered to both recipients, in lieu of a presentation ceremony, due to gathering restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scholarship award recognizes distinguished students from technical and vocational schools who plan to pursue higher education in the State of New Jersey. Investors Foundation and the NJAC Foundation award the grants to fund the honorees continuing education at a county college, or a state college or university.

Azana is currently a freshman at Montclair State University majoring in Biology, and working towards earning a Bachelor of Science degree. After college, she plans to go into medical school, obtain her M.D., then apply for residency in a local hospital. Her career goal is to become an OB/GYN, and at some point own and operate her own clinic. Her ultimate goal is to change the course of healthcare for African American women by treating diseases affecting women and children, and improving access to quality health care.

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Izdihar is a recent graduate of Essex County Schools of Technology, West Caldwell Tech Campus in West Caldwell, New Jersey. She displayed academic excellence throughout her high school tenure, and was very involved in her school’s community. She was an active member of the Key Club, the National Honor Society of High School Scholars, and was also a Senior Mentor. She currently attends Rutgers University where she is majoring in Early Childhood Education.

She is described by her teachers as a hardworking, ambitious and dedicated young lady who is committed to making a difference in the world. She has made her family extremely proud and draws inspiration from her late great grandmother Sallie Coleman, who served as an assistant to former Freeholder Leroy Jones, Jr. and current Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver.

The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders congratulates Azana and Izdihar on being named recipients of the 2020 Investors Foundation Scholarship Program Award from the NJAC Foundation, and wishes them great success in all their future endeavors.