Brandon Zylstra Road Less Traveled Scholarship

Funded by
Brandon Zylstra
Learn more about the Donor
$12,414
2 winners, $6,207 each
Awarded
Winners
2
Finalists
11
Application Deadline
Aug 1, 2021
Winners Announced
Aug 31, 2021
Education Level
High School
87
Contributions

Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.

Inequality of opportunity is pronounced in the Black community in many different realms. Its prevalence in education is particularly important because education is one of the most powerful determinants of access to opportunity.

Even though the national college retention rate is 76%, for Black students, the national college retention rate is 52.1%. These disparities are caused in part by system inequalities in low-income areas.

To support an ambitious and determined Black student who may not have the financial backing to pursue their dreams, the Brandon Zylstra Road Less Traveled Scholarship will be awarded to two Black high school students who plan to attend college. This scholarship is just one of our many exciting scholarships for Black students.

To apply, please write about what you’re passionate about, what steps you plan to take toward a career involving this passion, and one time when you overcame tremendous adversity to excel despite the odds.

All Black students studying in the US are eligible to apply for this scholarship!

Diversity and Inclusion
Selection Criteria:
Essay, Ambition, Passion, Financial Need, Dreamer
Essay Topic

What are you passionate about? What steps do you plan to take toward a career involving this passion? Please also talk about one time when you overcame tremendous adversity to excel despite the odds being against you.



400–600 words

Winning Applications

Zaniya Taylor
Colorado Early Colleges AuroraDenver, CO
I didn't always know I was going to change the world. I have, however, always wanted to do something great. I've always been a passionate reader, and I think that somehow gave me the idea that I could do anything and come out triumphant in the end, like all main characters. That idea, combined with the phase of childhood when your career prospects are often changing, led to grand ideas about what I would be. I was a passionate leader, great at writing, and enthusiastic about learning as much as I could. I didn't know what I wanted to be, but I knew no matter what I chose to pursue, I was going to accomplish multitudes. Soon, I began to pay more attention to the world, where I fit into it, and those around me. I was also fortunate to have teachers and a family that took the time to show me the state of our world. I eventually concluded that I didn't like it. People who looked like me were getting their lives taken daily in the form of murder, incarceration, and a lack of affordable access to just about everything. I was taught that the future of everyone I knew was at stake because of generations of environmental abuse. I found that people I knew were getting separated from their families because of travel bans and immigration laws. Women were still being targeted while men sat back and enjoyed target practice. People grew so attached to their guns, they were defending murderers and terrorists. I began to realize that silent wars were waged every day against women, homeless people, immigrants, lower classes, "underdeveloped" countries, minorities, our friends, our families, the world itself. The world was up in flames. There I was in the middle of it with more problems to overcome than I could ever imagine. But what is a protagonist without a world to save? Eventually, I joined student council and used my position as president to organize school-wide walkouts against gun violence, donations to homeless shelters, climate change protests, and a recycling system all at my middle school. There, a seed was planted that eventually grew into my passion to make a difference, and soon, I finished middle school, left the country for the summer, and discovered another passion for traveling. Combining my passions and traits, I decided that I was going to start a nonprofit organization with different departments geared towards major world issues. Each department would have a team of people to work on creating solutions, a group to advertise solutions to the public, and a group actively working in the field to solve the problems. I would be the CEO of the organization and keep in contact with the board of directives to make sure we were sticking to our mission. This is now my dream. I know that to get there, I need education and experience. I attend Colorado Early Colleges Aurora so I can get my associate's degree early and learn as much as I can. I'm then going on to study and take classes on international development, business administration, sociology, and global sustainability. This will give me a better understanding of world issues and allow me access to the information that will help me find the solutions to our problems. It's not enough for me to simply try and make a difference. With a lot of help and hard work, I truly am going to change the world. After all, who better to make a difference than an over-ambitious black girl with the ability to dream big?
Emmalina Simonis
Oak Ridge High SchoolOrlando, FL

FAQ

When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Aug 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on Aug 31, 2021.

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