Ayaan Baloch doesn’t sit and wait for opportunity to knock on his door. He has made his path by being proactive. That strategy has earned him a prestigious full scholarship and led him to becoming a new Redbird when he enters Illinois State University in the fall to study computer science.
Born in Toronto to immigrant parents from Pakistan who settled in Canada before coming to the United States, Baloch said theirs is a close-knit family. His parents have provided love, support, and even inspiration.
“This scholarship means a lot to me because of the hard work I put in in high school,” he said. “But it makes me proud that I’m helping my parents who have been through so much.”
Baloch’s efforts have paid off as he’s been awarded a McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship, which provides free tuition to students who have a history of leadership, community service, and commitment to the community.
As a dedicated student, he was in the school library working on an assignment when he got the important email message.
“This email popped up saying, ‘Hey, Ayaan, you’ve won a full scholarship,’” he said. “I shared the news with a couple of friends, then went home, and Mom had gotten an email, too, so we hugged it out. Dad had also gotten the email. It was a very happy day.”
His mother and father, Yasmeen and Alam, arrived in Canada in the early 2000s and then came to Bloomington-Normal in 2012 when their youngest of three sons was 8. Both older sons—Ali ’18 and Omar, who will graduate in 2023—have Illinois State connections. In a short period of time, the Baloch family has built a strong Redbird legacy.
Now 18, Ayaan Baloch, a 2022 Normal West High graduate, has been busier than a lot of incoming freshmen. His resume is filled with impressive accomplishments.
He’s already experienced doing research at the world-renowned Argonne National Laboratory, and he held several leadership positions during his high school years. He served as president of both the National Honor Society and the National Math Honor Society. In addition, he was vice president of public relations on student council and was one of only 11 seniors to serve on the class board.
That’s not all. He recently completed his associate degree in computer science via an opportunity offered through his high school and Heartland Community College. In addition to living at home this fall, the early start on college is another way to help his family, he said.
“My associate degree just came in the mail, so I should be graduating early with my bachelor’s degree,” he said. “ISU is a financially good choice, and my brothers had a good experience here.”