For DonorsFor Applicants

Minority/Women in STEM Scholarship

5 winners, $500 each
Application Deadline
Nov 15, 2023
Winners Announced
Dec 15, 2023
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
BIPOC and/or female
Education Level:
High school senior or undergraduate student
Field of Interest:

FGLI (first-generation, low-income) students are often underprivileged and underrepresented in the world of higher education. 

Many FGLI students come from families living paycheck to paycheck, meaning that they don’t have family resources to pay for college. Additionally, due to their parents not having degrees, it can be overwhelming to navigate college applications, the FAFSA, and other processes.  

This scholarship aims to support underprivileged students who are interested in pursuing careers in STEM.  

Any BIPOC and/or female high school senior or undergraduate who is a first-generation, low-income student interested in STEM may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us about some challenges you’ve overcome while pursuing your education and how you hope to benefit the world through your STEM education.

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

What are some challenges you've had to overcome while pursuing your education and how do you plan on making a positive impact on the world through your STEM education?

400–600 words

Winners and Finalists

December 2023

Khanitha Soeung
Joel Koomson
Yomoye Oyewole
Jacquelyn Layton - Brown
Trisha Jean Lane
Madeleine Gonzalez
Nyla Henry
Melissa Baithey
NyAshia Pressley
Ayanmo Adebajo
Isabelle Carnot
Quincy Franks
Mohamed Salem
Hannah Henris
Jaiden McCrorey
Julisha Jean-Jacques
maliah thompson
Rainah Allen
Hanif Rigsby
Kaitlin Hawley
Stephanie Pierre
Arleatha Humphrey
Rosina Mensah
Langa Tonga
Izabela Kowalik
Breanna Hernandez
Alejandra Ramirez
Kacia Scott
Becca Bornstein

December 2022

Nneoma Magnus-Nwakuna
Malachi Choy
Alleyjah Thomas
Julia Quezada
Stacy Opubor
alexia soriano
Armani Allen
Kareena Desai
Joshua Maye
Veronica Natale
Melisa Sakalas
Brianna McLeod
Annabella Huerta
Brittany Kinniburgh
Yas J
Poppy Smith
Ghailah Nyeanchi
Victoria Dominguez
Kevin Rodriguez
Khaleen Carson
Paola Garza
Anna Rigby
Jaia Hawkins
Yari Cabrera Westerheidy
Nzna Nguyen
Melissa Rego
Allyah Hobson
Amari Herndon-Goodman
Taylor Lofton
jinnai francis
Charisse Yvette Juan
Jayda Hanson
Jayme Johnson
Malik Myles
Emma Hosier
Mya Taylor
Teriah Roberson
Mark Jones Jr.
Alessandra Soriano
Harlene Dorvil

July 2022

Winning Applications

Cameron Cooper
Michigan State UniversityEcorse, MI
I aim to help people. Furthermore, I wish to save lives and assist people in their darkest hours. Being a biology major may not seem all that courageous; however, it's one step closer to enacting the change I hope to make in the world. Assisting others brings me comfort and peace. Furthermore, my long-term objective has always been to become a surgeon. Being a physician will allow me to help patients in their most horrendous moments. Growing up, I had a challenging time; I went through horrific situations that many people do not encounter, and these hardships inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming a trauma surgeon. August 6, 2016, was the day me and my family lost it all. My childhood home was set into a blazing inferno. This gruesome fire took the life of my beloved grandmother while leaving my family members and me mournful and homeless. We had nothing except our car and a small amount of money. This deeply disquieting incident has shaped me into the person I am today. I recall my family and I spending much time traveling between hotels. Having so much encouragement inspired me to keep going. The avalanche of generosity astonished us. As the number of miserable days grew, my mother began to gather enough money to rent a house. We moved to a modest bungalow miles from our former residence. As we settled into this new chapter of life, I learned never to give up hope, even when faced with challenging obstacles. Fast-forward to when I started my senior year of high school, I joined a volunteer program developed by Henry Ford Health that allowed me to visit patients who would not usually have many visitors during this challenging time in their lives as I built up the courage to step foot into patients' rooms, a scene of relief spread across my body. Consequently, I understood that getting to know patients and introducing myself to them significantly impacted their days. I have compassion for every patient I worked with, but one in particular made my heart skip a few beats. She spent several months in the hospital because of a cardiac condition that led to a stroke that put her in a coma for 17 days. She bravely fought for her life and survived. I interacted with this patient for a few days, during which she shared beautiful memories of her family. Days before her favorite holiday, Halloween, she was granted permission to leave the hospital. Her favorite thriller series is “Halloween”. To make the event even more spectacular, I assisted her with decorating her wheelchair in the theme of Michael Myers. She and other patients like her have significantly impacted my life and have given me the confirmation to pursue my dream career as a physician. These prominent events have significantly altered my life and contributed to the development of the person I am. The way people treat others can have a significant impact on their lives. I want to continue the kindness many have contributed to me. Becoming a doctor will be a complicated and rigorous process due to the amount of information I must learn, but it will be worth it. Becoming a physician will allow me to assist people during some of their most terrifying moments. Helping people in their most difficult times is essential because it lets them know they are not alone. As a doctor, I'll do all in my power to improve their day, just as wonderful people helped me and my family during the most challenging time of our lives.
Calvin Biney
Georgia State UniversityJonesboro, GA
In some cases, education is not simply a straight shot; in addition to the academic workload, you'll also have to take daily life and experiences into consideration. In terms of my goals, I aspire to receive a graduate-level education in a clinical setting, therefore I decided to major in biological science at Georgia State University. My aspirations have been unconditionally supported by my friends and family, especially my father, and it was easy to become comfortable with the way life was, not expecting the worst to come at any point in time. The most challenging experience I have faced during my time in college has been grief. After the end of my first semester of college, I experienced the loss of my friend due to a car accident caused by a drunk driver; at the time, this was my first proximity to death; I have never experienced the loss of any friend throughout my life, and it made the transition back into the next semester overwhelming. My friend that passed away had plans to transfer to my college after that fall semester; returning to GSU was melancholic because I was then attending a place that also represented the possibility of more memories to share that, in a change of event, was no longer possible. The overlap between academia and personal life began to increase. At the beginning of my sophomore year at GSU, my dad became sick, and towards the end, his illness resulted in his passing in the end. The devastation that this caused in my life proved to be the most intense situation I've experienced in my life; I had winter break of that semester to prepare myself for my return back into the 2021 spring semester of the school year, however, 3 weeks was an unrealistic time to cope with a loss that close to me. Although the grief associated with loss was all-encompassing, I was determined to continue my education and use the ones I've lost as motivation to do the best I could with the life I have to live. After overcoming my junior year in 2021 with my associated losses, The initial wave of grief I felt during previous semesters felt manageable, however after beginning my senior year during the fall semester of 2022, I experienced the death of another close friend due to suicide. Throughout my college experience so far, I've had to push myself more than I would've ever anticipated, however, health and loss are themes I will have to associate with in the world of healthcare. In certain cases, some individuals beginning a career in the healthcare field have not experienced many magnitudes of loss, and it becomes an obstacle they have to face at the forefront of their medical careers, however, I have experienced a personal fraction of loss that is seen throughout millions of people's lives. I have refused to give up on my degree program because of the people I have lost so far, and I understand the devastation that chronic disease and mental health can wreak on others' lives and those around them. With the experience I've gained, I encourage emphasizing the involvement of empathy and sympathy for those who have struggled similarly to my loved ones who are no longer here. With the growing concern about the empathetic and sympathetic capacity of health professionals, I hope to contribute to safe spaces for individuals to feel comfortable when seeking help from medical professionals, because when more providers can establish trust and safety between patients, the quality of care can be significantly improved.
Robert Patterson
University of Maryland Eastern ShoreSILVER SPRING, MD
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) afforded me the opportunity to attend the REU program at Delaware State University and work as a laboratory aid for the United States Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland. My academic effort has been recognized through Beta Kappa Chi, Florida International University Award of Excellence and the Living Marine Resources Science Center. Though I obtained high honors, it is important to understand that I had undiagnosed disabilities. I persevered and overcame several challenges including learning deficits, delayed processing, anxiety and depression. I have experienced homelessness and lack of transportation which further compounded my stress levels. While being treated for mental health issues at UMES, I was diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder. My mother did not have the understanding or the resources to help me navigate through the 504 process to obtain accommodations to support my learning. I was on my own. Due to health concerns stemming from the overwhelming amount of stress, I had to abandon my career goals and ambitions in 2010. I humbled myself, and then learned and adopted healthy strategies to overcome deficits caused by these neurological disorders. In the hiatus since I last attended school, I have become a husband, a father of two sons, and an entrepreneur. The lack of financial resources has been the biggest hindrance in my return to school. Without a degree, I had to rely on my physical strength to support my family. I operate a moving company. I have engaged in back-breaking work, moving furniture for others. The competition for customers is fierce and my body is worn. It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet basic needs in this line of work. COVID lockdowns provided an opportunity to think and reflect. I discovered that to truly be a role model for my sons and make a difference in the world, I would need to finish my degree. Education makes a difference. Through your support, I will be able to finish the coursework needed to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in General Agriculture. With your support, I will be able to put down furniture and return to my passion for agriculture and plants. With your support, I will continue on a career path to promote sustainability in general agriculture, utilizing the skills I’ve garnered through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The objectives set forth in the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) align with my overall value system. The NIFA seeks to help farmers, promote environmental stewardship, improve quality of life and increase food production. I believe that we have the ability to sustain ourselves when we work hard, collaborate, and share resources. I believe that world hunger can be eradicated. Rural communities have the right to the same standard of living as those in affluent communities. Completion of my degree will help promote these standards. I thank you for your support and I look forward to receiving your decision.
Asialanna McGirt
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State HarrisburgCamden, NJ
Aniyah Plase
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical UniversityTALLAHASSEE, FL
I remember the first time I tried to make a potion to turn myself into a mermaid. At the time I, four years old, was fully convinced that YouTube had shown me a very advanced chemistry project. Later I realized that mixing lotion, soap, water, and sea salt was not going to turn me into a mermaid but I was left with a new interest in science before I even knew what science was. I come from a low-income, single-parent household where I am a first-generation college student. A large part of my college experience so far has been managing the financial burden that comes with trying to achieve my dreams. To win this scholarship would help lift this burden from me as well as my family who has been working tirelessly to help me achieve every goal that I have. Currently, I have three major life goals. The first and largest is to become a doctor. I am determined to become a doctor and have women’s health as my specialty. This same dream is what fuels my second life goal; that being having a career that allows me to make a change, more specifically a positive impact. The idea of having that kind of impact is my motivation. My third major goal is to help my best friend publish her first book before we graduate college. We have been friends for about twelve years and planning to write her book for five. As we both want to have positive impacts on our society through our STEM educations, it is important that we still make time for our other passions. My passion in life is learning. I love to learn and to be able to do something with the knowledge that I have gained. My most significant STEM experience so far was my time in my A.P. Chemistry class during my senior year of high school. By the time my senior year had rolled around, I had already taken biology, chemistry, genetics, and medical terminology. In my previous classes, I had not only done well but enjoyed the content that I was learning. My outlook on science classes changed after the first few days during that class. I had never been so lost and confused. It did not help that I was working full-time and could never seem to catch up. After some time, I was no longer interested in learning, I just wanted to pass the class. To my surprise, I passed the class and was later accepted into my dream school with it on my transcripts. Fast forward to today, I am so excited at the opportunity that I have to be going to college and I am determined to use the knowledge I gain to make my dream of becoming a doctor my reality.
Quentin Brien
Turtle Mountain Community CollegeBelcourt, ND
I am from the small Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians reservations. Here on my reservation, it is drug-ridden, and homelessness is rampant and depressing. After graduating from high school I enrolled at Turtle Mountain Community College and moved in with my grandmother. Staying at my grandmother's wasn't a difficult change; it was home, but the tricky part was adapting to the reservation; I had lived in the city all my childhood, and seeing the literal grime of my hometown was a difficult pill to swallow. Life on the reservation was drastically different from what I was used to; people talked differently, professionalism wasn't even a thing, and law enforcement was loose, but the diamond in the rough was the college. The tribe invested a significant amount when they built the new college, which sits next to a beautiful lake. Upon arriving at the school, I was shocked by how gorgeous it looked compared to the rest of Belcourt. Before I entered the doors, I expected a crowd of students and staff, but instead, I was met with silence and tranquillity. I walked through the silent halls to my first class, which only had twenty students, including myself, but attendance dropped significantly throughout the first week; those that remained were among the few that took their education as seriously as I did. I have built a solid educational relationship with my instructors and peers, allowing me to thrive and succeed immensely. I have become extremely passionate about TMCC because I see it as the only way to help the greater community of my reservation by educating our populous and inspiring the youth. Now, in my second year, the student populous has doubled, which means that the young see the potential that TMCC offers and that through education, we may lift our community to a more prosperous future. I am passionate about owning my own business because I want to resolve the problem of skilled IT workers leaving the reservation and provide them with a place to work. I also want a business that can shepherd the local high school students who wish to learn more about a possible career path in IT. I know from personal experience that the Native American youth doesn't have the best platform for exposure to STEM careers such as IT. I would love to be that platform for the future generation in my community. The cyber security program has opened my eyes and mind to a new world I am passionate about. I want to share my knowledge with the next generation of IT technicians and nurture the career path of technology.
Zaydee Dominguez-Chang
Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisIndianapolis, IN
My parents sacrificed everything, moving to a country that did not want them here, in search of a better life for their children. They always told us they did not have the luxury of finishing their education, to be something greater than their parents. They ensured that this idea of being greater than them was burned into the back of my mind. I had the constant pressure of choosing a career path that made their stay in this foreign country worth it. This led to constant struggles of never being able to pick what I was interested in pursuing. When I finally decided a career in STEM was my path, my parents were content, until I told them what kind of career I chose. For them, the T in STEM was completely disregarded. They had convinced themselves a career in technology was unreasonable and unstable. Science and Mathematics were always careers they envisioned their children pursuing; this led them to be extremely pessimistic about what I was going to study. They were always hesitant to support me in figuring out how to navigate my own path to college or just my career pathway in general. This was something that was difficult for me, not having my parents support me. However, throughout my whole journey, I was left as the only girl interested in this field, whether it be in the classroom or in my family. I was no stranger to being left alone to create my own path, and being my own role model and support system. I knew that this was something I was going to be dealing with for a while, so I learned to be more independent, trusting my own instincts, and proving to my parents that a career in technology is just as important as others. I plan on using this experience to advocate for other POC students pursuing a career in technology. It took a while to get my parents to truly comprehend how important this field is, and I hope to bring the same awareness to other families as well. My goals as a STEM major are not only to be the most efficient I can be in my field but to also invite others to celebrate their interest and unleash their full potential. I know how a career in STEM is firsthand; this is something to be proud of and supported by everyone who can. In my day-to-day life, it is something I am doing now. I am proud to say I am a Latino Outreach Ambassador for the IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing. I help be an advocate for Latinx students pursuing a career in technology, serving as a resource and helping them and their families understand the work we do at SoIC. I want to continue to serve as a resource and advocate even after I am done pursuing higher education. For me, that is what it means to be a minority in STEM. Not only by making a difference by being some of the select few who study it, but also by being a leader in the field and encouraging others to come and join you in making a difference in the world. A lot of minority students know what it is like to have a parent sacrifice it all for you, I am only one of a million stories, but we should also all be the ones showing leadership and overcoming our peers and any challenges that come our way.
Justin Ayiih
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main CampusFairburn, GA
Growing up, I watched shows with heroes that I looked up to—heroes like T’challa, Spider-man, and Goku. While I liked Peter Parker’s web-slinging and Goku’s power-ups during his fights, T’challa resonated with me the most. I was an African child interested in technology, and T’challa was the only mainstream African character who used his natural ability and technology for the greater good. But, much like the superheroes, I aspired to be, I had to overcome some obstacles first. Neither of my parents went to college nor had the ability to finance STEM programs for me. So, I did the next best thing and joined my elementary school’s robotics team. Even though I participated in robotics, it would soon not be enough. During middle school, I started to receive offers to go to highly selective summer STEM programs. I was excited, but my parents could not afford to pay for the programs as my parents had to take care of our extended family in Ghana. I aimlessly went through my summer with nothing to do. With nothing to feed my hunger to do something more with STEM, I began to feel like I was in an intellectual prison. Growing up in South Fulton has been hard on my intellectual development, especially due to the lack of resources available in my community. I felt frustrated, but I decided to change how I felt by taking action when I started high school. I started a robotics team after hearing there was not one available. I thought it would be easy because of all the stories you hear about professionals giving back to their communities or always being eager to help young people with their dreams. I was thinking, “I’m just a kid and nobody will actually take me seriously.” But things changed for me when I visited Georgia Tech and met my future mentor, Dr. Dennis Yancey. Dr. Yancey approached me and asked what I wanted to do, and he offered to help me. In my life, I have never met another person who looked like me achieving the things he has done-- graduating from Ivy League STEM schools and starting his own technology company with a global presence. After meeting Dr.Yancey, my progress with rebuilding Robotics improved. I was able to attend STEM programs and events that challenged me. I realize why I have been struggling with STEM for so long. I never had someone to properly guide me. While I admired T’challa when I was little, I look up to Dr. Yancey now. I want to lead in my community. I want to be a role model and inspiration to whoever is watching me. I fought to bring improvements to Creekside through STEM, hoping to help students with similar aspirations. I realized I am not aspiring to build the Iron Man suit like Tony Stark. Instead, I want to strive to become a real-life Black Panther to bring hope to the African diaspora, just like Dr. Yancey.
Nana Amma Otoo
Stockton UniversityWoodbridge Township, NJ
As a first-year, first-generation student, I have encountered many roadblocks that immediately started after my first day living on campus. When classes went into session, everyone around me happily typed on their $1000 MacBooks, while I used the hand-me-down HP from my older sister. I instantly spotted the financial differences between me and my classmates, but I could either use that as an excuse to fail or to motivate myself to work 10x harder. As a black, first-generation student, the only option is to work harder. While growing up, I never had access to the "nice things" all my friends raved about. I would always loathe them (from a distance, of course!) for flaunting their new shoes, clothes, etc., but they never knew how badly I wanted the things they had. They never knew or understood how embarrassed I felt when I wouldn't be able to eat the school's lunch frankly because my family could not afford it. They never knew that I could not go hang out with them at the mall or the movies simply because my family could not afford to spend extra money on their 3 teenage daughters. Now, those childhood experiences did not change how I interacted with others. I always congratulated others, expressed my joy for them, and made sure they knew I was so proud and happy for them. In past experiences, I accepted that I would never be wealthy like those around me, but I slowly learned that you are always able to change your destiny. I am currently attending Stockton University, majoring in Health Sciences, after that, I plan on taking an accelerated nursing program. With this, I hope to become a Pediatric Nurse. I chose this academic and career course because I have a passion for helping others and children. My enjoyment of working with children formed when I became a camp counselor during my junior year of high school. From that summer job, I identified the proper ways to communicate with both adults and children. Being a nurse has been a dream since childhood, it's only right to make that one dream come true, no matter what it takes. I know with my career goal, I can potentially impact the lives of children by providing proper care, communication, and positivity. I also know that I will not quit, because people are rooting for me, and I cannot let them down. I will show people with similar backgrounds as me, that you can acquire anything you desire, but you have to work for what you want.
Kayla McMullen
Willamette UniversitySalem, OR
One of the many struggles I have had to overcome to get to where I am today is the income barrier and houselessness. I have been houseless since I was 18 and am going on 3 years now. I was able to secure a high-paying job as the manager of an automotive shop and also have 2 other jobs that I work during the academic year (one as the registrar and one in accessible education helping students with learning disabilities access college). At the present, I still do not have a permanent address, but I have been able to fund my college career and create a sustainable living situation for myself. I have had to navigate the higher education experience from the perspective of a disenfranchised community, which has been far from easy. As a low-income student with ADHD, I aim to continue helping my community by providing access to affordable, accessible mental health care. My pathway to getting there, however, is a long journey. I intend to get both a masters in counseling psychology and a PsyD so that I can aptly provide mental health care for low-income and disabled communities. I don't just want to provide an immediate impact on my community, however. I want to create a chain effect within the low-income and disabled communities through visible representation. I aim to show younger generations that higher education is possible regardless of the challenging situations we may find ourselves in. Through various research projects and research deep dives, I have shown repeatedly and found consistently that the rates of higher education pursual and success are disproportionate in houseless, physically disabled, and learning-disabled communities. The community I live in has one of the highest rates of houselessness in the state of Arizona, one of the highest rates of disability in Arizona, and one of the lowest rates of higher education pursual in Arizona. I not only want to give them access to the services I aim to provide but also access to the path I took. I aim to show the people I work with that economic and social mobility and freedom are accessible regardless of houseless or disability status and I aim to help them navigate the process through the lens of a disability or houseless status. Disability status, houseless status, queerness, and mental health status should not be barriers to accessing higher education. Through my work, I aim to help people deal with their struggles, accept themselves, and overcome the societal challenges that they face to create a better life for themselves. Through having to overcome the difficulty surrounding many of these identities myself, I have realized how challenging navigating this world alone can be and thus how important it is to attempt it anyway and how vital aid can be in success. I aim to help my community bridge these gaps to create more manageable and successful lives regardless, or perhaps because of, their status, whatever that may be.
Cheyenne Rose
Dixie State UniversitySanta Clara, UT
I am a gay woman in STEM and I have had to defend my presence in the classroom since childhood. The average sexism and homophobia that exists worldwide is amplified in Utah, where I grew up and currently live. Women are the background workers and the caretakers. They are to be seen and not heard. Or so they say. I choose to disrupt the peace. If I have to fight to be accepted in a room full of men, then I will. My gender will not stop me. As for being gay, in Utah, it is publicly looked down upon. But, being queer is not about to get in my way. I am a gay woman in STEM, and the world needs to accept that. I will pave a path for young women in science and I want to prove to the world that gay people exist outside of art studios. The stereotype for women is to be silent observers, especially in the classroom. This seems outdated, but in Utah, it isn't. Women still have to fight to be seen on the same wavelength as men in academics, and specifically STEM. The predominant religion in this area describes men as the breadwinner while women support them and watch the kids. I have never been okay with that narrative. When elementary school teachers silenced me, I fought back. When peers put me down through high school, I proved them wrong. I made it to university level with the odds against me and I won't stop there. Women deserve a place in STEM fields and I'm going to pave a way for future women to follow me. In college, my average class is two men to every one woman. That statistic is nice, considering at one time in history women weren't allowed to step foot in the classroom, but it isn't enough. I had one math class in particular, where the professor had a public bias against women. By the end of the first week and after exam scores for the first test had been posted, that much was clear. Of the six women in this class of thirty, none of us passed the test, yet every man passed. This trend continued until two of the girls dropped out and I spoke up. This professor acted so out of line, I had to bring it to the attention of my Dean. A mistake on my paper was docked four points while the same mistake on my male peers' tests were only marked down by one point. I would not stand for that. No woman should face that, and I made sure no other women had to go through that. My experience being queer in college in not reflective of my university, but rather reflective of the culture in Utah. Around here, queer people are viewed as radical and artistic criminals. That is not an overstatement. Gay people are assigned to a profile that discredits all conservative, scientific and analytic do-good'ers. I cannot subscribe to that. I am here to show that gay people can exist in STEM and that we can be anything we want to be. Sexuality does not define us. I will defend the space I take up and I will encourage others to join me. We're here and we're queer, and we are going to make leaps and bounds in STEM. If someone wants to pursue science and math, their gender and sexuality absolutely should not stand in their way. I am a gay woman in STEM and I am going to pave the way for the next generation.
Rokiyah Darbo
Campbell High SchoolMarietta, GA
Hannah Norberto
University of New Mexico-Main CampusSheep Springs, NM
My name is Hannah Norberto. I am a 20-year-old Indigenous woman, affiliated with the Navajo Nation. I was born and raised on the Navajo reservation with my family who proudly express Navajo tradition and heritage. I wake up every day, blessed with a bloodline that has survived and overcome genocide, racism, and monstrous determinants that take away Indigenous lives. I come from a matriarchal lineage full of prideful Indigenous women who happen to be my mother, my grandmother, and so forth. They built me into this brown-skinned goddess who admires everything around her, especially health. As an Indigenous Navajo woman growing up on the reservation, I have experienced my share of systemic issues that have plagued Native American health. My present is full of a lifetime of processing grief due to my family lineage burdened with health issues that deter their sacred lives. Diabetes, neuroendocrine tumors, alcohol addictions, depression, etc. are all that have taken away my beloved family, friends, and community. I want this cycle to stop completely. That is my inspiration. Indigenous communities need balance within the aspect of health. My grandmother was a strong Navajo woman, who possessed the qualities of being a matriarchal leader; full of beauty and sacredness, a keeper of wisdom, and ancestral teachings. I am her blood, the granddaughter who has the potential in breaking generational trauma and promoting a better life for her family and herself. She died from a rare form of cancer in 2020 during the pandemic. I was her caretaker when she started chemotherapy. I was giving her medications, alleviating her pain, and watching her every minute of the day and night to ensure her pain and health were monitored. She died that year. The grief was immense for my family and me. I witnessed how resilient and persistent she was despite having a painful health issue. Ever since I was a kid, my grandmother praised the importance of education and being a successful Indigenous woman. She did not get to finish high school, so I use that example from her to uplift myself through education. The blood, sweat, and tears she shed to carry my mother and uncles, my family heritage, and life will be carried on. These are ways I stay motivated in becoming a leader for Indigenous health. Being able to dismantle systemic health for Native American communities is important to me because I am the future of the Navajo Nation. Despite the tragic and lingering historical past of my ancestors, I am the product of being a resilient Indigenous woman. Being Navajo is important to me because I want to carry on the vision of showing how capable Native American youth are in the huge world besides being on the reservation, to give being ‘Indigenous’ a sign of hope and beauty to the future generations to come. I live to see Indigenous youth represent and be a part of STEM careers. I hope to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in public health for Indigenous women through my STEM education. I want to be remembered as a successful Indigenous woman rooted from the Navajo Nation with a Ph.D. in Epidemiology, to be the one who dismantled her generational trauma and fear. Education is the key to dismantling Indigenous trauma. Indigenous communities deserve unity in all aspects on reservations and worldwide. The resilience of being Indigenous is why I aspire to walk with my head high, to be heard and seen, and to be successful in a world where my existence was on the edge of erasure.
Elhadji Ndiaye
Elizabeth City State UniversityElizabeth City, NC
Michelle Zhu
Vision Edu Lrng Ctr/Perf ArtsEllicott City, MD


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 15, 2023. Winners will be announced on Dec 15, 2023.

This scholarship has been awarded, but we have hundreds more!
Find a perfect scholarship now