For DonorsFor Applicants

Ubuntu Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Melissa Sandoval
1 winner$650
Application Deadline
May 21, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 21, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High School Senior
Harlem, New York

Upon completion of High School, students differ in the future career paths they pursue. While there are many different avenues for students to take, most seek out opportunities in higher education. In fact, 16.2 million students matriculated into college last Spring 2022. 

Caucasian students represent more than half of the college bodies at their four-year post-secondary institutions as Black and Hispanic students enroll more in community colleges. 

In an effort to diminish this racial disparity, this scholarship will support a minority first-generation college student seeking a bachelor's degree. High School graduates from Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem who fit these criteria and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, please tell us your life story and the reasons behind your pursuit of higher education.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published January 22, 2024
Essay Topic

 What is your story and why are you pursuing a higher education?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Paulima Branch
Cardinal Spellman High SchoolBRONX, NY
“Why do you talk like a white person?” This was a question that at least one person from school would ask me. I never knew how to answer it because what did that even mean? Throughout school, I always prioritized my academics, which seems to affect the way I speak and act. Hearing things like “Why do you sound or act white?” made me feel like I wasn’t “black” enough. There was pressure to try to prove to people who I was. Other times, people couldn’t believe that I was “just black.” I had to be mixed with something else because of my skin tone and how long my hair was. I remember one time when I straightened my hair, almost everyone was shocked that my hair wasn’t short. These experiences made me question what being black really means. Was it that I had to “act” ghetto and listen to rap music about gangbanging, money, and crime? Why did it seem like my culture was engulfed only by negative things? Being the “non-stereotypical” black girl opened my eyes to how society views my people. Realizing this pushed me to further explore the meaning behind my race. Feeling disconnected from my culture, I planned to join the Step Team my sophomore year, a form of art originating from black culture. The activity piqued my interest, and I had prior knowledge of it beforehand. Being part of the Step Team, I was immediately accepted for just being the person I am. I didn’t have to change myself to fit a stereotypical label. I was able to lead my team while also being myself. I met many other black figures who accomplished many things in their lives and were very similar to me. People saw me for me and didn’t prejudge me based on the color of my skin. They saw me as a funny, sweet, and caring person who enjoys talking about a multitude of things. The way I acted and spoke was praised by the people around me instead of being viewed as only a “white” characteristic. I felt more included and more connected with my black roots. These experiences revealed that being black is not a monolith and that many different black people surround me each day. There are positive aspects of black culture where our people are talented, smart, leaders, role models, specialists, innovators, and so much more. Gathering these moments alongside my passion for helping the unheard, I plan to earn my bachelor's degree in nursing. After seeing the diversity my people possess, I noticed that many of my people still face being overlooked in the health field. Black women especially face misguided treatment in the medical field because some healthcare workers don't value black women's health concerns compared to other races. This scholarship will help me to be the person who is there for my people so that they are receiving the best healthcare possible. They should not be overshadowed or suffering alone. It will also help me achieve my goals of making sure no one gets left behind and reminding others that they are special too. I want to be a role model for others and show younger generations, who might have felt isolated like me, that there are people who look like them pursuing this amazing career. My people and I shouldn't have to limit ourselves to society's perception of us.
Katelynn Lugo
State University of New York at New PaltzBrooklyn, NY
Growing up in the ghettos of Brooklyn with a single mother who worked tirelessly to support us, I always knew that education was my ticket to a better life. As a high school senior, I'm now on the cusp of taking that next step toward a brighter future, and I couldn't be more excited. For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by the world of technology. From tinkering with electronics to exploring the inner workings of computers, I've always been drawn to how technology can change the world. But it wasn't until I discovered the field of cybersecurity that I realized just how much of an impact technology could have. In today's digital age, cybersecurity has become more important than ever before. As we increasingly rely on technology to store sensitive information and conduct important transactions, the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed. And as someone passionate about technology and making a difference, I knew that this was the field for me. But pursuing a career in cybersecurity isn't just about personal ambition - it's also about making a difference in the world. I've seen firsthand the impact that poverty and crime can have on a community, and I know that by becoming a cybersecurity professional, I can help make the world a safer place for everyone. My goals for higher education go beyond just earning a degree - I want to use my education to break the cycle of poverty and create a better life for myself and my family. I want to move out of New York City and experience life outside of the confines of my hometown. I want to be able to live freely and pursue my dreams without worrying about the constant struggles of living in poverty. But more than anything, I want to make a difference in the technical field of cybersecurity. I want to use my skills and knowledge to protect vulnerable individuals and organizations from cyber threats, and to make the world a safer place for everyone. And I know that I'm not alone in this journey. There are countless individuals out there who are also striving to make a difference in the world, and I'm inspired by their stories every day. I'm grateful for the support of my family and friends, who have always encouraged me to follow my dreams and never give up. But I also know that there are many individuals out there who face much greater obstacles than I do. The tech industry, like many others, has a long history of exclusion and discrimination, particularly towards individuals from marginalized communities. As someone who comes from a background of poverty and hardship, I know how important it is for the tech industry to be more inclusive and welcoming to individuals from all walks of life. That's why I believe that it's essential for us as a society to work towards creating a more equitable and just world. We need to break down the systemic barriers that prevent certain groups from accessing education and job opportunities, and we need to support individuals who are striving to make a difference in their communities and beyond. In conclusion, I'm excited for the journey ahead as I pursue higher education and work towards making a difference in the field of cybersecurity. I'm grateful for the support of my loved ones and for the opportunities that lie ahead. And I'm committed to working towards a more just and inclusive world, where individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life have the chance to pursue their dreams and make a difference.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 21, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 21, 2024.

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