Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship

Funded by
Calvin Rosser
Learn more about the Donor
1 winner
Application Deadline
Jun 1, 2022
Winners Announced
Jul 1, 2022
Education Level

Despite living in the most prosperous and interconnected time in history, rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide are on the rise. In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. It kills someone every 12 minutes.

What’s our solution to the vast and growing mental health problem? A society that tunes out those who struggle and a broken system that offers addictive pharmaceutical drugs, outdated and inconsistent therapy practices, and understaffed hospitals with mediocre care.

My mom, Sheri Rosser, was a victim of this broken approach.

After struggling with depression for decades, going in and out of hospitals, and taking dozens of medications, she lost all hope and took her own life in 2017. It was the most painful and devastating experience of my life.

The Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship is dedicated to my mom, a wonderful woman who taught me the power of authenticity, belief, and compassion.

My hope is that the scholarship inspires greater awareness about mental health and fuels innovative solutions that help the millions of people who are suffering.

When we bring the darkness to light, it will slowly fade.

The scholarship is open to students at any educational level and field of study. The only application requirement is that students have personally experienced challenges with mental health or have had people close to them who have experienced mental health challenges.

Students applying to the scholarship will be required to write an essay about how their experience with mental health has influenced their beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. While not required, working or volunteering at organizations that increase mental health awareness, provide mental health support, or research mental health solutions will be a plus on student applications.

Mental Health
Selection Criteria:
Life aspirations, Experience with mental health support and awareness, Impact
Essay Topic

How has your experience with mental health influenced your beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations?

500–1000 words

Winning Application

Zoey Suarez
Duke UniversitySeattle, WA
Tranee Peevy
Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental MedicineLos Angeles, CA
Megan Ying
Carnegie Mellon UniversityRockville, MD
I flipped through the pages of my altered book, which I had transformed into a creative outlet for my emotions. A page blacked out except for a huddled child, pasted cut-out letters spelling the word “fat,” a wilted flower with torn petals. Suddenly, I was transported back to a time of insecurity and shame. A time of blindly stumbling after the voice inside my head in hopes of shedding a few pounds... When I was first diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anorexia nervosa, I immediately felt angry at the world, at everyone, at myself. Every time I sat down with yet another psychiatrist or therapist or nutritionist, hot fury gushed through my veins. The urge to push them away bubbled beneath my skin. I screamed, I yelled, I cried. It wasn’t fair. Why me? But before long, I had decided I was done. Never again would that voice inside my head control me. I took my frustration and channeled it into something new: motivation. With the help of my loved ones, I fought every whisper inside my head to diet, to hurt myself, to give up on life. Even when the voice screamed not to, I persisted and persevered. It was not a smooth path to recovery. I fell and stumbled and tripped along the way, but picked myself up every time. I was bruised and rattled, yet determined to overcome the next obstacle. Throughout my battle with mental health, I built strong relationships with those around me as I realized I was not alone in my struggle. My parents drove an hour each day to visit me at the hospital and remind me that they were there for me. My friends called me on a regular basis to cheer me up and update me on our middle school gossip. My teachers sacrificed time out of their busy schedules to ensure I was caught up on my work. As my relationships grew stronger, so did my appreciation and gratefulness for my support system. It has been six years since my diagnosis, and I am no longer the scared, insecure little girl I once was. I have fought hard to become who I am now. Someone who eats cake at parties. Who wears bikinis to the pool. Who takes photos with her friends. I have grown to be somebody who loves herself and puts herself out there. I realize that I can never get back the years I lost to my struggle against mental illness, but I can support those facing the same challenges as I once did. As my feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness began to subside, my determination to help those struggling with mental health issues only grew stronger. I shared my story on social media in hopes of ending stigma and raising awareness. I counseled anyone who reached out to show others that it can and will get better. If I could recover, then so could they. My battle has fueled my determination to further show support in my undergraduate experience. At Carnegie Mellon University, I want to continue to spread awareness and push for additional support. My passion for mental health has led me to become the Director of Risk Management and Wellness in my sorority. In my position, I plan to share different mental health resources and services on campus with my sisters, as well as offer assistance to those in need. This desire to help others has grown to influence my goals outside of my extracurriculars. After repeatedly being exposed to adversities and hardships, I started to despise the idea that throughout the world, people were dying from horrible, excruciating conditions. I dreamed of improving the lives of those grappling with diseases and disabilities, whether they be mental or physical. This has ultimately developed my aspiration to enter the biomedical engineering field, where I would be given the opportunity to advance medicine through life-changing innovations, such as a material that reduces the likelihood of aneurysm recurrence or prosthetic arms controlled by the mind. I want to be part of the reason that someone gets to live or is able to pursue their dreams. As time went on, I began to understand that the barriers I faced, although terrifying and unbearable at times, have forced me to grow and mature. Life cannot always be fair. It cannot always be easy. But the challenges that we overcome allow us to gain life skills, attain wisdom and insight, and develop our goals. Without them, life may go smoothly, but it would not be as meaningful as it is now. Today, I can proudly say that I am a survivor of anorexia and depression, and while my struggle with mental health does not define me, it has shaped me into who I am.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 1, 2022. Winners will be announced on Jul 1, 2022.