For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Alisha Gupta

1085

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

Bio

My passion is psychology! My main goal in life is to positively help others, and I strive to reach that goal every day. Whether it be through volunteering at senior centers or educating students through my podcast, Psychology Demystified, I seize the opportunity to make a difference, and I look forward to continuing that in college and beyond.

Education

Los Osos High School

High School
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Psychology, General
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mental Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      clinical psychologist

    • Guest Advocate

      Target
      2023 – 2023

    Sports

    Dancing

    Club
    2012 – 20208 years

    Awards

    • Yes

    Volleyball

    Club
    2018 – 20202 years

    Research

    • Psychology, General

      HealthyRC Youth Leaders — Researcher and Presenter
      2022 – Present

    Arts

    • Revolutionary Institute of Performing Arts

      Dance
      Akh Lad Jaave Dance
      2014 – 2020

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Key Club — Volunteer and Club Member Recognition Chair
      2020 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    The most transformative experience I’ve had as a student was my freshman year of high school in 2020. 2020 was a clash of change, worries, and overwhelming sadness. As a young 13 year old, I was entering a pandemic where my whole life was turned upside down. With the COVID-19 pandemic, I was constantly worried about my health, and that of loved ones. What if one of us gets sick? How is school going to work? Am I ever going to see my friends again? All of these questions plagued my mind for a full year. Along with worries about the pandemic, I was entering a new stage of my life—high school. I had no clue what awaited me, especially since it was all virtual. As a very extroverted and bubbly person, being isolated from everyone for the sake of our health took a massive toll on me. I was miserable as I went through the motions of my virtual classes, only to log off and scroll endlessly on my phone. The lack of motivation to do my work created an immense amount of stress on me as I would have to last-minute complete assignments, creating a vicious cycle of procrastination and cramming. COVID and school stress seemed to only increase, weighing me down endlessly. I shut down and cried all the time. My family and I joke that I had at least one mental breakdown every week. While we joke now, I can confidently say that in 2020, my mental health was at its absolute lowest. Even as a stressed senior now, I have never quite reached that rock bottom that I felt in 2020. However, I eventually emerged: happier, healthier, and with a new understanding of myself. Through all the sadness, stress, and worry, my family was always there for me, and I learned how to lean on my loved ones. I learned how to handle intense stress in my life, from journaling about my anxiety to breaking down my homework into manageable steps. Most importantly, 2020 renewed my urge to learn. Because I felt so out of control, I read. Books, articles, anything I could find to learn more about time management, self-love, and anxiety. I wanted to know more, and that urge to learn continued even after 2020. At school, I had a renewed sense of wonder, and I actually enjoyed my classes. AP Psychology was one of my favorite classes. In 2020, I had stumbled upon The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, sparking a blazing fire for psychology in me. I took AP Psych as soon as I could, falling further in love with the field. Since then, I’ve taken a college-level summer course at Brown University on the psychology behind drugs. I’ve also created a podcast, Psychology Demystified, to share my passion with others. The field of psychology, so fascinating to me, was also expansive and complex, so I wanted to educate others about various topics in psychology, including varying career options and critical experiments that left a deep impact on the field. Even as I continue to learn through my podcast, my curiosity continues to grow, leaving me with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I want to continue nurturing this yearning to learn, and I can’t wait to see what opportunities college will provide me to expand my knowledge and dive into the topics I love.
    VonDerek Casteel Being There Counts Scholarship
    Four hours. That’s how long I sat on the carpeted floor of my parents’ bedroom, nose deep in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The pandemic was in full swing and I was mind-numbingly unhappy. I was scared for my family’s health, worried about school, and desperate for a distraction. So there I sat, cracking open the spine of a forgotten book that lay at the bottom of my mom’s dresser. I only meant to skim the first few pages, but the book acted like a portal, sucking me into a wondrous world of neuroscience and psychology. The carpet chafed, but I hardly noticed as I flipped page after page, absorbing the stories of scientists, experiments, and more. When I finally came back to reality, it felt like I was stepping out of a dream. I had found my passion for psychology. Since then, I’ve taken a college-level summer course at Brown University on the psychology behind drugs. I’ve also joined the Neuroscience Youth Network, a student-run nonprofit that spreads information about psychology and neuroscience using fun, engaging methods. Even so, my curiosity continued to grow. To help quench that curiosity, I knew that I had to share my passion with others. The field of psychology, though fascinating, was also expansive and complex, so I buckled down and started my own podcast: Psychology Demystified. My primary goal was to educate others about various topics in psychology, including varying career options and critical experiments that left a deep impact on the field. Each episode I create is a product of hours of research, finetuning, and recording as I strive to broaden the minds of my fellow learners. Along with my podcast, I joined a municipal student internship program, called Youth Leaders. My passion for psychology was matched with my passion for mental health, a blazing fire in me that pushed me to create change. Through this program, I was able to focus on improving mental health in schools, something that, due to my own mental breakdown in 2020, I knew had to be addressed. Together with five other students, I dove into research, conducting “quality of life” surveys at local schools to gauge the mental health levels of teens in our community. Sadly, the results weren’t good. To combat students’ plummeting mental health, my committee trained at a stress-relieving center to learn coping skills, then used those skills to conduct workshops where we could pass on these methods for the benefit of our peers. We made soothing rain sticks, stress balls, and fidget toys to calm students down and get them to be more relaxed. Our workshops served as safe havens of peace that students could take home with them to work on improving their mental health, and post-workshop surveys revealed that over 90% of students felt significant improvement in their mental health status. At the end of our internship, my team and I presented our final research project to parents, city, and state officials. It was intimidating, but it was so incredibly rewarding to fully envelop myself in my passion, all while helping my community. After the presentation, parents came up to us, gushing about how valuable our research was and how they were going to go home and check up on their children. The rush of joy and gratitude I felt at knowing I made a difference was unmatched; nothing I have ever done has truly made me feel so proud and happy. While there are still a lot of uncertainties in my life, I know for certain that psychology is and will remain my number one love.
    Ryan Yebba Memorial Mental Health Scholarship
    I stood at the podium after months of research, conducted during an internship with my local government. Taking one last breath before delivering my presentation on mental health in schools, I began by sharing collected health statistics. Establishing that mental health was suffering in high schools, I followed up with suggestions for improvement, highlighting the mindfulness workshops I’d conducted with my committee, and the benefit they’d had to students in the schools we visited. At the end of the presentation, the room filled with thunderous applause, and my committee and I earned handshakes from the mayor. This moment was a long time coming. When I entered high school, I realized that my classmates’ mental health wasn’t optimal. Making suicide jokes was ‘normal’; ignoring depression and anxiety was standard. I was horrified, but my friends were clearly only concerned about physical well-being. As someone who spent years struggling with poor mental health, I wanted to change the narrative, highlighting why it’s worth fighting for. I joined my city’s Youth Leaders program, working with other students to improve our community’s view on the importance of mental health. Prior to our efforts, few community schools gave students access to therapists or instruction on stress coping techniques. While a few schools had “Wellness Centers” for student stress relief, many schools lacked one, including my own. During my internship, I fought to change that fact by gathering local data measuring the mental health levels of students before and after incorporating stress-relieving techniques such as box breathing and creating stress balls. We proved that many students felt an immediate sense of relief from implementing these activities, even for just a few minutes. If students could benefit from minor exposure to these activities, how much support would they receive from regular in-school offerings? Our goal was to prove the necessity of Wellness Centers in every school and we succeeded: after my presentation to city and state officials that fateful day, more Wellness Centers were implemented across the district, and my school finally got a fully fleshed out space where students could rest and recharge. Just as my school received a Wellness Center, my goal as I continue reaching my career is to make this the norm; having safe spaces for children to go to. At a Wellness Center, students can take a break from school for a little bit and decompress, but they can also seek help from an intervention specialist. In this way, children and teens who struggle navigating the mental healthcare system have something much more localized and easy to reach. Though it's not a substitute for therapy or other mental health services, mental health can slowly become more accessible to the younger audience as it is established in schools nationwide.
    RonranGlee Literary Scholarship
    Paragraph: "Aziz was offended. The remark suggested that he, an obscure Indian, had no right to have heard of Post Impressionism—a privilege reserved for the Ruling Race, that. He said stiffly, “I do not consider Mrs. Moore my friend, I only met her accidentally in my mosque,” and was adding “a single meeting is too short to make a friend,” but before he could finish the sentence the stiffness vanished from it, because he felt Fielding’s fundamental good will. His own went out to it, and grappled beneath the shifting tides of emotion which can alone bear the voyager to an anchorage but may also carry him across it on to the rocks. He was safe really—as safe as the shore-dweller who can only understand stability and supposes that every ship must be wrecked, and he had sensations the shore-dweller cannot know. Indeed, he was sensitive rather than responsive. In every remark he found a meaning, but not always the true meaning, and his life though vivid was largely a dream. Fielding, for instance, had not meant that Indians are obscure, but that Post Impressionism is; a gulf divided his remark from Mrs. Turton’s “Why, they speak English,” but to Aziz the two sounded alike. Fielding saw that something had gone wrong, and equally that it had come right, but he didn’t fidget, being an optimist where personal relations were concerned, and their talk rattled on as before." Throughout E.M. Forster’s novel A Passage to India, a variety of symbols are harnessed to convey various meanings. Racial tensions, love, and struggle are all depicted through various images and textual details. A lotus flower can be used to express the overall meaning of the book in that it shows that true human connection and friendship will stand the test of time, conflict, and differences. Dr. Aziz, the protagonist of the story, can also be symbolized by a lotus flower; the clean white buds of the flower represent Aziz’s purity, and their cycle of growth represents Aziz’s contradictory manners. Dr. Aziz is shown as a man who is pure in his character and heart. He tends to maintain the purity of other things and himself, and dislikes the thought of his character or identity being sullied. This is demonstrated when he goes to a mosque he treasures and believes that Mrs. Moore, a white woman, is disrespecting the holy place by stepping in with shoes on. He goes from quietly enjoying the mosque to “suddenly…furiously angry and shouted: ‘Madam! Madam! Madam!’... ‘Madam, this is a mosque, you have no right here at all; you should have taken off your shoes; this is holy place for Moslems’” (Forster 17). He clearly values keeping the mosque pure, especially as a Muslim himself; to sully the mosque is to sully him, and he does not stand for this. The whites of lotus flowers perfectly capture this characteristic of Aziz; they are pure and untainted with marks of blackness on their petals, just as Aziz is untainted with marks on himself. This is further proven later in the novel when Aziz is accused of sexually assaulting Adela Quested. His first thought as he is affronted with his arrest is the tarnishing of his reputation, and that of his children. He cries to his friend Fielding “my children and my name!” (Forster 179). As purity is a key part of his character, Aziz does not want that to change, and certainly not in such a degrading manner. Just like the crisp whiteness of a lotus, Aziz yearns for his character to reflect that same quality. Furthermore, a lotus remains a symbol of purity because it grows from under muddy water but arrives unstained. This can be compared to the way Aziz is acquitted from the trial without a blemish on his character. When Aziz is freed by judge Das, Das says “the prisoner is released without one stain on his character” (Forster 256). The phrase “without one stain” presents the vivid image of cleanliness, and it matches with the lotus’s trait of emerging unstained from a dirty environment. Dr. Aziz is also shown to be a complex character that sometimes contradicts his previous actions or thoughts. He is not static, but rather seems to cycle through phases of kindness and resentment throughout his story. This contradicting cycle can be represented through a lotus’s cycle of bloom. It emerges from murky water in the morning to shine beautifully, only to return back to that water in the evening. Then, the next morning, the lotus comes back up, and the cycle continues. The lotus coming up from dirty water symbolizes Aziz’s sparkling generosity during a tough time in India, British rule. When Aziz first establishes his friendship with Mrs. Moore, Adela, and Fielding, he’s extremely benevolent and hospitable towards them, despite them being English. When Fielding’s collar stud breaks, Aziz breaks off his own to give it to Fielding without hesitation, even as Fielding told him there was no need for that (Forster 69). Then, when the two men and the two women are all lunching together, he invites them all to his house out of hospitality, “there’ll be no muddle when you come to see…Mrs. Moore and everyone--I invite you all--oh, please” (Forster 73). Even if Aziz’s invitation was just a gesture, it still sends out a message of unarguable friendliness. He is the pretty lotus among the dirty water, beaming with beauty, or in this case, the beauty of human connection. However, Aziz seems to flip on this amiable attitude later in the story and seems to return to the dark waters of British-Indian disconnect. Rather harshly he condemns his British comrades as he says “I have become anti-British and ought to have done so sooner, it would have saved me numerous misfortunes” (Forster 279). He says this directly to his dear friend Fielding, a sharp contrast to the love and kindness he had once extended to Fielding and the two British women. No longer was Aziz a man who would invite the English to his bungalow, or on an expedition. Like the lotus sinks back into the dredges at night, so did Aziz in this dark time of his life. But just as the lotus comes back up to repeat the cycle, Aziz too reemerged from his hostile mindset and unfurled the petals of connection once more in the morning (after some time had passed). Aziz reconnects with Fielding much later and tells the latter that he is happy that Mrs. Moore’s son “brought me back to you to say good-bye” and to tell the Moore son that he “always has one Indian friend” (Forster 357). In particular the phrase “Indian friend” is a great contradiction to his profound proclamation that he shall never get mixed with the British again. One cannot be both anti-British and also an Indian friend to them. In this way, Aziz has come out of the water, but he may make like the lotus and return back to the depths of his pond, i.e. an anti-British mindset. Overall, the lotus flower symbolizes Dr. Aziz through its pure petals and the cycling growth of the flower, as it represents his purity and contradictory complexity. The lotus flower is a pretty image, but it’s much more than just a flower. Similarly, Dr. Aziz appears to be a straightforward expressive character, but he has resemblance with the lotus in his complexity and different sides.
    Jiang Amel STEM Scholarship
    The most transformative experience I’ve had as a student was my freshman year of high school in 2020. 2020 was a clash of change, worries, and overwhelming sadness. As a young 13 year old, I was entering a pandemic where my whole life was turned upside down. With the COVID-19 pandemic, I was constantly worried about my health, and that of loved ones. What if one of us gets sick? How is school going to work? Am I ever going to see my friends again? All of these questions plagued my mind for a full year. Along with worries about the pandemic, I was entering a new stage of my life—high school. I had no clue what awaited me, especially since it was all virtual. As a very extroverted and bubbly person, being isolated from everyone for the sake of our health took a massive toll on me. I was miserable as I went through the motions of my virtual classes, only to log off and scroll endlessly on my phone. The lack of motivation to do my work created an immense amount of stress on me as I would have to last-minute complete assignments, creating a vicious cycle of procrastination and cramming. COVID and school stress seemed to only increase, weighing me down endlessly. I shut down and cried all the time. My family and I joke that I had at least one mental breakdown every week. While we joke now, I can confidently say that in 2020, my mental health was at its absolute lowest. Even as a stressed senior now, I have never quite reached that rock bottom that I felt in 2020. However, I eventually emerged: happier, healthier, and with a new understanding of myself. Through all the sadness, stress, and worry, my family was always there for me, and I learned how to lean on my loved ones. I learned how to handle intense stress in my life, from journaling about my anxiety to breaking down my homework into manageable steps. Most importantly, 2020 renewed my urge to learn. Because I felt so out of control, I read. Books, articles, anything I could find to learn more about time management, self-love, and anxiety. I wanted to know more, and that urge to learn continued even after 2020. At school, I had a renewed sense of wonder, and I actually enjoyed my classes. AP Psychology was one of my favorite classes. In 2020, I had stumbled upon The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, sparking a blazing fire for psychology in me. I took AP Psych as soon as I could, falling further in love with the field. Since then, I’ve taken a college-level summer course at Brown University on the psychology behind drugs. I’ve also created a podcast, Psychology Demystified, to share my passion with others. The field of psychology, so fascinating to me, was also expansive and complex, so I wanted to educate others about various topics in psychology, including varying career options and critical experiments that left a deep impact on the field. Even as I continue to learn through my podcast, my curiosity continues to grow, leaving me with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. I want to continue nurturing this yearning to learn, and I can’t wait to see what opportunities college will provide me to expand my knowledge and dive into the topics I love.
    Ultimate K-Pop Stan Scholarship
    “One more step, I will never stop…”. Those lyrics entranced me as I watched 8 Korean boys sing beautifully on my screen, ceasing my mindless scrolling. As I watched them perform what I would later realize is “Mixtape: On Track,” Stray Kids was already burrowing their way inside my heart. I was a baby to kpop. Besides one BTS song my friends had shown me years before, I had never listened to it before. But for some reason, the amazing visuals and heavenly voices of Stray Kids captured my attention, pushing me to learn more about them. I went to Google and looked up their name, confronted with nameless faces I would grow to love. I didn't intend on getting into them thoroughly, just glance at a few of their videos and listen to an album or two. But, three years later, I'm still a devoted fan to Stray Kids, and I've even gone to their concert before! Before I got into kpop through Stray Kids, I never really got what the hype was around kpop groups. I thought of BTS fans as weirdly obsessive, and I even remember thinking, "how can a musical artist change your life that much? they're just being dramatic." As judgemental as I was back then, I would soon understand how much just a "musical artist" could really touch your heart and change your life. I discovered Stray Kids during the pandemic, when the whole world seemed to be ending in the eyes of 14 year old me. The pandemic was a time when everyone was bored and trying out all kinds of things to get their minds off of the fact that our entire world was quarantined. For me, Stray Kids became that safe haven, a world away from all the chaos happening in real life. I truly do not think I would be where I am today without Stray Kids. Everytime I was too stressed, too worried, too depressed during COVID, I would go watch their videos, jump on a livestream, or listen to their songs. Stray Kids became my best friends and where I would go to find peace. Even now, when our world is much more calm and controlled, they're my go-to stress reliever. It's hard to fully explain how they make me feel, but let's put it this way: imagine you've been caught in the rain. You're soaking wet, cold, and miserable. But when you get home, you shed all your damp clothes, take a hot shower, and snuggle up in bed with hot cocoa and your favorite movie. That's what Stray Kids feels like to me. A shot of warmth and comfort, available instantly, sure to rescue me from whatever sadness, anger, or stress I'm feeling. As happy as I am that I discovered them, I've even more excited that Stray Kids is growing in popularity. Celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, and Jason Earles have all joined the Stray Kids family, and Stray Kids has even reached new heights as ambassadors! From their partnership with Tommy Hilfiger, to brand ambassador Hyunjin and Felix with Versace and Louis Vuitton, the boys have expanded their reach monumentally as they continue to touch hearts all around the world. Stray Kids, you make Stay stay.
    Fernandez Scholarship
    Four hours. That’s how long I sat on the carpeted floor of my parents’ bedroom, nose deep in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The pandemic was in full swing and I was mind-numbingly unhappy. I was scared for my family’s health, worried about school, and desperate for a distraction. So there I sat, cracking open the spine of a forgotten book that lay at the bottom of my mom’s dresser. I only meant to skim the first few pages, but the book acted like a portal, sucking me into a wondrous world of neuroscience and psychology. The carpet chafed, but I hardly noticed as I flipped page after page, absorbing the stories of scientists, experiments, and more. When I finally came back to reality, it felt like I was stepping out of a dream. I had found my passion for psychology. Since then, I’ve taken a college-level summer course at Brown University on the psychology behind drugs. I’ve also joined the Neuroscience Youth Network, a student-run nonprofit that spreads information about psychology and neuroscience using fun, engaging methods. Even so, my curiosity continued to grow. To help quench that curiosity, I knew that I had to share my passion with others. The field of psychology, though fascinating, was also expansive and complex, so I buckled down and started my own podcast: Psychology Demystified. My primary goal was to educate others about various topics in psychology, including varying career options and critical experiments that left a deep impact on the field. Each episode I create is a product of hours of research, finetuning, and recording as I strive to broaden the minds of my fellow learners. Along with my podcast, I joined a municipal student internship program, called Youth Leaders. My passion for psychology was matched with my passion for mental health, a blazing fire in me that pushed me to create change. Through this program, I was able to focus on improving mental health in schools, something that, due to my own mental breakdown in 2020, I knew had to be addressed. Together with five other students, I dove into research, conducting “quality of life” surveys at local schools to gauge the mental health levels of teens in our community. Sadly, the results weren’t good. To combat students’ plummeting mental health, my committee trained at a stress-relieving center to learn coping skills, then used those skills to conduct workshops where we could pass on these methods for the benefit of our peers. We made soothing rain sticks, stress balls, and fidget toys to calm students down and get them to be more relaxed. Our workshops served as safe havens of peace that students could take home with them to work on improving their mental health, and post-workshop surveys revealed that over 90% of students felt significant improvement in their mental health status. At the end of our internship, my team and I presented our final research project to parents, city, and state officials. It was intimidating, but it was so incredibly rewarding to fully envelop myself in my passion, all while helping my community. After the presentation, parents came up to us, gushing about how valuable our research was and how they were going to go home and check up on their children. The rush of joy and gratitude I felt at knowing I made a difference was unmatched; nothing I have ever done has truly made me feel so proud and happy. While there are still a lot of uncertainties in my life, I know for certain that psychology is and will remain my number one love.