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Aiyanah Peeples

1885

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

Bio

I am a driven student currently attending Columbia University. Being mixed race and queer as a woman has presented challenges, and despite those challenges I have persevered. I lived around and outside of the US, and these experiences have shaped who I am. My goal with my academic career is to find a way to best help others, and I hope to change the world for the better.

Education

Columbia University in the City of New York

Bachelor's degree program
2020 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Government Administration

    • Dream career goals:

      Non-profit Leader

    • Intern

      Emilia Sykes Congressional Campaign
      2022 – Present2 years
    • Member

      OPAWL
      2022 – Present2 years
    • Ship From Store Worker

      JOANN Fabrics and Crafting
      2020 – 20222 years
    • Communications Assistant

      Honesty for Ohio Education
      2022 – Present2 years
    • ESOL Program Coordinator

      Community Impact and Columbia University
      2022 – Present2 years

    Sports

    Softball

    Junior Varsity
    2012 – 20197 years

    Awards

    • Most Improved

    Rugby

    Club
    2017 – Present7 years

    Awards

    • Most Improved

    Arts

    • Hudson High School

      Acting
      Peter and the Starcatcher, West Side Story, A Midsummer Nights' Dream, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, The Little Mermaid
      2017 – 2020

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      NAACP — I have volunteered at ACT-SO competitions as well as helped people register to vote
      2020 – Present
    • Public Service (Politics)

      Ohio Government — I worked the polls
      2020 – 2022
    • Advocacy

      League of Women Voters — I helped people register to vote
      2020 – 2021

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Pool Family LGBT+ Scholarship
    Two years ago, I discovered I am bisexual. But I am not out to everyone in my family. Fortunately, my parents were supportive, but I am not so sure about my brothers. Moreover, I know there are relatives that would not be ok with my sexuality. One of my grandmothers has told me multiple times that being gay is a disgusting sin. This is the same grandmother I learned Korean for, and tells me regularly how proud she is of me. If I told her I liked women and non-binary people as well as men, she may never speak to me again. Moreover, homophobia runs rampant in the black community, and I do not know if my black relatives would accept me either. Considering my dad was homophobic for years, I cannot imagine that the household he was raised in was not. If I ever marry a woman or non-binary person, I do not know if I can invite them to the wedding or even tell them about it. And I know that circumstances could be much worse, but I have recently discovered an integral part of who I am, and instead of celebrating that with my family, I will have to hide it. I cannot even show my parents my resume or tell them if I win this scholarship because I have not come out to them. But again, I am relatively fortunate. I have not been kicked out of my home, or live in a country where being who I am is illegal. Nobody deserves to live like that, which is part of why I am majoring in human rights. Gay and trans rights are human rights. Period. And hopefully through my education I can learn how to best ensure that people in the LGBTQ+ community have their rights. Additionally, I hope to further educate myself on LGBTQ+ history and culture through the other classes I take. Outside of class, I am working to foster the LGBTQ+ community at Columbia University, the college I attend. Something that helped me realize my sexuality is Proud Colors, a club for Q/T BIPOC students. So when they announced they were looking for a Sophomore Representative last year, I immediately applied for the position. I wanted to help other students realize crucial parts of their identities. By becoming an officer, I have helped to foster the Q/T BIPOC community at Columbia University. This past year, I was the treasurer for Proud Colors. As a club, along with our weekly meetings, we have coordinated multiple events. But I will not be in college forever. I am not sure what I want to do after I graduate, but I could easily see myself working for a non-profit advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. And even if I do not work for an LGBTQ+ centered organization, I hope to make an impact through volunteering for said organizations in my spare time, as well as by working to ensure that the workspaces I do enter either are or become LGBTQ+ safe spaces. Overall, my experience with a lack of LGBTQ+ familial support, as well as the experiences of other LGBTQ+ people, have encouraged me to major in human rights, something that can help the LGBTQ+ community. Moreover, my activities outside of the classroom helps foster the LGBTQ+ community at Columbia University. And when I graduate, no matter where my career path takes me, I will work to positively impact the LGBTQ+ community.
    Elijah's Helping Hand Scholarship Award
    Two years ago, I discovered I am bisexual. But I am not out to everyone in my family. Fortunately, my parents were supportive, but I am not so sure about my brothers. Moreover, I know there are relatives that would not be ok with my sexuality. One of my grandmothers has told me multiple times that being gay is a disgusting sin. This is the same grandmother I learned Korean for, and tells me regularly how proud she is of me. If I told her I liked women and non-binary people as well as men, she may never speak to me again. Moreover, homophobia runs rampant in the black community, and I do not know if my black relatives would accept me either. Considering my dad was homophobic for years, I cannot imagine that the household he was raised in was not. If I ever marry a woman or non-binary person, I do not know if I can invite them to the wedding or even tell them about it. And I know that circumstances could be much worse, but I have recently discovered an integral part of who I am, and instead of celebrating that with my family, I will have to hide it. I cannot even show my parents my resume or tell them if I win this scholarship because I have not come out to them. But again, I am relatively fortunate. I have not been kicked out of my home, or live in a country where being who I am is illegal. Nobody deserves to live like that, which is part of why I am majoring in human rights. Gay and trans rights are human rights. Period. And hopefully through my education I can learn how to best ensure that people in the LGBTQ+ community have their rights. Additionally, I hope to further educate myself on LGBTQ+ history and culture through the other classes I take. Outside of class, I am working to foster the LGBTQ+ community at Columbia University, the college I attend. Something that helped me realize my sexuality is Proud Colors, a club for Q/T BIPOC students. So when they announced they were looking for a Sophomore Representative last year, I immediately applied for the position. I wanted to help other students realize crucial parts of their identities. By becoming an officer, I have helped to foster the Q/T BIPOC community at Columbia University. This past year, I was the treasurer for Proud Colors. As a club, along with our weekly meetings, we have coordinated multiple events. But I will not be in college forever. I am not sure what I want to do after I graduate, but I could easily see myself working for a non-profit advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. And even if I do not work for an LGBTQ+ centered organization, I hope to make an impact through volunteering for said organizations in my spare time, as well as by working to ensure that the workspaces I do enter either are or become LGBTQ+ safe spaces. Overall, my experience with a lack of LGBTQ+ familial support, as well as the experiences of other LGBTQ+ people, have encouraged me to major in human rights, something that can help the LGBTQ+ community. Moreover, my activities outside of the classroom helps foster the LGBTQ+ community at Columbia University. And when I graduate, no matter where my career path takes me, I will work to positively impact the LGBTQ+ community.
    Marie J. Smith Esq. Social Sciences Scholarship
    To be honest, I am not entirely sure what I want to do with my life. And at 20 years old, I would argue this is reasonable. In fact, I would further argue that any 20 year old who thinks they have their entire life planned out might be in for a bit of a surprise down the road. But what I do know, and what I have always known, is that I want to spend my career helping people. I want to leave the world a better place than how I found it. One of my fundamental values is that people have the power to help each other, and we should spend at least some part of our lives giving to others. And I plan to help people with my human rights, political science, and sociology knowledge. I am a Human Rights major specializing in Political Science and minoring in Sociology. Something that I have come to discover through my work and education experiences is the power of community-based organizations. Yes, large-scale change through large-scale institutions is of course necessary, but a community is most changed by the people within said community. And so, throughout my career, I hope to make a positive impact on the world by working for community-based organizations. I am not entirely sure what cause or community, but I know that when I find it, I will dedicate myself to it. Or, if not a specific community, I would want to work for an organization that helps community-based organizations. I know that through this kind of advocacy I could make a huge difference. Different issues that I am interested in are equity, climate change, education, voter equity, women's reproductive rights, and many others. And I learned about a lot of these issues thanks to my education in the various social sciences I have learned about. And due to this education, I have learned about the ways in which people are already going about solving these issues. Learning about how people are solving these issues has taught me another vital lesson: people are already experts in things, so listen to them. Even if they are not experts in the sense of having a PhD in it, people have learned through experience as well. This means that if I do work for a community-based organization, that I will make sure to learn from the people within a community. Because if I do not do that, then this disconnect will keep a community from getting the help it knows that it needs. Overall, I hope to make a positive impact on the world through my career in a social sciences field by helping community-based organizations. It may not impact everyone in the world, but it will change a community that could change the world. And this scholarship would help me do so.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    One's mental health affects every other aspect of one's health. If the mind is not well, then nothing else really will be. That is why I think my mental health is important. And since coming to college, I have found new ways to maintain my mental wellness. When I came to college, I did not have a clear idea of who I was. While, at 20 years old, I do not have a completely clear idea of that, I have discovered a lot about myself. Moreover, college has provided me the opportunity to surround myself with new and unique people. But all of this discovery has not been easy. Along with the fact that my entire freshman year was virtual and off-campus, I am socially awkward, I struggle to stay fit, and Columbia University classes come with a heavy course load. Furthermore, I tore my ACL in February, which has presented its own difficulties. But something that has helped me face these challenges is working to maintain my mental wellness. And this maintenance comes from a good balance of consistency/routine and trying new things. And while my academics have definitely helped me figure myself out, my extracurriculars have arguably done that more. One of the first things that I did when I got to campus was join the rugby team. I had played in high school, and I liked the consistency of being on the rugby team, as well as loving the sport itself. The sport provided a good way to stay in shape, and the team helped my mind and soul by providing a social network that I desperately needed. I loved being on the team so much that I tried something new by becoming the Recruitment Chair. I had been an officer for clubs before, but this particular role was new for me. And although my torn ACL has kept me from playing, being able to still somewhat participate on the team has made the ACL recovery easier. A major part of my college journey has been coming to terms with my sexuality. Until I came to campus my sophomore year, I did not realize that I was bisexual. And something that has really helped me come to terms with my sexuality has been Proud Colors, a club on campus for Q/T students of color. Being around other Q/T POC students has helped immensely with discovering more about who I am, which has vastly improved my mental health. And I love the club so much that after being in it for a couple of months I became the Sophomore Representative. With its weekly meetings, Proud Colors presents a comforting routine, but with its content and people, I always get to try or learn about something new. I think that by the time I graduate, Proud Colors may be the thing that I am personally the most proud of contributing to. It has helped me, and as the current Treasurer of the club, I know I am helping others find who they are. Overall, college has excited me the most by allowing me new opportunities to discover who I am and what I want to do. Particularly through my extracurriculars, I have used a balance of consistency/routine and trying new things to maintain my mental wellness amidst the challenges I face in school. And this scholarship would further help me do so.
    Dog Owner Scholarship
    My parents were dog owners before they had children, so I was born into a house with a dog. Most of my earliest memories involve a dog. There have been few places that I have lived where there has not been a dog or two living there as well. I love dogs. They are happy and loyal. My life has been full of many changes, from moving to medical procedures, that can lead to loneliness, but no matter how much that loneliness has made me feel lesser, to know that the dog or dogs in my home will be happy to see me has made those times far more bearable. For example, this past summer, I got ACL repair surgery. For about a week, moving my leg was incredibly painful, so I spent most of my time laying on my couch. As someone who values their independence and despises asking for help, needing help for almost everything was incredibly upsetting. Between that and the constant pain, it got to the point where I had a mental breakdown. But every day, my dog kept me company. I never had to call for her. When I would wake up from the daze of pain meds, there she always was. And I know that I was not very fun company at the time. I could not even get up to pet her. And yet, she stayed anyway. She seemed to know that I was sad and in pain, and stuck around to keep me company that I sorely needed. That kind of dedication is something that I would not expect from most people, but dogs excel in that area in their own special way. Just her keeping me company like that majorly changed my mindset for my recovery. I don't feel as lonely or upset about needing help, and knowing that my dog is there for comfort makes me feel better when I cannot do certain things. And even though I am now at school in New York City and she is still at home in Ohio, I think about her when I feel like my recovery is too much. And this attitude will majorly affect my life because how well I recover from this surgery will majorly affect my life. Overall, I love dogs because they bring a special kind of joy through their steadfast dedication, and it has gotten me through tough times in my childhood and young adulthood. I love the dog I currently have, and with financial support, I want to be able to have dogs in the future.
    Holistic Health Scholarship
    When I came to college, I did not have a clear idea of who I was. And I have discovered a lot about myself. But all of this discovery has not been easy. Along with the fact that my entire freshman year was virtual and off-campus, I am socially awkward, I struggle to stay fit, and Columbia University classes come with a heavy course load. Furthermore, I tore my ACL in February, which has presented its own difficulties. But something that has helped me face these challenges is working to maintain a healthy mind and body. And maintenance of these essential factors comes from a good balance of consistency/routine and trying new things. And while my academics have definitely helped me figure myself out, my extracurriculars have arguably done more. One of the first things I did when I got to campus was join the rugby team. I had played in high school, and I liked the consistency of being on the rugby team, as well as loving the sport itself. The sport provided a good way to stay in shape, and the team helped my mind and soul by providing a social network I desperately needed. I loved being on the team so much I tried something new by becoming the Recruitment Chair. I had been an officer for clubs before, but this particular role was new for me. However, tearing my ACL in February meant I could not continue playing, and will not be able to play my entire junior year. And the recovery process has been a practice of consistency. It is slow and steady, and involved routinely going to physical therapy and doing my at home exercises. It has also forced me to find alternative ways to exercise, since I am unable to run, which was my main method of cardio. All in all, sports and injuries have encouraged me to maintain a health mind, body and soul. A major part of my college journey has been coming to terms with my sexuality. Until I came to campus my sophomore year, I did not realize I was bisexual. And something that has really helped me come to terms with my sexuality has been Proud Colors, a club on campus for Q/T students of color. Being around other Q/T POC students has helped immensely with discovering more about who I am, which has immensely improved my mental health. And I love the club so much that after being in it for a couple of months I became the Sophomore Representative. With its weekly meetings, Proud Colors presents a comforting routine, but with its content and people, I always get to try or learn about something new. I think by the time I graduate, Proud Colors may be the thing I am the most proud of contributing to. It has helped me, and as the current Treasurer of the club, I know I am helping others find who they are. Moreover, nutritional health has been an underlying factor in maintaining other parts of my lifestyle. As someone who has struggled with their eating habits in the past, I know that proper nutrition is a key part of keeping the rest of my life on track. Overall, college has excited me the most by allowing me new opportunities to discover who I am and what I want to do. Particularly through my extracurriculars, I have used a balance of consistency/routine and trying new things to maintain a healthy mind and body amidst the challenges I face in school. And this scholarship would further help me do so.
    Lifelong Learning Scholarship
    Learning is one of the few things that I think people can always do. We are curious by nature, and for better or for worse, we are constantly perceiving and analyzing the world around us. Learning is important to me because I think I will never be done doing so. There is always something new to learn, and to learn is to enrich. And the more I learn about the world and its problems, the more I would be able to help solve them. Throughout my life, I plan to continue learning by listening to others. I am young, and despite the prestigious university that I attend, I know that all in all I am barely educated at all. But there are others who are far more learned than I in a variety of ways. And being educated in something does not just mean a degree. It also means experience. And 20 years of living simply has not granted me a ton of that. And so I should not assume that I know better than people. So, by listening to the stories and perspectives and expertise of others, I can learn more and will have many sources of knowledge for the rest of my life. While a formal education is not the only form of knowledge and learning, I do think it is an important one. And something that higher education has definitely provided me with is the opportunity to learn things from people who are experts in their field. Along with receiving their own education, they also have years of experience in the field in which they are teaching. Moreover, being in clubs and on teams have allowed me to meet peers who come with their own experiences and perspectives, which has helped me learn more about myself. For example, one such club, Proud Colors, helped me come to terms with my sexuality. I did not realize that I was bisexual, but being in a club for Q/T students of color has helped me learn more about my identities. And because Proud Colors is a club at Columbia University, I would not have had this opportunity without getting a formal education. And in the future, I hope to go into non-profit work to help solve the world's problems. But I may not have fully lived through the world's problems the way that other people have. For example, if I end up working for a non-profit that is seeking to reform the criminal justice system, I will need the experience and expertise of both people who have worked in criminal justice reform and people who have been through the criminal justice system. As of now at least, I do not have any of that kind of experience. But I do want to help. And so, by learning from them, I could learn how to help people. Overall, learning is an ongoing process, and comes from both formal and informal avenues. And by listening to others, I will continue to learn throughout my life.
    Learner Higher Education Scholarship
    I truly believe that education, and also higher education, is a way for people, especially women, to find success and change the world around them. If it was not so, then oppressors would not work so hard to keep people from receiving high quality educations. As a queer, mixed-race black woman, receiving an education is not something that would have always been available for me. The education of women has always been a contentious road. For centuries, my enslaved black family was even not allowed to be literate. My maternal grandmother grew up impoverished on a farm in South Korea, and only received a middle school level education. And being out as queer in general for most of human history would be dangerous at best. And I have not necessarily had it easy either. I have been bullied because of my race, and a part of the reason that I did not come out until college is because I went to a very homophobic high school. I know that I will have to spend my career fighting double standards and there will probably be times where I will have to fear for my life because of who I am. Throughout my life, I have used my education as a way to overcome those challenges. I have always held myself to a high academic standard and sought out high academic rigor. And while I do not base my entire self-worth on academic success, my academic achievements have helped me realize that I am capable of achieving my goals. But I know that I was born with privilege, both financially and because I was born in a place where I could receive an education. Moreover, the fact that I can afford higher education is indicative of my financial privilege. But that is not the case for people around the world. And this lack of opportunity can keep people from achieving what they want to achieve or from changing the world around them. I want to use my education to open up educational opportunities for others. As a human rights major, I believe that education is an important human right. I am not entirely sure what I want to do with my future, but I could see myself working for a non-profit that gives women and other underrepresented groups the opportunity to receive high quality educations, and to have access to higher education. I have not had it easy per se, but I know the amount of struggle that my ancestors, other women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community have undergone in order for me to have the opportunities that I have had. I want to pay that forward to others. People, and especially women, are capable of amazing things if given the opportunities to achieve them. This scholarship would help me learn how to best help them.
    Mind, Body, & Soul Scholarship
    When I came to college, I did not have a clear idea of who I was. While, at 20 years old, I do not have a completely clear idea of that, I have discovered a lot about myself. Moreover, college has provided me the opportunity to surround myself with new and unique people. But all of this discovery has not been easy. Along with the fact that my entire freshman year was virtual and off-campus, I am socially awkward, I struggle to stay fit, and Columbia University classes come with a heavy course load. Furthermore, I tore my ACL in February, which has presented its own difficulties. But something that has helped me face these challenges is working to maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul. And maintenance of these essential factors comes from a good balance of consistency/routine and trying new things. And while my academics have definitely helped me figure myself out, my extracurriculars have arguably done that more. One of the first things that I did when I got to campus was join the rugby team. I had played in high school, and I liked the consistency of being on the rugby team, as well as loving the sport itself. The sport provided a good way to stay in shape, and the team helped my mind and soul by providing a social network that I desperately needed. I loved being on the team so much that I tried something new by becoming the Recruitment Chair. I had been an officer for clubs before, but this particular role was new for me. However, tearing my ACL in February meant that I could not continue playing, and will not be able to play my entire junior year. And the recovery process has been a practice of consistency. It is slow and steady, and involved routinely going to physical therapy and doing my at home exercises. It has also forced me to find alternative ways to exercise, since I am unable to run, which was my main method of cardio. All in all, sports and injuries have encouraged me to maintain a health mind, body and soul. A major part of my college journey has been coming to terms with my sexuality. Until I came to campus my sophomore year, I did not realize that I was bisexual. And something that has really helped me come to terms with my sexuality has been Proud Colors, a club on campus for Q/T students of color. Being around other Q/T POC students has helped immensely with discovering more about who I am, which has made my mind and soul immensely healthier. And I love the club so much that after being in it for a couple of months I became the Sophomore Representative. With its weekly meetings, Proud Colors presents a comforting routine, but with its content and people, I always get to try or learn about something new. I think that by the time I graduate, Proud Colors may be the thing that I am personally the most proud of contributing to. It has helped me, and as the current Treasurer of the club, I know I am helping others find who they are. Overall, college has excited me the most by allowing me new opportunities to discover who I am and what I want to do. Particularly through my extracurriculars, I have used a balance of consistency/routine and trying new things to maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul amidst the challenges I face in school. And this scholarship would further help me do so.
    Your Health Journey Scholarship
    One important part of my health journey has been my eating habits. As someone who has not always practiced healthy eating habits, I know how important they are. Healthy eating habits not only help physically, but they also nourish mentally. Having struggled with unhealthy and dangerous eating habits throughout my life, eating healthy is one way that I try to help myself. I have always been on the bigger side, but through a mix of feeling inadequate and societal norms, I saw this extra weight as unacceptable. And the way that I handled this was by starving myself. Whenever I see something I do not like in the mirror, my response is to punish myself by not eating for up to days at a time. Sometimes when I am looking for clothing, I will purposely get clothes that are a size too small so that I feel the pain of the clothes digging into my skin. I know that these behaviors are dangerous and unsustainable, and will likely have more serious consequences later in my life. That is why shifting towards healthier habits and healthier eating was important to me. I want to feel physically better as well as feel better about myself. One way that this happens is by shifting my focus away from the number on the scale and more towards nourishing myself. If my meals consist of healthy foods in healthy amounts, as opposed to binge-eating unhealthy foods and then not eating for days, then I will get the difference that I want. Moreover, I will not want to cry after every meal due to guilt. All of this is to say that healthy eating habits mean a healthy relationship with food in general, which will require a healthy relationship with yourself. And having a healthy relationship with yourself is important, because without that, everything else becomes a struggle. It is hard to maintain relationships or achieve what one wants to achieve or deal with failure if one does not have a healthy relationship with themselves. And when I do practice healthy eating habits, I noticeably feel better mentally and physically. My sleep schedule improves, my skin clears, and even my hair gets shinier. Moreover, exercise becomes more enjoyable, and I can concentrate better on my academic work. In turn, I feel better emotionally. My improvement in physical activity and mental work makes me feel less inadequate, and just the knowledge that I am helping myself makes me feel better about how I am living my life. My mood improves tremendously. Overall, healthy eating habits are important both physically and mentally, and have been an important part of my health journey. As someone who has always struggled with healthy eating habits, I know that healthy eating habits require a healthy relationship with food, which requires a healthy relationship with oneself. And if someone has a healthy relationship with oneself, then they are better equipped to deal with what life throws at them. And when I do practice healthy habits, there is a noticeable improvement in my mental and physical health.
    Healthy Eating Scholarship
    As someone who has not always practiced healthy eating habits, I know how important they are. Healthy eating habits not only help physically, but they also nourish mentally. Having struggled with unhealthy and dangerous eating habits throughout my life, eating healthy is one way that I try to help myself. I have always been on the bigger side, but through a mix of feeling inadequate and societal norms, I saw this extra weight as unacceptable. And the way that I handled this was by starving myself. Whenever I see something I do not like in the mirror, my response is to punish myself by not eating for up to days at a time. Sometimes when I am looking for clothing, I will purposely get clothes that are a size too small so that I feel the pain of the clothes digging into my skin. I know that these behaviors are dangerous and unsustainable, and will likely have more serious consequences later in my life. That is why shifting towards healthier habits and healthier eating was important to me. I want to feel physically better as well as feel better about myself. One way that this happens is by shifting my focus away from the number on the scale and more towards nourishing myself. If my meals consist of healthy foods in healthy amounts, as opposed to binge-eating unhealthy foods and then not eating for days, then I will get the difference that I want. Moreover, I will not want to cry after every meal due to guilt. All of this is to say that healthy eating habits mean a healthy relationship with food in general, which will require a healthy relationship with yourself. And having a healthy relationship with yourself is important, because without that, everything else becomes a struggle. It is hard to maintain relationships or achieve what one wants to achieve or deal with failure if one does not have a healthy relationship with themselves. And when I do practice healthy eating habits, I noticeably feel better mentally and physically. My sleep schedule improves, my skin clears, and even my hair gets shinier. Moreover, exercise becomes more enjoyable, and I can concentrate better on my academic work. In turn, I feel better emotionally. My improvement in physical activity and mental work makes me feel less inadequate, and just the knowledge that I am helping myself makes me feel better about how I am living my life. My mood improves tremendously. Overall, healthy eating habits are important both physically and mentally. As someone who has always struggled with healthy eating habits, I know that healthy eating habits require a healthy relationship with food, which requires a healthy relationship with oneself. And if someone has a healthy relationship with oneself, then they are better equipped to deal with what life throws at them. And when I do practice healthy habits, there is a noticeable improvement in my mental and physical health.
    Living Well Scholarship
    As someone who has not always practice clean living, I know how important it is. Clean living not only helps physically, but it can also nourish mentally. One way that I incorporate clean living practices into my daily life is through food. As someone who has struggled with unhealthy and dangerous eating habits in throughout my life, eating healthy is one way that I try to help myself. I am someone who likes efficiency. If there is one thing that will do the job of multiple things, I am drawn to it. And superfoods do exactly that. I know that when I eat a superfood, I am gaining many of the nutrients that I need to stay healthy. Moreover, superfoods are also delicious, and come in many forms. It is a win-win-win situation. They are an integral part of how I maintain both my mental and physical health. This level of versatility makes it difficult to narrow down my favorite superfoods. But some of my favorite superfoods are blueberries, broccoli, nuts, cauliflower, sardines, spinach, and oatmeal. Moreover, olive oil is my cooking oil of choice. There is not a particular way that I incorporate them into my diet, but if they are available, I will eat them. Moreover, I try to eat them in a simpler way to maximize the nutrients I can get from them. For example, I will either eat spinach raw in a salad or steamed. Or I will eat sardines out of the can with brown rice and an egg as a quick and simple breakfast or lunch. Or I will steam some broccoli and cauliflower as a quick side. But there are also more complex recipes that I love. For example, I recently made hazelnut soup for the first time, and it was delicious. And even if I am eating something that is relatively unhealthy, I will try to add in superfoods. For example, I will often choose blueberry pancakes or muffins. This way, even though I am eating something unhealthy, I am still gaining nutrients. And recipes with superfoods come from around the world, and I can explore recipes from different cultures using them. I am a quarter Korean, and as I have gotten older I have looked into more ways to explore that identity. One such way is through food. A recipe that I recently discovered and love is sigumchi namul, or Korean seasoned spinach. The spinach is blanched and seasoned with soy sauce, sesame seed oil, sesame seeds, and garlic. It is quick, simple, and delicious. And when I eat it I feel closer to a part of myself that I often do not feel close to. So, through this superfood, I get to explore cultures and myself. Overall, superfoods help me maintain my mental and physical health in a variety of ways. Physically, my body is being nourished through the many nutrients that a variety of superfoods provide. Mentally, not only do superfoods make me feel better about what I am putting into my body, but they also allow me to feel better about other aspects of myself, such as my Korean identity. This helps me to live a cleaner life.
    Ms. Susy’s Disney Character Scholarship
    I'll be honest: I was never a huge Disney fan. Many of the Disney movies that I had been exposed to growing up (i.e. Disney princess movies) bothered me because their plots seemed to revolve around women doing things for men. And even as a kid, I saw how that could be harmful. This has changed, and one movie showed me it was never completely the case. And that movie was the animated version of Mulan. Mulan is by far my favorite Disney character. In my opinion, her motives were far more interesting than romance. Moreover, as an AAPI person, I like that Mulan based on an Asian story. Mulan disguises herself as a man and joins the army in order to save her family and to become her best self. And she goes above and beyond that. Not only does she grow as a person, but she saves her country. Even after she is sent home, she perseveres in order to do what is right. That kind of independence and perseverance really resonated with me. And sure, there are some cultural and historical discrepancies, and not all of the actors are Asian, but for a movie from the 90s I think it holds up. Also, all of the songs are absolute bangers. But despite romance not being the priority, it still happens. And it is done in a really nice way. Shang, the love interest, falls in love with the Mulan who saves China. It goes to show that you can pursue what you want and be who you want to be, and there are people who will love and respect you for it. And as someone who has been ostracized for their sexuality and the color of their skin, it is nice to see someone loving someone who is different because they love the person's differences. Also, Shang is a total sweetheart. I think the animated Mulan movie is an underrated Disney "princess" movie that should serve as more of a blueprint for modern Disney movies. Mulan has her own motives, she grows as a person, and in the end is with someone that loves her for who she is. Moreover, it explores a culture outside of Europe. To be honest, I am still not a huge Disney fan, but I can respect the Disney fans who love Mulan.
    Female Empowerment Scholarship
    My name is Aiyanah Peeples, I am a queer mixed-race woman, and this has affected my entire life. From my early childhood until now, these identities have shaped my experiences and personality. This can be from people who both share and do not share these identities. And because of how these identities have shaped me, I want to spend my career and my life helping others. I have mostly grown up in primarily white and homophobic spaces, which led to lifelong bullying and ostracism. I have been told that I am not black enough because of the way that I speak, told to go back to North Korea, and just generally been ostracized for who I am. And even just growing up with no one like me made me feel isolated, and made it harder for me to explore my own identities. Moreover, my parents warned me from a very young age that I would have to work twice as hard throughout my life in order to achieve half of what my straight white peers did. And my immigrant Korean grandmother stressed the importance of education. And so education became what I focused on, and what I used to cope. From an early age, I threw myself into my studies. I took the hardest classes, joined as many clubs as I could, and when I was in a class or a club made sure I was an active participant. And the hard work paid off. I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout my entire K-12 career, and by the time I graduated high school, I was in the top 10% of my class and an officer for multiple clubs. I got into and currently attend Columbia University, a prestigious school. But at the same time, because a black woman cannot simply be outspoken, I knew I had gained a reputation of being an angry, man-hating black woman. And I knew that some of my teachers had treated me differently because of my race. Even when I was working as hard as I could, there were people who devalued me. But even people who shared certain identities of mine devalued me. From an early age, I also remember my Korean grandmother pulling me aside multiple times to tell me how disgusting gay people are. I also see how much prevalent homophobia us in black communities. There are relatives I would not feel safe coming out to. And these experiences have shaped what I want to do with my life and my career. I do not know exactly what I want to do with my life. And at 20 years old, I would argue this is reasonable. But what I do know, and what I have always known, is that I want to help people. I want to spend my life helping and giving to others. That is why I am majoring in human rights. I hope to perhaps work as a lawyer or at least an advocate either in government or at a non-profit. I want to be advocating for marginalized people, whether that is domestically or internationally. And I want the change I make to last. Which, as a leader, I could hopefully ensure. And while I am making lasting structural change, I also hope that I am continuing to volunteer locally, such as at soup kitchens or events for children, which I have been doing my entire life. Overall, my identities have shaped my life, my goals, and my pursuit of education. I want to spend my life and career helping people, and this scholarship would help me do so.
    Femi Chebaís Scholarship
    At 20, I do not have concrete plans, but what do I know, and what I've always known, is that I want to help people. Attending a prestigious Primarily White Institution as a queer BIPOC woman has shown me just how much other voices need to be uplifted. I want to spend my career uplifting my fellow BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people.
    Glider AI-Omni Inclusive Allies of LGBTQ+ (GOAL+) Scholarship
    This past year, I discovered I am bisexual. But I am not out to anyone in my family. Fortunately, I think my parents would be supportive, but I am not so sure about my brothers. Moreover, I know there are relatives that would not be ok with my sexuality. One of my grandmothers has told me multiple times that being gay is a disgusting sin. This is the same grandmother I learned Korean for, and tells me regularly how proud she is of me. If I told her I liked women and non-binary people as well as men, she may never speak to me again. Moreover, homophobia runs rampant in the black community, and I do not know if my black relatives would accept me either. Considering my dad was homophobic for years, I cannot imagine that the household he was raised in was not. If I ever marry a woman or non-binary person, I do not know if I can invite them to the wedding or even tell them about it. And I know that circumstances could be much worse, but I have recently discovered an integral part of who I am, and instead of celebrating that with my family, I will have to hide it. I cannot even show my parents my resume or tell them if I win this scholarship because I have not come out to them. But again, I am relatively fortunate. I have not been kicked out of my home, or live in a country where being who I am is illegal. Nobody deserves to live like that, which is a part of why I am majoring in human rights. Gay and trans rights are human rights. Period. And hopefully through my education I can learn how to best ensure that people in the LGBTQ+ community have their rights. Additionally, I hope to further educate myself on LGBTQ+ history and culture through the other classes I take. Outside of class, I am working to foster the LGBTQ+ community at Columbia University, the college I attend. Something that helped me realize my sexuality is Proud Colors, a club for Q/T BIPOC students. So when they announced they were looking for a Sophomore Representative, I immediately applied for the position. I wanted to help other students realize crucial parts of their identities. By becoming an officer, I have helped to foster the Q/T BIPOC community at Columbia University. This year, as a club, along with our weekly meetings, we have coordinated multiple events. This upcoming year, I am thrilled to once again be an officer for Proud Colors. But I will not be in college forever. I am not sure what I want to do after I graduate, but I could easily see myself working for a non-profit advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. The non-profit I am currently interning for, Honesty for Ohio Education, does that. And even if I do not work for an LGBTQ+ centered organization, I hope to make an impact through volunteering for said organizations in my spare time, as well as by working to ensure that the workspaces I do enter either are or become LGBTQ+ safe spaces. Overall, my experience with a lack of LGBTQ+ familial support, as well as the experiences of other LGBTQ+ people, have encouraged me to major in human rights, something that can help the LGBTQ+ community. Moreover, my activities outside of the classroom help foster the LGBTQ+ community at Columbia University. And when I graduate, no matter where my career path takes me, I will work to positively impact the LGBTQ+ community.
    Superfood Lover Scholarship
    I am someone who likes efficiency. If there is one thing that will do the job of multiple things, I am drawn to it. And superfoods do exactly that. I know that when I eat a superfood, I am gaining many of the nutrients that I need to stay healthy. Moreover, superfoods are also delicious, and come in many forms. It is a win-win-win situation. They are an integral part of how I maintain both my mental and physical health. This level of versatility makes it difficult to narrow down my favorite superfoods. But some of my favorite superfoods are blueberries, broccoli, nuts, cauliflower, sardines, spinach, and oatmeal. Moreover, olive oil is my cooking oil of choice. There is not a particular way that I incorporate them into my diet, but if they are available, I will eat them. Moreover, I try to eat them in a simpler way to maximize the nutrients I can get from them. For example, I will either eat spinach raw in a salad or steamed. Or I will eat sardines out of the can with brown rice and an egg as a quick and simple breakfast or lunch. Or I will steam some broccoli and cauliflower as a quick side. But there are also more complex recipes that I love. For example, I recently made hazelnut soup for the first time, and it was delicious. And even if I am eating something that is relatively unhealthy, I will try to add in superfoods. For example, I will often choose blueberry pancakes or muffins. This way, even though I am eating something unhealthy, I am still gaining nutrients. And recipes with superfoods come from around the world, and I can explore recipes from different cultures using them. I am a quarter Korean, and as I have gotten older I have looked into more ways to explore that identity. One such way is through food. A recipe that I recently discovered and love is sigumchi namul, or Korean seasoned spinach. The spinach is blanched and seasoned with soy sauce, sesame seed oil, sesame seeds, and garlic. It is quick, simple, and delicious. And when I eat it I feel closer to a part of myself that I often do not feel close to. So, through this superfood, I get to explore cultures and myself. Overall, superfoods help me maintain my mental and physical health in a variety of ways. Physically, my body is being nourished through the many nutrients that a variety of superfoods provide. Mentally, not only do superfoods make me feel better about what I am putting into my body, but they also allow me to feel better about other aspects of myself, such as my Korean identity.
    Michael Rudometkin Memorial Scholarship
    I am by no means a saint, but what I do know, and what I have always known, is that I want to help people. I want to leave the world a better place than how I found it. One of my fundamental values is that people have the power to help each other, and we should spend at least some part of our lives giving to others. And throughout my life, no matter its changes or hardships, I have always tried to embody this belief. One way that I have done this is through community service. When I was 13, I moved to Brazil. As I acclimated to living in a foreign country, I volunteered in multiple projects providing greater educational opportunities for impoverished children. This included helping remodel a school and helping run a sports camp. In high school in Ohio, I was involved in and helped run multiple community service clubs, such as Key Club. Through these clubs, I did over 100 hours of community service. This ranged from helping run basketball tournaments to serving food at homeless shelters. Due to the pandemic, I was home for my freshman year of college at Columbia University. But that did not stop me from giving to others. The pandemic had negative effects on everyone, but it hit some harder than others. This is why I once again volunteered in multiple emergency shelters, particularly during the harsh Ohio winter. 2020 was also an election year, and I strongly believe in the power of voting. People, especially underrepresented ones, deserve to have a voice in their government. And so I volunteered with multiple organizations, such as the League of Women Voters and the Akron NAACP, to help people register to vote. Fortunately, during this past year, I was able to go to campus. And during this school year, I worked for a community organization that teaches free English-learning classes. When I return to Columbia in the fall, I will likely continue to provide that service. By working for this organization, I know I am helping underprivileged people receive a vital element of their education. Moreover, during this year at Columbia University, I made a discovery about myself: I am bisexual. And Proud Colors, a club for LGBTQ+ students of color, helped me realize this. So when they announced they were looking for a Sophomore Representative, I immediately applied for the position. Seeing what this club did for me, and I wanted to pay it forward. By becoming an officer of this club, I have helped to foster the Q/T BIPOC community at Columbia University. This year, as a club, along with our weekly meetings, we have coordinated multiple events. This upcoming year, I'm thrilled to once again be a Proud Colors officer. This summer, I have had to get ACL and meniscus repair surgery. And while this meant I could not be physically present to help my community, I still wanted to give however I could. That is why I am remotely interning for Honesty for Ohio Education, an organization advocating for higher quality education in Ohio. I have already graduated high school, but I still want to help those who are still there. Overall, throughout all of the changes in my life, I have sought ways to be of service and to give to those around me. It is something I will continue to seek out no matter where life takes me. It is a part of who I am.
    Alexis Potts Passion Project Scholarship
    My junior year of high school, I got cut from my volleyball team. And they were right to do so. I was terrible at it. My brother encouraged me to try rugby. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Rugby did that for me, and it has fundamentally changed who I am. First and foremost, I simply love the sport itself. It's real in a way that many sports aren't. It strips you down to who you are, and how much you can endure. And I love learning about the strategy and techniques. For a long time, I thought that I was not an athlete. But rugby changed that for me. Playing it has allowed me to realize how someone can fall in love with a sport. Because that is what I did. Rugby has inspired me to better myself, both at rugby and as a person. Even outside of practice, I’ve started doing things to help me improve as a player. For example, I’ve always hated running. But when I played my first rugby game, I realized that my lungs were not gonna make it with that attitude. So, now, I go on runs. I still hate it, but I push through anyway because I know it’s gonna help me improve. And this kind of perseverance is something that I try to take with me in every aspect of my life. And rugby has gotten me through some hard times as well. Because of the pandemic, I could not play rugby at the end of my senior year or through my entire freshman year. But having rugby to eventually look forward to made everything that happened to me during the pandemic seem just a little bit more bearable. Moreover, this summer had to get ACL and meniscus repair surgery. Knowing that if I properly focus on my recovery now I could eventually get back to rugby has motivated me to stay focused. And in both high school and college, it has allowed me to connect with new people. When I came to Columbia University's campus, I knew almost no one. Because of the rugby team, I have a whole network of people that I know and care about. Furthermore, because I know how valuable rugby has been for me, when I joined my college team, I became the Recruitment Chair. This role entails bringing as many new people to the team as possible. By taking this leadership role, I have and will continue to provide this kind of experience for others. The only problem I have with rugby is that I did not start playing it sooner. I feel better about myself, know lots of cool people, and developed a passion. Looking forward to rugby has allowed me to get through tough times in my life. This scholarship would allow me to continue pursuing that passion, and I hope that I can continue to play rugby for as long as possible.
    HRCap Next-Gen Leadership Scholarship
    I am half black, a quarter Korean, and a quarter German. I have been raised in mostly white spaces, and my only Korean relative that I know other than my mother is my grandmother, so for a lot of my life I have felt an unfortunate sense of disconnect from my Korean roots. I had tried some Korean foods and knew a couple of Korean words, but overall that was definitely a part of my identity that I had not explored enough. Moreover a lack of representation both in the environment I lived in and American culture means that I did not encounter it in my daily life. I am proud of my Korean heritage, and as I got older I knew that I wanted to explore it more. So, when I started college at Columbia University, I started taking Korean language learning classes. The opportunity to explore Korean culture through language presented itself, so I took advantage of it. And through my language classes, I have learned about many other fascinating aspects of Korean culture as well as met other Korean students who also wanted to explore their Korean roots. I have been taking Korean for two years, and I am proud of the progress I have made. For example, one year into taking Korean, I surprised my grandmother by writing her a letter in Korean for Mother's Day. Now, that is how we text each other. Moreover, in order to improve my Korean, I have started exploring Korean media. And this semester, I am taking a class on major East Asian texts, where I will hopefully learn more about some of the foundational texts in Korean culture. But learning about my culture goes beyond the classroom. And that is why this summer I joined OPAWL, an Ohioan organization focused on cultivating leadership for AAPI women and non-binary people. I am from Ohio, and the AAPI leadership representation there is sparse at best. Through OPAWL, I have attended meetings and workshops that have helped me better understand how to be a leader in the Ohio AAPI community, as well as allowed me to meet Ohio AAPI women and non-binary leaders. I have learned about professionalism, integrity, and cultural diversity through the issues that OPAWL explores. And even though I will be going back to Columbia University in the fall, I fully plan on continuing to be an active OPAWL member. I am looking forward to the AAPI leadership opportunities that OPAWL brings, so that I can further the traits of service excellence, professionalism, integrity, cultural diversity, and human development as a leader in my AAPI community. And I hope that I further imbue those qualities I have learned when I go back to my on-campus activities in the fall. I am an officer for Proud Colors, a club for Q/T BIPOC students, and I am the only AAPI officer. I hope to bring more Korean and overall AAPI representation into the club through events and/or additional AAPI members. I know that the way I have spoken about my AAPI leadership and connection to my Korean culture is largely aspirational as opposed to concrete, but as of now that is largely what my connection to Korean culture and AAPI leadership is. It is something I am trying to strive towards, and I want to turn those aspirations into achievements. For me, being Korean-American means being a part of an important but underrepresented narrative in American culture, and being a leader could mean that I bring that underrepresented narrative more into the light. Through OPAWL, I have met AAPI leaders who were like me in that they grew up without a strong connection to their AAPI roots, but as they got older became more involved in the community. I want to follow that path and to feel that being Korean is an aspect of who I am that I am familiar with. This scholarship would help me do so, and I hope that this is taken into consideration. Everyone's path is different, and mine started late but I will ensure that it is meaningful.
    Healthy Living Scholarship
    For me, a healthy lifestyle is something to strive towards. I know that I am not fully living a healthy lifestyle yet, but it is important to me for multiple reasons that I reach a healthier place. And this healthy lifestyle would need to be practiced in different areas of my life. And all of this culminates in one personal overarching reason: the linkage of mental and physical health. I was a victim of child abuse, and not seeking help from that experience has resulted in a constant sense of inadequacy, which has expressed itself in a multitude of unhealthy ways. One way it has expressed itself is through my eating habits. I have always been on the bigger side, but through a mix of that inadequacy and societal norms, I saw this extra weight as unacceptable. And the way that I handled this was by starving myself. Whenever I see something I do not like in the mirror, my response is to punish myself by not eating for up to days at a time. Sometimes when I am looking for clothing, I will purposely get clothes that are a size too small so that I feel the pain of the clothes digging into my skin. I know that these behaviors are dangerous and unsustainable, and will likely have more serious consequences later in my life. That is why shifting towards healthier habits and healthier eating is important to me. I want to feel physically better as well as feel better about myself. Along with my eating habits, this sense of inadequacy has made me avoid asking for help. In my head, I falsely associate asking for help with weakness, which is not the case at all. There is strength in vulnerability. This summer, I had to get ACL and meniscus repair surgery. The surgery and recovery have left me unable to a lot of things independently. On the second night after the surgery, I broke down into tears because I felt so weak and useless. But in order for my ACL to get back into a healthy place, I know that I need to become more ok with asking for help. Otherwise, I will not recover properly, and once again that would likely have more serious consequences later in my life. And that is why having a healthier response to needing help is important to me. I want to recover, and I want to be able to get back to doing the sports and other physical activities I was doing before my injury. But I also know that I cannot get to these mindset changes on my own. And that is why I have finally mustered up the courage to seek mental health services when I get back to my college campus in the fall. And these services are an important part of a healthy lifestyle for me. I want to learn how to feel like I am enough. It is important for me that I seek this healthy change because it will help me make a lot of other healthier lifestyle choices. Both my mental and physical health will improve. Overall, I know that I need to make a lot of changes in order to have a healthier lifestyle, but I also know that a healthier lifestyle will lead to better physical and mental health. I know that I will be able to achieve more and feel better about myself if I have a healthier lifestyle. The road to this healthy lifestyle will likely be long, but it will be worth it.
    A Dog Changed My Life Scholarship
    My parents were dog owners before they had children, so I was born into a house with a dog. Most of my earliest memories involve a dog. There have been few places that I have lived where there has not been a dog or two living there as well. I love dogs. They are happy and loyal. My life has been full of many changes, from moving to medical procedures, that can lead to loneliness, but no matter how much that loneliness has made me feel lesser, to know that the dog or dogs in my home will be happy to see me has made those times far more bearable. For example, about a month ago, I got ACL repair surgery. For about a week, moving my leg was incredibly painful, so I spent most of my time laying on my couch. As someone who values their independence and despises asking for help, needing help for almost everything was incredibly upsetting. Between that and the constant pain, it got to the point where I had a mental breakdown. But every day, my dog kept me company. I never had to call for her. When I would wake up from the daze of pain meds, there she always was. And I know that I was not very fun company at the time. I could not even get up to pet her. And yet, she stayed anyway. She seemed to know that I was sad and in pain, and stuck around to keep me company that I sorely needed. That kind of dedication is something that I would not expect from most people, but dogs excel in that area in their own special way. Just her keeping me company like that majorly changed my mindset for my recovery. I don't feel as lonely or upset about needing help, and knowing that my dog is there for comfort makes me feel better when I cannot do certain things. And this attitude will majorly affect my life because how well I recover from this surgery will majorly affect my life. Overall, I love dogs because they bring a special kind of joy through their steadfast dedication, and it has gotten me through tough times in my childhood and young adulthood. I love the dog I currently have, and with financial support, I want to be able to have dogs in the future.
    Pet Lover Scholarship
    My parents were dog owners before they had children, so I was born into a house with a dog. Most of my earliest memories involve a dog. There have been few places that I have lived where there has not been a dog or two living there as well. I love dogs. They are happy and loyal. I have moved a lot in my life, and that can lead to loneliness, but no matter how much that loneliness has made me feel lesser, to know that the dog or dogs in my home will be happy to see me has made those times far more bearable. And each time that I have lived somewhere without a dog, I have realized how important they are to me. When my family and I moved to Brazil, we could not take our dog with us. And this move was probably the most challenging move I have ever had. Any challenge that one faces while moving is increased tenfold when moving to a foreign country. And when things got extra tough, I always thought of my dog and wished that she was there with me. When I left for Columbia University this past year, my dog of course could not live in my dorm with me. And I often have trouble meeting new people. This led to many lonely nights. And on those lonely nights I would look at pictures of my dog or think about the walks I had taken her on that past summer. About a month ago, I got ACL repair surgery. For about a week, moving my leg was incredibly painful, so I spent most of my time laying on my couch. Every day, my dog kept me company. I never had to call for her. When I would wake up from the daze of pain meds, there she always was. And I know that I was not very fun company at the time. I could not even get up to pet her. And yet, she stayed anyway. She seemed to know that I was sad and in pain, and stuck around to keep me company that I sorely needed. That kind of dedication is something that I would not expect from most people, but dogs excel in that area in their own special way. Overall, I love dogs because they bring a special kind of joy through their steadfast dedication, and it has gotten me through tough times in my childhood and young adulthood. I love the dog I currently have, and with financial support, I want to be able to have dogs in the future.
    Bold Bravery Scholarship
    "'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? '" "'That is the only time a man can be brave,' " -Game of Thrones These are words I try to live by. Being brave is not about ignoring fear, it's about embracing fear and pushing through it. And this means different things for people. For me, this means seeking/accepting help. I was raised to be independent and high-achieving, and I internalized that to mean asking for help is admitting weakness. But this is simply untrue. There is strength and bravery in vulnerability. Whether it's about sports, academics, my identity, or my health, when I have pushed through my fears and sought the help that I needed, I have not only seen how much it tangibly helps, but how much better I feel for being brave enough to ask for help. This summer I had to get ACL and meniscus repair surgery. The surgery and recovery have left me unable to a lot of things independently. On the second night after the surgery, I broke down into tears because I felt so weak and useless. But with the help of my loving family and friends, I have been recovering well and I feel much better about asking for help. Learning to accept help with my ACL/meniscus recovery has encouraged me to seek help with something that I have been afraid seeking help for my whole life: my mental health. I have known that I likely have some serious mental health issues, and that not seeking help has been extremely detrimental. But admitting to others that I need that kind of support fills me with fear. However, seeing the support available to me has encouraged me to seek mental health services when I return to campus in the fall.
    Dog Lover Scholarship
    My parents were dog owners before they had children, so I was born into a house with a dog. Most of my earliest memories involve a dog. There have been few places that I have lived where there has not been a dog or two living there as well. I love dogs. They are happy and loyal. I have moved a lot in my life, and that can lead to loneliness, but no matter how much that loneliness has made me feel lesser, to know that the dog or dogs in my home will be happy to see me has made those times far more bearable. And each time that I have lived somewhere without a dog, I have realized how important they are to me. When my family and I moved to Brazil, we could not take our dog with us. And this move was probably the most challenging move I have ever had. Any challenge that one faces while moving is increased tenfold when moving to a foreign country. And when things got extra tough, I always thought of my dog and wished that she was there with me. When I left for Columbia University this past year, my dog of course could not live in my dorm with me. And I often have trouble meeting new people. This led to many lonely nights. And on those lonely nights I would look at pictures of my dog or think about the walks I had taken her on that past summer. About a month ago, I got ACL repair surgery. For about a week, moving my leg was incredibly painful, so I spent most of my time laying on my couch. Every day, my dog kept me company. I never had to call for her. When I would wake up from the daze of pain meds, there she always was. And I know that I was not very fun company at the time. I could not even get up to pet her. And yet, she stayed anyway. She seemed to know that I was sad and in pain, and stuck around to keep me company that I sorely needed. That kind of dedication is something that I would not expect from most people, but dogs excel in that area in their own special way. Overall, I love dogs because they bring a special kind of joy through their steadfast dedication, and it has gotten me through tough times in my childhood and young adulthood. I love the dog I currently have, and with financial support, I want to be able to have dogs in the future.
    Amelia Boynton and S.W. Boynton Scholarship
    Amelia Boynton Robinson and Samuel William Boynton were a couple who dedicated their lives to civic activism. They worked to progress the rights of African-Americans in the US, even when it resulted in being subjected to police brutality, like on Bloody Sunday. And Amelia was a pioneer when it came to representation in the government. To run for a seat in Congress from Alabama as a black woman at that time was groundbreaking, and although she did not win, even getting 10% of the vote was revolutionary. They had to fight against incredible odds to make a difference, and knew the importance voting rights, civil rights, and equal opportunities for all. And in this fight, they genuinely made a difference. People across the US rallied behind Amelia and her cause after Bloody Sunday, and eventually voting rights were expanded. Their stories have inspired me in multiple ways. For one, it has further inspired me to continue my advocacy for voting rights, civil rights, and equal opportunities for all. When I turned 18, the first thing I did was register to vote. Moreover, I have taken multiple volunteer opportunities with the League of Women Voters and the NAACP where I help people register to vote. And during the 2020 Elections, I was a poll worker. This year, I intend to be a poll worker once again. At Columbia University, I am a Human Rights major specializing in political science, and I have seen time and time again the impact that voting has had on the progress of a nation and its peoples. They lived their lives advocating for the rights of others, and I sincerely hope to do the same. If I can effect even half of the change that they did, then I will have succeeded in my goal. Amelia in particular has inspired me to continue down my path. The fact that Amelia was fighting to have her voice as a black woman be heard by running for Congress from Alabama inspires me immensely. Running for office could not have been easy, and yet she did it anyway. And yes, she lost, but she did gain some traction, and even after losing she found other ways to make her voice be heard. I attend a Primarily White Institution, and have spent a lot of my life being the only minority in a room. I know that in the future, this pattern is quite likely to continue, especially if I go into government work. But as a queer, mixed-race black woman, I know that my voice needs to be heard, and that I can uplift others like me who are sorely underrepresented in critical institutions. And when I face inevitable opposition from those who wish to silence people like me, I will think of Amelia and how she never stopped fighting. Overall, the story of Amelia Boynton Robinson and Samuel William Boynton is a story of resilience, dedication, and advocacy. And through my education and career, I have and hope to continue to follow in their footsteps by making a positive impact on the world through voting rights, civil rights, and equal opportunities for all.
    Bold Optimist Scholarship
    When I moved to Brazil at 13, I'd already moved three times. A significant part of my childhood was preparing to move or settling into somewhere new. So, being a naive tween, I thought that I had the routine down pat. This quickly changed. Any of the trials and tribulations that I'd undergone with previous moves would be worse in a foreign country. Typically, when moving, a GPS becomes my friend, and meeting new people presents a whole set of issues. Being a socially awkward ball of stress, the idea of constantly having to meet new people and make a good first impression is not super appealing. But in Brazil, the street signs and instructions were basically as good as gibberish to me. And any questions I had could not be answered. I was lost But slowly, the street signs started to make more sense, and walking into a room full of strangers became fun. I came to love Brazil and everything it had to offer. Living in Brazil taught me how to better enjoy new situations, and how to go with the flow. With the knowledge that I could learn from situations and that learning could help me better handle future situations, I started to look forward to solving challenges that came my way while in Brazil. And with all the changes and challenges that life has presented, from more moves to a pandemic, these lessons have become invaluable. And I've come to learn that when one door closes, another one often opens. And I think this kind of resiliency has made me much stronger, and I will always be grateful that I was given the opportunity to gain it.
    Bold Learning and Changing Scholarship
    When I moved to Brazil at 13 years old, I'd already moved three times. A significant part of my childhood was preparing to move or settling into somewhere new. So, I thought that I had the routine down pat. This quickly changed. Any of the trials and tribulations that I'd undergone with previous moves would be exponentially multiplied in a completely foreign country. But slowly, the street signs started to make more sense, and walking into a room full of strangers became fun. I came to love Brazil and everything it had to offer. Living in Brazil taught me how to better enjoy new situations, and how to go with the flow. And with all the changes and challenges that life has presented, from more moves to a pandemic, these lessons have become invaluable. I've learned that when one door closes, another one often opens. And I think this kind of resiliency has made me much stronger, and I'll always be grateful for the opportunity to gain it. One way that these lessons have affected me is in how I view my future. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure where my life is going. But as a 20 year old, I'd argue this is reasonable. And so I've decided after I get my undergraduate degree, I'll spend some years working to figure out what I want to do with my career. Of course, I'll have priorities and continue to work hard, but if I try too hard to focus on one set path, I could miss out on something potentially better. Overall, living in Brazil taught me the importance and potential joy in resiliency and going with the flow. And as I go forward in life, I'll ensure that I'm prepared for life's challenges and open to new opportunities.
    Bold Community Activist Scholarship
    Throughout my life, I have been fortunate in that I have received multiple opportunities to locally affect positive change in my community by working and volunteering for a cause that I strongly believe in. Along with the power of community service, I believe in the power of education. In high school, I was involved in and helped run multiple community service clubs, and many of the hours of community service that I did involved volunteering for educational programs. During this past year of college at Columbia University, I worked as a support staff for a community organization that teaches free English-learning classes. When I return to Columbia in the fall, I will likely continue to provide that service. By working for this organization, I know that I am helping underprivileged people receive a vital element of their education. This is a positive change that I strongly believe in. Also, I am interning for an organization that advocates for a higher quality education in my community here in Ohio. This organization, Honesty for Ohio Education, looks at harmful education-related legislation, and advocates for the rights of students and educators at the Statehouse and Board of Education, along with keeping citizens informed about education-related news in Ohio. By interning for this organization, I know that I am positively affecting students by ensuring that they can receive the education they need to thrive. Overall, by working towards the cause of providing crucial education to people who need it, I have been able to locally affect positive change in multiple communities that are important to me. I hope to continue to be able to affect that change.
    Youssef University’s College Life Scholarship
    I would like to say that I would donate it to charity or something, but student loan debt doesn't really allow for that kind of thinking. I need every penny right now, especially with my injury. Last semester, I tore my ACL and meniscus in my right leg. I just got the surgery to repair this injury. Now, I have nine months of physical therapy. This physical therapy is going to take time and money, and right now, I would save the $1000 for the fall when I go back to school in New York City, and use it for all of the subway rides I'm gonna have to take to get to and from physical therapy. Or, on days where physical therapy was a bit painful, I would use that money to buy ice packs. Or perhaps some kind of accident happens and my ACL gets torn again. This money could make up for the days I would have to take off work. In New York City, even $15/hour does not get someone very far, so I might not have a lot of money saved up. There will be a lot for me to worry about come fall. So while this answer may not be as heart-warming or funny or creative as other answers, I would use $1000 or the sake of my health and safety, which is important for an injured college student like me.
    Bold Great Books Scholarship
    During my AP Latin class during my senior year, we studied Virgil's Aeneid, both in English and in Latin. This became one of my favorite books/texts, and led to a strong interest in classical literature. Moreover, to me, it demonstrates one of the most powerful aspects of literature: associated memories. The poetry and story of the Aeneid are beautiful and fascinating, and become more so the more one studies it, but that is not what draws me to it. The main reason why I love this book is because of the memories associated with it. AP Latin was one of my favorite classes in high school, and I am so glad I took it. We spent hours collaborating with each other to translate, and debated issues brought up by these texts. Moreover, we would discuss some of the problematic aspects of this text, which as a queer, mixed race woman, was important to me. And when the pandemic hit my second semester, the stories of Aeneas' hardships, along with the continued (but virtual) collaboration with my classmates made my own hardships more bearable. And that's one of the most powerful aspects of literature for me. When I remember a book/text I read, I always associate it with when I was reading it. This connects me to who I was when I was reading it, and how that affected the way I read it, and how that book/text affected who I was. For me, I was a senior in high school reading Virgil's Aeneid in a class, which allowed me to collaborate with others while reading it, leading to fond memories even during hard times and a strong interest in classical literature. I owe parts of who I am to the Aeneid, and that's why it's one of my favorite books.
    Bold Financial Literacy Scholarship
    "Frame your goals, and see if what you're doing is going to get you there." Recently, I had to submit documents to Columbia University to apply for financial aid for the following school year. As I was submitting these documents, I started to think about the debt that attending Columbia University is putting me in. I chose to attend this school because I thought it was going to give me the best possible education in any subject that I thought I was strong in. But financially, this school is a huge burden on me. Every time I think about the amount of debt I am going to be in when I graduate, I am filled with a sense of dread. It filled me with enough dread that I am seriously considering transferring out of Columbia University to a less expensive school. I know this would affect my resume, and consequentially my job prospects, but being in debt sounds far worse. So, filled with this dread, I texted a friend of mine, and he gave me this invaluable advice. It's deceptively simple, but thinking about things this way has allowed me to consider my options more carefully. Good finances are about setting goals and planning carefully. If I do not know what I want, then I cannot know how to financially plan for it. I am not sure about whether I am going to transfer, but this summer I will be reflecting more seriously on what I want from my education, and if Columbia University, and money from outside scholarships, can get me there.
    Surya Education Assistance Scholarship
    I truly believe that education is a way for people, especially women, to find success and change the world around them. If it was not so, then oppressors would not work so hard to keep people from receiving high quality educations. As a queer, mixed-race black woman, receiving an education is not something that would have always been available for me. The education of women has always been a contentious road. For centuries, my enslaved black family was even not allowed to be literate. My maternal grandmother grew up impoverished on a farm in South Korea, and only received a middle school level education. And being out as queer in general for most of human history would be dangerous at best. And I have not necessarily had it easy either. I have been bullied because of my race, and a part of the reason that I did not come out until college is because I went to a very homophobic high school. I know that I will have to spend my career fighting double standards and there will probably be times where I will have to fear for my life because of who I am. Throughout my life, I have used my education as a way to overcome those challenges. I have always held myself to a high academic standard and sought out high academic rigor. And while I do not base my entire self-worth on academic success, my academic achievements have helped me realize that I am capable of achieving my goals. But I know that I was born with privilege, both financially and because I was born in a place where I could receive an education. But that is not the case for people around the world. And this lack of opportunity can keep people from achieving what they want to achieve or from changing the world around them. I want to use my education to open up educational opportunities for others. As a human rights major, I believe that education is an important human right. I am not entirely sure what I want to do with my future, but I could see myself working for a non-profit that gives women and other underrepresented groups the opportunity to receive high quality educations. I have not had it easy per se, but I know the amount of struggle that my ancestors, other women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community have undergone in order for me to have the opportunities that I have had. I want to pay that forward to others. People, and especially women, are capable of amazing things if given the opportunities to achieve them. This scholarship would help me learn how to best help them.
    William M. DeSantis Sr. Scholarship
    When I moved to Brazil at 13 years old, I had already moved three times. A significant part of my childhood was preparing to move or settling into somewhere new. So, being a naive tween, I thought that I had the routine down pat. This quickly changed. Any of the trials and tribulations that I had undergone with previous moves would be exponentially multiplied in a completely foreign country. Typically, when moving, a GPS becomes my best friend, and meeting new people presents a whole set of issues. Being a socially awkward ball of stress, the idea of constantly having to meet new people and make a good first impression is not super appealing. But in Brazil, the street signs and instructions were basically as good as gibberish to me. And any questions I had could not be answered. What does that gesture mean? How does ordering at a Brazilian restaurant work? I had no clue. Slowly but surely, the street signs started to make more sense, I learned not to use that gesture, and walking into a room full of strangers became fun. I quickly realized that maybe the reason why I never got what I ordered was because I was mixing up basic words. So I just ate what was on my plate. I came to love Brazil and everything it had to offer. Of my 20 years of living, the two I spent in Brazil were some of the best so far. Living in Brazil taught me how to better enjoy new situations, and how to go with the flow. I have always liked a challenge, but now I look forward to them. Moreover, with all the changes and challenges that life has presented, from more moves to a pandemic, the ability to go with the flow has become invaluable. I have come to accept that even the best laid plans can go awry, and that sometimes that can even be for the better. When one door closes, another one often opens. And I think this kind of resiliency has made me much stronger, and I will always be grateful that I was given the opportunity to gain it. One way that these lessons have affected me is in how I view my future. To be honest, I am not entirely sure what I want to do with my life. I have chosen a major, but I do not know exactly what I want to do with it. But as a 20 year old, I would argue this is reasonable. I am far too young to know how my life will turn out. And so I have made the choice that after I get my undergraduate degree, I will spend some years working to figure out what I want to do with my career. This could mean law school, or it could mean continuing with what I am already doing. Of course, I will have priorities and continue to work hard, but if I try too hard to focus on one set path, I could miss out on something potentially better. And this scholarship would give me the ability to find new paths without having to worry as much about financial burdens. Overall, living in Brazil has taught me the importance and potential joy in resiliency and going with the flow. And as I go forward in life, I will ensure that I am prepared for life's challenges and open to new opportunities.
    Bold Study Strategies Scholarship
    I am a student who seeks out academic challenges. In high school, I took some of the most difficult classes my school had to offer. And I chose to attend Columbia University because I knew there would be a high level of academic rigor. And this level of consistent academic challenge has forced me to find personally optimal ways to study. For me, there is one resource that I can consistently rely upon in order to achieve academic success: Quizlet. From languages to political science to STEM, there has yet to be a subject or a test where Quizlet has failed me. There are two parts of the Quizlet process that help me learn: making the Quizlet set and using the Quizlet set. Making the Quizlet set is helpful because it allows me to condense material. I go through pages of notes and up to hundreds of slides, and come out with at most 75 flashcards. The notes and slides can seem overwhelming, but I feel better once I know that the information I need to know is organized and knowable. When using the Quizlet set, I always use same method. I go through the set and star all of the cards that I don't know, and then go through the sets until no starred cards remain. This can take hours or even days, but by the end I know the necessary material. Once no starred cards remain, I continue to go over the Quizlet set to ensure I still know the information. Another aspect of using Quizlet sets that I enjoy is being able to share them with others. Throughout the years, people have thanked me for sharing Quizlet sets with them, and I am glad that I can also help others achieve academic success.
    Bold Perseverance Scholarship
    Growing up in small towns has not been ideal for me. They lacked diversity, which, as a queer woman of color, was not healthy for me. Moreover, due to that lack of diversity, prejudice and bigotry ran rampant. Students were committing hate crimes in the high school I went to. My black father got followed home by the police in the neighborhood he lived in. And most residents resisted and continue to resist any change that could lessen this problem. It was close-knit, sure, but it was not close-knit for everyone. Because of this background, I have had to learn to embrace who I am, because most of the people around me did not. And I was fortunate to live in a town that had one of the best public school systems in the area. I took advantage of that, taking the most challenging classes and pushing myself to be a leader in most of the clubs I was in. I took advantage of volunteer opportunities whenever they arose. I managed to get myself into Columbia University, a place where I could secure myself a brighter future. Growing up in small towns in Ohio has taught me many things. I have learned how to embrace who I am despite my environment, and have learned how to take advantage of opportunities. With this scholarship, I could better learn how to give back to a community by helping those who have been marginalized and outcasted.
    Mark Neiswander "110" Memorial Scholarship
    I'll be honest: I have not necessarily loved living in the small towns in Ohio that I lived in. They lacked diversity, which, as a queer woman of color, was not healthy for me. Moreover, due to that lack of diversity, prejudice and bigotry ran rampant. Students were committing hate crimes in the high school I went to. My black father got followed home by the police in the neighborhood he lived in. And most residents resisted and continue to resist any change that could lessen this problem. It was close-knit, sure, but it was not close-knit for everyone. Because of this background, I have had to learn to embrace who I am, because most of the people around me did not. And I was fortunate to live in a town that had one of the best public school systems in the area. I took advantage of that, taking the most challenging classes and pushing myself to be a leader in most of the clubs I was in. I took advantage of volunteer opportunities whenever they arose. I managed to get myself into Columbia University, a place where I could secure myself a brighter future. For me, giving back to those communities would mean helping those who are in the situation I was in. The people who have to deal with prejudice and discrimination on a daily basis when they are simply trying to further their education. I want to help create spaces where these students can feel safe, and perhaps even make the town itself a safer space. The town is definitely closely-knit, and maybe, just maybe, I can expand this sense of community to everyone in said community. This would not only help the marginalized people, but it would help all residents because they could learn about and embrace others. Uplifting the marginalized uplifts us all. At Columbia University, I am an officer for Proud Colors, a group for Q/T BIPOC students. Through this role, I have learned how to build community and create safer spaces. With this knowledge, I can hopefully give back to the community in a way that would be meaningful to me. Growing up in small towns in Ohio has taught me many things, although perhaps not what it teaches most. I have learned how to embrace who I am despite my environment, and have learned how to take advantage of opportunities. With this scholarship, I could better learn how to give back to a community by helping those who have been marginalized and outcasted.
    Ron Johnston Student Athlete Scholarship
    My junior year of high school, I got cut from my volleyball team. And they were right to do so. I was terrible at it. My brother encouraged me to try rugby. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Rugby did that for me, and it has fundamentally changed who I am. First and foremost, I simply love the sport itself. It's real in a way that many sports aren't. You’re outside on a field, without padding, and for either 14 or 80 minutes you’re sprinting, throwing, catching, and most intensely tackling and getting tackled. It’s grueling. And kinda terrifying. It strips you down to who you are, and how much you can endure. And I love learning about the strategy and techniques. I do not follow any professional sports, but I'm always down to watch a rugby game. For a long time, I thought that I was not an athlete. But rugby changed that for me. Playing it has allowed me to realize how someone can fall in love with a sport. Because that is what I did. Rugby has inspired to better myself, both at rugby and as a person. Every time I go to practice, I’m excited to learn something new, even if it leaves me completely confused. I know that whatever I learn that day is going to help me bring in a victory for me and my team. Also, outside of practice, I’ve started doing things to help me improve as a player. Things I would never have done if it weren’t for rugby. For example, I’ve always hated running. Any time I would start running, all I think about is how much I want to stop. But when I played my first rugby game, and had to sprint 80 yards, got tackled, and then had to get up and sprint another 50 yards (in the blazing sun, no less!!), I realized that my lungs were not gonna make it with that attitude. So, now, I go on runs. I still hate it, but I push through anyway because I know it’s gonna help me improve. And this kind of perseverance is something that I try to take with me in every aspect of my life. And in both high school and college, it has allowed me to connect with new people. When I came to Columbia University's campus, I knew almost no one. Because of the rugby team, I have a whole network of people that I know and care about. Furthermore, because I know how valuable rugby has been for me, when I joined my college team, I became the Recruitment Chair. This role entails bringing as many new people to the team as possible. By taking this leadership role, I have and will continue to provide this kind of experience for others. The only problem I have with rugby is that I did not start playing it sooner. I feel better about myself, know lots of cool people, and developed a passion. This scholarship would allow me to continue pursuing that passion, and I hope that I can continue to play rugby for as long as possible.
    Bold Passion Scholarship
    My junior year of high school, I got cut from my volleyball team. And they were right to do so. I was terrible at it. My brother encouraged me to try rugby. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Rugby did that for me, and it has fundamentally changed who I am. For a long time, I thought that I was not an athlete. But rugby changed that for me. Playing it has allowed me to realize how someone can fall in love with a sport. Because that is what I did. And in both high school and college, it has allowed me to connect with new people. When I came to Columbia University's campus, I knew almost no one. Because of the rugby team, I have a whole network of people that I know and care about. And I simply love the sport itself. It's real in a way that many sports aren't. You’re outside on a field, without padding, and for either 14 or 80 minutes you’re sprinting, throwing, catching, and most intensely tackling and getting tackled. It’s grueling. And kinda terrifying. It strips you down to who you are, and how much you can endure. And I love learning about the strategy and techniques. I do not follow any organized sports, but I'm always down to watch a rugby game. The only problem I have with rugby is that I did not start playing it sooner. I feel better about myself, know lots of cool people, and developed a passion. This scholarship would allow me to continue pursuing that passion, and I hope that I can continue to play rugby for as long as possible.
    Bold Listening Scholarship
    To me, listening is about more than just hearing what someone is saying: it's about actually absorbing it. Even if what the person is saying is totally disagreeable, there is merit is listening. As a student at Columbia University, I am constantly listening to those around me. Whether it is listening to professors or fellow students or coaches or janitorial staff, there is always something to hear and learn. I came to Columbia with almost no knowledge about New York City or Columbia itself, and through listening to others, I have been able to thrive on campus this year. Moreover, sometimes the things that a professor covers outside of the syllabus, such as career related information, can be just as important as what is on the syllabus. My current job as an ESOL Coordinator has exposed me to people who come from all different backgrounds. As a part of my job, I must test people on their English proficiency, register people for free English classes, and substitute teach said English classes. And listening to the ESOL students' stories has provided me with an insight that would be hard to find in many other places.
    Bold Acts of Service Scholarship
    I believe that every person should do volunteer work at some point in their life. To do work simply for the sake of doing good is an invaluable experience. If I did not have to worry about money, I would only do volunteer work. I have been doing volunteer work all my life. I have volunteered for multiple soup kitchens, education related institutions, and advocacy organizations, as well other various organizations. In middle school, while I lived in Brazil, I volunteered to help remodel a charity school in one of the poorer neighborhoods in the city I lived in. In high school, I was an officer for Key Club, a club in which members had to achieve at least 24 volunteer hours per year. If my teachers spoke about possible volunteer hours, I was always the first to sign up. While in high school and during college, I have volunteered for both the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, where I helped facilitate events as well as helped people register to vote. On a more personal note, if a friend ever needs something, I am the first to offer help. For example, when some of my friends have gotten COVID, I offer to pick things up or help them in any way possible. Acts of service are one of my love languages. Overall, acts of service are a crucial part of who I am, and I believe that others should do it for the sake of leaving a positive impact on the world.
    Pool Family LGBT+ Scholarship
    For almost all of my life, I have not allowed myself to embrace my sexuality. For years, I forced myself into the closet without even realizing it. I think deep down I always knew, but after 19 years and coming to Columbia University's campus, I finally embraced that part of myself. And a part of what I did to embrace my sexuality is join Proud Colors, a group for Q/T BIPOC students. And I loved the club so much that I became the Sophomore Representative. By becoming an officer of this club, I have helped to foster the Q/T BIPOC community at Columbia University. This year, as a club, we have coordinated multiple events, such as a Queer Sex-Ed Workshop, where experts gave lessons on Sex-Ed specific to Q/T people. Overall, this club, as well as the workshop, has made me far more comfortable with who I am, as well as allowed me to meet other Q/T BIPOC students, something not common at Columbia University. At the beginning of this year, I was so far in the closet that I did not even realize it, and now I cannot believe I ever thought I was straight. Proud Colors has given me the courage to come out to my friends, as well as talk about my sexuality in resumes and scholarship applications. And now, after a year of the community I helped provide through Proud Colors, I think I am ready to come out to my parents. And as an officer, I hope I have provided and can continue to provide this kind of space for others who might be like me. This scholarship would not only allow me to continue to attend Columbia University, but would allow me to have time to continue my involvement with the club. Also, being on rugby teams in both high school and college have allowed me to spend time in majority-queer groups that further allowed me to be more comfortable with who I am, even when I did not know who that was. Like much of the LGBTQ+ community, all of the rugby teams that I have been on have been accepting and encouraging, and I do not know who I would be without them. To be honest, I am not entirely sure what I want to do after I graduate. I hope to attend law school and then perhaps work in some kind of non-profit or governmental position, but those goals could change. These past couple of years have taught me that future plans could easily go awry. But Proud Colors and my rugby teams have definitely shown me that whatever it is that I do, I want to create inclusive communities that embrace people of all backgrounds. As Proud Colors and rugby have demonstrated, it can be crucial to helping people discover who they are.
    Bold Financial Freedom Scholarship
    "Frame your goals, and see if what you're doing is going to get you there." Recently, I had to submit documents to Columbia University to apply for financial aid for the following school year. As I was submitting these documents, I started to think about the debt that attending Columbia University is putting me in. I chose to attend this school because I thought it was going to give me the best possible education in any subject that I thought I was strong in. But financially, this school is a huge burden on me. Every time I think about the amount of debt I am going to be in when I graduate, I am filled with a sense of dread. It filled me with enough dread that I am seriously considering transferring out of Columbia University to a less expensive school. I know this would affect my resume, and consequentially my job prospects, but being in debt sounds far worse. So, filled with this dread, I texted a friend of mine, and he gave me this invaluable advice. It's deceptively simple, but thinking about things this way has allowed me to consider my options more carefully. Good finances are about setting goals and planning carefully. If I do not know what I want, then I cannot know how to financially plan for it. I am not sure about whether I am going to transfer, but this summer I will be reflecting more seriously on what I want from my education, and if Columbia University, and money from outside scholarships, can get me there.
    Jameela Jamil x I Weigh Scholarship
    As a queer woman of color, Allyship is very important to me. But I did not allow myself to embrace my sexuality until I came to Columbia University's campus last semester. And a part of what I did to embrace that sexuality is join Proud Colors, a group for Q/T BIPOC students. And I loved the club so much that I became the Sophomore Representative. By becoming an officer of this club, I have helped to foster the Q/T BIPOC community at Columbia University. This year, as a club, we have coordinated multiple events, such as a Queer Sex-Ed Workshop, where experts gave lessons on Sex-Ed specific to Q/T people. This workshop provided a safe space for students to ask questions that they might otherwise feel afraid to ask. Moreover, it allowed these experts to share important sexual health related resources provided by Columbia University. Personally, I found this workshop to be very enlightening. I have spent a lot of my life ignorant of important Q/T health and culture-related information. This workshop gave me information that I did not even know that I needed. Because of that, I am glad that I could provide that for others. It was a fun and educational atmosphere that I look forward to coordinating next year as well. Overall, this club, as well as the workshop, has made me far more comfortable with who I am, as well as allowed me to meet other Q/T BIPOC students, something not common at Columbia University. At the beginning of this year, I was so far in the closet that I did not even realize it, and now I cannot believe I ever thought I was straight. Proud Colors has given me the courage to come out to my friends, as well as talk about it in resumes and scholarship applications. And now, after a year of the community I helped provide through Proud Colors, I think I am ready to come out to my parents. And as an officer, I hope I have provided and can continue to provide this kind of space for others who might be like me. This scholarship would not only allow me to continue to attend Columbia University, but would allow me to have time to continue my involvement with the club. Moreover, I am not entirely sure what I want to do after I graduate, but Proud Colors has definitely shown me that whatever it is that I do, I want to create inclusive communities that embrace people of all backgrounds. As Proud Colors has demonstrated, it can be crucial to helping people discover who they are.
    New Year, New Opportunity Scholarship
    I am stardust, I am love, I am perseverance, I am kindness, I am marginalized, and it's currently midterms season, so I am tired. As pretentious as that sounded, it's true. We're all made of stars and comets that formed our planet. My parents' love shaped me. My marginalized family's perseverance paved my path. I'm not sure what career I want, but I know I want to help people. Being a mixed-race queer woman, I am marginalized in many ways. And as a Columbia University student, midterms have led to some late nights, but I'm grateful for the opportunity.
    Lo Easton's “Wrong Answers Only” Scholarship
    I do not know if these are "wrong" as much as they are honest. I am not sure if that is what you are looking for. 1.) There are probably kids who deserve it more, but as of now I am going to be in a lot of student loan debt. Anything to ease that debt is ideal. I don't want to graduate absolutely drowning in debt, especially if I also want to go to law school. 2.) Unfortunately, I really still don't have a good answer to that. I have to pick a major by March 11th, and that is really frightening me. All I really know is that I want to spend my career helping others. I know that not having a concrete career plan probably does not look great for a scholarship, but hey I'm being honest. 3.) Honestly getting through the past couple of years has been a challenge. COVID has not been good for my mental health, and I have worked hard to maintain my GPA and still find new opportunities.
    Mary P. Perlea Scholarship Fund
    I am a mixed race, queer woman who grew up in places where others like me did not exist. Most of the towns that I have lived in have been over 90% white, and if anything other than cis-het norms were focused on, it was exclusively for white people. Moreover, during my senior year in the high school that I graduated from, there was a violent racial crime committed by two white students on school grounds. So, during my senior year, I felt even more unsafe. And media representation overall has not been much better. With few exceptions, there are not people like me on TV or in the movies. Or even in possible job fields that I considered. And when I was trying to better figure out who I was, representation would have been critical. And my parents did not entirely know how to help me. So, growing up, I learned how to embrace who I was, whether that meant learning how to do my hair, figuring out my sexuality, or not letting the racist and homophobic tendencies in the towns I lived in overwhelm me. I plan on using my education to give back to others who are underserved or underrepresented in multiple ways. As of now, I am one of the officers for a club at Columbia University called Proud Colors, which is a club for Q/T BIPOC people. We provide a safe space for Q/T BIPOC people to talk about their feelings, as well as put on events for learning about queer SexEd and other crucial topics society does not like to talk about. To be honest, I am not entirely sure what I want my career to be. But what I do know is that I want it to help those that are underserved or underrepresented. This could mean working in a non-profit or going into government. In whatever career I end up choosing, I want to be the representation that I did not have, and I want to lift up others.
    Cocoa Diaries Scholarship
    I am a mixed black woman, and I have grown up in places where there have been very little black people, let alone other mixed black women. Representation of people like me in the media has also been depressingly scarce. In that way, I have always felt isolated, and had to navigate my racial identities on my own. In racist, predominantly white suburbs, I have been called racial slurs and had racist insults thrown at me. In the current suburb I live in, a hate crime was committed against two black girls at my high school while I attended it. This has always been my reality. And because I know that people do not respect me because of the color of my skin, I have always pushed myself to work harder and better than those around me. I have pushed myself to my limit, sometimes to my own detriment, because I knew that I had to. In high school, I took 8 AP classes, had a 4.0 GPA, and did many sports and extracurriculars. I was outspoken during discussions. And because of this hard work, I applied to prestigious schools, and got into most of them. I now attend an Ivy League school. I know that financial privilege has played a huge part in my education, but I had to take advantage of the opportunities that my financial privilege provided. My life experiences have seriously affected my mental health. As mentioned previously, I have sometimes pushed myself beyond my own limits, and it has negatively affected me. Even knowing that, I cannot stop pushing myself because I know that our racist society demands more from me. I also know that this experience is not unique to me at all. Women with "black names" get passed over in favor of less qualified people with "white names." Black women in the media are dismissed as stupid or aggressive because of the color of their skin. Little mixed black girls have similar identity crises, not knowing exactly who they are or how to think of themselves. And the issue becomes more systemic when looking at institutions. Black women literally die because their needs are often dismissed by medical professionals. It pains me that these experiences are so ubiquitous. As a young person, I am one of the people that will shape the future. That means that I can use the pain that I have felt to keep others from feeling the hurt I have grown up feeling. In my life, I want to represent a successful mixed black woman, and I want to provide a space for other black women to succeed. I will use my education to testify against racist laws and institutions and create legislation to ensure equity.