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Scholar Budget Define Your Dream Scholarship

2 winners, $1,500 each
Application Deadline
Jun 15, 2024
Winners Announced
Jul 15, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Financial Status:
First-generation college student
Education Level:
High school senior or undergraduate student
3.0 or higher

Achieving true success in life not only requires a strong work ethic but also an ambitious mindset. 

Having a dream is the best form of motivation and is crucial in finding a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Unfortunately, obstacles and limitations separate many young people from their goals. Financial barriers, family circumstances, systemic barriers, and more hold students back from their educational aspirations and their desired career opportunities.

This scholarship aims to support students who have big dreams for their academic and professional future.

Any first-generation, low-income high school senior or undergraduate student who has at least a 3.0 GPA may apply for this scholarship opportunity. One high school senior will be awarded, and one winner will be an undergraduate student.

To apply, add a letter of recommendation, and tell us how you believe you can make your dream a reality.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Impact
Published March 12, 2024
Essay Topic

How do you plan to turn your dreams into a reality?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Andy Taing
Alhambra High SchoolALHAMBRA, CA
Dried mud. Chocolate pudding. Coffee stain. Depending on how you look at it, it could be anything. I have a ginormous birthmark on my arm. Well, it’s not that big… but if someone sees me wearing a t-shirt, they might think I have a skin disease or beginning my transformation into a monkey. I always viewed my birthmark as some sort of a monster—the sole reason my friends teased and called me names like “monkey boy” and “mole kid.” Having to spend the rest of my life with a ‘monster,’ I questioned how we even met. Starting from the fundamentals in Honors Biology, I quickly became amazed by the organs and tissues the body consists of. From the lymphatic system combating diseases to the integumentary system providing a barrier against pathogens, I was fascinated by the intricacies of billions of cells working together to allow our bodies to function. Most importantly, I discovered that my birthmark is a result of an overgrowth of pigment cells and how in Chinese culture, a birthmark is symbolic of good luck and prosperity. Now, I no longer view it as a monster, but rather a lucky sign, inviting me to dive into the cause of the mark and explore a lifelong interest in biology and medicine. Immersing myself in health-related courses, I discovered the true monster: the current healthcare system. Learning that millions from low-income households cannot receive medical treatment due to financial burden and coming from a low-income background, this injustice hit too close to home. It brought back memories of my mother avoiding the doctor as a visit is equivalent to a week’s worth of groceries. Just like my birthmark, I want to find the root problem of the healthcare system, but for now, I cannot watch this monster continue to ruin the lives of millions. Determined to take action, I found myself volunteering at a local hospital and working at a doctor’s office. Throughout transporting and talking to patients, I listened to their struggles of not having enough to afford food or fear of being unable to pay their medical bills. I noticed a trend: many were unaware of publicly available government resources. One after the other, I patiently assisted individuals register for governmental programs like CalFresh and Medicare. Although I recognized my ability to positively affect others, there’s still more work to be done. As someone who plans on becoming an Emergency Medicine Physician, I plan to be able to help my community where I can have the most impact, at the Emergency Room where everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status is taken care of without regard to whether an individual can afford the care or not. While something as small as a birthmark sparked my interest in biology, my involvement in my community helped me harness that interest to realize the bigger purpose: increasing the accessibility of healthcare for everyone. Being the first in my family to attend college, I will succeed not just for myself, but for my family and the countless others from low-income communities. I aspire to become a physician and provide affordable care to the public. Though the journey ahead is difficult, I will spearhead initiatives to revolutionize the healthcare system, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their financial situation, can access the quality healthcare they deserve.
Nicole Palma
University of FloridaOrange Park, FL
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt. This quote, although admittedly confusing to me at first, finally makes sense after realizing exactly what my dream is and what impact I ultimately want to make. Back in high school, I read a surprising statistic that 67% of America’s healthcare providers are white, while Hispanic, Black, and Asian healthcare providers each make up about 10%. As a Hispanic, such data made it clear to me that something had to be done to improve this disparity in representation, and I was more than ready to take action. I am a First-Generation Hispanic student at the University of Florida (UF) in the Honors Program. After graduating with my Bachelor’s in Nutritional Sciences, I plan to attend the UF College of Dentistry to earn my dental degree. My ultimate goal is to mitigate the detrimental effects of health disparities as a dentist. Health disparities have largely shaped my motivation in pursuing dentistry, where my goals include helping bridge the gap between healthcare and those in need. As a Hispanic, I know that minorities such as mine are often underserved when it comes to meeting proper healthcare needs. The fact that an overwhelming majority of America’s healthcare providers are white and only speak English is incredibly harmful to minority citizens whose first language is not English. This results in millions of citizens suffering every year from language barriers and other components of health disparities. To counter this, my dream is to serve as a representative and advocate in dentistry for disadvantaged minorities like mine to reduce the suffering born from these issues. I worked to remedy this problem at the Equal Access Clinic Network as a Health Outreach and Quality Improvement volunteer. This clinic network is a free student-run clinic that provides healthcare services to families in need. I took vitals, performed data entry, and completed other crucial tasks to deliver care. I also coordinated patient intake and follow-up with prescriptions, test results, and referrals to specialty services to educate and link patients to beneficial community resources. To specifically combat language barriers, I also served as a Spanish translator for Hispanic patients at the clinic. From this experience, I learned that I want to dedicate my future to serving and supporting underprivileged communities to make a positive, meaningful difference. Additionally, I volunteered under the Days for Girls nonprofit to help empower females worldwide with more dignity, health, and safety through access to quality sustainable menstrual health management. I also helped assemble feminine hygiene kits for disadvantaged females in developing countries. Furthermore, I volunteered under the Blossoming Butterfly nonprofit to provide compassion, warmth, and support to individuals coping with the unexpected diagnosis of cancer by crocheting handmade headbands. From my various leadership experiences in community service and extracurriculars, I developed and strengthened numerous skills that illuminated my commitment to helping disadvantaged individuals in need. Because I come from a low-income Hispanic family, helping these underprivileged communities is incredibly significant to me. The patients I serve face the same problems my parents faced when immigrating to America. The combination of language barriers and the stresses of being alone can be overwhelming, and I have seen how this has negatively impacted my own family. I hope that having more dentists like me who speak Spanish and understand the problems that underserved communities face can provide comfort and support to those in need. Therefore, this scholarship delivers an opportunity that will tremendously help me utilize my passions and skills to accomplish my dream of helping underprivileged individuals as an aspiring Hispanic dentist.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jun 15, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jul 15, 2024.

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