For DonorsFor Applicants

Headbang For Science

Funded by
1st winner$11,068
2nd winner$11,066
3rd winner$11,066
Application Deadline
Jun 29, 2024
Winners Announced
Jul 29, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior, four-year undergraduate, or graduate student
Field of Study:
Healthcare or physical sciences
3.0 or higher
Heavy Metal music

Headbang For Science, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is an annual scholarship award for high school seniors, undergrads, and grad students who are pursuing a career in healthcare and/or the physical sciences.  

It’s the first scholarship foundation to directly provide financial aid to “Metalheads,” and was founded by SiriusXM curator/host and former Pharmacy grad student Jose “Metal Ambassador” Mangin in 2021. 

This year, a total of $33K will go to three “far beyond driven” students, who have excellent grades, financial need, and a deep passion for Heavy Metal music. The board of directors includes a Grammy award-winning artist, the biggest rock fest promoter, and other music/medical industry leaders all wanting to give back to the Heavy Metal music community through a unique and academically motivating program. 

Any high school senior, four-year undergraduate student, or graduate student who is pursuing a degree in healthcare or physical sciences may apply if they love Heavy Metal music. Applicants must have 3.0 GPAs or higher, but students with higher GPAs are preferred.

To apply, answer the five questions below in 666 words or less.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Passion, Drive
Published April 3, 2024
Essay Topic

In 666 words or less please incorporate the following questions in your essay. 

1. Tell us about yourself.

2. What are your academic and professional goals?

3. Why do you need this scholarship award?

4. How are you planning to pay for your education?

5. Tell us what Heavy Metal music means to you.

333–666 words

Winning Application

Nathalia Gonzalez
Nova Southeastern UniversityBoynton Beach, FL
Have you ever heard of a cardiovascular researcher who’s also a metal head? It’s someone I’m bound to be known as once I graduate from medical school. This scholarship recognizes my love for metal along with my academic excellence, leadership roles, and my standing within my community. In my community, I actively volunteer for Luv Michael, VITAS Healthcare, and Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY). In high school, I was in National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Thespian Society, and Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society. I ranked #4 in my graduating class of 104 students and was in the Top 10% of my school. I was my school’s sophomore ambassador at HOBY Leadership and was also the recipient of the University of Rochester’s Bausch & Lomb Award for academic excellence in science and math. I was the recipient of College Board’s AP Scholar Award and Hispanic Scholar Award. Lastly, I was a member of Science Club (VP, President), Model United Nations (President), Best Buddies, Art Club and Drama Club (Stage Manager). In college at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), I plan to excel in their Dual Admission Program for Osteopathic Medicine to dive into my passion of finding cures for cardiovascular diseases and cancers. This opportunity motivates me to pursue my Bachelors in Science degree, my DO degree, and a PhD in Cardiovascular research. My future career entails conducting research studies by overseeing medical trials, collaborating with doctors who are recognized for their work in cardiovascular diseases and cancers, and making these cures and treatments affordable to people of all financial circumstances. It’s important to me that people’s health and happiness come first and foremost, even before their heavy metal needs. Apart from my work income and my parents’ financial contribution, college is still expensive for what I want to accomplish. The money will go towards my dream career I will pursue in the field of clinical scientific research, specifically in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Blood cancer, like Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and blood disease, like Sickle Cell Disease, are not common, yet they lead to death, intense chemotherapy, and diagnoses at any age. I will commit my professional life to discovering newly effective treatments that result in minimal to no symptoms and negative effects, and even a cure for cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Meanwhile in my personal life, I will commit to furthering my heavy metal journey. I was introduced to metal when my Aunt Adriana showed me Hard Rock, Thrash Metal, and Nu Metal. She took me to my first metal concert on January 14, 2014 at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale with an outstanding lineup—In This Moment, Devour the Day, and the Butcher Babies. I experienced many levels of intensity, lyrics, instruments, and showmanship of the bands that performed. Upon hearing the first guitar riff, the growl and scream vocals, seeing the pyrotechnic effects, and insane wardrobe the bands wore, I was hooked. This has become a family thing that now involves my parents, my aunt Adriana, and Uncle Rob. We have gone to Fort Rock in 2018, Earthday Birthday in 2019, Welcome to Rockville in 2023, SHIPROCKED in 2022 and 2023, and concerts throughout the years. I’ve even had the privilege of meeting metal icons like Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, Josh from Badflower, and Jonny Hawkins from Nothing More, all of whom I look up to. Heavy metal infiltrated my college essay, leading to my acceptances into top institutions like U Michigan Ann Arbor, CWRU, DePaul Univ, U Miami, and UF. For my senior photos, I posed with my vinyls and CDs of metal bands while wearing Slipknot and Avatar merch. Heavy metal keeps me grounded and focused on working towards my goals. Additionally, it has become a way for me to make friends, spend time with family, drum out the noise, and help me conquer my emotional setbacks. Heavy Metal saved my life, made me who I am today, and will now help me accomplish my career dreams.
Zanon Gamache
Front Range Community CollegeDenver, CO
My name is Zanon Gamache, and this scholarship embodies the two most important parts of my life. I'm a dually enrolled high school and college student about to graduate with my diploma and Associate Degree. Next semester I plan to go to CU Boulder to get my Bachelor's in chemistry. I want to continue my education through to a Ph.D. level and use my knowledge and skills as a chemist to enter the field of research. I work very hard to maintain good academic standing, as my chosen field is very involved with learning. I'm the #1 rank in my class in high school and am a multiple-time member of the president's list at my college. I've been invited to every significant honor society as I have a GPA of approximately 4.5. I also work at my college teaching college algebra and calculus. I've already taken math up through calculus 3 and chemistry up to college chem 2. I take my future career very seriously. Unfortunately, people often underestimate me because of how I dress, look, and portray myself. I love everything about metal, the intensity, the emotion, the complexity, and every minute detail. I've been listening to it since middle school, and almost all of my shirts are tour shirts from various bands that have come to my hometown of Denver, Colorado. I show my appreciation for bands such as Behemoth, Gojira, Dream Theater, Tool, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Megadeth, and many others in the way that I dress. I also play live metal shows with different bands, some paid, some just for fun. Because of this, people misjudge me as a delinquent or hooligan. This couldn't be further from the truth, as while I like to display my passion, I take my academic and professional life incredibly seriously. Currently, I'm applying for as many scholarships as possible because I won't be able to afford college without them. My parents have been gracious enough to give me an amount of money that will get me through my first two semesters of college. Unfortunately, the FAFSA has provided many scholarships I've applied to with a much higher figure for my anticipated family contribution. Because of this, most scholarships have disqualified me for not having a great enough need for financial assistance. I cannot stress enough that I do need scholarship money. This scholarship is for exactly the type of person I am, and it's allowed me to explain my financial situation. I won't be able to pay for my college past my first two semesters, so I desperately need the funds to do so. I'm the perfect candidate for this scholarship as I display a deep love of heavy metal music, powerful academic achievements and goals towards science, and strong financial need.
Cody Cris
University of Nevada-RenoLas Vegas, NV
Metal music has always been deeply embedded in my identity and personality, especially while attending a performing arts high school as a guitar major and during higher education as a microbiologist. Metal music, like science, empowers people to think independently but also provides a means of community through connecting with others in a melting pot of perspectives. This breaking down of barriers is also seen in how metal evolves and innovates by incorporating other music styles and opening boundless avenues of expression. The importance of metal to my development is why, even throughout my academic journey, I’ve continued pursuing my love of metal music through composing for and performing in the Vegas-based melodic death metal band Volterrum, which I co-founded in my undergraduate. I began my undergraduate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2016 as the first person in my family to pursue education beyond high school. I arrived with an open mind and desire to find a discipline that both empowered and drove me to use my mind creatively, much like metal music has done throughout my life. I found a passion for molecular and microbial biology and graduated cum laude with my Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. My research work with several labs during my undergraduate cultivated my passion for scientific research, which drove me to pursue graduate school and transition from merely a student of science to a contributor. I joined a molecular microbiology lab as a Master’s student studying the bacterial pathogen Shigella flexneri. In May 2023, I earned my Master of Science from UNLV for my thesis research, which used well-established molecular biology and biochemistry techniques to characterize the molecular mechanism by which an unusual regulatory protein turns on genes in Shigella that are critical to causing disease in humans. This work and my graduate program sharpened my laboratory skills and ability to perform scientific research, helping make me competitive for doctoral programs. I have recently been admitted to the Cell and Molecular Biology Ph.D. program at the University of Nevada, Reno, where I was serendipitously interviewed by a program director because of a shared love of metal music. In this program, I will be working in a virology lab that researches DNA tumor viruses and coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). My goal is to have a career in academia as a professor doing research and teaching – contributing to the scientific endeavor while imparting the next generation of students with a similar scientific wonderment that permeated me as a student. I am eagerly making progress toward these goals, as demonstrated by my research and work as a microbiology lab instructor, which I did during my Master’s program to pay for tuition and living expenses. I am continuing to teach microbiology labs at the College of Southern Nevada this summer as an adjunct instructor before beginning my Ph.D. program. Matriculation into this Ph.D. program entails my relocation to Reno, Nevada, and will be my first time living without family, a convenience that enabled me to afford education thus far. I intend to pay for my Ph.D. program predominantly through research assistantships and working as a lab instructor under a graduate teaching assistantship, as is common for graduate students in the sciences. These assistantships partially cover tuition and provide a modest stipend that inadequately covers living expenses. Consequently, support from the Headbang for Science scholarship will help immensely with my living expenses by supplementing my income. Funding from this scholarship would also help alleviate the expenses of professional travel, including trips to conferences/symposia to share my research and network with other scientists. These activities are important for professional development and will help me identify collaborators, as well as potential labs for post-doctoral research programs and future faculty positions. Your generous support will tangibly enhance my ability to succeed in this research program as I work toward my scientific and professional aspirations. I would like to extend my appreciation to the application review committee – thank you for your support and consideration.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 29, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jul 29, 2024.