Maryam Funmilayo

CEO & Co-Founder

Maryam is the brain behind Scholarship Plaza. Her bachelor’s and master’s (in Human Nutrition and Health Education and Promotion) education was funded by various scholarships.

Having received over 30 scholarships, Maryam has a passion for helping future and current college students in getting scholarship awards no matter their chosen academic majors. She is a staunch advocate of attending college without the burden of student loans.

She is a homeschool mom who is excited to help a lot more students, including international students, in their quest for education. She also writes grants for non-profit organizations.

Her experience made it clear to her that scholarship opportunities abound in the U.S. She therefore decided to assist as many people as possible to obtain academic scholarship. Scholarship hunting soon became her pastime.

In the last 16 years, Maryam has assisted her friends, colleagues and associates in exploring and obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and grants without any commercial interest. She got a lot of inspiration and mentorship from Jim Hohenbary, during her undergraduate studies at Kansas State University (K-State).

Jim, the Director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships at K-State, has been the main contact for K-State students interested in nationally competitive scholarships since 2000. That means he is a reservoir of experience when it comes to scholarship award selection process. He knows what scholarship committees need in an applicant.

He informed Maryam in one of his mentoring sessions that there were several scholarships that students simply do not know about or are not adequately equipped to take advantage of. This fact still holds true today.

He was therefore very supportive when Maryam informed him that she wanted to go into the business of scholarship consulting.

Jim is a strong supporter of Scholarship Plaza’s ethical endeavors to assist anyone who needs help attending or completing their college education.

We are glad to have him as our valuable chief mentor at Scholarship Plaza.



Muftah Lawal

COO & Co-Founder

Muftah holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, and has been editing scholarship essays since 2002. Having been an English and Mathematics teacher from his high school days, Muftah knows that a lot of students have difficulty capturing their feelings in words.

He has helped review several winning scholarship essays and statements of purpose. Being Maryam’s husband, he is privileged to have gained a lot of insight into the requirements of scholarship committee members from Jim Hohenbary.

His almost 20 years’ experience as a business manager is an asset to Scholarship Plaza.

Farooq Cheema


Farooq is an experienced educator and college advisor. Having started college when he was 15 years old, and graduating as an engineer from Purdue University, Farooq’s passion is helping others maneuver the US college admissions maze. He has visited over 300 universities and admissions directors. Farooq has helped US and international students gain admissions to one of their top 3 universities of choice.