For DonorsFor Applicants

American Dream Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Apr 1, 2025
Winners Announced
May 1, 2025
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Citizenship Status:
Community service or volunteering experience

Pursuing a college degree comes with challenges for any student, but undocumented students face additional barriers and are forced to fight hard for their dreams. 

The “American dream” is a well-known concept and is desired by many families and students who come to the United States to pursue higher education or career opportunities. While the American dream sounds great, getting there can be difficult - especially for undocumented students who have less assistance when pursuing their degrees.

This scholarship seeks to support undocumented students so they have the resources necessary to thrive in college.

Any student who is not a U.S. citizen and has community service or volunteering experience may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us what your definition of the American dream is.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published May 24, 2024
Essay Topic

What is your definition of the American dream?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Sung-Ki Lee
Rush UniversityVirginia Beach, VA
When a potter molds clay to their heart's desire, it becomes a masterpiece; when an individual mold their life to their desires, it is the American dream. In essence, the American dream is unique to each individual as it takes shape after the originator's heart. The clay that I mold for my life is to become a physician who empowers and welcomes the most marginalized individuals through medicine and advocacy - this is my definition of the American dream. My parents immigrated to the U.S. in 2004, and as poor non-English-speaking immigrants, their lives were filled with challenges. I would hear my father's alarm go off at 4:45 AM as he got ready for work. During the day, he worked at a dry cleaner, and at night he worked as a janitor, coming home past 10:00 PM. There was one place, however, where their worries subsided: Dr. Chung's office. Understanding immigrants' obstacles, Dr. Chung took the time to listen to his patients and build patient relationships. As a kid, watching my parents find hope and calm as they spoke with Dr. Chung, I became curious about the possibilities of medicine - the potential of medicine thrilled me. Understanding that at the core of a physician was a heart to help others and a commitment to life-long learning, I sought opportunities to volunteer in underserved communities while pursuing my education. In one neighborhood I served, there was a tree with teddy bears hanging from it. I was appalled to learn that each bear symbolized the loss of a child's life by gun violence. Reflecting on these service experiences, I realized how larger system issues of social injustice can lead to health disparities in our communities. As my parents often hesitated to see a physician because of financial and accessibility issues, many families in these neighborhoods were not well connected to the healthcare system. Therefore, I want to become a physician who addresses my patients' health concerns and takes the time to recognize and care for patients' social, economic, and racial disparities. My journey to medicine, however, has not been so easy. As an undocumented and first-generation student, navigating the complex college application process was challenging. Colleges often viewed me as an international student and required me to pay international tuition, which my family could not afford. It was only by applying for scholarships and working to save since I was 16 that I was gratefully able to attend the University of Virginia. In college, I continued to work and translate for immigrant families as I pursued the pre-med track while majoring in Kinesiology. Through my challenges, I learned that through perseverance and determination, I could pave a path to pursue my goals even if it seemed near impossible. Currently, I am a Georgetown University student obtaining my master's in physiology before attending medical school in 2024. Though the odds may not be in my favor because of my citizen status, I believe I can mold my life into my American dream with enough persistence, resilience, and dedication.
Mamalee Milton
Johns Hopkins UniversityWASHINGTON, DC
Mamalee Milton Eligibility Requirements Do Not Define Me. I chose to live my American dream without eligibility requirements hindering my progress because I decide to create an innovative space for myself where I thrive, appreciate the community I live in, and extend a loving hand to those in need. Like other dreamers, I have faced a lot of challenges due to my status either academically or socially. The most outstanding rejection theme being eligibility criteria and to some extent ‘thank you for applying’. I live with my mother who works a cash job as a kitchen staff in a restaurant. Due to her ill health, I feel obligated to help financially to offset some of the bills. However, I find that no matter how hard we try, our family struggles with poverty and our future seems uncertain. There are days where I must stand in a long line to get a bag of groceries from the food bank; not what we crave or would love to eat, but just to keep the hunger at bay to survive the day. Moreover, the memory of my mother being taken to court because we did not have enough money for rent was disheartening. This was because our status and eligibility criteria prevented our family from accessing resources in the community. I felt like we were walking in circles and my potential was limited. After being rejected severally from paid internships, I did not allow eligibility criteria to define me, but went ahead and applied to community services and unpaid internships with organizations that were welcoming to dreamers, and I opted for valuable experience to advance my academic career, and this earned me the President’s Volunteer Service Award. I volunteered at the Nurse’s station at Christ House, an organization in the Washington, D.C. that provides compassionate care to people experiencing homelessness with acute medical needs. In this position, I was able to interact with nurses as well as the patients and understood their need for care as they shared their stories and struggles in life. I was assigned to make a schedule to remind patients to take their medications and to place a call for them to reach their family members for emotional support. This experience taught me resilience, awakened my compassionate mind, and helped me to live wisely in good and bad times. The attending nurses provided quality care that inspired me to seek a career in nursing; and currently, I am a nursing student at Johns Hopkins University. I choose to live my American dream on a solid foundation to support my desire to help others find specialist support for their healthcare needs in my community. Since healthcare practices keeps evolving, my professional goals are to optimize my efficiency in the nursing field by developing and improving my skills to remain competitive, provide quality care to my patients, and get certified to validate my knowledge and skills to practice higher standards of care to people in need of healthcare. I have the determination to walk in the path of knowledge. My community and my family have demonstrated their support towards me at different levels of my life and educational journey. Using my college training to give back is one of the ways I anticipate showing my heartfelt appreciation for the love, support, and encouragement I received growing up. If awarded the American Dream Scholarship, it will positively impact my college experience and help me to focus and finish my degree. I am determined, I am born ready.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 1, 2025. Winners will be announced on May 1, 2025.