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Our Mission

The Link Scholars is an entirely youth-led organization that empowers historically underrepresented middle school students and is dedicated to ensuring their successful transition to and through high school.

Our Work

Many first-generation and economically disadvantaged students communities find their potentials constrained in boundaries, which is often a result of lack of funding and systemic disparities in public schools. We envision an inclusive educational community that nurtures, fosters, and supports students from diverse backgrounds to and through their educational endeavors. Through a robust, standardized curriculum that focuses on the high school application process, The Link Scholars engages with students during one of the most pivotal periods of their educational timeline: middle school. The first half of the program focuses on an intensive high school application preparation, and the second half on personal and professional development.


The Link Scholars was founded in 2016 by Maesha Shonar when she and her peers recognized an information gap: middle school students from under resourced communities found themselves under-prepared for their first year of high school. A first generation, Bangladeshi student herself, she wanted to move beyond just writing or speaking about her immigrant experience - but actually creating a space where these conversations are encouraged, understood and addressed. After interviewing educators and nonprofit leaders, she and her peers launched a pilot program in their high school focusing on mentorship and high school application awareness to local students in Harlem. The organization grew by Maesha and her peers leveraging their networks and tapping into their robust immigrant communities to establish a space where thinkers, doers, and educators coexist. It became a space for youth, by the youth -- a space where students’ passions are ignited, nurtured, and empowered.