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Alexandra Luna

4765

Bold Points

2x

Nominee

4x

Finalist

Bio

I have my BACJ with forensic studies and a B.S. in biology with pre-med. I completed an internship at the local coroner's office as an autopsy assistant; and I performed conversational biology research relating to ant-caterpillar mutalisms on hops plants. I was recently accepted into a Pathologists' Assistant Masters program at WVU and am applying to other programs as well. For my master's, I want to focus more on the field of forensics and autopsy pathology. I want to be able to tell the stories of the people that are no longer here to tell us, so I can be an advocate for the truth, as difficult as it may be. Everyone deserves to know that there is someone out there that is dedicated to telling the story of their lives. I am employed at a dermatology office as a dermatopathology lab tech, where I get to actively practice pathology and histology skills. I also work as a STEM tutor and love helping students become successful in the fields of biology and chemistry. I am someone that loves learning all that I can in order to help better myself, and hopefully, make an impact on the world, especially for other Hispanic, LGBTQ+ women in STEM. I volunteer with the Serve Committee at my dermatology job, where we make efforts to volunteer with various local communities to make a positive impact on our patients, our communities, and our world. I try to volunteer as much time as I reasonably can to work to advocate for equality, justice, mental health, and caring for the environment and animals of the world.

Education

Pikes Peak State College

Associate's degree program
2023 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Biological and Physical Sciences
    • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
  • GPA:
    4

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2022
  • Majors:
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
  • GPA:
    3.8

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Bachelor's degree program
2017 - 2020
  • Majors:
    • Criminal Justice and Corrections, General
  • Minors:
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
    • Medicine
  • GPA:
    3.8

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
    • Biology, General
    • Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
    • Human Biology
    • Physiology, Pathology and Related Sciences
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      pathology

    • Dream career goals:

      Pathology Assistant (P.A.), Morgue Director

    • Medical assistant/medical scribe; lab tech

      Vanguard Skin Specialists
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Guest Services Representative

      Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
      2021 – 2021
    • STEM Tutor

      Pikes Peak Community College
      2019 – Present5 years

    Sports

    Discus Throw

    Junior Varsity
    2010 – 20111 year

    Track & Field

    Junior Varsity
    2011 – 20121 year

    Jogging

    2016 – Present8 years

    Soccer

    Junior Varsity
    2012 – 20153 years

    Research

    • Biology, General

      UCCS — Student researcher
      2022 – Present
    • Microbiological Sciences and Immunology

      Colorado State University — student
      2018 – 2018
    • Criminal Justice and Corrections, General

      University of Colorado Colorado Springs — Student
      2019 – 2019

    Arts

    • Widefield School District music program

      Music
      local high school music concerts
      2009 – Present
    • Music
      2009 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Cheyenne Mountain Zoo — seasonal volunteer
      2021 – 2021
    • Volunteering

      n/a — volunteer tutor to local youth
      2020 – Present
    • Volunteering

      DoSomething.org — collection and recycling of cans
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      DoSomething.org — cigarette litter collector
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Charles Cheesman's Student Debt Reduction Scholarship
    The first thing you should know about me are that I come from a poor family, as many first generation students do, and I have done everything I can to not let my family's lack of money stop me from going after what I want. I worked incredibly hard in high school by joining clubs, participating in sports, volunteering, taking almost every AP course my school offered, getting a job, and graduating third in my class in order to increase my chances of getting scholarships to help pay for school. In between all of my activities and work, I played the cello, read books for fun, and spent as much quality time with my family and pets as I could. This all started my passion for education, learning, caring for animals, and even helping others by advocating for those without the voice to do so or just volunteering to try to help my community. I tried to keep that momentum going when I got to college, but things were a lot harder for me as I became plagued with a chronic illness. This illness of chronic migraines has been one that has made everything so much more difficult as just existing hurts and my brain refuses to work properly, but I persevered. I was unable to join a lot of extracurricular activities as I was struggling to find solutions to my chronic illness and I just could not find the time between my migraine episodes and school to participate in anything past what I had to. I also had to work up to 30 hours a week at my various jobs in order to afford life expenses, all while battling chronic migraines and navigating college classes. So, I turned to school for my only escape from the pain I was in and managed to earn two Bachelors degrees, one in criminal justice- forensic studies and one in biology- pre-medicine. In my last year and despite my illness, I managed to join a few school clubs including UCCS Peer Mentors, Global Medical Brigades, and Bug Club, which allowed me to gain some opportunities to volunteer in my local community and more experience in participating in my college community. I became a student researcher for the biology department and will be published as a co-author sometime in the next few months. This whole journey, despite being difficult and draining, was also peppered with so much joy, love, and success. All in all, it was an experience that I learned and grew from. This whole journey that I have been on has all been in pursuit of a goal of earning my Master's degree and becoming a forensic pathology assistant. The career I have chosen to pursue comes from my criminal justice degree, when I interned with the coroner's office and gained a passion for forensic science. All this is to say, that I have worked so hard and for so long, with more schooling planned in the future, to reach my goals. But, these plans have come at a high cost. Any and all help to pay down my student loans would go so far to helping me reach my goals. The money I would save by getting this scholarship would allow me to save more for my future education. I need to move across the country to go to my planned graduate program, so all money I could save from paying down my student loans would go towards the journey to graduate school and, hopefully, lessen my overall student debt that I will end up gaining from my career aspirations.
    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship
    My life, to an outsider, can be considered hectic and busy but I love how much time I get to spend with my loved ones. I love to be with my family and significant other when I am not taking classes or overwhelmed by homework. I spend as much time as possible with my pets, as I am a major animal lover. This stems from a lifetime of my parents encouraging my sisters and me to be kind to animals and to protect them when they need it. I like to advocate for social justice and protecting the environment, especially as I see how much the world needs more outspoken people that are willing to fight for what is right. I also try to volunteer in my community when I can find the time, to help others and connect with something larger than myself. I have been a student for many, many years. One of the few things I am good at is being a student. I have a passion for learning new things, collecting knowledge that I didn't have before. I love figuring out a problem that I didn't know how to solve previously and being able to use my gained knowledge in conversations and at my job as science tutor. I have gone through two different college degrees and have plans to continue going forward. I am currently a continuing education student; I am working on finishing my pre-requisite courses in biology before applying and entering into a graduate studies program in Pathology Assistance. Pathology Assistance is not a program that many people know about or what it involves. But, it is actually such a useful and needed profession in modern society. Pathology Assistance involves working in labs or morgues, in order to do tissue examinations and/or autopsies to determine if abnormalities in tissue could lead to evidence of disease or death. I have wanted to pursue this specific path for several years, but I have wanted to work with death as a scientist since I was a child, so my preferred path would be to work in a morgue. Most people find that to be an odd goal, but my career choice is not just about working with death or tissue slides. I want to use my gained scientific knowledge to make a difference and to discover the truth about the many causes of death. Too many people don't understand the true value of autopsies and the information they can give, or how tissue samples could display disease. But, this is one branch of medicine that is absolutely essential to society for public health issues and to individual healthcare and treatment. Every time a tissue sample gets removed from someone, or a swab is taken, the sample goes to a pathology lab. Once there, it undergoes testing and thorough examination to detect any abnormalities. This is an essential part of healthcare that is easily overlooked because the people in charge of testing are not the main healthcare professionals that people interact with. Without pathology, so many diseases would go undiagnosed and treatment wouldn't be possible. Without pathology, autopsies would not be happening the way they are and public health issues may not be able to be properly addressed. I want to be a professional in pathology because it is a branch of medicine that is essential and I want to be a part of it, to help those that need my help.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    My dream version of my future self is to be a happy, successful, and extremely educated pathology assistant that manages a highly funded morgue, which has one of the highest rates of diversity of scientists and autopsy assistants due to my concentrated efforts to increase inclusivity in a difficult field.
    Taylor Swift ‘1989’ Fan Scholarship
    I can easily be one of the first to admit that I wasn't a big fan of Taylor Swift for a long time, though I have liked a song or two of hers over the years. But, I recently started hearing more of her albums and have grown to like Taylor Swift's music as the songs have had more relevant messages to some of my own circumstances. My favorite song on Taylor Swift's '1989' album is 'All You Had to Do Was Stay' because of the overall message of the song. I had heard it for the first time in 2022, after my long term relationship with my fiancee ended and they lyrics resonated with what I was experiencing through my heartbreak. The beauty of a song like this is that it is supposed to reach you when you need it most. Music is one of those art forms that connects with listeners when we need it; it connects us all by showing us that we are not alone and others have experienced similar pain as well. 'All You Had to Do Was Stay' is my favorite song because it mourns a relationship that was ended by her ex despite her not wanting to see the dissolution of their relationship. She said that she just wanted them to stay, to not leave her, but they had decided to end it. The song started with "People like you always want back the love they gave away, And people like me wanna believe you when you say you've changed." These first two lines hit me really hard because it related to my broken relationship where my own ex had given up on us and our love, but begged to come back months later after I had already started healing my broken heart. He had decided that he had made a mistake in letting me go, when all I wanted from him in the moment were simple changes. He wanted to pick up the pieces of our relationship that he had broken all on his own which relates back to this line "Here you are now, calling me up, but I don't know what to say." And like Taylor Swift, I was already too busy putting back the pieces of my heart that he had broken, repairing all the damage he had done. I was unwilling to go back through the pain of being back with my ex, just to open myself up to the same hurt again, so I operated on the same idea that "people like me are gone forever when you say goodbye." I love music because it can often say the words that we feel in our hearts but do not know how to say aloud. I felt this song deep to my core, despite it's happy and catchy sound, because it spoke about heartbreak and trying to move on. I said similar things to my ex because I did not want to break up, but he had decided to ruin a love that was beautiful because he did not want to let me in to his own heart and struggles. He broke my heart and left me to pick up the pieces, but soon came back with promises of change. And like Taylor Swift herself, once he decided to say goodbye to me, there was no turning back and changing my mind. I was gone once he decided to walk away.
    Allison Thomas Swanberg Memorial Scholarship
    Community service is so much more than just volunteering in hopes to add something to your resume. Community service involves giving more than just your time, it involves giving more of your heart and mind to helping others just for the joy of helping. Community service can come in a variety of ways such as volunteering in local community programs, volunteering at hospitals, cleaning trash from parks and waterways, or helping with homeless programs. Community service can also take form in other ways of just helping your neighbors or giving just a bit of time to show extra kindness. I always used to do community service by volunteering with local schools and clubs, where we would do community outreach days to try to interact with the public in positive ways. My most recent volunteering experiences have been with community cleanup, remote/online volunteering, and volunteering with my club- Global Medical Brigades- at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to help with an event the zoo hosted. I try to help members of my work community as much as possible by offering extra help with navigating college, applying for scholarships, and just trying to find resources that are beneficial to students in Colorado Springs. My entire career plan is dedicated to giving back to people through matters of public service in healthcare. I have always been passionate about helping others and making life a little easier for the few that I can actually help. I am working toward an education in pathology assistance, where I can provide medical support to my community by investigating the deaths within the local population. Despite how non-traditional my future career may be, I can provide a lot of help to my local community to change how we see death and interact with it. I plan on working as a healthcare professional in pathology, where I can provide help to my community by investigating public health issues that negatively impact the people that live there. The ways in which I could help include investigating trends of suicide rates, gun violence deaths, domestic violence deaths, drug use and drug-related deaths, car accident deaths, etc. These kinds of deaths impact the community in a larger way than is normally anticipated because they show how much needs to be addressed in the way of public services. I want to help show the discrepancies we experience in mental healthcare, public services and assistance, and how we address drugs and guns. As we all know, these types of deaths plague many communities around the country and I want to be a part of the effort to help reduce the harm that is caused by adding to the research and investigations into these problems, so they can be addressed by local governments and authorities. I really would like to be a part of some positive change in my community, when I finally enter my career.
    @Carle100 National Scholarship Month Scholarship
    Show your Mettle - Women in STEM Scholarship
    My degree in STEM is in biology which I hope to apply to a career in pathology assistance. This path is within the forensic medical field that is still highly dominated by men. It is even harder for a BIPOC, LGBTQ+ woman to make it in this field, especially if they come from a poor financial background such as I do. I decided to pursue this path, despite all the barriers and challenges I will experience, because it is a field that I have always been fascinated with and incredibly passionate about. I have loved science since I was a child and I saw movies and shows full of the things that drew my interest. I loved watching forensic and medical shows with my mother. My mother realized how fascinated I was with the science displayed in the shows, no matter how unrealistic the shows truly were, and encouraged me to follow my dreams of being a scientist. She bought me archaeology kits, let me play as a doctor, and let me read books about the things I was interested in. This helped to set a solid foundation in my mind that I could be a scientist, if I worked for it. As I got older, my passion for pathology and my fascination with forensics grew, so I began taking science classes that would help me determine if this was the path I wanted to follow. The classes in biology, chemistry, and human anatomy and physiology and the wonderful teachers I had ignited my fire and drive to pursue a degree in STEM in college. Each teacher and instructor in my STEM classes I had from that point on were mostly female and each of them helped me along my journey. All of these wonderful women in my life encouraged me to pursue my passion in STEM, even if I am going into a male dominated field. They all told me and showed me that I cannot be limited by fear of rejection, failure, or discrimination based on my gender, sexual identity, or economic status. I have already completed some internship experience in my chosen field and have already experienced some obstacles in my path. I was one of the few women of color within the morgue who was interested in autopsy pathology and was consistently discriminated against by the permanent employees of the coroner's office for being who I am. I was informed many times by other people that women of color are especially discriminated against in this STEM field before I began my internship journey, but I persisted anyway. I have always refused to be pushed down or ignored just because others don't like me for arbitrary reasons such as my gender, race, or sexual identity. I refuse to be excluded from a field I am passionate about because others would love to exclude me. These challenges I have already faced have done nothing but encourage me to keep forging on because I have been shown how I can help be the change. I want to work in STEM and in forensics so I can blaze trails and create paths for other women like me since we all deserve to be welcomed in. I want to help change the field of STEM to be more open to women and to help bring more women into a forensic field that is severely lacking diversity because we deserve to be there. We have not worked so hard and for so long to be excluded from STEM. I refuse to be ignored because I am a woman in STEM.
    Overcoming the Impact of Alcoholism and Addiction
    Seeing my father struggle with addiction without even recognizing his addiction as a problem has made me look at how I want to live my life. My father, for as long as I can remember, has been addicted to alcohol and marijuana, with some use of opioids to treat his mental and physical pain. Now, his addiction is not as severe as some people's are and it doesn't stop him from living his life, but it has shown me the answer to that statement. If we chose to live our lives, ignoring pain and health problems by seeking relief in the bottom of a bottle or in the end of a blunt, then we are not facing the issue head on. We are hiding from our pain, we are hiding from the world, and we are hiding from our loved ones and the help they are offering. It is not fair to subject anyone to seeing us fall apart, to see us suffering. It is unfair and it hurts to be on the outside, seeing your own parent crumble. When we respond to challenges by hiding, getting drunk or high, looking to pills or other external factors to make us feel better, then we shape our lives around hiding and addiction. We do not display strength and we do not gain the courage needed to overcome our problems. When we hide, we cause more problems for our loved ones than we may have ever thought possible. We cause them pain; we become a burden; we become someone that they resent even when they love us. And eventually, we may drive them away because no one will want to continue to offer their love and support to someone who is doing everything that they can to push them away. As someone who has been on the outside of my father's addictions, I can say that this statement is more true than most people know. He hides his pain in alcohol, weed, and pills. And while he is not as fully addicted as others may be, it is still hard to see that he won't handle the causes of his strife. He constantly pushes away his family and the help that we offer him. He won't let us in, but then gets frustrated and mean because we don't understand. He hurts us and our feelings, threatens to leave. By hiding from his own internal struggles, he is shaping his life around himself and eventually his life will be exactly as he is making it. He will be alone because we can only be pushed away and hurt so much before we break too. But, whenever he decides to show strength and face his challenges head on, we will be there to offer our strength and love. I agree with this statement that how we choose to respond to life's challenges shapes our lives. When we gain the courage to face our problems, to look them head on, then we become courageous, brave, strong, and determined. We show that we refuse to let out life situations hold us back and that we can overcome any difficulties that we face. We become better for it and tend to show that side of us more consistently than we may have thought to be possible.
    Pet Lover Scholarship
    I love pets because they are the epitome of unconditional love, trust, and loyalty. They are the heart and soul of many homes and the best of friends to many. Pets of any kind do not have voices but they communicate so clearly in their eyes, their actions, their constant companionship. They are the best companions to have through life's ups and downs, and they will be there for you not matter what. My cat Kali and my tortoise Mnemosyne are my best friends, my confidants, my biggest supporters. They are my heart rolled into a small, furry body and into a beautiful shell. They are my everything. I consistently see their faith in me to take care of them and love them, the total belief that every time I come back through the front door is the best moment, as the cat meows and purrs with unbridled joy. They are unwavering in their love and trust in me, which is told every time my kitty leans her entire body against me and knows I will not drop her, and in her ability to slide in blissful, deep sleep in my arms and fully trusts that I will protect her from harm while she rests. My tortoise trusts me to always try my best to bring her comfort and provide entertainment and food. My pets are basically my entire life and personality; they are the center of my world. They are there to provide me with laughter and joy when I am stressed beyond hope from classes and work, while offering unconditional love. They are there whenever I need hope and happiness to breach my dark cloud of stress. Recently, I went through a major life change when I broke up with my partner after 6 years of our relationship and had to move back home to live with my family. This was a very difficult time of my life and I struggled a lot with my mental health from the breakup alone. But, this time was made more stressful because I was recovering from COVID and beginning a condensed online senior seminar class. I was extremely overwhelmed, to say the least, and was struggling deeply with my mental health. Through everything, my pets were there to help. My cat, Kali, laid with me through my COVID recovery, took walks with me when I needed stress relief from classes, and offered me her love when I felt like I was drowning from my life upheaval and schoolwork. Whenever I cried, she was there to purr and let me dry off my tears in her fur when she allowed me to bury my face in her fur when I needed a hug. I would not have made it through this difficult time without my cat offering me the comfort I so desperately needed. She was there to make sure I didn't fall into a depression and to ensure that I had a reason to get out of bed each day. As a cat, there was nothing else she could do but be there. For me, she was my savior and life is so much better with her there. My tortoise, Mnemosyne, cannot help offer comfort in the same way a different pet might. She does not understand feelings; she doesn't see or care how life goes on around her. She is stuck in her own little world and she is beautiful for that. She consistently shows me that no matter what obstacles stand in my way, that if I can just keep pushing through, then I will get what I want and need. Having a tortoise is a unique experience, but the beauty of the species lies not in the companionship they offer but in the relief from hard times. Mnemosyne is calming to observe as she goes through her life motions without a care of what's going on around her. She is wondrous in the determination she always shows to go wherever she wants to, no matter what obstacles or barriers lie in her path. She continues to consistently fight for what she wants and intense about getting it despite the world telling her she can't. She is one minded in her drive to get her way in life and I admire that tenacity more than anything. She reminds me constantly that barriers are only there to make me tougher, but I should never let them stop me. She reminds me to keep pushing forward, just because life gets hard is not any reason to quit when I have the tools and rigor to keep pushing for what I want. My pet tortoise is a constant reminder that going slow and steadily towards my goals is okay because eventually I will succeed. My pets have both changed my life in ways unique to them. But, they have been constant companions. They have each taught me different things like taking life as it comes and adapting but never quitting, to find laughter and joy and fun in the smallest moments, to live life to the fullest, to enjoy what I can while I have it, and so many more lessons. I cherish every single moment that I have with them.
    Pettable Pet Lovers Scholarship Fund
    Pettable Life Transitions Pet Lovers Scholarship
    Bold Bravery Scholarship
    To practice bravery and live boldly, many people think that you need to do the most dramatically scary things in life like moving across the world away from all your loved ones, jumping out of planes, going open diving in a sea infested with sharks, or even climbing to the top of Mount Everest. For others, being brave could be just doing things outside of your comfort zone, trying new foods, going for that new job, moving to that new apartment you can't quite afford, trying out for that team, or even just doing something out of the ordinary. For me, practicing bravery and living boldly is not necessarily so dramatic. On some days, to practice bravery and living boldly in my life, I got my first gym membership and convinced myself to go regularly; I bought a new car because I needed one even though I was afraid to do it. I asked to partake on a research project that I was sure I would get rejected from, but got it anyway. But on many other days, the most brave and bold thing I could manage was to just get out of bed in the morning and go to work or show up to class. Some days, my bravery was just trying my best to live my life. Other days, being bold meant trying to make a new friend from work and convince myself to go out to lunch with them. To practice bravery and live boldly doesn't require that I do some of the craziest or most dangerous things I can think of; sometimes living bravely and boldly just means doing my best to do the things I don't always want to do when the world feels like a weight pressed against my shoulders.
    Rho Brooks Women in STEM Scholarship
    When I was little, the world was my oyster and I wanted to be everything I could be, to quote a well known song, " When I grow up, I wanna be famous, I wanna be a star, I wanna be in movies." This seemed to be all that anybody wanted when they were little. But, eventually I decided that my dreams should be more interesting to me than the vague idea of being a superstar. So I tested the waters with all the ideas of careers that potentially sounded interesting and reasonably attainable for my life. Once I decided to branch away from the aspiration of being famous I settled on many dream careers- I wanted to be a soccer player, an artist, a cellist, a dentist, an educator, an archaeologist, an anthropologist, a doctor, and finally a forensic scientist. Each path that I wanted to take was influenced by my interests in the moment, in the books I read, in the shows I watched and simply just because my parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams. These notions of what I thought I wanted often did not stick for what I wanted to do as an end career, though each is still a small piece of who I am and the things that interest me. Even though these phases are no longer my current aspirations, they have played a part in helping find the person that I wanted to be when I grow up. I have had many influences in my life that have led me to where I am now in my career aspirations and educational goals. But, the biggest one that helped me to make a choice on what I wanted to do with my life was not a person, but a class and a life experience. I was lost for a while on what I wanted to do with my life, I was stuck in this idea that I had to go to medical school to become a doctor just because I was a biomedical sciences major. But, I had no inkling of what kind of doctor I wanted to be or if I even truly wanted to attend medical school. So, I branched out and found a class called Investigation of Injury and Death taught by the local deputy coroner and high-qualified forensic pathologist. The class was structured to teach us all about forensic investigations specifically around death of all causes. We were also required to attend at least one forensic autopsy as part of the curriculum. The first experience I had by attending an autopsy was the biggest influence in helping me to decide on the career that I was going to aspire to obtain, being an Pathology Assistant in autopsy pathology. The experience of attending an autopsy was unique, disgusting, smelly, and absolutely enlightening and wonderful. This experience of my first autopsy was the experience that shaped my career aspirations. My biggest goal in life changed from being a doctor to working to find out what happens to someone after death, to tell their story, to find the truth of death that is individual to each person and their previous lives. I want to use forensic science to follow the truth and help those that no longer have the voice to help themselves.
    Dog Lover Scholarship
    My dog Kahlua is my best friend, my confidant, my biggest supporter. She is my heart rolled into a small, furry body. Her big, hazel eyes are the windows to my soul. She is my everything. When I look into her big copper and grey eyes, I see the world. I see her faith in me to take care of her, her total belief that every time I come back through the front door is the best moment ever as her body wiggles with unbridled joy. She is unwavering in her love and trust in me, which is told every time she leans her entire body against me and knows I will not drop her, and in her ability to slide in blissful, deep sleep in my arms and fully trusts that I will protect her from harm while she rests. My dog is basically my entire life and personality; she is the center of my world. I love dogs because they are the epitome of unconditional love, trust, and loyalty. They are the heart and soul of many homes and the best of friends to many. Dogs do not have voices but they communicate so clearly in their eyes, their actions, their constant companionship. They are the best companions to have through life's ups and downs, and they will be there for you not matter what. My dog has been there for me through many hard times. I suffer from some chronic ailments and have a lot of stress that weighs on me from school, work, and life. My dog had been there to offer comfort and love when I lay in bed from my health issues, believing that she is taking care of me. She is there when I am stressed beyond hope from classes and work to offer her unconditional love. She is there whenever I need hope and happiness to breach my dark cloud of stress. Recently, I went through a major life change when I broke up with my partner after 6 years of our relationship and had to move back home to live with my family. This was a very difficult time of my life and I struggled a lot with my mental health from the breakup alone. But, this time was made more stressful because I was recovering from COVID and beginning a condensed online senior seminar class. I was extremely overwhelmed, to say the least, and was struggling deeply with my mental health. Through everything, my dog was there to help. She laid with me through my COVID recovery, took walks with me when I needed stress relief from classes, and offered me her love when I felt like I was drowning from my life upheaval and schoolwork. Whenever I cried, she was there to lick up my tears and allowed me to bury my face in her fur when I needed a hug. I would not have made it through this difficult time without my dog offering me the comfort I so desperately needed. She was there to make sure I didn't fall into a depression and to ensure that I got out of bed each day. As a dog, there was nothing else she could do but be there. For me, she was my savior and life is so much better with her there.
    Jameela Jamil x I Weigh Scholarship
    To be an ally is more than just a vague statement or a black image posted to your page when there is social strife, just to seem like part of the group. It is more than posting one image or comment to social media to seem like you are on the side of the excluded. Allyship is about creating connections with individuals that are often marginalized and standing up for what is right for the sake of being inclusive. Allyship is defined as "a life-long process of building supportive associations and relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability with marginalized individuals and groups". To be an ally is to advocate for others, to share growth with the minority individual or group, to fight against systematic inequalities and injustices, and to recognize when marginalized people and groups need to be lifted up and understood. As an interracial BIPOC, bisexual, and low income individual, I am often on the side of the minority with many personal experiences of being purposefully excluded, targeted by bullies or work places, and taken as less than. Over many years and meeting others that were allies for me, I was able to gain access to a higher education, earn a job as a mentor to others and act an educational resource, and have been given the ability to use my earned status to return the favor and act as an ally to others. I have many close friends and family members that have been impacted by the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade and have felt personally attacked and righteously angry at the continued marginalization of women and others born with a uterus. The marginalization of women and those born with a uterus is something that I have stood up for time and again, and I will always fight to act as an ally for this cause. Recently, I was an ally by attending Denver Pride and protests at the capital to fight for our rights as people. This experience was wonderful because it allowed me to stand up for others and for a cause that I believe in. It is a cause that also impacts other marginalized groups that I belong to, especially low income BIPOC people across the country. I act as an ally by making sure that my voice is heard and letting these groups know that I stand with them in fighting for the right to control their own lives. I have been outspoken on social media and in real life for this cause that I believe in wholeheartedly because everyone deserves to feel seen and heard, especially in a time when the world works so hard to silence our voices. I am an ally by being vocal and outspoken for this cause. I am an ally because I always fight to have equal representation of women and female born individuals in the workplace. I fight for equal pay and equal opportunity for these individuals. I also just act as someone they can talk to and vent to when life seems overwhelming. I have been positively impacted by my allyship in so many ways, and will continue to be impacted for years to come. I am proud of my outspoken attitude and my desire to fight for others to be heard. I think it is so important to continue to act as an ally because everyone deserves to be treated equally. Being an ally has taught me a lot about myself and the causes I stand for. Hopefully, I can continue to make a difference, even if it's just for one person.
    Melaninwhitecoats Podcast Annual Scholarship
    1)I chose my specific healthcare field of interest as an PA in pathology in order to address the public health issues related to death rates in minority communities and under-represented groups that are often overlooked due to poor socioeconomic status, lack of healthcare or state-funded healthcare, and to work to address issues of addiction in local communities. I want to bring to light the issues often seen and overlooked in our lives, as these contribute to increased death rates and issues for public health. 2) I will commit myself to diversity within my prospective choice of profession by always looking for ways to better represent and acknowledge issues seen in communities that are often overlooked and under-treated for their health issues. I want to make sure that the world is brought to be more aware of the issues in health we see around the country and the world. I want to ensure that each person that makes their way into my morgue is treated equally and given the attention they deserve in order to determine issues related to their deaths. I want to show the world that under-represented communities deserve more aid and guidance to break out of the norm and to pursue better public health initiatives to reduce death rates and addiction crises. 3)My financial needs for my education are currently fairly high as I am receiving no financial aid or additional funding to finish my second degree in biology, along with paying for life expenses. Every bit of higher education I have earned has come from out of pocket, while I work part-time jobs to earn the money to pay each semester and for life. I will also continue my education after this degree, which requires extensive and expensive examinations and applications to my graduate programs, so I also need funding for these expenses. Every dollar I can earn would help to make my current and/or future educational endeavors would help to make each moment in school less expensive. 4) My goals for the next 10 years that I am aspiring to accomplish involve getting into my dream medical program in California and passing through school with honors. I aim to get into a morgue practice after in a major city on the West Coast and work in forensic cases. I hope that my work in pathology and in forensics can aid in shedding light in cases that make it into court, so I can seek to find and honor the truth while speaking for the deceased, to shed light in the mystery of death. I also aim to aid in current public health crisis situations, so I can help in working towards providing more equitable care for disadvantaged populations.
    Trudgers Fund
    I never used to have a problem with alcohol. When I first turned 21, I began drinking alcohol only during social occasions and mostly stayed sober through college since I didn't want any interference with my education and due to some medical concerns I had. But, then COVID hit and I began drinking a lot more, as most people did. At first, drinking alcohol was just a way to make life feel a little more normal and to have some fun during lock-down. As time progressed, I experienced more intense drinking habits that went from only occasionally drinking to drinking at least two to three drinks a day. As someone who has suffered from eating disorders and laxative addictions, falling into an alcohol dependency to make me feel better was far too easy and natural for me. I never realized that I was experiencing a form of alcohol addiction because I couldn't see the effects; I wasn't suffering from poor performance at work, my schoolwork was still receiving high grades, and I never got a single hangover or had physical problems associated with alcohol dependency. This problem continued for far longer than I would like to admit through the pandemic. I realized that just because I didn't seem to be suffering from a sever alcohol addiction, it didn't mean that I was okay or didn't have a problem. I began with just analyzing my spending, since I was looking at returning to school I had wanted to prepare my finances for the costs. I began to see how much money I was spending on a weekly basis on alcohol alone. It was far more than I could afford and was not working to help me afford my education. By no means was I going to the liquor store every day or spending more money than I had just so I could get a bottle of liquor, but I was not okay with the turn my life had taken. I began trying to pay more attention to my physical and mental health, by monitoring how I was feeling daily and trying to pick a physical activity that would help me best address my mental state. This allowed me to realize that I was just in need of a healthy outlet for my feelings and less of a focus on drowning them in a bottle. I began exercising regularly, with strength training on days I was feeling very intensely emotional and running on days when I needed to spend some time alone with my thoughts. Focusing on my health gave me the strength to become sober, which has only helped me to become more focused on my education and on building healthy relationships with those around me. I have been able to work on the life I want to build and not be hindered by my need to use alcohol to mask my feelings. My current education is geared toward helping others. I am on a biology path to become a forensic pathology assistant so I can help those that can no longer speak for themselves and focus on public health. Alcoholism is no joke and I want to help shed light on the fact that far more people are suffering from this affliction than are known, even those that seem entirely normal and healthy. I want to use my education to make sure that everyone can be more aware of the enticing dangers of addiction and dependency, and that it truly is a public health concern that could lead to untimely death or other related health issues.
    Taking Up Space Scholarship
    The phrase "taking up space" has been perpetuated in a male-dominated society for far too long. It insinuates that women are in places that we should not be, that we are speaking when not spoken to. It says that we are doing things that we were not asked to do and that we should stay to the background to get walked and talked over. But, we are not taking up space that we are not meant for. I see the phrase "taking up space" as a challenge to do more, to make others notice me and feel uncomfortable with their thoughts that I should not be there. Every time I hear that phrase, I see it as a call to step into the power I have been given by the generations of women before me, to make the changes that we need to see in the world, to step up and be a part of the change of women entering into fields that we were previously excluded from. I believe the true meaning of "taking up space" is to let my knowledge, personality, professional and personal experiences fill up each room I enter, so that when I start speaking, I am noticed, listened to, and taken seriously. As a first generation, Hispanic identifying, and bisexual woman, I am often found fighting harder for my dreams than others may have to. I have been forced to navigate higher education alone, while my parents worked just to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. I work hard every day, and have for my entire college career, to fund and support my own educational goals, as no one has been able to help me.I have also found that there is a limited amount of resources for students that are BIPOC and/or LGBTIQ+, as it is hard to find proper support and places to fit in that I have been comfortable with. These struggles seem only heightened as I have begun my pursuit to seek a career in a male-dominated field in forensic science. There is so little information on my career field, incredibly limited support, and no true educational path that I was able to take and navigate easily. No one around me has ever dealt with pursuing a degree in my chosen field, and my college has little to no information or educational paths that will help me along my journey. These struggles that encountered my entire education have forced me to be a bigger advocate for myself, to learn independence and to find my inner strength to seek my own path. Each day, I take into account that I must take up space to fight for the life I want, to seek my dreams, and to carve my own path in my chosen field. I also take up space in the job I earned while in school, as a supervisor. In order to be heard and to have my ideas implemented, I have had to take up space to change the workplace environment, to lead those I was assigned to manage, and to guide my workplace towards the future. My ability to be strong-willed, independent, knowledgeable, kind, a good leader, and professional has opened doors for me that I did not know would open. It has taught me to always advocate for what I believe in and to be a leader that others would be proud to follow. By taking up space, I am learning how to stand out of the crowd and build the confidence I need to make a splash in a male-dominated science industry.
    Hobbies Matter
    One of my favorite hobbies, that I feel I never get enough time for, is playing my cello. I began my love for playing music in the sixth grade, when my school made each student join a music class- either choir, band, or orchestra. We had to go to an instrument fair to try out any instrument that might interest us. I tried every single instrument at that fair but the one that made my skin tingle, my fingers dance, and my mind soar was the cello. It felt like home to me. This was the start of my love for playing the cello. I played the cello for class credits and school requirements from sixth grade until 12th grade. I tried out for theater and jazz orchestra; I joined the orchestra council; and I played first chair in the symphonic, philharmonic and chamber orchestras. While I did many of these things for school, I truly enjoyed playing the cello. I did not really play for the credits, I could have taken other routes to fulfill those needs. I played because it was the one thing that made me feel whole. I felt so in tune with the music; I always felt so much more whole when I had the fingerboard under my hand and the bow in my fingertips. After I graduated, I did not go to college for music, but that never stopped me from playing for my own enjoyment. I currently play whatever music I want while truly being able to enjoy my hobby. It is a place that gives me a welcome escape from the world while I get to feel the music flow through me and into my cello. It lets my mind rest while my arms move to the rhythm of the notes. I can leave my worries behind and let the music emanate from my cello, to bring to life the feelings I cannot speak. My cello is my one true way to connect to my childhood and spark the joy of life by playing each note with the intention of feeling the music. This hobby of mine is the only hobby that is more than an escape from my hectic every day life, it is what connects me to my inner child.
    Bold Acts of Service Scholarship
    I am not an avid volunteer by any college's standards. I do not volunteer formally with organizations. I do not volunteer on a weekly basis for several hours at a time. I volunteer as I have time, in ways that work with my schedule, my life, and my needs. I am always wanting to do more to help those around me, but perpetually never having the time to do it in the traditional manner. However, none of this means that I do not perform any acts of service to help others in need of my help. I provide acts of service to my community by cleaning litter and trying to take care of the appearance of the neighborhood by caring for the earth. I can often be seen picking up trash from the sides of roads and in parks. I am someone that is always available to help my family and friends in any way they need. I often spend my time helping my sickly grandmother by providing technology help, helping her dress and clean any wounds she gets from medical procedures. I help her with her yard work, going through the belongings that she has hoarded over the years, and dropping off food to keep her diet healthy according to her doctor's orders. I provide acts of service to her by letting her know that I am thinking of her, that she is not alone in this world, and that she is loved beyond measure. I provide acts of service to my cousins and friends by volunteering to help them with house repairs, painting, moving, or even taking care of their pets for them while they are out of town. I am always available to help their children with homework and to be someone they can count on.
    Bold Passion Scholarship
    I am deeply passionate about few things in this world, but the things that I am passionate about are things that matter to me more than anything else in the world. Some of the more minor things that I am passionate about include playing my cello, reading books that I enjoy, running, weight lifting, and being able to spend time outside in my beautiful home state of Colorado. Other, more important, things that I am passionate about include my education and my future goals. My education is a huge passion for me since it has been a route I have pursued for years and intend to continue pursuing for my entire life. I have always been passionate about learning more about the world and all it has to offer, while also focusing on the things that matter to me, mainly the field of forensics and the deceased humans of the world. Forensics and science has always been something that I loved since I was a child, when I had begged my parents for science kits and spent my days watching CSI and Bones. I became overwhelmed with my desires to speak the truth of the dead and sharing their truth with the world in the form of science. I have focused my life on this passion. But, the best and most true passion of mine is being close with my family. My family means everything to me and they are my anchor to this life. I have centered my family in my life as my focal point and have spent my time being close with them. They are the people that encourage me in my life pursuits and help me along my journey. They are the voices in my head and my heart that guide me to my goals.
    Bold Listening Scholarship
    I am not a natural listener by anyone's standards. I struggle to truly hear what is it that other people say to me. It may be due to how I was raised, with parents that really never took an interest in listening to each other or their children. It may be due to some innate stubbornness to always have an argument ready, or my general propensity to zone out of conversations without truly hearing what is being said to me. But, as I grow, I have realized the value of being an active listener. Since I have a grown to require other people to actively listen to me and my needs, it has been a new skill that I am determined to learn and utilize for others. To be an active listener requires not just listen, but to pay attention to what is being said while being present in the conversation and responding to what I am being told. I actively listen to my loved ones and colleagues by being present in the conversation and responding to them in a way that not just keeps the conversation going, but that shows that I care about their lives. I make sure to remember details about their lives, their sense of humor, and the things they like. This helps me to not just respond in a conversation, but to actually care about the people that they are inside. Active listening means more to me than just being present in a conversation; it means showing others that I care about them and their feelings, their lives, and the things that matter to them. It shows that I think that they are human and deserve to be heard in their entirety.
    Bold Simple Pleasures Scholarship
    Life is full of simple pleasures, you only have to look to see all of the possibilities that are out there and significant to you. Some simple pleasures are being able to see how fortunate you are in having a place to call home, a comfy and warm bed to sleep in, all of the food you want at your fingertips. For me, I find simple pleasures in being able to exercise and move my body in any way that I want. I am so appreciative of the fact that I can move my body in the forms of lifting weights, running, or playing any sport I want to. I find the joy of running to be the most wonderful thing I can seek by simply moving my legs for as long as they can go. I enjoy the feeling of the sun on my skin, the fresh air slowing through my lungs as I work hard, the feeling of my heart beating strongly in my chest as I push myself. I find simple pleasures in seeing the animals and nature along my path, untouched by human interference, as I run on nature trails. I find simple pleasures in spending time with my loved ones. They are the people that influenced my personality as I grew up and continue to be the people I can rely on when I need them. The simple joys that I find with my family truly rely on spending quality time together and laughing together. When I am with them, I can be as silly as I want without judgement and we spend much of our time having fun together. I love my family and loved ones very much, so spending any moment of time with them is something I appreciate.
    Bold Giving Scholarship
    Growing up, I did not have a lot of things because my parents struggled to pay bills and provide food and entertainment to their children. We relied a lot on the kind hearts of others and local charities to help us get food, clothes, and toys. It was a time that I think a lot about and how much it impacted the person I am today. I am incredibly grateful for all of the kindness of others that helped me to get the things I wanted but could not afford. I have grown up with the idea that we should give back to others when we can in order to help return the favors given to us and spread the wealth of kindness. To give back, I do what I can in the moment. I have volunteered my time during the holidays to feed the homeless population. I have donated clothing and toys during collection bank days at my job. I give what little I have to people asking for money, food, or just a smile on the side of the streets when I pass them. I also spend a lot of time trying to make a difference to the environment by cleaning up trash on the streets and in parks; this allows me to clean the community I am in while helping local animals and the environment. It is just as important to give back to the planet by keeping it clean, as it is to help those around us.
    Bold Investing Scholarship
    As someone that comes from a family that lived on state and government aid for most of my life, I was never really aware of what investing was. My parents were smart with what little money they made by saving it for emergencies and basic human needs for their five person family, but they never had any extra income to do much more than live paycheck to paycheck. This meant that they never knew what investing was or how to go about it, other than what they learned from the social understanding that only the rich were able to invest. Investing, to my parents, was restricted to the rich because it meant investing money into commercial properties, franchises, in stocks or hedge funds, whatever that means. It meant having passive income from businesses and things that required a huge monetary risk. But, now in the age of information, it has been shown that investing can be for anyone and it can be in more than just business areas that the rich could afford. It could be me investing in something that will benefit my life later on, such as putting money towards a 401(K) account for my future retirement. There are now investment apps that can help me, or my own bank; I could get involved in crypto-currency, or I could invest some money in smaller stocks. One major investing tip I did take to heart was that I should only invest money in things I believe in. This tip made the biggest difference because no matter what I decide to invest in, as long as I believe in the cause and the intended overall results, I will never feel badly about what I choose to put my money towards.
    Bold Driven Scholarship
    The future holds so much hope for me. I have goals that will continue to be lifted in my pursuit of a higher education to support my career aspirations of being a forensic scientist. I am currently working towards getting degrees in disciplines that will increase my chances of getting accepted into the science program of my dreams. This path has already seen me earn a degree in criminal justice with a focus on forensic studies, with a current program in biology to aid in my life sciences needs. These two degrees are helping me to fortify my educational resume so I can be a ideal applicant for my dream graduate program. This program is in pathology assistance, where I can learn how to be a lab scientist and a clinical forensic pathologist to aid in forensic investigations, while preforming the basic duties of a representative of a criminal justice system representative. I want to be a forensic pathology assistant because it is in an under-served field of science, with a high need for people that can handle the difficulties of the career. I want to help those that are gone from this world have a voice, while I help those that are left behind gain an understanding for why their loved one died. I want to be someone that has a sole dedication toward finding the truth from the puzzle the deceased leave behind. My goals of being a successful forensic scientist have always been something I have striven for in every aspect of my life. Everything I do is in pursuit of the career I aim to have in the near future, and nothing will get in my way.
    Loan Lawyers 2021 Annual Scholarship Competition
    Financial freedom is really just when you have enough money in savings, financial investments, and cash so you can afford to live a comfortable life. It means you have enough money from all avenues of earning and savings to enable you to retire or pursue the career path you want without being driven by earning a set salary each year. This means that you were smart with our money early on and made it adhere to your current and future needs. But, I always thought financial freedom meant that I was wealthy, I had paid off my student debt, and that I was able to live the life I earned comfortably. In some ways, I was right. In so many more ways, I was short-sighted in my thoughts on financial freedom. In my defense, I had never seen anyone that had successfully achieved financial freedom or even had any idea how to pursue it on my own, except for being smart with my spending and seeking an education that could help me journey along the path to financial freedom. Financial freedom, after doing more research on it, means to me that enough money is earned to be able to trust the money to work for me, while I am not obligated to work nearly as hard for the money as society says I should. Financial freedom means that I would not have to worry about when each pay check is coming; I would not have to live week by week just hoping for enough money to pay for my life necessities. Financial freedom means that I would no longer be bound as tightly by the weight of my student and car loans, that I could live and enjoy life without worrying about crippling debt. It means that I could go to school for as long as I want or need to without having to struggle with maintaining a job and an overwhelming school schedule. Financial freedom means that I would be able to live the life that my parents never got to experience. I plan to achieve financial freedom in the future by learning the best ways to practice it now. I plan on investing in stocks, bonds, and businesses that hare similar ethical values as I do in order to help my money grow without having to actively earn it. I plan to do this by seeking support from people that know more on the subject than I do and who can guide me to the best routes to take to support my goals. I plan on paying off as much debt as I can early on in order to help reduce any pressures I may feel from loans and to save money over time from the lack of interest gained on the loans. I also plan on earning the education I am currently on the path to finish so I can have a career I want that will also help to further my financial goals. This will all help me to set up retirement accounts for myself so I can have a healthy and happy life that will not force me to work until the day I die.
    Bold Friendship Matters Scholarship
    Friendship means the pure joy of childhood we all it took was a park to make things exciting. I think of how friends could be made easily, as long as they were close and wanted to play with you. When we could run wild and free with no worries about how the world was going on around us. Then, I think of the struggles of finding out where we fit in the world as our bodies change, our surroundings are constantly different and life gets more complicated. I think of the journeys through middle school and high school when people were no longer as carefree or as easy to get along with,and make easy friends from. We began growing up, learning where we fit into the world, developing our world views. Simple proximity were no longer the main developers of relationships , but shared interests and hobbies were. Then, think about how life and the ease of having friends changed to finding people you can count on to be there in the easy, fun-loving times and in the ones where you feel like the world is against you. Friendship is so much more than just finding people that can keep you company. Friendship means finding someone that challenges you to be your best self. Friendship is having someone who holds you accountable for your actions and tells you the truth, even when it may hurt. Friendship is having someone that is there to be your shoulder to cry on and to support you when life is unbearable. Friendship is having someone that can share in all your accomplishments and joys, who can share the moments of happiness and laughter. It is also being there for others in the same way they are for you, no matter distance or time.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    Depression is a dark, all consuming mental illness that can fill me with a lackadaisical ennui, with a sadness almost too hard to overcome, or with an anger at the inadequacies of life. It colors the world in tones of grey and dulls all sounds and feelings of life. It sucks away at the ability to smile, tinges every laugh with a touch of internal pain, and makes the weight of the world sit on my shoulders. It makes every simple task feel like the hardest of journeys and every hard task impossible to complete. It makes the world feel brash and unwelcoming; every person is someone to avoid because one more conversation about work or school makes me want to tear out my hair. But, life must continue on. Despite the difficulties that depression lends every moment in time, I get up each morning, get dressed, and mentally prepare myself to take on the world for just a few hours. I work through my struggles to be a functioning member of society, like most other people suffering from depression. My mental health makes every day harder than it normally would be, and it makes maintaining my relationships exceedingly taxing. I have lost many friendships because my depression held me back from being someone they could talk to or someone that they could count on to show up. My depression made me cancel plan after plan, until I stopped being invited to go out. It stopped me from being someone that they could vent to because I could not muster the energy to care about their problems. It also has affected my romantic relationship. My partner has seen all the damage that my depression has done and continues to do to my mind. They have seen all the struggles I go through to talk myself out of bed each morning, to go to work, and live my life. They, unfortunately, experience the turning of my anger at my depression to anger at them for the minor mistakes they may make. They feel my restlessness that is stuck in my head, but limited by my depression. They feel my frustration for my mental illness that seeps into every word from my mouth, even when its not directed toward them. They do not understand the difficulties that come from living every day with a mental illness that makes even breathing feel like a chore, but they try to be calm and gentle with me. It puts a huge strain on our relationship, but we try to work around my depression as much as possible. My career aspirations have also been impacted by my mental health in many ways. Before my depression hit its all time high point, I wanted to be an anthropologist. I began my college career with a major in biological anthropology at CU Boulder, with high hopes on all I would learn at one of the top research colleges in the nation. But, my depression made it impossible for me to stay at CU Boulder, as I had intense separation anxiety from being away from my loved ones. Since my depression got so bad while I was away from home, I was forced to move back with my parents in order to help bring my mental well-being to a manageable level. This change in living situations also resulted in a change of universities. I ended up transferring to UCCS which led to a change in major as well, since UCCS did not have a great anthropology department but did have much better science and medical programs. I changed my major from anthropology to biomedical sciences and pre-med and my career aspirations from being a research anthropologist to being a medical professional. This new change led me to an interest in forensics with a potential career as a forensic pathology assistant. I felt like a career in forensics, which is a part of the public health sector, would be a step towards helping bring more awareness to the public about the troubles of mental illness, since suicide is handled in the forensics field. As a sufferer of depression, the field of forensics is my way of trying to help the masses in realizing the dangers of untreated mental illness and how we can help others learn to seek treatment to prevent potential suicidal actions. My career aspirations and education have taken many hits from my depression, but my depression, in its own way, helped to lead me to seek a career that interests me and will allow me to help others with mental illnesses. My experience with my mental health has influenced my beliefs in seeking help when needed. I was raised with a culture that largely under values the mental health professions. My Hispanic culture seems to be ingrained in an idea that seeking mental health help is admitting weakness or that mental illness is just an excuse, so they raise their children on the same notion. I grew up thinking that having a mental illness was just an excuse for poor behavior but as I started experiencing difficulties with my own mental health, I realized that I could not make it through on my own. I went against all my own instincts and beliefs to seek out help from a mental health professional to work through the causes for my depression. Counseling helped me to work through and understand the causes of my depression; it helped me to learn how to still be present in my relationships and life without feeling crushed; it has helped to motivate me to continue working towards my career goals. My experiences with mental health have been very influential on how I interact with the world around me and navigate through my personal experiences; it has been difficult but I am managing it every single day.
    3Wishes Women’s Empowerment Scholarship
    When I was a little girl, I had so many ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up such as a dentist, a doctor, a research scientist, an archaeologist, an anthropologist, or a conservation biologist. My dream was furthered by watching movies such as The Mummy, Indiana Jones, and documentaries involving female scientists like Jane Goodall. This all gave me hope that I could be more than what I was told girls could be; I could be anything I set my sights on. This passion for science began morphing into a dream, much like the one I hold currently, to be a forensic scientist. But, the entire time I grew up, I was always told I could never get to be these things because they weren't appropriate jobs for young ladies. I was also further discouraged from seeking out these dreams because I grew up with very little money, opportunity, and little chance to grow out of the boundaries society seemed to set for me. My family and society always seemed to think that I should to be a stereotypical, Hispanic mother and wife when I grew up, rather than the scientist I always wanted to be. I refused to listen to them and am now going to college to work towards my dream of being a forensic scientist; unfortunately, not every woman or girl has the ability to do what I am doing. Society can most effectively empower women by not setting gender stereotypes for young children. We can make the change by creating toys for children that are gender equal, with girls having more toys that display women in male-centric careers; or by hosting fairs at schools that are geared toward empowering girls, with the fairs showcasing successful women inventors, astronauts, computer scientists, welders, CEOs, world leaders, game developers, artists, and any career where women are trying to take a stand against social expectations. These types of practices willbegin to empower girls to follow their dreams, which then will create empowered women who refuse to listen to what society says they should be. We need to change the narrative on how we speak and treat all women and girls because it may allow us to continue towards the change of gender equality on all levels. If we can do this, then we can continue to empower women from all backgrounds to help change the world. Until these needs are met, we need to continue to fight for gender equality by protesting until we are treated equally. With updates in technology, we have so many more platforms to fight gender inequality, with more women feeling empowered to have their voices heard and stories told. These stories being told will allow society to learn that ways that we are all failing women. Women sharing their experiences, their setbacks, their struggles, their breaking of boundaries, and their successes allows women from all backgrounds to be inspired and to inspire others to continue the fight for gender equality. Women deserve to follow their dreams without being discouraged from pursuing higher education or pushing the boundaries of social limits. Society is what needs to change, not the dreams of women to be successful. Until our demands are met for gender equality, we must continue to make efforts to follow our dreams that other said we couldn't; we must continue to show that women are capable of great things and display those capabilities to young girls; we must continue to advocate for ourselves and other women until we are satisfied with the equality we deserve.
    Marcus Yates Giving A Care Scholarship
    Bold Patience Matters Scholarship
    "One of my weaknesses is impatience. I just have this aching need to get great things done. Can't stand slow change," was said by Robin S. Sharma. This quote highlights some of my best and worst personality qualities. As a naturally impatient person in almost every aspect of my life, being patient in any situation is difficult. Generally, my patience is thin at best, but this is because I can have no patience when I expect to follow my dreams and help make the world a better place. My life goals are lofty, with my hopes hanging on being able to be successful in my chosen career field and my goals of making the world a better place for future generations. This all makes me impatient because I am excited to make a difference in the world and I hate waiting for those goals to occur. But, this impatience has made me realize the value that can be had by being patient, in certain aspects of my life. I have much more patience in how I conduct my personal relationships, compared to how I am in my professional life. I make it a point to try to be more empathetic in my interactions with my loved ones, understanding of their emotions and needs being different than my own. People are all unique and have their own desires from life, this needs to be understood and approached with patience that is guided for each person. Being patient is important to me because it makes my relationships stronger.
    Studyist Education Equity Scholarship
    The current education system is set up to benefit mostly white and wealthier communities, to allow these students to gain the education that society demands to secure upward social and economic mobility, but this puts other students at a disadvantage. Educational inequity sets a precedent that makes it difficult for under-served individuals to overcome on their own due to the lack of resources to gain a better education. This infringes the widespread American beliefs of equality of opportunity, the ability to work for social mobility, and that people can always earn a better future, no matter the economic circumstances of their ancestors. The current education system does not allow individuals to pursue this dream of being able to obtain a better life because it already sets students to be stuck in place with severely lacking opportunities and no higher education funding. I believe that educational inequity is something we should all stand against because it does not just impact at the individual level. Educational inequities impact under-served communities at higher rates so they have lasting affects on social problems such as higher crime rates, dissatisfied populations, higher death and prison rates, hampered economic growth for the country, and threats to our current system of democracy. If we can begin to provide equal educational opportunities to every student, and more options for affordable higher education, each person will have the chance for upward mobility on the social ladder, while overall benefiting the nation's economy and future.
    You Glow Differently When You're Happy Scholarship
    My happy memory centers around a day of sunshine filtering through green leaves; the sound of babbling water in the nearby creek; the unfettered cold of mountain stream water coloring my skin blue if I played in the water for too long; the never ending joy of laughter bursting from my lips. This memory centers around my parents doing their best to find fun things my siblings and I could do without having to spend money. This colored my childhood, because no matter how financially poor we were, we were rich in family love and quality time spent together.
    Bold Self-Care Scholarship
    The term "self-care" brings forth the image of bubble baths with avocado face masks, a towel wrapped around the hair, with cucumbers on the eyes. This relaxing image is highlighted by a cup of tea or wine with a plate of a decadent desert resting on the side table, waiting to be eaten. This is not always the way self-care occurs for everyone. For a different person, it may the occasional treat purchased from a favorite coffee shop on a general "treat yourself" mentality. For others, self-care may mean visiting a therapist to take care of their mental health, or using yoga as a physical outlet of meditation. My self-care takes place on a daily basis where I ensure to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. For me, my mental health is very dependent on my physical health because my physical health brings me confidence in my ability to accomplish difficult things, while also making me feel more confident about my physicality. I practice self-care by running, stretching, lifting weights, and eating healthy foods that make me feel good and support my well-being. I also practice self-care by doing things I love and surrounding myself with people that are supportive of my dreams. I maintain my hobbies of reading, playing cello, and crocheting because they bring me mental peace. My support network provides me with people that encourage me to do the things I want and guide me towards paths that will benefit me. By maintaining these forms of self-care and surrounding myself with supportive people, I manage to maintain a positive outlook on life. These practices of self-care impact my life by allowing me to continue pushing myself to seek higher education and by not letting life weigh me down; self-care is what keeps me resilient.
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    "Growth" is an image of a seed sprouting and slowly growing up towards the sunlight until it buds into a beautiful flower. It cleverly overcomes all the difficulties of sprouting, despite how much life and nature try to beat it down and kill it by lack of care by others, putting it near things that would consume it, or by preventing it from taking root. This image of growth is more than just the scientific way in which plants grow, but also signifies the growth that each person must make it their mission to undertake in order to improve themselves. Growth signifies new beginnings and continuing to thrive despite the hardships that life brings. A growth mindset can and will look different for each person, depending on their past, their present, and what they want from their future. Having a growth mindset seems like such a basic part of every person's life, but it is a concept that must be constantly worked on in order to create positive growth and change. For me, keeping a growth mindset centers around my mental resilience to push through whatever comes my way and not letting it hold me back from continuing forward. A growth mindset means that nothing will prevent me from trying my best to learn as much as I can, be it from school, social relationships, or general survival in a modern age. My growth mindset keeps me strong, but it also makes me adaptable for situations that come my way and not letting me become overwhelmed. My growth mindset is rooted in my desire to learn and continues to grow by spreading up towards the light of knowledge, no matter how much life may try to keep me buried in the deep recesses of the darkness and negativity.
    Bold Longevity Scholarship
    Longevity is more achievable than ever before with the advances in healthcare and the ever-developing knowledge of what each person can do each day to make healthier choices. There is more information available to every person about the benefits of living a healthy and physically active lifestyle, with a larger emphasis on working on mental health, especially given the current events of declining mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. To most people, being healthy means having physical health. This can mean that they exercise in order to be healthy, which someone can do just by simply going for walks or runs for free, or by having access to gyms and fitness experts, which tends to be expensive to the average person. Other times, it can mean trying to live as healthily as possible by eating whole foods, following diets, avoiding processed foods and drinks, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Mental health is gaining a greater emphasis about being just as important, if not more so, than physical health at this time. Mental health impacts how we deal with the struggles of every day life and how we maintain our personal lives/relationships. Mental health must be addressed on personal levels with self-care efforts, inward reflection, and potentially needing access to mental healthcare. Health is so much more than just general ideas of wellness. The absolute best way to live a long, healthy life lies in taking care of ourselves mentally and physically, while also following the things that make us happy. Life is really only worth living when we can chase our dreams and live life to the fullest extent. The key to longevity is enjoying the every day wonders of the world by exploring and learning of the world around us.
    #Back2SchoolBold Scholarship
    #Back2School is always a moment of pure elation to go back to learning subjects I am excited about, but it is always haunted by the question "How am I going to pay for this?" My #Back2SchoolBold moment was inspired by the financial difficulties I have faced this last year. I have always had issues affording school due to being the sole provider of money for my education, as I am a first generation student from a relatively low income family. I have always had to rely on myself and my determination to get a worthwhile education, so I created a place full of tips and tricks to help earn the money needed for college. I have always been really motivated to get a higher education, and as a second-degree returning student after the COVID-19 pandemic, I need as much help as I can get to continue to pursue my educational goals and dreams.
    Lillie Award
    I am a lot of things. I am a collection of the love of my parents and my siblings. I am the person that my nieces and nephews come to when they want to play. I am a collection of the smiles and laughter of my loved ones.I am a collection of happy moments and difficult emotions, complicated and simple all at the same time. I am a home to my pets, the only caretaker they have ever known. I am a vegetarian and lover of animals. I am a reader, constantly lost in the make-believe worlds of someone else's mind and immersed in worlds I only wish I could experience. I am a musician, an artist, a runner with a passion for expressing myself in ways that benefit my mental health. I am a lifetime learner, dedicated to getting as much of an education as I can. I am a college graduate with a degree in criminal justice, with a love for learning about those that are disadvantaged with social injustices of the world. I am a college student with a passion for helping those in need, especially those that do no have the ability to speak for themselves. I am returning to college to continue working on my education in forensic sciences, with my bachelor's in biology. My passion for biology and STEM, mixed with a love for criminal justice and social injustices, is something that I wish to use to benefit the world around me. My passion for STEM can be used to benefit my local community by showing the young people around me that no matter where we come from or how much money we have, nothing can hold us back from going forward to become scientists. I want to show young people that you don't need to come from a rich family or be the smartest person in the room to go into STEM; you just need to have a passion for learning and the willpower to work hard in order to pursue the STEM career you want. I desire to show that Hispanic women do not need to held back by the standards of society or of their families; they can pursue an education and/or careers in STEM because they are just as capable and strong as anyone else is. Too often women, especially Latinx women, are held back by societal standards and do not go into the STEM field, and especially are held back from going into the taboo field of forensic pathology. But, I would like to show and motivate the people in my community to that pursing educations in STEM is entirely possible and within their reach, if only they try. I want to use my educational pursuits of forensic pathology to show the downfalls of not taking mental health or physical health seriously enough. Too many people suffer the effects of not taking their health seriously and suffer the consequences. As a future pathologist, I have seen the effects this negligence can have on ending the lives of people that could have lived. I want to use my passion for science to bring to light the seriousness of these issues and provide a platform to show my community how we can all work to help save lives through science, physical, and mental health efforts. As a future leader in STEM, I want to use education and passion for pathology to show that we can make a difference in saving lives, while boosting my community's efforts in helping fight the problems that too often lead to death.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    The change I want to see in my community and in the world around is the change to a more sustainable future. Everywhere I look, there is litter and garbage. The ground is far too often covered with cans, paper, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, even discarded furniture. I think of the images of the Ganges River in India, the banks clogged with human trash and the water ways almost poisoned with the uncaring nature of the people that use the river to get rid of their waste. These things are bad enough on their own, but then the view of birds collecting this trash, squirrels scavenging through the food, strays attempting to live amongst the dumps of human wasted products is overwhelming. This alone is enough to hurt my heart and soul because it shows the general lack of care for nature and the world around us. All too often people say that the little bit of trash they throw on the ground is not enough to make an impact; however, when you add up all the times one person says this a dumpster could be easily filled. This thought needs to be multiplied by the billions of people on the earth. Every single person has a negative impact on the environment from their waste alone, but all it takes is a small effort by everyone to clean up after themselves to make a world of difference. An even larger difference could be made if every person and country made a pledge to work on sustainability, cleaning up trash and litter, and reducing waste. This is something that desperately needs to be changed because a more sustainable future is the only way to save this earth for future generations of people and animals. As an avid advocate for taking care of the planet and its animals, I went so far as to become a vegetarian and have been an advocate for this lifestyle for over eight years. This allows me to make a lower ecological and environmental impact by reducing the animal products needed to feed me thus reducing my carbon footprint. Aside from a dietary effort to change to a more sustainable future, I make every effort I can to reduce my waste products by using reusable bottles, shopping and produce bags, reusable food containers, reusable straws and food wares, and even dryer balls instead of single use dryer sheets. I also have found local free recycling services that I utilize regularly while informing friends and family of the recycling facility. I find clever ways to reuse products to get more than one use out of them while making efforts to reduce overall wasted products. I drive an car that is more beneficial to the environment and choose alternate transportation methods or carpooling when I can. I also have joined local cleanup efforts to help clean local parks and waterways of litter. Recently, I made pledges on DoSomething.org in order to help in my own personal cleanup efforts of local parks to make them safer for the local wild animals while also making them less harmful on the environment. I am also a social media activist to try to inspire others to make the changes we all need to do to help the world around us. I have signed petitions to change the sustainability efforts of my college, workplace, and the United States to join in the Paris Agreement for including the US in efforts to reduce impact on the ozone layer. If everyone could make small everyday changes towards leading more sustainable lifestyles, we could all save the earth for future generations to come. We cannot preach about fixing other social problems if there is no world to save.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    Euripides once said, "Question everything, learn something, answer nothing." I came across this quote when I was 13 years old and it has been my guide towards figuring out my life path. I have always used it when going through school as a guide to always question the things that I am told because the truth is always more valuable than just taking things at face value. People and even textbooks do not always tell the full story, so we must "question everything" in order to "learn something." As a modern society, we are constantly being fed information from thousands of sources, with many of them only telling the story in a way that will bring them attention rather than worrying about being helpful or educationally informative. This can be seen by media outlets, news channels and websites, newspapers, and school texts. The media has almost always been a useful tool for propaganda, with many of the consumers never truly bothering to question what the truth of a story is or desiring to seek the full story. School texts have been proven to whitewash out information that people should know in order to create a better future, such as the omission of the Holocaust, the Trail of Tears, Christopher Columbus being the discoverer of the Americas and other such inaccuracies. "Question everything" has always encouraged me to look beyond the information I am being fed in order to pursue the truth, never to just accept things as fact without seeking information first. "Learn something" has always encouraged me to be a lifelong student in the tireless pursuit to gain knowledge. This is the reason that I am continuing to pursue another degree in biology in order to learn more about the world around me. "Answer nothing" has never meant that I should not share what I have learned, but to answer only to my calling for knowledge and the truth. Another quote that has recently been very inspiring to me is something my sister says to her daughter, "I am strong. I am powerful. I am smart. I can do anything." This quote has been a new mantra to me as I try to navigate my new journey of adult life. It has helped me to find my strength when I feel weak and to continue doing the things that scare me. When I first heard my niece say those words, I never felt more proud than when she thought that she was powerful enough to do anything she set her mind to do, even when it was scary. I love this quote because it does not just teach young girls that they can do anything, but it holds an important message for girls and women of all ages. No matter what the world tells you or how scary your new journey is, we are all strong, powerful, and smart. We can do anything.
    Bold Independence Scholarship
    Being independent does not mean the same thing person to person. For some, it may mean financial independence, living by oneself, or not relying on others to pay their bills. For others, it may mean that they have personal independence where they do not rely on others to help them in their day-to-day lives. For me, independence it somewhere in between, with a little bit more of the definition example given by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My version of independence does not mean not relying on others to help you when it matters, but being able to hold your own strength against obstacles. Independence means being able to have the strength to go through life by being my very own person, not being a follower but a leader and role model for others, while not allowing society's expectations influence my decisions. Being independent means being strong enough to walk my own path despite what others may say. It also means having the strength to ask for help when I am struggling because independent people also need to know when they can no longer handle things on their own. The impact of being independent by the definitions described above has been that I rely on myself to finance my education; I do not allow others to sway me away from following my dreams. I do not follow others but try to pave my own road through life. As Albert Einstein once said, "The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before." I strive everyday to not follow the crowd, but to pursue goals that are completely my own and no one else's.
    Imagine Dragons Origins Scholarship
    I am a first generation student directly descended from immigrant family members on both my father's and mother's sides. I have grown up experiencing two very different cultures, mixed in with the notion of standard American culture. My paternal grandmother made sure to impart the importance of Spanish cooking, closeness with family, maintaining relationships with extended family, and the value of education. She raised me for a period of time, along with several other cousins, where she taught us to read and understand Spanish, so we could continue to share that part of our culture with our families. She taught us that food is another way to share our Spanish culture with others, while giving us the opportunity to bond with our loved ones. My maternal grandmother married an American soldier to leave her life in Germany. As a child, she only had her mother to take care of her, which was not possible at the time. My grandmother had no other family, so she was sent to spend most of her childhood in a local Catholic orphanage. When she got older, she worked as a waitress at a restaurant where she met my grandfather. She married him; when he was re-stationed in the US, she uprooted her life and the life of my mother to follow his career. This brought my mother to the west coast area of the US during her early childhood, where she and my grandmother had to adjust to life in the US. My grandmother always found it important to teach her grandchildren as much as she could about German culture and traditions. Much of my life was spent abiding by traditional German baking and cooking, German Catholic nativity scenes for Christmas, playing with German toys, and listening to German music when we would visit my grandmother. As a child, I experienced two very different cultures from both sides of my family, in ways that would later shape how I view the world and interact with it. Being half Dominican and half German, I have the appearance of a mixed race person. This has presented its own challenges where people have had racist notions on how they feel they can interact with me and my family. We were often judged by our neighbors for being a mixed race family, which sometimes resulted in neighbors calling us racial slurs and telling us to leave the neighborhood. Family members were sometimes racist and excluded us based on the judgement of my mother being the only German person married into the Spanish family. My mother's side of the family often viewed me and my siblings as being dirty and unworthy due to the fact that we were mixed children. My family, on both sides, had a hard time accepting me and my siblings due to the fact that we were half-German or half-Hispanic, with the appearance of being mixed African-American. These are only a few of the challenges I faced with being a combination of two very different cultures. My parents both came from poor families and began their family very young. This resulted in neither of my parents having solid careers or the ability to seek a college education. They had little money and sometimes had to work multiple jobs at once. This also meant that they had little time to be with their children, often leaving us in whatever child care they could afford. My parents had to use government resources to provide us with basic healthcare, housing, and food. When I got older, I had to work harder in order to achieve academic recognition and merit so I could apply for a college education. My parents could not afford to send me to school, but supported my decision to go because they wanted a better life from me than they had for themselves. Everything my family went through to immigrate to the US; the passing on of their cultures and the culmination of their cultures in me and my siblings; and the struggles my family went through to ensure I got the chance to get an education that they could not have all shaped my personality, my mindset, my dreams, and my vision for the future. My dreams for my career have always been geared toward helping others while seeking an education in the medical field. My upbringing always showed me that people with a low socioeconomic status or non-white cultural backgrounds are not provided the same medical care or treatment as those middle class and up are. I wanted to be someone that could change that treatment, while helping those that are less fortunate. I always dreamed of rising from the ranks that I grew up slumming through by obtaining a higher education, and using the hard-earned knowledge that I worked for to help others. Now, my vision for the future is a little different, where I want to work in medical forensics instead, but the vision of being a voice for those who do not have the ability to speak for themselves has remained the same. No matter cultural background, education, economic status, or gender identity, all people deserve to be treated well, and I want to be one of the people that is a part of that change.
    Bold Love Yourself Scholarship
    I love my dedication to my vegetarian lifestyle. My vegetarianism is something I love because of what it has done for my health. I became a vegetarian at a time when I was struggling with my weight and self-image. It was a change that really helped me to gain confidence in myself and my looks. I was less self-conscious after losing weight when I became a vegetarian, which was a change that really changed my outlook on myself and on how I was living life before. I also love my vegetarianism because of how it feels on my mental state of mind after removing myself being animal product consumer. I have made more environmentally-conscious decisions on the types of food I consume, the types of products that I use, and how I interact with foods. It has also brought me the joy of advocating for more humane treatment of animals, while allowing me to show my loved ones the benefits of living a vegetarian lifestyle. My vegetarianism is something that I love about myself because it brought me all of the benefits that I described earlier, but it also showed me something more about myself and my abilities. I have been a vegetarian for eight years. This ability to stay with my diet choice shows that I have an incredible strength of mind and willpower that I did not know I had. I have avoided all possible temptations to resort back to eating meat, but have also stayed strong in my dedication to be an advocate for animal welfare. I am also proud of the fact that I was able to stick with something that most people find difficult.
    Bold Optimist Scholarship
    Times have been tough for everyone recently. The pandemic cost us all some of our sanity, a lot of our hope, and oftentimes felt like it was crushing us all. I did not lose my job, I did not lose any loved ones to COVID, and I maintained my health. But, the pandemic did not leave me unscathed. It cost me the opportunity to complete my education the way that I had planned on. It cost me the joy in my relationship with my spouse, and the opportunity to move forward with my life. I became burned out from school. I was lost in a dense, dark cloud of depression. But, the thing I learned about being in these hard times was that I could not let them define me or hold me back. The pandemic had no claim to hold on my happiness or the ability to move forward and continue to live and love. I earned back my optimism through counseling and relying on my loved ones to help me through. My counselor taught me to use my relationships with others to boost me. I was also taught that taking care of my mental and physical health were the best tools to breaking out of my pessimistic mindset. My counselor also showed me that there is no shame in asking for help when you need it. This helped me to regain my happiness and the idea that I can still follow my goals, they might just be a little harder to get to now. My loved ones helped to be people I could rely on to be there for me whenever I needed it. I learned that no matter how much life circumstances seem to hold you back, it is up to you to choose optimism.
    Pettable Pet Lovers Scholarship
    My kitten is named Kalika. In photo submission, Kali was taking a nap inside of the empty basin of my humidifier. She liked the shape and feeling of hiding in the empty basin, plus it made for a fun place to hide her toys with her. She proceeded to fall asleep and ended up taking a nap in there before she was interrupted and awoken when the picture was taken.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    My issues with mental health largely relate to depressive episodes, often highlighted with issues of stress, anger, and eating disorder behaviors. I used counseling services for over a year in order to help work through my issues and come out stronger. My journey was made more difficult since it was interrupted with the COVID pandemic, which increased my isolation and plunged me deeper into my depression. But, this experience did not hold me back from trying to become a better person and to not let my poor mental health hold me back from achieving my dreams. My depression largely affects my relationships with my family, partner, and friends. My depression does not often present in the stereotypical way of being withdrawn, sad, isolated, lackadaisical, hopelessness, or other similar symptoms. My depression had led to my eating disorder habits, with presentation of incredible irritability at everyone and everything. This anger at my depressive thoughts made me withdraw myself from my relationships with those closest to me. I lost friends; my partner has struggled to stay with me; and my family began to give up hope of being close to me. But, I did not want my poor mental health to hold me back from being someone they could love and rely on. I sought therapy to improve myself so I could maintain my relationships. I refused to give up on being someone they could love. My relationships were what motivated me to build my world up again, out of the ashes and bleak landscape of my depression. My mental health had also started taking a toll on my life goals. During my darkest and most difficult periods, I almost lost sight of my goals of completing college and getting my degrees. I knew that I wanted to be a doctor at some point, a pathologist who worked in forensics to help the dead tell their stories; I wanted to be someone that advocated for others and would make a difference in the world. I wanted to get an advanced degree so I could help those that could not help themselves. But, I had struggled to hold onto that dream. I used exercise and physical well-being to pull me out of the hole I was in. I set goals I could manage for my physical health, in order to make me realize that my life goals were still attainable. This, paired with my counseling, helped me to continue pursuing my goals of being a voice for others. Now, my goal is to help people in the way that I needed help. My goal is to use my experience with depression to raise others and help them move away from their depression. I know now that the world is hard to cope with. It is cruel, unkind, and often unjust. My mental health may impact how I view the world at any point, but I will not let it define mine.
    Bold Great Books Scholarship
    As an avid reader, I often read so many different books that each have their own lessons to impart on the readers, even if the author did not intend it. Sometimes, my favorite book may be a mystery novel that shows the strength of the investigator to search for answers at all costs. Other times, my favorite book may be any of the "Harry Potter" novels because of the nostalgia it makes me feel or the strength that each of the characters display. For now, my favorite book is "The Red Queen" by Victoria Aveyard. This book shows that differences are the things that make us stronger, not weaker. The Reds in the story are often treated as slaves and are controlled by fear. The Silvers are the royals of the society that are gifted with special abilities. The Silvers see the Reds as undeserving of basic human rights. Newbloods, Reds gifted with special abilities, came to be known during the Red rebellion in the Scarlet Guard. These Newbloods have shown that differences, while scary and often unknown, are what make us stronger and bond us together. This book also display large amounts of character development. The main character went from being a thief in her Red community, hoping to escape the confines of conscription to a needless war to becoming a feared Newblood in a Silver ruled world. She overcame the difficulties of her Red life in a poor slum, tragedy at the news of a dead sibling, the fear of being forced to lie to an entire country about her identity and abilities, betrayal from those she loved, and the pains of a war. Yet, she never quit moving towards her goals. This book shows that personal resolve and strength can overcome anything.
    Dr. Samuel Attoh Legacy Scholarship
    Legacy is something that is passed on from one person to another. A legacy can be a reputation that is passed on from parent to child, but it can be inherited possessions. To me, the word "legacy" means an inheritable trait passed from family members. I am my parents' legacy where I contain the best traits of both of my parents. They passed on to me their stubborn mindsets that refuse to bow to the misgivings of others, their strength to continue living life the way I want despite the challenges I face, and the will to never give up. I am also the legacy of their laughter, their happiest of memories, and the love that they have always been so happy to share. I am the legacy of their hope that I will make the world a better place. My upbringing was not an easy path. My parents struggled financially to raise their children. Oftentimes, we had little money to eat and had to rely on government programs to provide the basic necessities of medical care, housing, and school programs. They often had relationship struggles that made it difficult to remain together, which were augmented by their poor socioeconomic status. We had little money to spend on family outings and often could not afford the simple idea of cable television. But, they did not stop trying their best to provide as good of a life as they could for us. We may not have had money for the things people often take for granted, but we read books together, played together, and did our best to spend quality time together as a family. My parents worked hard to get better jobs and to make it possible for all of their children to go to college. There are things that I would like to change about my upbringing such as the way my parents were always quick to anger. They often fought about money and jobs. They didn't seek higher education, having both barely passed through high school and with having a complete lack of funding to even attempt seeking higher educations. My dad was always quick to using alcohol to numb the pain of hard labor work and the frustration at his life choices. My mother was always quick to notice all of my father's problems. I want to break these cycles of anger and frustration at my life status. I want to break the cycles of relationship and familial dysfunction. I am breaking the cycle of seeking higher education. I am becoming stronger than my parents ever thought I could be. There are things about my family legacy that I don't want to carry on into my life. However, there are so many things about my legacy that I would not trade for the world. My upbringing taught me to appreciate the little things in life, to love my family, and to never give up no matter how difficult the challenges I face are. These are the things that I will always continue in the cycle of the Luna legacy.
    Pandemic's Box Scholarship
    The pandemic was hard on everyone. We were isolated, beaten down by our own internal struggles and financial hardship. The world and time seemed to have taken a standstill, where the return to normalcy seemed impossible. Now, life is still hard with the looming threat of another world shut-down constantly shadowing all of our actions and future plans. While the world seemed dark with the pandemic, there were many aspects of my life that were not hampered by the shut down. There were several ways that my life was positively affected by the pandemic, in which many people were not so fortunate. I was able to graduate with the first of two degrees in my life plan to go to graduate school. I excelled in the change to online class formats and managed to successfully complete my criminal justice degree, while I created plans to return after a brief sabbatical to pursue a second degree in biology. This has also led me to realize my career aspirations are in the field of forensic pathology. I was not only positively impacted in my educational pursuits. I have been positively impacted in my personal life as well. I adopted a kitten, found a partner that supports my dreams, and set myself on a goal of bettering my mental and physical health. These personal aspects of my life were impacted in such a positive light that I am not afraid to continue to pursue my career aspirations. Before the pandemic, I questioned myself and my goals. I questioned why I wanted to do the things I did and I did not have the drive to pursue my goals at all costs. The pandemic made me realize that life is far too short to hold myself back from being successful; my fears are valid, but I am capable of so much more than I thought.
    Darryl Davis "Follow Your Heart" Scholarship
    I am a first generation student from a low-income family in Colorado. I have always had the support of my family to follow my dreams in education, even though they were not fortunate enough to pursue their own dreams. I have a goal to become a pathology assistant with a career in a forensic science lab. This goal is in the process of being achieved with the completion of my first degree in criminal justice with a forensic studies focus and a pre-med minor. I am going back to school to complete a second degree in biology, which will help me to continue my education and apply to a certified pathology assistant program. I want to achieve these goals because I have always been passionate about science and forensics, ever since I was a child. I have always had dreams of helping people who were no longer alive and could not tell the world the end of their story. I want these people to have their lives and deaths known, so there are more answers than questions for those that are left behind. I want to help the world understand this underrepresented science as not something to avoid, but as something that tells the world what happened to people that no longer have voices to speak, be it a natural cause of death or a more violent one. I want to show people that pathology is not a science that demands only medical degrees but a passion to figure out the mysteries of the human body.The dead tell stories that the living do not often get to hear, and I want to be the interpreter. I plan to give back to others and my community by helping old teachers inspire other students to pursue science degrees. But, for now, I try give back to my community by volunteering my time to my local high school's science department and its instructors. I often volunteer to help them with their class materials and as someone to help student projects in Science Club. In the future, I would like to set up my own scholarship fund to aid students from my hometown pursue their own dreams in science and higher education.
    SkipSchool Scholarship
    Classical music has been my release for my mind during the pursuit of my degrees. I have often taken the time I spent studying to punctuate it with the musical styling of 2Cellos. While their music does not abide by the usual standards of classical music, it has acted as a way for my brain to focus on my STEM studies while allowing me to recall the intense information of organic chemistry and biology. Listening to music while studying has allowed me to access both hemispheres of my brain to use creative problem solving and studying techniques, in order to accurately recall information for my classes and their exams.
    Carlynn's Comic Scholarship
    Azula from “Avatar the Last Airbender” impacted me the most as a character. She was an incredibly aggressive and dangerous teenage girl, monstrous in her pursuit of destruction and world domination. She knew that she was not particularly loved, not even by her own mother or her sibling, and possibly less by her father. This was not her fault. She was a factor of nurture over nature, in which she was not nurtured by anyone. Her father grew her into a dangerous weapon to be used. Azula impacted me because she hated that she was a monster, it made her strong, but she was not unbreakable. Azula was not an inspirational character, but showed the values that are placed on us by society and our family can heavily sway the way in which we approach obstacles in our path. Even monsters can fall victim to the desire to be loved.