Tolleson’s University High School graduate Kidist Taye was one of 10 Valley students who received a $3,500 diversity scholarship from Cox to go toward college education and future aspirations.
“At Cox, diversity, inclusion and equity are interwoven in our core values and part of what makes our company special. These unique perspectives enable our employees, our customers and our communities to be themselves and connect as part of a thriving culture. These diversity scholarships are a natural extension of how Cox continues to bring us together, and we are very proud of these students,” said Susan Anable, vice president of public and government affairs for the Cox Southwest region.
Cox partnered with local nonprofit organizations including Black organizations, Hispanic organizations, women and the LGBTQ community, to provide a total of $35,000 to minority students. The company had dozens of applications, and more than 50 volunteers of employees and representatives from the nonprofits helped go through the applications. Scholarship recipients were determined based on a scoring rubric provided by the Arizona Community Foundation.
Taye said she learned about the scholarship opportunity through school and found it compelling that Cox was so devoted to diversity. The scholarship was only open to minority students, and Taye is Ethiopian.
“I always knew Cox to be a communication service, something that helps with TV and phones,” Taye said. “When I was reading information about it, especially in the mission statement of the diversity scholarship where they value diversity and inclusion, it was really interesting to see the intersectionality in something that I didn’t know had core values of diversity, inclusion and equity. I just thought that it could help me thrive and that if I won this scholarship, it would be really rewarding.”
To qualify for the scholarship, she also had to be on track for graduation with a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 and be involved in leadership and community service. Already being involved in her local church, Taye said she focused on her own leadership there and how she was able to make a difference.
“My church is primarily led in the Amharic language, the primary language of Ethiopia. So, a lot of the younger generation was kind of unaware and distant from the older generation simply because of language barriers,” she said. “We helped establish this youth group for the sake of bridging those language barriers. We led services in English and saw the older generation work alongside the younger generation. It was something that I found very interesting and something I wanted to write about because it just showed how impactful bridging language gaps was within my own community and how we were able to better the South Phoenix community, where my church is located.”
Taye attends Washington University in St. Louis, studying global studies on a pre-law track with the goal of becoming an attorney. She said the scholarship helped her pay for the leftover tuition costs that remained after other scholarships she received, and it was a burden off her shoulders.
“It significantly helped. So, thank you to Cox and the donors. It was a really generous amount, and it really helped further a lot of what I want to do with my career,” Taye said.
“I really enjoy seeing problems solved through research and hands-on projects. I hope within my career — as cliche as it sounds — to make some sort of difference within my community and help bridge inequality that may be found within the legal system.”