YPSILANTI – “My mom insisted on it,” said Synene Abukaram, Eastern Michigan University sophomore and winner of the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway program during the Big 10 Championship on Saturday, Dec. 4. Abukaram took home the $100,000 grand prize after her mother encouraged her to apply.
To enter the scholarship challenge, participants submitted videos on TikTok explaining their career goal and their plan to achieve it. Abukaram entered a TikTok video highlighting her family and the important women in her life.
“Coming from a long line of powerful women, each of them took a chance and stepped out of their comfort zone,” said Abukaram. “So when I did the TikTok video, I knew I had to mention them.”
Dr Pepper then selected Abukaram to compete in a football tossing competition during the Big 10 Championship in Indianapolis. She practiced with a family friend, who helped her train for the challenge by transforming a cardboard box using the dimensions provided by Dr Pepper.
“My friend helped me by going over different ways to throw the ball,” said Abukaram. “At one moment he decided it was too easy, so he would roll exercise balls at me for a distraction.”
After training for a couple hours each day for three weeks, Abukaram’s dedication and athleticism paid off.
Abukaram, who is majoring in athletic training and is on the EMU rowing team, said she’s thinking about studying abroad, but her primary goal is becoming an athletic trainer for the Indianapolis Colts. In her spare time, Abukaram is a coach and referee for youth soccer teams.
“Thank you Dr Pepper for this opportunity,” said Abukarum. “I met so many amazing people including the other contestants Jennesa and Matt.”
To-date, the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway has provided over $12.5 million in tuition to students across the country.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 16,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.