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John Young 'Pursue Your Passion' Scholarship

5 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Jul 31, 2024
Winners Announced
Aug 8, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners

This scholarship was established by the Cochener family, and honors the legacy of John Young, who describes him as follows: “He was a fighter pilot at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack; after the War he went to MIT, earned a degree in aerospace engineering, and joined the Von Braun team at Redstone Arsenal building Saturn V rockets for the Apollo program. He was always my inspiration to pursue my professional dreams.”

This scholarship program seeks to award a scholarship to high achieving students who desire to create a professional impact in their chosen field of interest. In an essay format, applicants explain why they've chosen their field of interest, how they desire to create an impact, and any personal beliefs that will help them achieve their professional passion. This scholarship program is made possible with the generosity of the Cochener Family.

Any student may apply for this scholarship opportunity.

To apply, write an essay of no more than 500 words telling us why you’re pursuing your chosen field, how you hope to make a difference, and your personal goals and motivations for achieving your dreams.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published June 2, 2024
Essay Topic

In up to 500 words, explain why you’ve chosen your field of interest, how you desire to create an impact, and any personal reasons or goals that will help you achieve your professional passion.

100–500 words

Winning Application

Kate Taylor
The University of Texas at ArlingtonCYPRESS, TX
Jackeline Anaya
East Carolina UniversitySELMA, NC
Before I realized my calling in social work, I felt very lost regarding my career path. I was working full-time as an orthodontic assistant while attending school, initially pursuing a future as a dental hygienist. However, it quickly became clear that this profession was not for me, leaving me feeling aimless and hopeless at 20, uncertain about my life's direction. Then, one day at work, during my lunch break, I received a call from my mother. She informed me that one of my cousins had passed away earlier that day. The news sent me into shock. I was speechless and unsure of how to react. After lunch, I returned to work, but it wasn't until I got home that the reality of the situation truly hit me. I couldn't stop thinking that if only there had been someone like a social worker present in his life, perhaps my cousin's fate could have been different. To provide some context, he had endured a challenging life. As the eldest of six children, he often found himself left at home to care for his siblings, assuming parental responsibilities that caused his childhood innocence to fade. He suffered from child abuse and neglect, which led him to seek solace in negative behaviors, resulting in multiple incarcerations, starting at just 16 years old. I believe that if a social worker had been advocating for him, he might not have been burdened with such heavy responsibilities at a young age, possibly steering him away from the negative influences that ultimately contributed to his demise. These reflections led me to my decision to pursue a career in social work. I want to make a difference. Too many children, like my cousin, fall through the cracks, overlooked by overburdened social workers. While one additional social worker may not seem like a significant change, it is indeed a step in the right direction. My goal is to earn my bachelor's degree in social work and then advance to a master's degree, specializing in child abuse and neglect cases. With a Master's in Social Work, I can become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, essentially working as a therapist. I aspire to support children through their challenges and, if necessary, rescue them from harmful environments. The passing of my cousin was a difficult loss, but it also serves as my motivation to pursue this career path. It drives me to help other children avoid experiencing a similar fate. This brief account may offer a glimpse into who I am and my passion for this field. Thank you for considering my essay. I look forward to your response.
Dawson Szot
My dream role in the medical field is to become a neuroscientist who specializes in neuro degenerative diseases/disorders. Additionally, I also want to contribute time in working with clinical trials as well. This dream of mine all started when I was old enough to understand what MS was. My grandfather was diagnosed with MS at a very early age. It has recently become worse, sadly. This inspired me to help others with these kinds of diseases. Helping him with tasks that require mobility really showed me where I wanted to go with my life. Living with any disorder involving nerves degenerating is hard physically, mentally, and hard for others supporting them. I want to contribute my research towards a better treatment, and maybe a cure, for MS. As well as part take in clinical trials relating to neurology. I believe I can make an impact on the future in medicine and advancements in treatments for neurological disorders as a whole. My education is key for the success in my dream field. My education that I work for and receive is something that I highly value. So to be able to get the best education there is, is very important to me. I want to be well-rounded in my field as well as well-informed. That way I can make a bigger impact on medicine as a whole. Additionally, I also want to tutor students through medical school as well. One of my other great passions is tutoring. I believe that by tutoring medical students, I can help grow future doctors and be a part of their journey towards success. I also want to donate my time free to those who need tutoring because I know how money can get tight sometimes. I want to take the pressure off of them to make their years in medical school as stress free as possible. The ability to help someone else obtain their dreams and goals is a privilege and an honor. I will highly value my position as a tutor, especially since I'll be tutoring future doctors. I hope make a monumental impact in someone's life in helping them along their journey of becoming their best self. With this scholarship, I can become a step closer in achieving my goals.
Rohan Sinha
University of California-BerkeleyPARKVILLE, MD
In middle school, I was admitted as a clinical inpatient at the Kennedy Krieger Institute for severe chronic leg pain. My days were filled with pain-intensive therapies to help mobilize my lower body. The emotional distress was challenging to deal with as a young kid who was going through the formative years of my childhood. However, I remember the volunteer staff who truly became the light in my life. Their sincere compassion and relentless commitment to my mental well-being throughout this uncertain period were instilled within me for the years to come and shaped my early impetus for helping pediatric patients through medicine. Following these aspirations, in November, I intend to apply to the Robinson Life Sciences & Business Entrepreneurship at Cal, allowing me to pursue the intersection of my niche interests in natural sciences and business. This program made me reconsider my dream of taking an alternative approach to helping groups of underrepresented children through biotechnology. In subsequent classes, it was stressed to me that in today's medical field, it is not enough to understand the biological pathways to conduct translational research; you must require knowledge to bring your innovative solution to market equitably. At Cal, I will follow in the footsteps of my mentor, Dr. Fyodor Urnov, whose mission is to streamline gene editing using CRISPR Cas-9. Today, we have all of the means to create curative treatments for rare pediatric genetic diseases. However, large biotech pharmaceutical companies refuse to bring these cures to market because they are not seen as profitable. I joined Dr. Urnov's research lab to push back against the eccentric industry, prioritizing pediatric patients before pharmaceutical business ventures. We hope to expand this reprogrammable technology by creating a national network of CRISPR cure centers, which would reduce the time/cost to develop these therapeutics from millions of dollars over years to only $150k in a matter of three months. This is what is needed to save the lives of countless children suffering from these rare genetic diseases. If selected, the John Young “Pursue Your Passion” Scholarship will reduce the financial burden that impedes my dream of having the greatest possible impact in reducing healthcare disparities. After Cal, I plan to enroll in a dual MD/MBA program to take on health inequity from two backgrounds: medicine and business. If I gain a deep understanding of the medical field, I can identify limitations in current therapeutic areas and create novel approaches to prevalent pediatric diseases to find innovative methods to inhibit, alter, or edit new pathways. From a business background, I want to analyze patient models and identify dispositions regarding treatment accessibility in our flawed healthcare system. It will challenge me to process large amounts of information and synthesize a concise plan of action to mitigate issues. Together, this will make me a more rounded physician if I pursue a medical residency; likewise, if I gravitate towards business, I will create a biotech startup that can bring therapeutic treatments to market equitably.
valisha pearson
Tulsa Community CollegeTulsa, OK


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 31, 2024. Winners will be announced on Aug 8, 2024.