For DonorsFor Applicants

Andrew Michael Peña Memorial Scholarship

1 winner$3,000
Application Deadline
Jun 18, 2024
Winners Announced
Jul 18, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student
Has struggled with mental health and/or drug addiction and is in recovery
Desired Career Field:
Mental Health or Substance Abuse Treatment

Andrew Michael Peña was an incredible and cherished son, brother, uncle, grandson and friend who tragically passed away from a drug overdose.

Andrew was a generous and loving young man who loved his family and friends. He had the most wonderful smile and an infectious laugh.

Andrew had struggled with drug addiction and mental health before his death, obstacles that an increasing number of young people are wrestling with. The stigma around mental illness and the lack of resources to help people using drugs become, and remain, sober have contributed to the early endings of too many lives. Raising awareness and building support communities for students in recovery is crucial to saving lives and creating a healthier, happier world.

This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Andrew Michael Peña by supporting students who have struggled with mental health and drug addiction and are pursuing careers in mental health treatment and/or substance abuse treatment. Recognizing the intricate link between mental health and substance abuse, where nearly 50% of those with severe mental health disorders also face addiction challenges.

Any high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student who is in recovery from drug addiction or a mental illness and is pursuing a career in mental health or substance abuse treatment may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us about your personal educational journey, the challenges you have faced with mental health and/or substance abuse, and how you have navigated your path to recovery.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published February 13, 2024
Essay Topic

Please share with us your personal journey, the challenges that you have faced, and how you have navigated through your recovery.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Harper Murphy
Tamalpais High SchoolMILL VALLEY, CA
Everyday I am reminded of the mental health struggles throughout my school community, society, and worldwide. They can take many forms including substance misuse, anxiety and panic attacks, or suicidal thoughts and actions. At a minimum, mental illness can isolate us from our close friends and family, making each day increasingly difficult. However, these challenges often result in even bigger issues within society itself, for example, substance abuse, homelessness, unjust incarceration, and accidental death or suicide. I have been surrounded by multiple people strongly affected by mental health issues, including my uncles, grandpa, and grandma, for my entire life. I have witnessed first hand their ups and downs: losing their children, fighting in a war, alcoholism and addiction, and bipolar disorder and depression. As a close family member I am deeply impacted by their struggles and the impact it has on my own family, as I love these people dearly. They have greatly influenced my life in many ways, causing me to want to learn more about mental illnesses and form goals to treat and combat them. In many ways they have made me the person I am today; a driven and hardworking person who advocates for myself and others within my community. Someone who puts one hundred percent into pursuing my quest for truth, justice, and change in the classroom and beyond. Having a positive impact on the world around me, both inside and outside of school is incredibly important to me. Currently, I strive to help others as a Peer Resource Counselor. We educate our classmates and community on mental health, sexual health and substance use so they may make more informed decisions now and in the future. Beyond the classroom, I’ve created my own organizational company, Pantries for Purpose, that donates the profits to mental health organizations that help treat, provide resources, and house people with mental illness and to research foundations that work toward finding effective treatments for mental health. As an intern at Humans of San Quentin, I work to denounce stereotypes in my community and humanize incarcerated people while also supporting their mental wellbeing. My work with incarcerated people has taught me that the first step toward changing the world is helping people as individuals. There are many ways this can be attained, for me, improving mental health enables me to make the greatest impact. I am committed to solving these issues as I advocate for others’ mental health and promote inclusivity within my high school community and I hope to use my education in Neuroscience and Psychology to address the mental health crisis. I’m eager to continue my work as an advocate for mental health. My pursuit of the importance of personal connection, something that is much too frequently lost among those with mental health issues, motivates me. Learning and research for the purpose of creating change in our current community systems intrigues and excites me. As a compassionate human and college graduate, I will continue fighting the unending battle for people who struggle with mental illness.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 18, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jul 18, 2024.

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