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Outside the Binary: Chineye Emeghara’s STEAM Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
May 16, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 20, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school student
Field of Study:

In our world, science and the arts are both very important aspects to our daily lives. If you’re navigating to a new restaurant your GPS uses the geolocation technology to help you get there but the interface was designed by an artist as well!

Although arts and the STEM fields are often seen as two very distinct industries, they have many similarities in what they bring to the world and the mental space in which they operate. These fields are the future and will be responsible for shaping a better world for generations to come.

This scholarship seeks to support Black students pursuing fields in STEAM in order to make these fields more equitable and accessible.

Any Black high school student in Texas who is pursuing science, technology, engineering, arts, or math may apply for this scholarship, but applicants from Wunsche Career Academy or Westfield High School are preferred. 

To apply, submit an essay of 200-500 words and/or an audio file no longer than four minutes telling us why you’re pursuing your chosen path and who inspires you.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Passion
Published February 16, 2024
Essay Topic
  1. Tell us why you want to pursue your degree and how you feel it will help you grow in your passions.
  2. In addition, tell us who inspires you? This response doesn’t have to be related to your potential major, but just express who inspires you in your life the most to be the best you.
  3. What is one topic you would like to learn about in college apart from your field of study? For example, as a Computer Science major you’d like to take a class on screenwriting for films.

500–700 words

Winners and Finalists

June 2024

Hailey Hickman
Nicholas Herod
Morgan Davis
George Aghanya
River Polk
Embery Guy
Emmaus Redda
Brandon Blatche
Christian Reynolds
Drelan Crear
Eyob Gelaw
Justice Jackson
Amaya Yates
arianna clayton
Kierstyn Jones
Tamarra Ramirez
Zuri Havior
Tatiana Smith
Caitlin Ochuwa
Charles Ollows
Destanee Kemper
Ihinosen Ohizua
Kiana Hernandez
Kashawn Truong
Amaya Lee
Kursten Willis
Timothy Iyere
Zahara Trent
Makayla Cook
Valencia Singleton
Ariel Sproul

Winning Application

Hermella Belay
Plano West Senior High SchoolPLANO, TX
“Dehydration synthesis: lose a water, add a bond!” This was the catchy tune my eccentric freshman year biology teacher would sing to my class. Given that even now, it bounces around in my head from time to time, I’d say she did an outstanding job of igniting the flames of my passion for Biology. I’ve always been interested in the world on a molecular scale, and although I deeply enjoyed her class, it did little to satiate my curiosity for the field. That’s why I joined my high school biology club as a freshman. There, I was free to explore my interests and bombard my teachers with questions. I couldn’t believe that there was a space for me to not only gain knowledge in biology but also test new theories through research. That’s how I knew and still know that a career in clinical lab research is the perfect fit to facilitate my thirst for biological knowledge. The groundbreaking discoveries being made through biological research make it the ideal career path for my aspirations. Growing up, I had never been a fan of my voluminous hair, constantly commanding people’s attention. The world’s judging eyes turned my confidence into shambles, and I had no idea how to pick up the pieces. It wasn’t until my junior year, when I joined my high school’s Black Student Union (BSU), that I discovered what it meant to embrace my natural hair as a core part of my identity. Cassie Dume, former president of BSU, was a huge catalyst in changing my mindset on hair. She taught me how a confident, smart Black woman like herself could embrace her identity and encouraged me to adopt that same mindset. Now, as an officer of BSU myself, I carry on Cassie’s legacy in helping young Black people learn to embrace their hair and cultural identities through leading discussions on discrimination, dissecting the stigma surrounding Black hair, while validating their feelings of vulnerability. Cassie gave me the gift of her courage and taught me how to be confident in sharing my vulnerabilities with others; how vulnerability is not a weapon to be used against but rather a source of healing. In every new environment I enter in my life, especially in the STEM communities I enter, I want my community to not only feel seen but have a voice and safe space to be vulnerable with their own journey of self-love. Black is beautiful, and if I can help more people believe that, I will have done my part in helping my community. For as long as I can remember, choir has been a part of my life. There’s no world in the multiverse I can begin to imagine where I’m not singing for the rest of my days. Choir started out as a low-stakes hobby but quickly grew into a space for me to expand my musical ability. Not only have I dedicated hours to perfecting vibrato and stretching my range, but I have gained a community of people that share my core values and cherish singing just as much as I do. The thrill of singing is what brought me to choir, but the strong sense of community is what made me stay. Furthermore, my role in Syncopation, a selective acapella group, has led me to seek a close-knit group to call family at UT Austin. I found what I’ve been looking for in the co-ed acapella group, Noteworthy. This group of strangers formed a lifelong bond through their shared love of music. With the values I gain from UT Austin and the intimate communities brewing throughout campus, I know I can apply this knowledge to numerous other aspects of life. Collaborating effectively and learning to treat others with respect, compassion, and love in a team are important ways to promote kindness and unity in a world already so divided. Although it may be a small way to change the world, every small act can accumulate into a huge catalyst for change. With the guidance of communities at UT Austin, I can instill these traits in other communities to slowly change the world for the better and be the first domino in one big domino effect.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 16, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 20, 2024.

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