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Elevate Black Students in Public Policy Scholarship

Funded by
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Mechanism Ventures
1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Apr 30, 2021
Winners Announced
May 31, 2021
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners

Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.

Amidst COVID-19 and protests of police violence and racial inequality going on in every state, state politics is more important than ever. Despite this, not a single one of the US’s 50 state governors is Black.

Thoughtful, innovative, and cross-discipline public policy can be one of the most impactful ways to move communities and the country forward, but our pipeline of politicians and public policy experts does not reflect the diversity of our country.

We need more widespread reform and better representation, an issue that will require dedication across education and politics.

As one small part of this, the Elevate Black Students in Public Policy Scholarship will be awarded to a Black undergraduate or graduate school student who is striving for a career in public policy.

This scholarship is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series.

Selection Criteria:
Impact, Drive
Published June 10, 2020
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you hope to achieve through a career in public policy.

500–1000 words

Winning Application

Mya G
West Chester University of PennsylvaniaHarrisburg, PA
I have always enjoyed spending my time on something that creates positive change. I was involved in over eight clubs throughout my academic journey, including Key Club, International Club, Student Council, National Honors Society, Robotics, and more. My afterschool activities mainly include soccer and working at my current job, Target. But nothing compares to the volunteer work I have done at the Melrose Mentoring Program. Every week, 12 students, including me, would leave class at a previously determined time and spend a few hours at an underfunded school in our neighborhood. Each week, we would teach them science, technology, engineering, math, along with different career paths. Showing them that there is a whole world out there that they are encouraged to conquer. Every month, we went on field trips to see those in different fields change the world. Not only did this program open the minds of young students, but it left a mark on me forever. I learned that every day is a chance to do something remarkable. I live with my mother and brother, who are both disabled. My mother has scleroderma, and my brother suffers from epilepsy. Due to her muscles and connective tissue hardening, my mother has not had a job in over 10 years. We live in affordable housing and get our income through social security. I work at Target, so I do not have to ask my mom for certain items and to support her financially when needed. Everyone's aware that not every bachelor's degree guarantees a profit or a positive rate of return. But with the scholarship, I will be able to graduate with a degree I love without the concern of financing it. Even after I have chosen to attend a state school, I still can not afford it. With tuition rising faster than the average family income, students become more dependent on loans, which can take decades to pay off. My goal in life is to become an urban planner to end the housing crisis and exclusionary zoning. Exclusionary zoning has kept affordable housing out of specific neighborhoods through land use and building code requirements. Imagine every paycheck you earned; you had to dedicate more than one-third of it towards rent. That is the sad reality for a lot of residents in underinvested neighborhoods like mine. Instead of wasting money by creating cheap affordable housing, I would preserve the units already in use. We can not keep running away from a problem, thinking that we created a solution. Investing in these communities and providing education on revitalizing their neighborhoods and obtaining loans would benefit the community. It would ultimately give access to more funding and opportunities without gentrification and displacing residents. It would help local businesses gain more revenue, residents stay out of trouble and create proper schools for students To make a permanent change, addressing exclusionary zoning and making efforts to change it would genuinely benefit cities. Not only would it end concentrated poverty, but it would give low-income areas a better opportunity for better education and resources. Exclusionary zoning is responsible for the circle of poverty, underfunded schools, limited employment opportunities, high crime rates, and few government recreational spaces. Because I am apart of the future, I am prepared to make a change that will affect people today and future generations.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 30, 2021. Winners will be announced on May 31, 2021.

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