The Muhammad Ali Scholars Program


2019 - 2021 Muhammad Ali Scholars Cohort 

Christabel Kusi Appiah

Portrait of Christabel Kusi Appiah

Public Health Major

Tya Cook

Public Health Major

"I wanted to become a Muhammad Ali Scholar because him and I shared many values, but it was his achievement of inner peace that encouraged me to apply. As it is something I am actively seeking and I know being in this program can help me find it, in similar ways Muhammad Ali found his. Similarly to Ali I want to create social change through my career. I would like to be an OB/GYN and create a safe place for women of color to be heard and taken serious." 

Mariyamo Issa

Portrait of Mariyamo Issa

Exercise Science and Psychology Double Major

"I wanted to be become a Muhammad Ali Scholar because I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about the man who is known as the greatest in history, and to grow out of my confined shell to be the scholar  know I can be. To me the Muhammad Ali program is a program that allows a regular student like me  to expand their capabilities to their highest potential and be a leader. In the future I hope that being a Muhammad Ali Scholar will give me the courage to speak up about the injustice not only in our communities, but around the world as well. I hope to be the change that will give our younger generations hope in what lies ahead."

Jadyn Langley

Portrait of Jadyn Langley

Social Work Major

"I wanted to become a Muhammad Ali Scholar because it would give me both the opportunity to grow and make an impact. It also will help build a foundation for what I want to do in the future. 

The role I play in social change is becoming educated on issues and then sharing what I learned with others." 

Doneah Marshall

Portrait of Doneah Marshall

Pan-African Studies Major

"Muhammad Ali’s time came before mine but our circumstances, growing up Black and poor in Louisville’s West End; being raised in the church and being encouraged to find our strength through God, are all too similar. For this reason, along with seeing how successful Ali became in making international social change, I was encouraged to become an Ali scholar. Like Ali, I hope to spread love and hope with the promotion of peace and equity. Along the way, I hope to develop a more in-depth understanding of the themes that defined Ali’s legacy: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. As I progress throughout the Ali program, I hope to establish a thoroughly active role in social change. In doing so, I plan to make my push for peace and my strive towards equity for all as natural to me as my desire to obtain them for myself."  

Coliwe Mhlanga

Portrait of Coliwe Mhlanga

Marketing Major

"I wanted to be a Muhammad Ali scholar because I want to grow as a servant leader and fighter for equity and justice. I want to become aware and invested in the Louisville community that I now call home. I strive to put the work and initiative into advocating for the issues that I recognize around me. I also want to be in an environment that recognizes the power and passion deeply ingrained in the young people of this generation.

The role I want to play in making social change is using my opportunities and recourses to uplift and fight for those around me. I will strive and advocate for human dignity and liberation. Through dedication and conviction I will use my voice and experiences to to make my community a better place to live and grow. I will turn up the volume on the unheard and pull back the blinds of the unseen." 

Dominique Roberts

Portrait of Dominique Roberts

Criminal Justice Major

"The Social Justice aspect of our scholarship curriculum is another reason why I wanted to be a Muhammad Ali Scholar. The Muhammad Ali Scholars program is very attentive, interpersonal and dedicated to impacting the Local, State, National and the Global community. The initiative to champion Peace and Justice in all corners of the globe our program activity participates in the building process to create a more compassionate world by rigorously training and teaching then allowing our cohort to demonstrate these skills.

Social Change is present in my life through addressing my biases, perjuries, and assumptions  so that I can be aware and advance the mission of Peace and Justice. I truly believe that once a person cleans their inner being that's when truly remarkable things will occur. My charge is to affect those in this Globe that are in pain or feel they are not important, I will uplift share and empower others to share their stories along with using my educational and life experiences." 


Mehwish Zaminkhan

Portrait of Mehwish Zaminkhan

Cellular and Molecular Biology Major

Past Muhammad Ali Scholars

The 2017-2019 Muhammad Ali Scholars

The 2015-2017 Muhammad Ali Scholars

The 2013-2015 Muhammad Ali Scholars

The 2011-2013 Muhammad Ali Scholars

The 2009-2011 Muhammad Ali Scholars

The 2007-2009 Muhammad Ali Scholars

The 2007-2005 Muhammad Ali Scholars

Ali Scholars Alumni Highlights

Past Scholar Social Change Projects

About the Scholar Program

The Ali Scholars Program, offered to full-time undergraduate University of Louisville students, is a unique two-year experience combining training, research and service in the areas of violence prevention, social justice and peacemaking in an urban living context. A special emphasis is placed on understanding and addressing the social conditions that impact those issues.

Through their work with the Muhammad Ali Institute, Ali Scholars develop expertise on a topic of their choice by participating in seminars with renowned practitioners, educators and activists. The Ali Scholars employ a practical solution-based approach as they produce scholarly research related to their “expert area” and its impact locally and globally. Equipped with a solid knowledge base and organizing skills, the Ali Scholars provide service hosting on-campus events, furthering the work of the Ali Institute and working alongside campus, local, national and international practitioners in their expert areas. Through the Ali Scholars program, students acquire both the intellectual and practical training to take action and leadership on issues of peace, violence prevention and social justice at home and abroad.

Ali Scholars can expect to:

  • Spend an average of three to five hours per week devoted to Ali Scholars activities, including office hours
  • Attend seminars and training sessions designed to provide a broad-based understanding of violence prevention and social justice issues
  • Learn skills in the areas of peacemaking, violence prevention, leadership, community organizing, project development and non-profit management
  • Select an “expert area” on which to focus.  Each student will - through research, exposure to practitioners in that area and hands-on service – develop expertise in an issue of their choice related to peace and social justice.
  • Conduct research on a topic related to his/her expert area
  • Provide service to campus, local, national or international organizations and efforts related to peace and social justice
  • Design and implement a local, national or international project related to his/her expert area. Projects will incorporate the knowledge and skills gained in the program and will be done in cooperation with appropriate organizations, agencies and practitioners.
  • Travel nationally and/or internationally
  • Be recognized and celebrated for their efforts

How to Become a Muhammad Ali Scholar

The Ali Scholars Program is a two year commitment; therefore, it is only offered to full-time undergraduate students (except Ali Street Scholars) who will be able to devote four semesters to the program.  Student participants will receive a $1000 scholarship each year, for a total program scholarship of $2,000.  Ali Scholars will be required to maintain a GPA of 2.7 to be admitted to and continue in the program.

The Muhammad Ali Scholars Program recruiting process takes place January through March every other year. The process includes an application with written essays, two letters of recommendation, and an individual interview. Contact the Ali Institute for the next recruiting season.