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Mikey Taylor Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
May 11, 2025
Winners Announced
Jun 11, 2025
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school or undergraduate
First generation college student and experience with mental health challenges

More than 25% of students in college have been diagnosed or treated professionally for their mental health. 

The more attention and support we give to people struggling with their mental health, the closer we become to creating an open, more accepting society. The Mikey Taylor Memorial Scholarship aims to give support to students who have struggled with their mental health and have grown through this journey.

First generation undergraduate students and high schoolers who have overcome mental health challenges are eligible to apply. In your application, write about how your mental health experiences have influenced various aspects of your life.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published July 3, 2024
Essay Topic

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

400–600 words

Winning Application

Mariah Wade
Marquette UniversityRacine, WI
Celeste Berrios
Florida State UniversityFort Lauderdale, FL
Jason Carroll
Louisburg CollegeCreedmoor, NC
Vivian Noriega-Vernon
Dutchess Community CollegePatterson, NY
Mental health is something I feel has always been taboo, both growing up in my family household, as well as in society. I grew up not understanding how to talk about how I felt and if I felt pain or stress, I was expected to be strong enough to overcome those feelings on my own or just shove them down. This difficult subject has since led to how I interact with my work, relationships and career pathways now. My mother became disabled when I was 15 and that not only took a toll on my mental health but my mother's as well. Being confined to the house for years had her depressed and it wasn't until one of her nurses spoke to me about how she was acting while no one else was home, it was then that I realized and began to understand the importance of taking taboo subjects off the table and communicating with the ones you love. After watching her use the proper resources to take care of herself did I begin to use those resources to maintain a level of stability and healthy behavior around stress. I think that more people have suicidal thoughts, or ones like it than they're willing to admit. I have known people from my community who also act on these thoughts. When we have compassion and empathy towards those dealing with mental health issues, we can take one step closer to making them feel heard and safe. As a nurse, I plan on keeping an eye out not only for the patient's recovery but watch their mental health to ensure their safety in the long run and get them the help they need. Some people don't have a support system, and this is why I want to serve people as a nurse in my future career. It is so important to have a health care system that approaches a person as a whole. I hope to take my compassion for people into this new career path to make everyone feel safe when interacting with me. I also hope to further my career as a family nurse practitioner and I believe understanding mental health would be a great asset not only for me but my future patients. As someone who struggles with depression, I understand that it can be hard some days but there are also ways to work around the bad days and turn them into good ones. The stress and anxiety of going to school, reaching my full potential and getting as far as I can as the first one in my family to go to college and hopefully graduate, can get very hard. The stress becomes worse was I also start thinking of whether I will be able to afford my career goals since I take care of my disabled mother and go to school full-time. But then I decided to focus all the negative energy on trying to solve the problem and I start applying for scholarships so I can make my dreams a reality.
Isabella Frantz
Washington State UniversityKennewick, WA
When I was about thirteen, I was going through a difficult time in my life. My family and I moved nearly every year to a completely different state. This constant change caused me to begin giving up on making social connections. I didn't want to become attached to anything that I knew would be ripped away from me in a few months. This fear caused me to develop crushing social anxiety as well as a general quietness in my demeanor. My family and I lived in a small temporary apartment that I never left while we waited to move into our house. At that time, I had been doing online school for about five months; nothing changed when I moved to Washington. As time went on, I became more reclusive, and my anxiety grew. I was terrified of interacting with other people; it got to the point where I couldn't even make a phone call without having a full-blown anxiety attack. It felt like a constant war in my mind; I knew I was freaking out for no reason. I just couldn't understand why I started to hyperventilate at the thought of asking the grocery store employee where the milk was. I felt stupid. I knew it wasn't a big deal, so why was my body acting like it was dying? This constant struggle put a massive strain on my relationship with my mother. I understood how difficult it was to understand what I was feeling for someone who had never had anxiety before, but that didn't change the fact that what I was feeling was real. She didn't understand that it wasn't a choice to freak out about things; she didn't understand that I needed time to calm myself down without her yelling at me to stop crying. I didn't need her to understand. I just needed her support. I've also felt this disconnect in school. My teachers often don't take my anxiety seriously. I let all my teachers know that I have anxiety at the beginning of the year. Some teachers take it upon themselves to single me out and force me out of my "comfort zone." I'm aware it's difficult for people without anxiety to understand the severity of the damage anxiety can cause. However, I do not think that is an excuse for some people to take it upon themselves to "cure" me. Some teachers end up making me feel punished for setting my boundaries. This feeling is something I never want any student to endure. We should not be teaching these students that boundary setting is an ill practice. We should be encouraging them to recognize what they need and be able to ask for it. This is what sparked me to strive to become a teacher. As I got into high school, I began to see students with mental health issues and invisible disabilities, neurodivergent students, socially inept students, and students who were just giving up. I looked around at my peers and saw all of these misunderstood kids who were just muddling through life. I know how difficult it is not to be respected and validated. I want to be the teacher who will help the students who so often get rejected by other students and teachers alike. I don't want them to feel alienated for having circumstances that others are unwilling to understand. I want to be that place where students feel safe to express their needs and how I can best help them; I want to show them that they have every capacity to learn despite what others have told them.
Jason Cole
University of Nebraska at OmahaOmaha, NE
Depression is the comfortable sweater you always have on but can't find a reason to take it off. You sleep with it, walk around the house all the time with it, and leave the house unkempt because you don't care. This sweater has a familiar scent that makes you long for something that isn't there. You don't want to wash it in fear of removing whatever longing memory is attached to the scent or feel. The sweater in the heat is uncomfortable, but you don't care. You'd rather sweat and be miserable instead of removing the burden. It's a weight you can't relinquish. You can't let go, and in the end, instead of releasing whatever is holding you down, you embrace the weight and feeling and consider it a positive part of you. Fast forward six years, you don't know where the time has gone, you still can't sleep, your friends are calling you, thinking you're dead. You've deleted your social media and drunk or slept your twenties away at this point. At least your sweater is still kind of cozy, so at least that is a positive. Something happens. For one day, one brief instance, you take your sweater off and feel an odd sensation. The crisp, cold wind hits you. You don't like it very much, but then the sun's warmth caresses your face. The breeze warms up; you embrace all of nature's wonders around you. You ask yourself if this is what you missed out on experiencing all these years after you crawled into a hole when your father passed away. The answer is yes. You still wear your sweater around the house from time to time. It's too hot to focus on any given task. Going outside sounds miserable. You deliberately turn the air on and warp your surroundings to keep the sweater on; it is comfortable, after all. Once it gets too hot, you decide to take it off. You can feel the wood of your table, the soft sheets on your bed, and your pillows. When you go outside, it isn't as cold this time. You call your friends and socialize, one raspy sentence at a time. The brain fog that clouded your head dissipates, and words and goals take shape and have meaning. You look back and wonder what you have lost from the years that passed by. You attempt to throw away the sweater only to turn around and pick it back up. You try to put it on, but it's too hot and uncomfortable. It smells horrendous too. The hardest thing you do ends up being washing it. Your sweater doesn't smell or feel the same, but at the end of the day, it's still your sweater. As time heals the wounds, you realize you don't need to wear your memories constantly. You don't have to keep it unwashed, and you don't have to throw it away. You embrace it as part of who you are. Wrap it around your waist, slap it on your shoulder if you want, or don't wear it at all that day. If you see someone else struggling the same way you are, maybe they need to know it's okay to take their sweater off from time to time too.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 11, 2025. Winners will be announced on Jun 11, 2025.