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Ella Hall-Dillon Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Letta Belle
1st winner$1,158
2nd winner$1,156
3rd winner$1,156
Application Deadline
Aug 1, 2023
Winners Announced
Sep 1, 2023
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior or undergraduate
3.0 or higher
African heritage
First or second generation to the U.S.

Ella Dillon-Hall was a beloved mother and grandmother, who was dedicated and a hard worker. 

Of Jamaican descent, she instilled her values of having a strong work ethic in her grandchildren. Her passion for her family and her personal values were always evident. First and second generation American students often have the challenge of fitting between their two cultural worlds, but with strong family values, they are able to persevere. The Ella Dillon-Hall Scholarship will support students who are first or second generation to the United States and are of African heritage.

High school seniors and undergraduate students of African descent are eligible to apply if they are first or second generation to the U.S. and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Preference will be given to students of West Indian descent and students who have spent time in the country of their family heritage. To apply, write about your family’s journey to the U.S. and how your family history has helped shape your academic journey.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published March 3, 2023
Essay Topic

Tell us about your family's journey to the United States. How has what you’ve learned about your heritage impacted you in your academic journey?

250–300 words

Winning Applications

Onyinyechi Okonkwo
Houston Community CollegeRICHMOND, TX
Samuel Egboh
Stanford UniversityGardena, CA
"Igbo kwenu!"—a phrase that thunders with the pride of Nigerian identity and echoes the rich history of the Igbo people. Yet, there is not one sole translation—it vocalizes solidarity and collective will. In the 1990s, my parents' destinies converged, their hearts bridging the gap between two worlds—their love a testament to the enduring spirit of the Nigerian Diaspora. I stand as a product of that unity, where the rhythmic beats of afro beats and hip hop intertwine to form the cadence of my identity. Basking in the warm embrace of my heritage, my parents' vivid accounts of masquerade events and the resonating echoes of ogene rattles resonate in my soul. However, my reality diverges from theirs, with California's sun-kissed beaches becoming the backdrop to my childhood. Despite this geographic shift, I cherish the duality of my upbringing, cherishing both fufu and cheeseburgers, embrace the tastes that my multifaceted cultures provide as I honor my heritage in this nation of opportunity. Navigating my academic journey, the embrace of my heritage has instilled in me a deep sense of pride and purpose. Armed with the stories of my ancestors' struggles and triumphs, I carry the weight of their sacrifices as a mantle of responsibility. This legacy serves as a source of inspiration, propelling me forward as I strive for excellence in my studies and endeavors. My cultural heritage has bestowed upon me a broader perspective, fostering empathy and understanding for those from different backgrounds. This inherent appreciation for diversity has enriched my educational experience, allowing me to engage with a plethora of ideas and collaborate effectively with a diverse array of peers. Like the phrase, "Igbo kwenu!" I do not have one sole translation, and I will continue to find my meaning as a mosaic of my unique cultural tapestry.
Daniel Foster
Harvard CollegeValley Stream, NY
My father migrated to the United States seeking security amid the violence and political turmoil of 1970s Jamaica. My mother left the island in search of better educational opportunities and the prospect of a brighter future. With their guidance, I developed a tangible relationship with my heritage through near-annual family visits to Jamaica. We learned the history of Black Jamaicans fighting against injustices inflicted by British colonial rule when touring the Morant Bay Courthouse. We admired Edna Manley’s intricately carved sculptures and Kapo’s brightly colored paintings at the National Gallery of Jamaica. On these visits, I connected with Jamaican scholars such as Rupert Lewis, a professor emeritus of political science, Maureen Warner-Lewis, a professor emeritus of African-Caribbean languages and orature, and Erna Brodber, a sociologist and author who researches her rural hometown of Woodside, Jamaica. Conversations with each of these individuals about their work and knowledge of the Afro-Caribbean experience emboldened me to study the African diaspora through the lens of the social sciences during my time in college. I am now pursuing a joint degree in Social Anthropology and African American Studies. Through my coursework, I have taken an ethnographic route to better understand my family’s journey to the United States. By interviewing members of the older generation in my family, I have written two term papers highlighting their story: “Perspectives of the Second Wave: Observing a Jamaican-American Family’s Experience with Race and Ethnicity” and “From Having a Barrel Child to Raising a Latchkey Kid: Grandma and Mom’s Separation and Reunification Story.” My exposure to my heritage from a young age inspired me to uplift my family’s story through my coursework, documenting it for generations to come. I aim to continue to use my academic training to honor the experiences of communities that are meaningful to me.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Aug 1, 2023. Winners will be announced on Sep 1, 2023.

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