Aditta Riha

Aditta hails from Orlando and graduated from Maynard Evans High School prior to attending UF. She is a freshman majoring in Occupational Therapy and is one of the new 50 scholars that were selected to join MFOS this spring.

Aditta met eligibility requirements initially however, an array of incidents prevented her from getting funding from the program. According to Aditta, because her Internet browser blocked all her pop-ups she was unable to see the information sent by the program. She ended up coming to UF with other financial resources, but it was during winter break that she got an early Christmas present.

One of her friends posted on Facebook that she had gotten MFOS. Aditta was quite confused since she was aware that MFOS recipients were only inducted at the beginning of the fall semester. She immediately emailed Leslie Pendleton, the Director of the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program to ask her if the scholarship was still funding because she saw that her friend had received MFOS when she was also eligible for the scholarship. Ten minutes passed after the email was sent and Leslie called Aditta and said "Hey Aditta, you're actually on the list of the new 50 scholars who will be funded by MFOS". If only Aditta had waited a few more minutes she also would have received a phone call about her receiving the scholarship. Regardless of Mrs. Pendleton calling her, Aditta was in disbelief and ecstatic about this scholarship.

Coming from a low-income background and a history of problems with immigration, this scholarship represented a fresh start to Aditta. Her parents came to the United States from Bangladesh for a better life; so receiving this scholarship was a life blessing since her parents at the time were struggling with finances as well as her dad encountering immigration problems which was a setback for her entire family, and more heavily for Aditta.  The hardships she was bombarded with threatened her attendance at UF along with living in the United States where she would have moved with her parents to their native country.  This scholarship is beyond a blessing in her eyes, because it allowed her to stay in this country and attend her dream school and not have to stress about financial issues.

Being first-generation and majoring in occupational therapy allows her to help disabled people and make a significant difference in someone's life. She wants to be an inspiration to her younger brother and cousins as well as other students who think that college is not an option for them. Currently, Aditta is involved with the AIM program, Jamaican-American Student Association, MAPS and works for the Office of Academic Support, but she hopes to continue to grow professionally and personally as she continues her journey as a student at the University of Florida.