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Morgan Levine Dolan Community Service Scholarship

5 winners, $5,000 each
Application Deadline
May 18, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 18, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student
New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania
Volunteering or sports

As a personal injury law firm in New York, Morgan Levine Dolan believes it is important for the next generation to be able to achieve the highest levels of education possible.

To help students pursue this level of achievement, they would like to financially assist those who wish to attend college. The Morgan Levine Dolan Community Service Scholarship seeks to help applicants who are team players and have experience playing sports in high school or volunteering for community services in their local communities. 

High school, undergraduate, and graduate students in New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, or Pennsylvania are eligible to apply if they have volunteer experience or have played sports. To apply, write about how this scholarship will help you fulfill your future goals.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published September 18, 2023
Essay Topic

How will this scholarship help you pursue your future career goals?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Justice Cillo-Smith
County College of MorrisWest Orange, NJ
Riley Borenstein
Williams CollegeFARMINGDALE, NJ
No matter if I miss-kicked the ball, lost a game, or was recovering from injury, the proclamation “Keep your head up” has been a staple in my life, a motto I live by. Because life is too short to let anything hold you back from potential success. Aside from soccer, one of my deep passions is art. I have found that art is subjective; everyone experiences it differently. After immersing myself in college-level art lectures and studios, I learned that, no matter the medium or image, it is the purposeful application of the charcoal, pen, or brushstroke that evokes meaningful emotion. I am now able to channel my hardships, goals, and everyday experiences into my art, furthering my creative outreach to others. I have always valued creativity in my life–whether that be in my eagerness to make the best reading journal in first grade or to spend hours brainstorming for a computer science drawing project. This quality makes it impossible for me to settle for mediocrity in both assignments and in life aspirations. At 10 years old, I learned how important it was to take pleasure in every moment–no matter if one has 70 years or months left to live. When the father of my best friend practically dropped dead during our championship soccer game, suffering from cardiac arrest, my 10 year-old-self, scared and distraught, tried to console his family. But this experience opened my eyes to the fact that every day could be the last, and thus every day matters. Because you never know when your time will be up. This man, who was like my second father, always said “Keep your head up”…because you choose how you feel about life events, and should never let something destroy your spirit or ruin your day. His physical heart may have failed, but he lives today because he chose to have heart, to be strong and retain positivity throughout his heart transplant and subsequent recovery program, something I strove to emulate through tutoring, volunteer coaching, and community outreach. About a year later, one of my close friends was diagnosed with a rare disease and started a charity–Fighting H.A.R.D.–for kids like her, to create a community for kids enduring stressful and life-altering procedures. Instead of remaining alone to deal with maladies and trepidation for the future, these kids are surrounded with comfort, reassurance, support. I joined her, raising money to support these families and befriending sick children in need of levity, often through artwork and outings. Through these experiences, I developed the ability to create connections among disparate individuals and thrive in uncomfortability. Months later, I was diagnosed with a heart condition. The aforementioned individuals became my role models: if they could endure heart transplants, surgeries, and dangerous procedures without complaint, and still put others first, then I could too. Navigating the world of medicine as a patient is scary, but I realized my condition was manageable compared to others’, which provided perspective. I was high school valedictorian, in part because of my drive to work hard and excel academically, but also because of my athletic competitive drive and passion for service. I strive to achieve financial independence and a prosperous career where I can give back to others. This scholarship would help me cover educational expenses whilst continuing community work. With my future in economics and art studio, I will effectively assess resource allocation for the foundation, fundraise creatively, as well as develop policy development initiatives with lasting impacts on community health and vivacity. Everyone should “pay it forward” to promote a tight-knit, supportive, lasting community.
Naomy Chepngeno
Wesleyan UniversityMIDDLETOWN, CT
nicholas arce
Long Island UniversityBay Shore, NY
As a child, I wanted to save the world. I figured some aliens or zombies would take over the planet, or the world would go into another world war. As a very young boy who watched a tasteful amount of fantasy movies, I learned that the best way to save the world was to learn how to fight, fly airplanes, and yell at presidents. Growing up, I realized that the world doesn't need such drastic problems to need saving. My passion was saving the world, and I knew by then that it would probably be more complicated than my younger self had imagined. By late high school, I realized that one of the biggest problems we have is our mental health. I have since then dedicated myself to saving our mental health. With the problem being our minds, I deduced that the issues would not be resolved by punching bad guys. After brainstorming practical ways to get me towards my goals, I went to nursing school and I am now a registered nurse on a psychiatric unit, giving me real-world experience in some of the extreme cases of mental illness. I also study psychology independently by reading books written by psychologists and neurobiologists. My goal is to have a deep understanding of mental health issues, and the various things we can do to improve on them. As far as being a team player, my sport in high school was volleyball which I played for all four years, and I now play in an amateurs' league. In all of my work settings, my highest priority after making sure my role was covered was to increase morale. That involved making everyone in the setting feel comfortable with their peers, encouraging members to do their best in their roles, and sensibly empowering the team to love one another. Now, I volunteer with a church group, where I play in the music ministry, teach the youth, and participate in other sporadic volunteering opportunities. One path I'd love to take is returning to school for a doctorate nurse practitioner degree. This would allow me to conduct research, teach on a professional level, and would add to my credibility. This degree would hopefully amplify the impact of the book that I am currently writing. The book is about imagination and its purpose is to expand the reader's mind with various perspectives and wild stories while using those perspectives and stories to imagine the best version of themselves. The degree would also aid me in getting public notoriety to help me start up a nonprofit organization aiming to teach people about things like healthy body and mind habits, the importance of wholesome family values and community, dedication to work, financial literacy, and anything else that has a true and lasting impact on our minds. Truth be told, these are goals that I pursue every day, and I am confident that my dedication will take me to where I want to be. However, the $120,000 student loans from my nursing degree certainly impede me from returning to school, and probably will for years. The time I spend working to pay off the loans is time that I would otherwise use to work on my writing, volunteering, and other developments. Please consider me as a recipient so that I may pay down these harsh loans. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I thank the Morgan Levine Dolan law firm for establishing this fund. These sorts of things help alleviate anxieties and unlock potential, so that makes you partners in my pursuit of mental health improvement.
Sophia Loza
CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community CollegeThe Bronx, NY
Embarking on the path toward a business degree is not merely a personal pursuit for me; it's a deliberate journey toward empowerment and community upliftment. The Morgan Levine Dolan Community Service Scholarship is significant in aiding my mission to bring positive change to the South Bronx. My academic journey, starting with an Associate in Business Administration, serves as a foundation for broader aspirations. The next chapter involves pursuing my Bachelor's in Marketing Analytics at NYU’s SPS school. This goal aligns seamlessly with my vision of using data-driven insights to fuel my entrepreneurial dreams and future success. My ultimate goal is to establish a business that transcends profit margins and becomes a catalyst for positive change in my community. Having been the "big sister" and main financial provider for my family, I intimately understand the struggles faced by single mothers and low-income families in the South Bronx. This insight fuels my commitment to returning to my community and establishing a non-profit organization. This organization will provide crucial support in the form of food and rent assistance, alongside fostering the holistic development of children through afterschool programs and sports initiatives. My personal experience managing finances while being a full-time student has instilled in me a sense of responsibility and resilience. These qualities are integral to the success of my future business and the non-profit organization. I firmly believe that empowering single mothers and low-income families alleviates immediate financial burdens and creates a space for others to think about their dreams and aspirations. One tangible step I've taken towards community betterment is enrolling my younger brothers in baseball, recognizing the transformative power of sports in fostering discipline, teamwork, and physical well-being. Witnessing my brothers not only embrace the sport but also share their newfound skills with friends underscores the ripple effect of positive influence. This initiative is a testament to my belief in the potential of the younger generation to shape the future positively. Moreover, my volunteer efforts in Brazil were part of a comprehensive program involving myself and nine other BMCC students. Accompanied by our college president, vice president, and student affairs leader, we visited schools to teach elementary to high school students about American culture, English, and the importance of pursuing higher education. Engaging with local kids from the favelas and volunteers in their communities, we played sports that fostered camaraderie and shared meaningful experiences. These experiences expanded my worldview and deepened my commitment to addressing systemic issues. One of the organized events that stood out to me was the day we went to the Sugarloaf Mountains. The experience of witnessing an entire city built within the mountains, forests, and oceans was unique and eye-opening. Museum tours provided insights into Brazilian culture and history, including an honest acknowledgment of the country's struggles with corruption and systemic racism. What resonated deeply with me was the transparency of each museum and speaker about Brazil's history. It emphasized the importance of acknowledging wrongs and educating future generations to prevent further transgressions of hate, control, and racism. This experience further fuels my determination to use my education and future endeavors to create positive change. In conclusion, the Morgan Levine Dolan Community Service Scholarship is instrumental in facilitating my pursuit of a business degree and, consequently, my mission to bring about positive change in the South Bronx. Through entrepreneurial ventures, community-focused initiatives, and a global perspective gained through volunteer efforts, I aim to create a lasting impact. The scholarship's support is not just an investment in my education but a commitment to the transformative power of education, community service, and a broader understanding of the world!
Elise Prophete
University of South Florida-St PetersburgBrooklyn, NY
"Don't look down." I was told from my second-grade best friend. I knew that I hadn't been on some kind of cliff or tightrope, we had just been playing hide and seek in the park- but then I felt it. First, a pinching pain, but nobody was touching me. Inevitably, I peered downwards. My immediate gaze was filled with red. My favorite pink and purple sneakers were red. My leggings- red. There was blood everywhere, and that's when it hit me. I was bleeding. There were glass shards, presumably from a smashed bottle of alcohol, and one of them had stabbed right into my knee. My city, New York City, is seen as the place "where dreams are made of," yet had that shard of glass pierced even 8 inches higher, it would have been my parents' worst nightmare. Though, I find myself feeling that if not for the help of paramedics and lawyers, while I may have not been able to seek justice for my injury, that's not the most important thing. I instead, feel that if I had not seen the assiduous labor and assurance of my lawyer or pediatrician, I would not have been able to find and pursue my purpose as easily. As I thumbed over what felt like countless stitches on the little hospital cot, a whisper assured me that I was put on Earth to help people, however I can. Weeks later, as I made my way back to school, hobbling through hallways and attempting to reteach myself liters, quarts, and gallons, I pondered the true extent of "helping people." Such an endless topic, it seemed, yet I never knew if and how I would be able to carry it out properly. By teaching my classmates the spelling of 'big' words, and eagerly presenting history PowerPoint, I figured I could at least help my classmates this way, to help them and myself learn, but I still felt like there was more. Aha- my future career! While this didn't come to me until high school, my paramedics inspired me, but my extensive clumsiness ruled medical work out of my head. However, there was another path calling to me, that related to me, just as much as I did to it. Law. As soon as I saw law as a possible career option, I fell in love with it. Criminal law, corporate law, entertainment law, family law, and the list goes on. Over my high school experience, I became involved in club leadership positions, non-profit politics and climate-based organizations, and became an NYCDOE advocate, for both mental health and student wellness. In the future, I hope to inspire others the way that I was inspired when I was much younger. It's become more apparent to me, that the "right way to help people," is the way that makes you feel right when you support another person. For me, that is being able to be a role model and representation for those around me. While undergrad and law school will be exceptionally difficult, and certainly expensive, I want to look back and be able to know that I've inspired all children who may or may not look like me, but who primarily find the need to help others and like you, be able to continue to pay it forward to them, assisting in any way that they'd need.
Aignae Lewis
Villanova UniversityPhiladelphia, PA
A field filled with dirt has the potential to blossom into a unique and valuable garden with the proper nourishment and care. Failure to provide the necessities could interfere with a potentially appealing creation. My earlier years are comparable to that field filled with dirt. A natural beginning to a possible bright future followed by a lack of investment. My foundation was compromised with soil that penetrated my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. I was forced to find alternative forms of nourishment through my contaminated environment. My development relied on limited resources for growth and advancement. As a result, I did not progress with the proper tools that promoted education, exposure to universal concepts and principles, or the confidence to pursue challenging experiences. I grew up in a single-parent household that did not promote education. This was not because it was not important, but because my mother often focused on providing the necessities of life. Her main priority was to provide a safe and loving household. Although my household promoted love and respect, the community that we were raised in produced much violence and detrimental experiences around us. I allowed my background to define what was within my reach. This caused me to strive in a careful and limited manner. I did not believe that I possessed the necessary qualities to create a lifestyle that was aligned with gardens of finer properties. My interest in nursing is due to the accumulation of my experiences throughout my career. The vast exposure to different professions ignited an interest in the processes that interfere with proper functioning. I have become very interested in the medical component of treatment, which led to the pursuit of nursing. I have had the great pleasure of obtaining employment through a psychiatric hospital exposing me to a wide range of populations and professions. The ability to work with a variety of professions broadened my outlook on patient care. My role as a social worker allows me to work alongside medical professionals that have informed my skillset. The structure of the multidisciplinary team encouraged professional exchange that has exposed me to an advanced understanding of treatment planning. In addition to my acquired clinical skill set, I have developed a compassionate approach to managing the cases of vulnerable populations. Many of the patients that I care for have lost their voices to the overwhelming forces of mental illnesses and substance abuse. I make a conscious effort to promote resilience and self-efficacy. They too may come from a contaminated environment that stunted their ability to live fulfilling lives. I allow this principle to guide my practice and develop my approach to treatment. I now choose to channel my hardships into motivation to help others in need. The pandemic struck at an unexpected time for most resulting in a variety of challenges. We all strive to pick up the pieces that were shattered during the pandemic. This has heightened my interest in health care. I currently have an MSW from Temple University. I plan to combine my social work experiences with newly discovered nursing knowledge to help serve people in need. I am grateful for the opportunity to care for people during vulnerable times. What distinguishes me is that I do not possess one passion. I have a multitude of professional interests that align with people in need. My pursuit of nursing will be a gateway to changes with historical healthcare disparities, and current healthcare dilemmas, and guide the future innovators of the world.
Nonya Khedr
Columbia University in the City of New YorkQueens, NY
Kaili Kniffen
Wissahickon High SchoolBlue Bell, PA
At seven years old, I was living in Austin, Texas. I went to an elementary school with an awning that had a net stretched across the bottom of the roof. My little second-grade brain never could figure out why that net was there. As I looked up at it each day, pondering its existence, I began to notice that dead birds would collect underneath. The birds would be distorted, strangled by the cords, their tiny bones snapped in their futile struggle to escape the net’s grasp. As a seven-year-old, this was horrifying, to say the least. I decided that I would not stand for it - I wrote a letter to my principal, explaining the situation and asking if there was any way to take the net down and spare the coming children from the terror I had endured. I was only partially successful - the principal had not been aware of the issue before that point and consulted the school board. She was turned down but told me that she was proud of my initiative. In retrospect, I would like to believe that this was a turning point in my life. I had gone after my goal, regardless of how daunting it was, and I had gotten results. In my sophomore year of high school, I began a project that would once again mark a time of growth and empowerment in my life. I was meant to spend two months studying the adolescent brain’s reaction to sleep or lack thereof. This project made me realize that my high school’s start time of 7:37 am was far too early to properly sustain fourteen hundred teenage brains. I decided that this needed to change, so I found out how to get on the school board’s presentation schedule and shared my findings in an attempt to convince them to consider a later school start time. The board president had informed me that school start times were far down on the list of priorities, but I was welcome to present my research. The board was impressed and requested further information, so I banded together four more sophomore girls, and together we did more research, planned a series of school board presentations, and campaigned at board meetings for two months. Eventually, the school board was convinced - the new start time is currently being decided, and a start time of 8:30 am or later is going into effect in the 2023-24 school year. My approach to problems I see in the world around me is a huge part of who I am: an advocate, both for myself and for the greater good of the population. This quality inspired my aspirations of becoming a psychiatrist. This career path would allow me to advocate for each teen that comes to see me and allow me to make a difference in the world by easing each of their struggles. Not only do I hope to become a practitioner, but I also wish to conduct research of my own to better understand the brain chemistry that causes mental illnesses, and what can be done to prevent or treat them at the source. To achieve my dream of becoming a psychiatrist, I will attend a 4-year university and medical school, undoubtedly throwing me into substantial student debt. Any amount of money could help ease that stress and allow me to focus on my studies so that I can help as many people as possible. This scholarship seems perfect for me, as I have been someone in my community to rally my peers for greater change that benefits us all.
Olivia Gray
Spelman CollegeGeorgia, GA
I foresee the challenges I will face as an out-of-state resident attending a private institution. These expenses include but are not limited to transportation fees, books, room and board, and other personal and miscellaneous items I may need during semesters at the illustrious Spelman College. My family also has depended on me to pay for our household needs as I’ve worked as a Dunkin’ barista, Five Below sales associate, and infant and toddler assistant teacher for the past two years. I saved a deserving amount of my finances in consideration of how much I would need to pay in part to all of the expenditures mentioned above and the student loans I anticipate taking out after the four years. As I am pursuing a major in elementary education, it is perpetually difficult to balance student teaching and getting experience in the classroom, hence why I look forward to obtaining this scholarship in an attempt to overcome the challenge of trying to financially support myself under these circumstances. Teaching is the best approach for me to overcome integral problems in our nation's education programs by reshaping the objectives, learning strategies, and developmental expectations to meet the individual's needs appropriately. On a grander scale, I want to emphasize my passion in this endeavor on the undergraduate level of which I am set on the track to becoming a professional in the field: teaching is the best approach for me to overcome integral problems in our nation's education programs by reshaping the objectives, learning strategies, and developmental expectations to meet the individual's needs appropriately. I am confident that through my career, I would make the biggest impact in my community and as a result, feasibly accomplish this without the financial burdens to follow. My choice of fieldwork merges my love of developing the greater intellectual minority of students and giving back to the less fortunate families due to systemic problems in contemporary colored culture. I see myself becoming an asset to the larger community of colored educators worldwide who inspire students to pursue their dreams. My college success depends on how thoroughly I master the craft of constructing effective classroom curriculums and establishing a safe, scholarly classroom environment for children within my care and beyond. In consideration of these efforts and aspirations, having the monetary compensation to accomplish my goals in the field is unique to what other degree could change the humanity and education of our future students.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 18, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 18, 2024.

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