For DonorsFor Applicants

Amanda Panda Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Mar 9, 2024
Winners Announced
Apr 9, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior
Field of Interest:

Amanda was a dear sister who lived a passionate and unique life and passed away in January. 

Amanda was a zany artist who embraced her weirdness and spunk. Amanda had a deep admiration for art, music, and creativity and believed that an appreciation for the arts is an important foundation for a well-rounded individual.

This scholarship aims to honor the life of Amanda by supporting students who are pursuing degrees in art.

Any high school senior in Oklahoma who is pursuing an art career may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us where your passion for art originated and how you plan to use your art to bring positivity to the world.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published December 6, 2023
Essay Topic

Please share where your passion for art stemmed from and how you plan on using your talent to bring positivity in the world.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Ann Gao
Jenks High SchoolTulsa, OK
From a Math Genius, my father, and an English Expert, my mother, came an Artist. I definitely did not get their genes. Since I was four years old, my hands had an extraordinary amount of strength and dexterity; I grasped firmly onto pencils, color pencils, pens—anything. Perhaps that was love at first sight. As I entered elementary school, this love persisted, but it became complicated with the introduction of peer pressure. With five of my peers taking extracurricular sketching classes, I aspired to create better art, which could only be more realistic art—what was deemed in China as “good” art. However, when my family moved to the US, I entered a new school where art was taught in a new way: the teachers taught the mediums and techniques, but they also emphasized creativity and intentions, pushing me to attain the most valuable asset to an artist—my own style. Since then, I have taken more than eight art classes, from Art I all the way to AP. Throughout the process, I have only fallen more and more in love with art, especially painting. I love the feel of a brush in my hand, the rhythm of moving in between the palette, the water, and the canvas, and most of all, the way painting “forgives” me. When I make a mistake, I can always go back and apply another layer on top. The process of artmaking itself makes art a daily obsession of mine. On top of that, I also believe in art’s ability to communicate the most humane history. Texts may be more explicit, but images touch one’s soul. In my twelfth grade year, I stepped into the field of Art History with my research about Titian’s Madonna paintings. I read articles and books about how politics, religion, and culture affected aesthetic tastes and art styles. And vice versa, for it is the piety and virtues communicated by the Marian imagery that inspired a heightened sense of religiosity in Venice. I myself feel a greater love for God when I stare into her eyes, which are full of devotion to her son, Jesus Christ the Savior. I fell in love first with Artmaking and then with Art History. I know that my thirteen-years-long relationship with art is still the beginning. In the years to come, I aim to become an art curator at the MET as well as a freelance artist. I want to be surrounded by countless international treasures; I want to use my passion to not only cherish but also shed a new light on these masterpieces so that others can share my love for art. I have witnessed countless kids who whined and cried in art museums. I believe that the artworks in golden frames should not be something too “mature” for kids; instead, with the right push, they too can see a “virtual reality” of the past and appreciate art’s magnificence. The same applies for people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. In the meantime, I will continue practicing art. I believe that art is a mirror of the soul. My soul is not Monet’s, nor Da Vinci’s. I believe that my own soul is beautiful and impactful, and I want to use my soul to paint so that my art is a face-to-face conversation and that it can touch other people’s souls. My artistic talents do not resemble either of my parents’, but I definitely inherited their devotion to their works. Many have called me a workaholic when it comes to art, but in my opinion, I am paying art the respect and love it deserves.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 9, 2024. Winners will be announced on Apr 9, 2024.

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