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Avary Wathen

5805

Bold Points

77x

Nominee

5x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I am a confident and curious student who lives authentically and perseveres through life's challenges. I seek opportunities for understanding and inspiration. I value personal growth and entrepreneurial innovation. I am battling an autoimmune illness that is attacking my digestive system. I struggle to eat, and rely on a feeding tube for my nutrition. This disease is painful—I find it to be both limiting and embarrassing. But it is not the only thing that defines me. We each have our struggles—some are more visible than others. I’m learning that my feeding tube, while embarrassing, is a visible sign of my struggles. But there are so many others around me that have no outward signs for the pain they hold inside. We must embrace and love ourselves for who we are in this moment, and teach others to do the same. Living authentically is the best way I know to share my entire self and find opportunities for understanding and inspiration. I am pursuing a degree in marketing starting fall 2022, and plan to have a career in fashion marketing, where I can boldly express myself.

Education

Larry A. Ryle High School

High School
2018 - 2022

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Marketing
    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Marketing and Advertising

    • Dream career goals:

      Entrepreneur

    • Team member bringing joy to customers while they enjoy create-your-own frozen yogurt treats

      Menchies
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Dining Hall server at an assisted living facility compassionately serving meals to elderly residents while offering words of kindness and encouragement.

      Storypointe Assisted Living
      2020 – 20211 year

    Sports

    Cross-Country Running

    Club
    2017 – Present7 years

    Awards

    • Not able to run my senior year due to illness, but exceeded several personal records my junior year

    Research

    • Marketing and Innovation

      Currently requesting funding through University of Louisville's Office of Research & Innovation — I created the proposal for the research (would love to share it with you!)
      2021 – Present

    Arts

    • Thomas Nguyễn Photography

      fashion photography
      1) Project Beauty (2021); (2) Thomas Nguyen Senior Model Crew Team Member (2021-2022); various product shoots featuring Free People & Urban Outfitters brands
      2020 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      7 Hills Church — Caregiver for 3-4 year olds
      2019 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      7 Hills Church — Student Advisory Board
      2018 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      Boone County Gross Motor Development Program for Developmentally Challenged Students — I develop trusting and authentic friendships with my disabled peers, challenging them to expand their skills and supporting them through the challenges.
      2019 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Stefanie Ann Cronin Make a Difference Scholarship
    I have a passion for creating something that wasn't there before. All my life, I have successfully demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit by creating trends, influencing through social media, and selling my ideas to others. As a kid, I designed clay figures for my friends' backpacks. In middle school, I graduated to designing jewelry out of everyday materials. In high school, I developed an eye for fashion and found ways to market fashion trends. My creativity and resilience for changing environments helped me to be adaptable in every endeavor. But things changed drastically for me ny freshman year of high school. I have developed a serious and chronic gastrointestinal disorder. I have suffered through multiple hospital stays, doctors visits, tests, procedures, and bouts of unimaginable pain and embarrassment. Two years ago, I started treatments for lupus, and last year my doctors placed a feeding tube for nutrition. On my worst days, my physical well-being became a roller coaster. But I soon learned that my resilience and creativity could help me even during these dark days. Illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. I have learned from my chronic illness that we all have a story to tell. Some parts of our story are not always visible to others. And many parts of our story we wish were not so visible to others. But through the hardships, I found my own story of redemption, growth and purpose. Not too long ago, a nationally-known photographer learned of my story, and invited me to join his team of models. In this time of diversity and inclusion, he chose me not in spite of my disability, or even because of it. He chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to the project. I know I can bring that same authenticity with me as a freshman in college. There is something powerful about not letting your hardships finish writing your story for you. I know that seeking a major in Marketing and Entrepreneurship will not be easy. But my goal is not to seek a life without struggles. Instead I seek the strength to endure and the grace to know that today’s struggles will lead to tomorrow’s successes. It is up to me to press onward, like my illness has taught me.
    Chronic Boss Scholarship
    From a young age, my entrepreneurial spirit has led me to create and experiment with new ideas. In particular, fashion has always been a passion. In recent years, I have learned the art of marketing through social media, and the science of influencing others through marketing. After college, I want to combine my two passions and take on a career of marketing and entrepreneurship by creating my own start-up company involving fashion and wellness. Over the past four years, I have developed a serious and chronic gastrointestinal disorder. I have suffered through multiple hospital stays, doctors visits, tests, procedures, and bouts of unimaginable pain and embarrassment. In the past year, I have started treatments for lupus, and I recently had a feeding tube placed for nutrition. Many young women my age would choose to withdraw, or simply give up. I have chosen a different path. I have found that illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. But I have also learned through my chronic illness that we all have a story to tell. Some parts of our story are not always visible to others. And many parts of our story we wish were not so visible. But through the hardships, you find your own story of redemption, growth and purpose. I have learned that my story is about perseverance, resiliency, and the courage to have authenticity in all aspects of my life. Not too long ago, a nationally-known photographer learned of my story, and invited me to join his team of models. In this time of diversity and inclusion, he chose me not in spite of my disability, or even because of it. He chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to the project. I know I can bring that same authenticity with me as a freshman in college. There is something powerful about not letting your hardships finish writing your story for you. I know that seeking a major in both Marketing and Entrepreneurship will not be easy. Nor will it be easy to start my own business. But my goal is not to seek a life without struggles. Instead I seek the strength to endure and the grace to know that today’s struggles will lead to tomorrow’s successes. It is up to me to press onward, like my illness has taught me.
    Bold Community Activist Scholarship
    I often hear young people describe situations that they feel are unjust or un-inclusive. When asked how we can change these disparities, we often lament, "What impact can one individual have?" But one individual CAN make an impact! We can all bring about positive community impact by recognizing when change is needed, exploring our personal values, and utilizing our strengths to bring change. I found my strength when I began working with my school's Gross Motor Development (GMD) Program. For three years, I have served as a mentor to developmentally challenged individuals. I am referred to as their peer and they are my buddies. But the bonds we share are real, and my experiences with them have changed my perspective on disabilities and illnesses. As I began my relationship with my buddies, I had no idea that my buddies would bring such a positive change in my own life. In recent years, I have developed a serious chronic illness. I have suffered through multiple hospital stays, doctors visits, tests, procedures, and bouts of unimaginable pain and embarrassment. In the past year, I have started treatments for lupus and had a feeding tube placed for nutrition. As I returned to normal activities, I noticed many of my friends shied away from me because they were uncomfortable asking questions. But not my GMD buddies. Especially not them. They understand, more than most. Illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. My buddies taught me not to waste time seeking a life without struggles. Instead I will seek the strength to endure and the grace to know that today’s struggles will lead to tomorrow’s successes. It is up to me to press onward, like my buddies have taught me.
    Bold Loving Others Scholarship
    Maya Angelou once said: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I try to live each day with the realization that my relationship with others is the most important element of success in life. Often times, friends just need a listening ear. They don't want your advice on how to fix their problems. They just want to be understood. And there is nothing more powerful in a relationship than when a person feels understood. I try to make my friends feel understood, and I try to surround myself with friends that will do the same for me when I need it most. I realize that this a rare and precious quality to find in a friend. So I have come not to expect it from others. But I practice this quality whenever possible, hoping to emulate what I would want in a friend.
    Bold Helping Others Scholarship
    For four years, I have mentored in my high school's Gross Motor Development (GMD) Program, finding fun and unique ways to engage my buddies in physical activities and redesigning them to be inclusive for the differently-abled individuals in the class. I am their "peer" and they are my "buddies". But the bonds we share are real. My experiences with them have changed my perspective on disabilities and illnesses. I have become a strong ally for my friends in this program, both inside and outside of class. I help them learn new skills, join them at school events, plan weekend club activities for them, and attend outings with them in the community. When I first began my GMD mentorship, I couldn't comprehend the impact the experience would personally have on my life. In recent years, I have developed a chronic gastrointestinal disorder, suffering through multiple hospital stays, doctors visits, tests, procedures, and bouts of unimaginable pain and embarrassment. Last year, I started treatments for lupus, and I recently had a feeding tube placed for nutrition. I noticed many of my friends shied away from me because they were uncomfortable asking questions. But not my GMD friends. Especially not them. They understand-- more than most. Illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. These buddies of mine take their burdens in stride most days. We all have struggles—some you see, some you don’t. My buddies’ struggles are visible, and persistent, they will never go away. But they don’t dwell on the struggles. Instead, they bring joy with them wherever they go, living their lives to the fullest. Through this mentorship experience, my GMD friends taught me strength, endurance and grace to manage whatever struggles I endure in life.
    Bold Perseverance Scholarship
    “You will run and not grow weary.” – Isaiah 40:31 I found my love for running in elementary school. The daily long-distance runs through wooded trails with my coach and my friends were a comforting and calming routine. In middle school, when many of my friends dropped out of cross-country, I discovered the thrill of performing at my personal best and exceeding all my personal records. As I entered high school, running allowed me to clear my head during emotionally difficult days, taught me life lessons around endurance, and empowered me to persevere in other areas of my life. Running is my joy, much like a good friend who makes you feel great about yourself. In the past year, however, my relationship with running has changed. I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that attacks my digestion system. Since I struggle to eat, or even absorb nutrients normally, my gastroenterologist has placed a feeding tube for my nutrition. Since Fall 2020, I’ve been unable to sustain the energy levels needed to run long distances without severely impacting my overall health. I grieve the loss of my friend, my joy. But I remind myself daily that running taught me the life lesson of perseverance. I will continue to listen to and collaborate with my medical specialists, I will be open to new medical research, and I will keep my spirits high, until the day comes that we find the right treatment. I will endure. I will persevere. And I will again see a day when I will run and not grow weary.
    Bold Passion Scholarship
    I have a passion for fashion marketing. I have this innate ability to recognize a style, predict a trend, and create a brand. I want to major in Marketing, and start a career in branding. I know that it will not be easy. I must learn from the experts through internships and co-ops. I must gain the technical expertise to provide me with the credibility needed to succeed in the field of fashion marketing. I must build my professional network. But I'm passionate enough about this career path that I am willing to do just that. In life, I've learned that simply showing up and being willing to do the hardest stuff will get you far in life. If you are willing to take a risk, and learn from your mistakes, you achieve much more in life. After relocating with my family several times at a young age, I learned to try new things, meet new people, explore new places, and take new adventures. I look forward to practicing these same skills in my career. I have a similar passion for how I plan to pay for college. My family has a high enough income that will prevent me from be offered financial aid. But much of our family's income is spent on my medical treatments and mine and my brother's college educations. I have an autoimmune illness that attacks my digestive system, and doesn't allow my body to absorb nutrition. I spend time in the hospital frequently, take many medications, and have a feeding tube and nutritional formulas that provide my nutrition. This scholarship, combined with the many others I am applying for, will help me contribute to my college education, and achieve my goal of a career in branding without the burden of significant debt.
    Bold Acts of Service Scholarship
    For four years, I have mentored in my high school's Gross Motor Development (GMD) Program, finding fun and unique ways to engage my buddies in physical activities and redesigning them to be inclusive for the differently-abled individuals in the class. I am their "peer" and they are my "buddies". But the bonds we share are real. My experiences with them have changed my perspective on disabilities and illnesses. I have become a strong ally for my friends in this program, both inside and outside of class. I help them learn new skills, join them at school events, plan weekend club activities for them, and attend outings with them in the community. When I first began my GMD mentorship, I couldn't comprehend the impact the experience would personally have on my life. In recent years, I have developed a chronic gastrointestinal disorder, suffering through multiple hospital stays, doctors visits, tests, procedures, and bouts of unimaginable pain and embarrassment. Last year, I started treatments for lupus, and I recently had a feeding tube placed for nutrition. I noticed many of my friends shied away from me because they were uncomfortable asking questions. But not my GMD friends. Especially not them. They understand-- more than most. Illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. These buddies of mine take their burdens in stride most days. We all have struggles—some you see, some you don’t. My buddies’ struggles are visible, and persistent, they will never go away. But they don’t dwell on the struggles. Instead, they bring joy with them wherever they go, living their lives to the fullest. Through this mentorship experience, my GMD friends taught me strength, endurance and grace to manage whatever struggles I endure in life.
    Bold Listening Scholarship
    In Stephen Covey's "7Habits of Highly Effective People", Habit #5 is "Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood." I think that the only way you can accomplish Habit#5 is by becoming a good listener. I have found that listening helps others feel understood. And as a good listener, you can demonstrate to the other person that you truly do understand by repeating back to them their feeling and thoughts in a way that helps them know that you see the situation through their perspective, not your own. This empathic style of listening is most effective during times of high emotion and conflict. And I have found that most people appreciate knowing that you understand their perspective before you start sharing your own thoughts about a topic. So even if the two of you don't agree, they at least know that you understand where they are coming from. And because you listened well to them, they will often return the favor, and try to learn your perspective too. My mother taught my brother and myself this strategy from a very early age, and I think it is the reason that he and I are so close as young adults. We are willing to hear each other's perspectives and we want the outcome to be a win-win for both of us--not just one of us. I know this strategy of listening takes longer, but often results in a far better outcome than either of you could have arrived at alone. Empathic listening results in better understanding, which helps both sides come to a solution that is a win for everyone!
    Bold Driven Scholarship
    I have a passion for fashion marketing. I have this innate ability to recognize a style, predict a trend, and create a brand. I want to major in Marketing, and start a career in branding. I know that it will not be easy. I must learn from the experts through internships and co-ops. I must gain the technical expertise to provide me with the credibility needed to succeed in the field of fashion marketing. I must build my professional network. But I am bold enough, and driven to do just that. In life, I've learned that simply showing up and being willing to do the hardest stuff will get you far in life. If you are willing to take a risk, and learn from your mistakes, you achieve much more in life. Because my family relocated several times when I was young, I learned quickly to try new things, meet new people, explore new places, and take new adventures. I look forward to practicing these same skills in my career and in college. I'm taking a very similar approach in my efforts to pay for college. My family has a high enough income that will prevent me from be offered financial aid. But much of our family's income is spent on my medical treatments and mine and my brother's college educations. I have an autoimmune illness that attacks my digestive system, and doesn't allow my body to absorb nutrition. I spend time in the hospital frequently, take many medications, and have a feeding tube and nutritional formulas that provide my nutrition. This scholarship, combined with the many others I am applying for, will help me contribute to my college education, and achieve my goal of a career in branding without the burden of significant debt.
    Bold Simple Pleasures Scholarship
    My simple pleasure is spending time alone. I have come to realize that while I am very social, I am in fact an introvert. I need alone-time to re-energize and process interactions. So I have started to build in alone-time for myself each day. My time alone is often used for productive activities, like making a to-do list for the day or cleaning my room. At times, I may even use the time for unimportant, meaningless tasks like viewing social media. But my most favorite use of alone-time is when I find creative activities to work on. Creative projects can include re-designing my room, writing in my journal, designing jewelry, creating Christmas ornaments, coordinating fashion, and much more. It truly doesn't matter what I am doing, as long as I have time alone with my own thoughts. Since I realized this need for myself, and began building this time into my schedule, I find that I have better control of my emotions and behaviors. And the more I practice this discipline, I find that my body tells me when I need more or less alone time for the stresses of a particular week. Therefore, my "simple pleasure" has become a "necessity" for my health and well being!
    Bold Giving Scholarship
    I think the most important outcome of charitable giving is the connection the donor makes with the beneficiary of their gift. I have experienced this connection first hand. For the past 4-5 years, I have suffered from a chronic illness that is attacking my digestive system. Doctors know that it is autoimmune-related, but are struggling to identify the diagnosis, and thus the treatments we have tried have not yet been effective. A few years ago, around the holidays, I was at a particularly low point in my illness. I was physically and emotionally drained, and feeling like nobody (not even my doctors) understood my circumstances. My mother suggested we spend some time reviewing a charitable website known as CURE.org. It is a network of hospitals across the globe that helps children get life-changing surgeries, and shares with them and their families a message of hope and a vision of a new future. I quickly bought in...I knew that if I could give others like me hope, then there is hope for me too. We have made it an annual tradition to find one child each year that is suffering from a curable illness, but needs funding in order to make their "miracle" a reality. The doctors donate their time, and my family pays for the surgery. It brings me great joy to find healing for these children. I know how it is changing their lives. And I find hope in knowing that there will be a time that my doctors will find healing for me.
    Bold Motivation Scholarship
    I am really good at failing. I don't enjoy failing. I don't wake up each morning, asking myself how I can fail that day. But failure is a natural consequence of trying new things. And if you want to truly succeed, you must get comfortable with failure. I'm taking a college-level statistics class this semester that I absolutely did not feel capable of passing. Yet I currently have a C at mid-term. I'm simply "failing" my way to a passing grade by learning each day the skills that I didn't know the day before. As I look back on the stress --and reward-- this class is bringing me, I realize that had I not taken the class, I would have certainly failed because I didn't try, and I would not have learned the skills I have today. Failures are not our proudest moments. But if we can learn from them, they can often lead to our biggest successes. So I am learning to fail every day--by taking chances, reaching beyond what I recognize as my capabilities, and seeing how far I can fail. Only then can I truly understand what it takes to succeed.
    Bold Know Yourself Scholarship
    I've lost a great deal of friends in recent years. Who could blame them for leaving? I was never around, I usually declined invitations to socialize. When I did socialize, I came home early. I have been living with lupus the last five years of my life, and it wrecks my digestive system. To the point that I am in constant pain, fighting nausea, can no longer eat, and have been placed with a feeding tube for nutrition. The loss of friends was devastating to my self esteem. But these friends didn't do it to be mean. They simply did not have the ability to deal with all the illness, or the stamina to stick it out with a sick friend who couldn't have fun. After some period of loneliness, I learned that we all need a friend, a confidant, someone to help you rally. Luckily, my family did that for me. But not all people have such an encouraging family. I learned that to have a friend, I needed to be a friend. I now spend most of my free time working with the special need students at my school. I befriend people that are different from me at my part-time job. I spend time getting to know people in my classes. I have one or two close friends outside of school that understand my condition, and are not freaked out by all the sickness. And I reach out to others that I can see just need a friend in the moment.
    A Push Forward Scholarship
    I have a passion for fashion marketing. I have this innate ability to recognize a style, predict a trend, and create a brand. I want to major in Marketing, and start a career in branding. I know that it will not be easy. I must learn from the experts through internships and co-ops. I must gain the technical expertise to provide me with the credibility needed to succeed in the field of fashion marketing. I must build my professional network. But I'm eager to put in the work to be successful. I'm taking a very similar approach in my efforts to pay for college. My family has a high enough income that will prevent me from be offered financial aid. But much of our family's income is spent on my medical treatments and mine and my brother's college educations. I have an autoimmune illness that attacks my digestive system, and doesn't allow my body to absorb nutrition. I spend time in the hospital frequently, take many medications, and have a feeding tube and nutritional formulas that provide my nutrition. In an effort to help our parents with our college expenses, my brother and I have both agreed to take on part-time jobs to cover books and living expenses during college. I think I already have the job lined up for next fall. But in order to work, I will need to take a car to college, and I know a parking permit and gasoline will be an added expense. I will be using this scholarship to budget for gas and parking fees. The wages from my part-time job will cover books, meals, and incidentals such as toiletries and school supplies. This scholarship, combined with the many others I am applying for, will help me contribute to my college education, and achieve my goal of a career in branding without the burden of significant debt to myself or my parents.
    Pettable Pet Lovers Scholarship
    My two goldfish have amazing personalities. Rhonda is a curvy plus-sized Oranda whose mere size attracts attention. Her large wen sits atop her head like an elaborate updo, perfectly paired with her ornate dress of bright orange scales. Giggles, a Veil Tail with flowing fins, is Rhonda’s devoted admirer. They swim to the front of the tank, wagging their tails when I enter the room. Giggles smacks his lips above the water, blowing me kisses. Rhonda performs champion barrel rolls to gain my attention. Whatever the day brings, I always know there’s a tank full of happiness waiting at home!
    Davila Scholarship
    Thankfully, drunk driving has never impacted my life directly. But I know that it only takes one mistake to change your life forever. This has been a culture or mindset in our home since I was a young child. We were taught that there were some situations we should never put ourselves in. We don't touch a hot stove, we don't step on broken glass, and we don't drive if we have taken any medications or had any alcohol to drink. Long before I became a driver, my parents would discuss with my brother and I the consequences of drunk driving. If there was a party that my parents were attending, they would discuss who would drive home in advance. If one of my parents were taking a medication that could impair driving, they would find a way to stay home or insist on another driver. It didn't matter how inconvenient the situation may be, it was never an option to drive while intoxicated. We never drive - or let a friend drive - while intoxicated. That same mindset has carried over to myself and my brother. My brother and I are often the first member of our friend groups to bring up the issue prior to attending a party that could involve alcohol. We personally take on the responsibility of being the designated driver for our friend groups whenever possible. But there are times when I am feeling ill or taking medications for my lupus that will prevent me from being the designated driver. So I make sure that my friends have the discussion among themselves to determine who will serve in that role as Designated Driver. Even more importantly, my friends know that I do not drink, so they will always have a sober friend to hang out with. We never drive - or let our friends drive - when intoxicated. And if I ever get in a position that I think my ride home has been drinking, I always know that I have the ability to call my parents for a ride home. My parents and I openly discuss the fact that there may be drinking at some teen or young adult parties. And while they know I don't drink, they have always taught me that I have a responsibility to reach out to them if I need a sober ride home. We never take chances, and we always plan ahead for the safest outcome. We never drive - or let a friend drive - while intoxicated.
    Bold Legacy Scholarship
    I am leaving my legacy by living a life of authenticity. Authenticity helps me let go of fears and persevere through life's challenges. Authenticity helps me seek opportunities for understanding and inspiration. It helps me value personal growth and entrepreneurial innovation. I am battling an autoimmune illness that is attacking my digestive system. I struggle to eat, and rely on a feeding tube for my nutrition. This disease is painful—I find it to be both limiting and embarrassing. But it is not the only thing that defines me. My authenticity allows me to share my struggles, persevere through difficult times, and be an inspiration for others. We each have our struggles—some are more visible than others. I’m learning that my feeding tube, while embarrassing, is a visible sign of my struggles. But there are so many others around me that have no outward signs for the pain they hold inside. We must embrace and love ourselves for who we are in this moment, and teach others to do the same. Living authentically is the best way I know to share my entire self and find opportunities for understanding and inspiration. People who struggle with autoimmune diseases are not gauranteed long, or normal, lives. So it is up to me to live the life I have with authenticity and courage, seeking personal growth, and persevering through challenges.
    Bold Hope for the Future Scholarship
    I am battling an autoimmune illness that is attacking my digestive system. I struggle to eat, and rely on a feeding tube for my nutrition. This disease is painful—I find it to be both limiting and embarrassing. These have been some of my darkest days yet in life. I'm learning that we each have our struggles—some are more visible than others. I’m learning that my feeding tube, while embarrassing, is a visible sign of my struggles. But there are so many others around me that have no outward signs for the pain they hold inside. We all have periods of darkness, where we feel like our lives are not going as planned. Our relationships are not going as planned. Our hopes and dreams are getting further away from us. It's normal to have a faith crisis - a hope crisis - in these dark times. Our minds are telling us to give up. There is no hope. The world is against you. I want to encourage you to hang on! These dark nights help to form you into a new person that has greater understanding, greater hope, greater endurance, and a greater empathy for others. The key is don't quit. It will all work together for your good. Hope can be your powerful motivator and an encouraging friend.
    Bold Wisdom Scholarship
    "...endurance produces character, and character produces hope." - Romans 5:4 We all have periods of darkness, where we feel like our lives are not going as planned. Our relationships are not going as planned. Our hopes and dreams are getting further away from us. It's normal to have a faith crisis in these dark times. Our minds are telling us to give up. There is no hope. The world is against you. I want to encourage you to hang on! These dark nights help to form you into a new person that has greater understanding, greater hope, greater endurance, and a greater empathy for others. The key is don't quit. It will all work together for your good.
    Bold Happiness Scholarship
    “You will run and not grow weary.” – Isaiah 40:31 I found my love for running in elementary school. The daily long-distance runs through wooded trails with my coach and my friends were a comforting and calming routine. In middle school, when many of my friends dropped out of cross-country, I discovered the thrill of performing at my personal best and exceeding all my personal records. As I entered high school, running allowed me to clear my head during emotionally difficult days, taught me life lessons around endurance, and empowered me to persevere in other areas of my life. Running is my joy, much like a good friend who makes you feel great about yourself. In the past year, however, my relationship with running has changed. I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that attacks my digestion system. Since I struggle to eat, or even absorb nutrients normally, my gastroenterologist has placed a feeding tube for my nutrition. Since Fall 2020, I’ve been unable to sustain the energy levels needed to run long distances without severely impacting my overall health. I grieve the loss of my friend, my joy. But I remind myself daily that running taught me the life lesson of endurance. I will continue to listen to and collaborate with my medical specialists, I will be open to new medical research, and I will keep my spirits high, until the day comes that we find the right treatment. I will endure. I will persevere. And I will again see a day when I will run and not grow weary.
    Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship
    I find confidence in living a life of authenticity. Authenticity helps me let go of fears and persevere through life's challenges. Authenticity helps me seek opportunities for understanding and inspiration. It helps me value personal growth and entrepreneurial innovation. I am battling an autoimmune illness that is attacking my digestive system. I struggle to eat, and rely on a feeding tube for my nutrition. This disease is painful—I find it to be both limiting and embarrassing. But it is not the only thing that defines me. My authenticity allows me to share my struggles, persevere through difficult times, and be an inspiration for others. We each have our struggles—some are more visible than others. I’m learning that my feeding tube, while embarrassing, is a visible sign of my struggles. But there are so many others around me that have no outward signs for the pain they hold inside. We must embrace and love ourselves for who we are in this moment, and teach others to do the same. Living authentically is the best way I know to share my entire self and find opportunities for understanding and inspiration. People who struggle with autoimmune diseases are not gauranteed long, or normal, lives. So it is up to me to live the life I have with authenticity and courage, seeking personal growth, and persevering through challenges.
    Bold Friendship Matters Scholarship
    Friendship is more than a feeling or a belief. It's more than the words you speak to others. Friendship is an action. Standing up for someone, offering kindness, or being present for someone in need. Teens are so anxious and depressed these days. They are living life in fear, unable to connect with others and develop true friendships. The best advice I have ever been given during periods of anxiety was to get up out of bed, leave my home, go find someone who is in trouble, and help them. I have found that the act of being a friend is a powerful way to overcome fear and anxiety. I often feel let down by my own friends when I need them the most. I know I am not the only teen that has felt this way. This feeling of being let down by your friends causes a great deal of fear and anxiety for teens. But I have chosen to conquer that fear. In order to conquer fear, you must love others. And in the end, while your friends themselves may let you down, your personal acts of friendship will provide you freedom from fear and anxiety. You know what you need to do to be a true friend. So get out there and do it.
    Bold Self-Care Scholarship
    I live with lupus. It attacks my digestive system, and prevents me from digesting my food properly. In years past, a diagnosis of lupus also meant a life expectancy of approximately five years. But researchers have found in recent years that a regimented, healthy lifestyle could allow lupus patients to live a close-to-normal lifespan. This diagnosis and prognosis has taught me to be highly disciplined around my physical and emotional health. Physically, I am vigilant around my sleep, nutrition and physical strengthening. Since I struggle to digest food properly and maintain an ideal weight, I must receive my nutrition through a feeding tube. I take my medications faithfully, and have my blood drawn regularly to make sure that my vitamins and minerals are within a normal range. I sleep approximately nine hours a night because my body needs more rest than most. And I participate in physical therapy sessions to help my body maintain proper strength. Emotionally, I focus on my spirituality, self-advocacy, and a strong support network. I recognize that the effects of a chronic illness can take its toll on my emotions. So I renew my spiritual strength through prayer and inspirational readings. I advocate for myself at school and work, so that I can meet expectations while requesting appropriate accommodations, if needed. I also talk regularly with my therapist, and allow my family and friends to help me when needed. My physical and emotional health have become extremely important to me in recent years since my lupus diagnosis. All these activities help me to maintain a long and healthy life as I work through all the challenges that a chronic illness may bring.
    Deborah's Grace Scholarship
    In recent years, I have developed a serious and chronic gastrointestinal disorder. I have suffered through multiple hospital stays, doctors visits, tests, procedures, and bouts of unimaginable pain and embarrassment. In the past year, I have started treatments for lupus, and I recently had a feeding tube placed for nutrition. Through this adversity, I learned the life lessons of endurance and authenticity. We all have struggles—some you see, some you don’t. I refuse to spend my time longing for a day without struggles. Instead, I'll bring joy with me wherever they go, living my life to the fullest. Yes, these adversities continue to teach me strength, endurance and grace to manage whatever struggles I have been given in life. Illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. Through it all, I have learned that we all have a story to tell. Some parts of our story are not always visible to others. And many parts of our story may not always be positive. But through the hardships, you must find your own story of redemption, growth and purpose. Not too long ago, a nationally-known photographer learned of my story, and invited me to join his team of models. In this time of diversity and inclusion, he chose me not in spite of my disability, or even because of it. He chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to the project. I know I can bring that same authenticity with me as a freshman in college. There is something powerful about not letting your hardships finish writing your story for you. I know that seeking a major in Marketing will not be easy. But my goal is not to seek a life without struggles. Instead I seek the strength to endure and the grace to know that today’s struggles will lead to tomorrow’s successes.
    Bold Turnaround Story Scholarship
    Winner
    In recent years, I have developed a serious and chronic gastrointestinal disorder. I have endured multiple hospital stays, doctors visits, tests, procedures, and bouts of unimaginable pain and embarrassment. In the past year, I have started treatments for lupus, and I recently had a feeding tube placed for nutrition. Through it all, I have learned that we all have struggles—some you see, some you don't. Illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. But we all have a story to tell, and through the hardships, you must find your own story of redemption, growth and purpose. Not too long ago, a nationally-known photographer learned of my story, and invited me to join his team of models. In this time of diversity and inclusion, he chose me not in spite of my disability, or even because of it. He chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to the project. I know I can bring that same authenticity with me as a freshman in college. There is something powerful about not letting your hardships finish writing your story for you. I know that seeking a major in Marketing will not be easy. But my goal is not to seek a life without struggles. Instead I seek the strength to endure, and the grace to know, that today’s struggles will lead to tomorrow’s successes. It is up to me to press onward, like this illness has taught me.
    Bold Longevity Scholarship
    About two years ago, I was diagnosed with lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks the body's organs, and can lead to a shorter life expectancy. So I began doing research, and quickly learned that those lupus patients with the proper strength, nutrition, and mental outlook often survive to a normal, or near-normal, life expectancy. It is difficult to remain physically strong with lupus because I often feel pain and exhaustion. So I focus on getting enough sleep each night and maintaining my weekly physical therapy appointments for strength training. Before I became ill, I was a cross-country runner. So I hold aspirations of being strong enough to run again someday. Nutrition has been my biggest struggle because the lupus is attacking my digestive system. I am not able to digest foods properly, so I gain my nutrition through a feeding tube. I have blood drawn regularly so that doctors can determine which vitamins and minerals need replenishing. And I do my best each day to supplement with as many calories as I can take in on my own. Lastly, I have learned that focusing on my mental health is as vitally important as my strength and nutrition. The stress and discomfort from a chronic illness often leaves a young person feeling isolated, lonely and depressed. I have found that keeping a routine and scheduling regular mental health therapy sessions help me to work through the emotionally difficult times. My family members and a few close friends are also a strong support network, helping me to celebrate the small successes. I've learned that everyone has their struggles--some you see, some you don't. But we all must find the right mix of physical and mental best practices that will bring us personal joy and longevity.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    First and foremost, I want to thank Terence Hayes for sharing his story, and for leaving a legacy his mother would certainly be proud of. Terence, your message is heartfelt and endearing. My mental health struggles have been far different than your mother's, but no less impactful on my life. It started as an undiagnosed physical illness that has wreaked havoc on my body. But as the years pass, I recognize the toll this illness is taking on me mentally and emotionally. For about five years now, I have been suffering from an autoimmune disease that my doctors think is lupus. It has attacked my digestive system to the point that I can no longer digest foods properly, and receive my nutrition from a feeding tube. The pain, nausea, cramps, and uncontrollable bowels are also a source of isolation and embarrassment. Life before lupus was easy. I ate what I wanted. I went places with my friends without worrying if I would be home in time for medicines. I didn't worry about being embarrassed in public because of uncontrollable bodily functions. And I didn't have a feeding tube dangling from my nose. Especially that. Life with lupus has become far more difficult. My friends don't know how to be friends anymore. I cancel plans on them at the last minute. I get sick halfway through the evening, and ask my date to take me home. The excessive weight loss leaves me obsessing with body image, while friends say, "I wish I had your problem." And nobody wants to be mean to the sick girl, but they also don't know how to be truly themselves with me either. Lastly, I'm learning from personal experience the connection between our brains and our stomachs. Both my gastrointestinal specialist and rheumatologist often mention that the stomach is often referred to as our second brain. And when your stomach isn't well, your brain isn't well. My stomach isn't well. When I'm in great pain, I lose focus. I can't perform well in school. I struggle to keep my focus while driving. I inadvertently disconnect from conversations with friends. The nausea and bowel issues leave me grumpy and distant from my family, as I spend long hours on the floor in my bathroom. On the worst of days, I just feel isolated and lonely. But I have found three powerful beacons of hope in my life's journey, and they are what give me hope for a brighter future: One is my involvement in a Gross Motor Development Program (GMD) at my high school. I serve as a mentor for developmentally disabled students. I am referred to as their peer and they are referred to as my buddies. But the bonds we share are real, and my experiences with them have changed my perspective on disabilities and illnesses. Most importantly, I realize that when many of my friends shy away from my difficult days, these GMD friends don't. They understand, more than most. Secondly, I had a real moment of encouragement at an exceptionally low point in my illness that has changed the trajectory of my career path. A nationally-known photographer learned of my story (feeding tube and all), and invited me to join his team of models. In this time of diversity and inclusion, he chose me not in spite of my disability, or even because of it. He chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to the project. He now also acts as a mentor for me, teaching my the fashion marketing business, and helping me make connections in the industry. Lastly, I found that the people that really matter most are right there with me all along the journey. My brother offers himself freely when I need a close friend and confidant. My parents are always supportive, and give great advice during difficult times. And I am learning to be my own best friend by advocating for myself. I am using my three beacons of hope to shine as a light of hope for others. I have many followers on Instagram, and I'm realizing that many of my followers are there because they are dealing with similar struggles. They see the excessive weight loss. They obviously see the feeding tube. They message me, and ask the questions that nobody else feels comfortable asking. I know that my authenticity is lending power to others in similar situations, and my words of encouragement can lift up someone who is struggling.
    Jameela Jamil x I Weigh Scholarship
    For the past four years, I have served as a peer mentor in the Gross Motor Development (GMD) Program at my high school. I find fun and unique ways to engage my buddies in physical activities by taking ordinary physical activity games and redesigning them to be inclusive for the differently-abled individuals in the class. I am referred to as a peer and they are referred to as my buddies. But the bonds we share are real, and my experiences with them have changed my perspective on disabilities and illnesses. I have become a strong ally for all of my friends in this program, both inside and outside of class. I help them learn a new skill, spend time with them at school events, plan club activities for them on evenings and weekends, and escort them on outings in the community. One particular individual, named Brenden, has become such a part of my daily life that I often think about how I will stay connected with him and his family when I go away to college. When I began my mentorship with these individuals four years ago, I had no idea the kind of impact they would personally have on my life. In recent years, I have developed a serious and chronic gastrointestinal disorder. I have suffered through multiple hospital stays, doctors visits, tests, procedures, and bouts of unimaginable pain and embarrassment. In the past year, I have started treatments for lupus, and I recently had a feeding tube placed for nutrition. As I returned to normal activities, I noticed how many of my friends shied away from me because they were uncomfortable asking questions. But not my GMD friends. Especially not them. They understand, more than most. Illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. These buddies of mine take their burdens in stride most days. We all have struggles—some you see, some you don’t. My buddies’ struggles are visible, and persistent, they will never go away. But these buddies always amaze me. They don’t spend their time longing for a day without struggles. Instead, they bring joy with them wherever they go, living their lives to the fullest in the moment. These individuals have taught me strength, endurance and grace to manage whatever struggles I have been given in life. But most of all, I feel blessed that I have come full circle, and was able to receive allyship from the very individuals that I championed for the last four years. Brenden and my other GMD friends taught me that while I may be the ally today, there may be a time when I need an ally too. And those who have needed an ally are the ones who understand best how to be a good ally for others.
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    I found my growth mindset from running cross country in elementary school. The daily long-distance runs through wooded trails with my coach and my friends were a comforting and calming routine. In middle school, when many of my friends dropped out of cross-country, I discovered the thrill of performing at my personal best and exceeding all my personal records. As I entered high school, running allowed me to clear my head during emotionally difficult days, taught me life lessons around endurance, and empowered me to persevere in other areas of my life. Running is my joy. It forces me to stretch my expectations, and work to achieve more than I originally anticipated. Running is much like a good friend that inspires me to accomplish more than I ever imagined I could. In the past year, however, my relationship with running has changed. I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that attacks my digestion system. Since I struggle to eat, or even absorb nutrients normally, my gastroenterologist has placed a feeding tube for my nutrition. Since Fall 2020, I’ve been unable to sustain the energy levels needed to run long distances without severely impacting my overall health. I grieve the loss of running-- my friend, my joy. But I remind myself daily that running taught me the life lesson of endurance, perseverance, and always reaching for more. I continue to growth intellectually, emotionally, academically. And I know there will come a day when I can grow again physically, exceeding my expectations in all areas of life. Growth truly is a mindset, and I believe that my current inability to grow physically is only allowing me to grow in other ways that I could not have imagined before I become ill.
    Bold Patience Matters Scholarship
    Let me tell you about my buddies. Jenn is sassy and passionate about the people she loves. Brendan is strong, sweet and kind-hearted. Connor is so funny, and he shows such excitement for life. I love them all, and everything about them. Jenn is autistic. Brendan often flaps his hands and paces the room. Connor uses a wheelchair. I’ll say it again. I love them all, and everything about them. I was introduced to my three buddies about three years ago when I was selected to serve as a peer mentor in the Gross Motor Development Program at my high school. In this program, I am referred to as a peer and they are referred to as my buddies. But the bonds we share are real, and my experiences with them have changed my perspective on disabilities and illnesses. We all have struggles—some you see, some you don’t. My buddies’ struggles are visible, and persistent, they will never go away. It's often difficult for them to communicate their needs, and I must be patient and attentive if I truly want to be a true friend for them. Illness and disability are much like an extra-curricular club you never wanted to join, but you are forced to participate in daily. I know because I live with an autoimmune disease that fills my most difficult days with pain and isolation. But these buddies of mine take their burdens in stride most days. I have learned from them that patience is what will carry you through your toughest days, and patience can bring you amazing relationships and experiences that will last a lifetime.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    First and foremost, I want to thank Calvin Rosser. Calvin, I am moved by the message you are sharing, and the legacy you are building in honor of your mother. Your eulogy was authentic and inspiring. My mental health struggles have been far different than your mother's, but no less impactful on my life. It started as an undiagnosed physical illness that has wreaked havoc on my body. But as the years pass, I recognize the toll this illness is taking on me mentally and emotionally. For about five years now, I have been suffering from an autoimmune disease that my doctors think is lupus. It has attacked my digestive system to the point that I can no longer digest foods properly, and receive my nutrition from a feeding tube. The pain, nausea, cramps, and uncontrollable bowels are also a source of isolation and embarrassment. Life before lupus was easy. I ate what I wanted. I went places with my friends without worrying if I would be home in time for medicines. I didn't worry about being embarrassed in public because of uncontrollable bodily functions. And I didn't have a tube dangling from my nose. Especially that. Life with lupus has become far more difficult. My friends don't know how to be friends anymore. I cancel plans on them at the last minute. I get sick halfway through the evening, and ask my date to take me home. The excessive weight loss leaves me obsessing with body image, while friends say, "I wish I had your problem." And nobody wants to be mean to the sick girl, but they also don't know how to be truly themselves with me either. Lastly, I'm learning from personal experience the connection between our brains and our stomachs. Both my gastrointestinal specialist and rheumatologist often mention that the stomach is often referred to as our second brain. And when your stomach isn't well, your brain isn't well. My stomach isn't well. When I'm in great pain, I lose focus. I can't perform well in school. I struggle to keep my focus while driving. I inadvertently disconnect from conversations with friends. The nausea and bowel issues leave me grumpy and distant from my family, as I spend long hours on the floor in my bathroom. On the worst of days, I just feel isolated and lonely. But I have found three powerful beacons of hope in my life's journey, and they are what give me hope for a brighter future: One is my involvement in a Gross Motor Development Program (GMD) at my high school. I serve as a mentor for developmentally disabled students. I am referred to as their peer and they are referred to as my buddies. But the bonds we share are real, and my experiences with them have changed my perspective on disabilities and illnesses. Most importantly, I realize that when many of my friends shy away from my difficult days, these GMD friends don't. They understand, more than most. Secondly, I had a real moment of encouragement at an exceptionally low point in my illness that has changed the trajectory of my career path. A nationally-known photographer learned of my story (feeding tube and all), and invited me to join his team of models. In this time of diversity and inclusion, he chose me not in spite of my disability, or even because of it. He chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to the project. He now also acts as a mentor for me, teaching my the fashion marketing business, and helping me make connections in the industry. Lastly, I found that the people that really matter most are right there with me all along the journey. My brother offers himself freely when I need a close friend and confidant. My parents are always supportive, and give great advice during difficult times. And I am learning to be my own best friend by advocating for myself. I am using my three beacons of hope to shine as a light of hope for others. I have many followers on Instagram, and I'm realizing that many of my followers are there because they are dealing with similar struggles. They see the excessive weight loss. They obviously see the feeding tube. They message me, and ask the questions that nobody else feels comfortable asking. I know that my authenticity is lending power to others in similar situations, and my words of encouragement can lift up someone who is struggling.
    Terry Crews "Creative Courage" Scholarship
    I have a passion for fashion marketing and design. I enjoy drawing realistic body figures for today's women, wearing everyday, urban, and street fashion. About a year ago, I was given the opportunity to begin working with nationally-known fashion Thomas Nguyen. His mentorship has been invaluable as I learn more about fashion marketing, fashion photography, and the trends in the industry. While in college, I would like to study fashion design, fashion marketing, and business marketing. I hope to own my own fashion-related business after graduation.
    Bold Investing Scholarship
    My mother is a director of wealth advisors, my father is an options trader, and my older brother is a finance major. So one can easily imagine the investment-related conversations that took place around our dinner table growing up! I always felt a bit inferior because I didn't comprehend the stock market terms being used. As the topic came up, I would sink into the back of my chair, bracing for the next mind-numbing investment topic while I choked down my green beans. It seemed like my parents were helping their clients make lots of money. But it was only rich people that my parents worked with. How did these people get rich? And if they got rich on their own, why did they even need my parents' help to make more money? One night, I mustered the courage to ask the question that I felt like nobody had ever answered for me: "How do people even get rich enough to hire you so that you can help them make more money?" The answer was mind-blowing, yet simple. They saved. They spent less than they made. They started saving early in life. And they were disciplined around saving first and foremost, every day of their lives. While "saving" may not seem like an amazing investment tip, what I learned from my parents that night was that if you don't develop the habit of saving early, you will never have the money needed to take advantage of compounding interest and historical rates of returns. Still today, I feel a bit inferior when the entire family starts talking finance jargon. But I rest easy knowing that if I focus on saving - early and often - I can hire a professional (like those in my family) to give me solid investment advice!
    Bold Caring for Seniors Scholarship
    My high school junior year, I worked as a server in the dining hall of an independent senior living community. Most of the residents were health and simply enjoyed the amenities of this beautiful facility. But some residents whose memory had declined were utilizing the community's assisted living services. After several months working in the dining hall, my supervisor recognized that I could build rapport with even some of the most difficult and discerning residents. She tapped me to serve the memory care residents because they required a server that was patient, offering them additional attention. I grew fond of these residents because they reminded me of my grandmother who suffered from Alzheimers and lived in an assisted living facility. When COVID restrictions for the residents took effect in 2020, the residents were not allowed visitors, and they were required to eat meals in their rooms alone. Instead of serving them meals in a beautifully decorated dining hall, I was delivering their meals to them in boxes. It was a stark contrast for the residents. This change was social and emotionally destructive to most of the residents. But it was especially devastating to our memory care patients. They could not comprehend why we would impose such rules. Many would even ask me if they were being punished for doing something wrong. So I began identifying those residents that needed my attention the most. I spent extra time with them, petting their cats, asking about their day, or completing a small chore with them. Some eagerly waited for me to deliver their dinner so they would have someone to talk with. I know my visits blessed them, and I hope that someone was also able to do the same for my grandmother during this time.
    Bold Future of Education Scholarship
    There are some wide disparities in our nation's educational systems. Collectively, I know that we have a nation of schools that want the best for their students. But due to some inequities, not all schools are able to operate at a high level. Such elements as poor funding, low-income neighborhoods, unstable communities, or even untrained teachers could have detrimental consequences to students' learning. But one positive aspect of the pandemic is that school systems were forced to think creatively about how they would reach their students. Teachers and administrators learned new ways to engage students virtually. This allowed teachers to meet students where they were, and work to break down academic barriers. It also allowed teachers to see inside the homes of students, and better understand their living conditions. And finally, it also helped parents see what their children were experiencing in the classrooms. All this transparency is a positive step in the right direction if we want to improve our educational system nationwide. And while many schools have returned to in-person learning, there were lessons to be learned from the time we all spent virtually. We should embrace those aspects that were beneficial to students, and weave them into our education practices.
    Bold Generosity Matters Scholarship
    What does generosity look like? Generosity looks like my 11th grade history teacher. Mr. Williams had many reasons not to be generous. He spent each day teaching a room full of teens, many of whom were disrespectful and dismissive of authority. He neared retirement, yet I would venture to say he had never been paid what he was worth all these years. Like every other adult during the pandemic, he had his own personal problems and stresses to work through at home. But none of these reasons stopped him from being generous to his students. Mr. Williams was an excellent history teacher, and he held his students accountable for their learning. But the students were eager to learn in his class because they knew he cared about them. He would start the class off every morning with 10-15 minutes (longer if needed) to talk about anything that was on the students' minds. Sometimes, he would come prepared with a topic that he knew was on their minds. He used that time to listen, share his wisdom, and teach life lessons. But he always stayed on the students' level, never authoritarian or demeaning. Mr. Williams carefully observed the students in his class. He would make sure he found time to get to know those students that he thought might be struggling outside of school. He would offer whatever support they needed. I recall a few students who we all knew were struggling financially. Mr. Williams always made sure that there were plenty of snacks in his classroom. He brought his breakfast to class and offered it to the kids. He gave his lunch away regularly. And he always stood ready to give his heart away to a kid in need any day of the week. That's what generosity looks like.
    Bold Deep Thinking Scholarship
    Kids are not taught consequences these days. We have an entire generation of children that have never been taught that their behaviors have consequences, and they have never learned to control their impulses. Rather than allow children to experience natural consequences, whether positive or negative, adults often rush in to "fix" a situation. In the end, the child grows up to be narcissistic and impulsive. A permissive parent may want to quickly remove the child from the negative situation, which robs the child of ever learning the life lesson around poor behavior. A authoritarian parent may rush to impose an overbearing and irrelevant punishment that the child never connects to his or her actions. If a child has behaved badly, there are natural consequences to his behavior that he or she obviously will not like. Parents and teachers should allow those natural consequences to occur, then spend some time with the child to discuss how their future behaviors could improve the situation. An entire generation of misguided children will lead to a failed society. We as leaders must teach parents and teachers to set realistic expectations of children, have the courage to allow natural consequences, and be ready to communicate openly and empathetically about ways to improve behaviors. Kids will follow our lead. But we must be willing to lead them.
    Studyist Education Equity Scholarship
    Education is not a right. It is a privilege. But it is not only for the privileged. The cost of education is climbing year after year. And many college students are no longer able to afford an education ( or the student loans that accompany it). But many companies are recognizing that in order to recruit top talent, they must begin by identifying individuals that have the work ethic and character they are looking for as a company. From there, companies can begin breaking down the barriers to assist their top talent in getting a proper education and training. With employment at an all-time low, many companies are offering tuition reimbursement for their best talent. I feel that this is a great strategy for helping to make education attainment equitable for all.
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    “You will run and not grow weary.” – Isaiah 40:31 I found my love for running in elementary school. The daily long-distance runs through wooded trails with my coach and my friends were a comforting and calming routine. In middle school, when many of my friends dropped out of cross-country, I discovered the thrill of performing at my personal best and exceeding all my personal records. As I entered high school, running allowed me to clear my head during emotionally difficult days, taught me life lessons around endurance, and empowered me to persevere in other areas of my life. Running is my joy, much like a good friend who makes you feel great about yourself. In the past year, however, my relationship with running has changed. I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that attacks my digestion system. Since I struggle to eat, or even absorb nutrients normally, my gastroenterologist has placed a feeding tube for my nutrition. Since Fall 2020, I’ve been unable to sustain the energy levels needed to run long distances without severely impacting my overall health. I grieve the loss of, running-- my friend, my joy. But I remind myself daily of the wise words in Isaiah 40:31: "You will run and not grow weary." Running taught me the life lesson of endurance. I will continue to listen to and collaborate with my medical specialists, I will be open to new medical research, and I will keep my spirits high, until the day comes that we find the right treatment. I will endure. I will persevere. And I will again see a day when I will run and not grow weary.
    Bold Financial Freedom Scholarship
    I, like many of my peers, do not have a great deal of money. I work a part-time job, but I don't make enough to cover all my expenses. My parents help me pay for my transportation, education and cost of living. One lesson they have taught me from an early age is to always save first. They help me to understand that we can never predict when we might have an emergency and need additional cash. True financial freedom comes when you prepare yourself for the unexpected. Each payday, I set aside small amounts of money in my savings for such unexpected emergencies. At some point in the future, I hope to have $1,000 saved specifically for an emergency fund. That will give me the financial security to know that I can address most crises that might come my way as an incoming college student living away from home. For example, if my car breaks down, I lose my job, or I have a medical emergency, I know that I will be able to take care of the immediate crisis and still continue with my long-term goals of education and career advancement. At my current income level, I know that it will take me a long time to save the $1,000. But it is something that I work toward every payday. It helps me to know that I am taking care of myself first, and placing myself on a track toward financial independence.
    Loan Lawyers 2021 Annual Scholarship Competition
    I, like many of my peers, do not have a great deal of money. I work a part-time job, but I don't make enough to cover all my expenses. My parents help me pay for my transportation, education and cost of living. One lesson they have taught me from an early age is to always save first. They help me to understand that we can never predict when we might have an emergency and need additional cash. But true financial freedom comes when you prepare yourself for the unexpected. Each payday, I set aside small amounts of money in my savings for such unexpected emergencies. At some point in the future, I hope to have $1,000 saved specifically for an emergency fund. That will give me the financial security to know that I can address most crises that might come my way as an incoming college student living away from home. For example, if my car breaks down, I lose my job, or I have a medical emergency, I know that I will be able to take care of the immediate crisis and still continue with my long-term goals of education and career advancement. At my current income level, I know that it will take me a long time to save the $1,000. But it is something that I work toward every payday. It helps me to know that I am taking care of myself first, and placing myself on a track toward financial independence.
    Breanden Beneschott Ambitious Entrepreneurs Scholarship
    As an incoming college marketing and entrepreneurship student for next fall, I enjoy researching tools that assist companies in effective branding. Many companies today invest heavily in social media platforms for branding. Collaborations with social media influencers are effective marketing partnerships. But as social media platforms become saturated with influencers and branding competition, I want to help companies think strategically about choosing influencers that promote their brands. Historically, companies have relied on three key indicators when choosing influencers for collaboration partnership: (1) number of followers, (2) number of likes or comments per post, and (3) the influencer’s professionalism in previous posts. In recent years, social media’s audience has grown larger, younger, and more diverse. Users’ preferences are more sophisticated and discerning. Companies must adapt, narrowing focus on influencers that can inspire target audiences to purchase. To accomplish this, companies must measure actual follower engagement. Follower engagement is far more difficult to measure than other key indicators. In fact, the truths about follower engagement may not be evident at first glance. I want to measure social media influencers’ follower engagement to help companies identify effective collaboration partnerships for social media branding. Six key indicators of follower engagement might include: (1) Relevance of the influencer to a company’s brand. An influencer may have many followers whose preferences do not align with the company’s brand. Another influencer with less followers, whose preferences align perfectly with the company’s brand, could provide more impactful partnership. (2) Sentiment of the influencer’s followers. Social media users don’t always “like” the influencers they follow. Therefore, it could be detrimental to a company’s brand to choose an influencer who has both a large following and low sentiment rating. (3) Quality, not just quantity, of comments on any given post. Researchers may feel motivated to choose influencers whose posts boast over 10,000 comments. But if only 10% of those comments were positive or relevant, their choice may backfire. (4) Loyalty of followers. Followers’ propensity to “like” and comment repeatedly over time on an influencer’s posts could signal an impactful branding partnership. (5) Number, relevance and sentiment of “mini-influencers” that follow an influencer. Mini-influencers are smaller in scale, but often have great influence over particular target audiences. They are strong amplifiers, pushing certain posts to go viral. (6) Who followers are engaging with and following beyond the individual influencer. Understanding followers’ behaviors can be extremely insightful as companies build their brand. Armed with powerful research results, companies make impactful branding choices. With support from Mechanism, such research could help effectively brand startup companies. Mechanism's Entrepreneur In Residence (EIR) Program also allows entrepreneurs to collaborate, network and collectively bring new innovations to market. People such as Tym Lewtak are managing the growth of start-up businesses importing e-commerce products that are being distributed through various channels in the US. I believe my research ideas could benefit from collaboration with someone like Lewtak and Mechanism. If chosen as a Mechanism Scholar, I would passionately explore opportunities for research on innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to bring to market.
    Bold Financial Literacy Scholarship
    I, like many of my peers, do not have a great deal of money. I work a part-time job, but I don't make enough to cover all my expenses. My parents help me pay for my transportation, education and cost of living. One lesson they have taught me from an early age is to always save first. They help me to understand that we can never predict when we might have an emergency and need additional cash. Each payday, I set aside small amounts of money in my savings for such emergencies. At some point in the future, I hope to have $1,000 saved specifically for an emergency fund. That will give me the financial security to know that I can address most crises that might come my way-- for example, if my car breaks down, I lose my job, or I have a medical emergency. I know that it will take me a long time to save the $1,000. But it is something that I work toward every payday. It helps me to know that I am taking care of myself, and placing myself on a track toward financial independence.
    Bold Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    I, like many of my peers, struggle with mental health. I suffer from a chronic autoimmune disease that causes me to miss out on most of the activities that my peers take for granted. Pain, nausea, and severe gastrointestinal distress often keeps me isolated from others. The years of illness have at times left me feeling depressed and anxious. While most of my peers don't have a chronic illness, they often experience the depression and anxiety for various other reasons. Some of my friends tell me that they are feeling anxious about their futures, unworthy of love, isolated because of COVID, or depressed because they others doing well on social media when they themselves don't have anything in their lives to be proud of. I share with them a strategy that I use to overcome such mental health issues. I own a Gratitude Journal that I write in when I'm feeling overwhelmed with my feelings. The journal helps me to find small blessings in my daily life that I can be thankful for. Granted, this strategy is not a "quick fix". It takes a great deal of careful reflection. I often journal for weeks without any relief. But then I'll glance back at the words I've written on the page, and realize just how blessed I am. Each individual must find ways to overcome their fears, loneliness, anxieties, and feelings on isolation and depression. This strategy works for me. And I encourage my friends to try it too. A few friends have even shared that the strategy worked for them too. What a rewarding feeling it was to hear those words from someone who was also struggling with their mental health--I made sure to write the experience in my Gratitude Journal that evening!
    "If You Believe..." Scholarship
    Let me tell you about my buddies. Jenn is sassy and passionate about people she loves. Brendan is strong and kind-hearted. Connor is funny and excited for life. I love everything about them, including their drive to overcome challenges. I met my buddies when I began mentoring in the Gross Motor Development Program at school. I am called their peer and they are called my buddies. But the bonds we share are real, and my perspective on disabilities and illnesses have changed because of them. Three years ago, I didn't anticipate the impact these individuals would, or could, personally have on my life. That changed when I developed a serious and chronic gastrointestinal disorder. I noticed many friends shied away from me because they were uncomfortable asking questions. But not Jenn, Brendan and Connor. Especially not them. They understand, more than most. We all have struggles—some you see, some you don’t. My buddies’ struggles are visible, and persistent, they will never go away. But they spend their time bringing joy to others. They teach me strength, endurance and grace to manage all struggles. They teach me that we all have a story to tell. Through the hardships, you find your own story of redemption, growth and purpose. Recently, a nationally-known photographer invited me to join his model team. He invited me not because of my disability, or even in spite of it. Instead, he chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to a project. There is something powerful about not letting your hardships finish writing your story. I no longer seek a life without struggles. Instead I seek courage to be authentic, strength to endure challenges, and grace to inspire others so that today’s struggles will lead to tomorrow’s successes.
    Pandemic's Box Scholarship
    The COVID-19 pandemic brought illness, job loss, and instability to millions. I don't make light of the pain and unbearable stress that many people suffered. However, I have a different story to tell. My family has named it our "COVID Miracle". I had been very ill for over a year, and had spent several weeks in the hospital during February 2020. I couldn't eat, and had lost so much weight. My health was declining, we had no medical diagnosis, and the pace of life was becoming exhausting. As the nation shut down in March, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I quickly realized that COVID's timing was a blessing for me. Classes went online, and I was able to rest more without guilt. My specialists classified my condition as essential, so I was able to get appointments quickly. My mother attended all my doctor appointments because she was not working at the office. And my entire family was with me at home -- even my brother who came home from college. While my disease is chronic and long-term, COVID allowed me the time to find ways to adjust my life to accommodate for my health. Truly a COVID Miracle.
    A Push Forward Scholarship
    I have a passion for fashion marketing. I have this innate ability to recognize a style, predict a trend, and create a brand. I want to major in Marketing, and start a career in branding. I know that it will not be easy. I must learn from the experts through internships and co-ops. I must gain the technical expertise to provide me with the credibility needed to succeed in the field of fashion marketing. I must build my professional network. But I'm bold enough to do just that. In life, I've learned that simply showing up and being willing to do the hardest stuff will get you far in life. If you are willing to take a risk, and learn from your mistakes, you achieve much more than the person that didn't show up or raise their hand for the task because they thought the task was too difficult. I learned this lesson after my family relocated multiple times during my childhood. I found that if I quickly put myself out there for others, then I could easily find my place in my new community. I made it a point to try new things, meet new people, explore new places, and take new adventures. I look forward to practicing these same skills in my career. I'm taking a very similar approach in my efforts to pay for college. My family has a high enough income that will prevent me from be offered financial aid. But much of our family's income is spent on my medical treatments and mine and my brother's college educations. I have an autoimmune illness that attacks my digestive system, and doesn't allow my body to absorb nutrition. I spend time in the hospital frequently, take many medications, and have a feeding tube and nutritional formulas that provide my nutrition. This scholarship, combined with the many others I am applying for, will help me contribute to my college education, and achieve my goal of a career in branding without the burden of significant debt.
    3Wishes Women’s Empowerment Scholarship
    My view will be unpopular, but it is authentic, and I think women need to hear the message. We do not need to wait for society to empower women. Women must empower women. At the simplest level, women must empower themselves. We must work collectively to lift each other up, and be prepared to stand up for other women who need a little extra help to empower themselves. The most practical example I can share is when a woman speaks up in class --or in the board room-- and her comments go unrecognized. In that moment, we as women must speak up and validate each others' comments and opinions. We also need to be bold enough to celebrate other women' successes, empathize with their losses, and share words of encouragement and kindness. Society in general cannot do this for women. Only women can do this for women. And individuals must be confident enough to empower themselves, and bold enough to empower other women around them.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    “You will run and not grow weary.” – Isaiah 40:31 I found my love for running in elementary school. The daily long-distance runs through wooded trails with my coach and my friends were a comforting and calming routine. In middle school, when many of my friends dropped out of cross-country, I discovered the thrill of performing at my personal best and exceeding all my personal records. As I entered high school, running allowed me to clear my head during emotionally difficult days, taught me life lessons around endurance, and empowered me to persevere in other areas of my life. Running is my joy, much like a good friend who makes you feel great about yourself. In the past year, however, my relationship with running has changed. I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that attacks my digestion system. Since I struggle to eat, or even absorb nutrients normally, my gastroenterologist has placed a feeding tube for my nutrition. Since Fall 2020, I’ve been unable to sustain the energy levels needed to run long distances without severely impacting my overall health. I grieve the loss of my friend, my joy. But I remind myself daily that running taught me the life lesson of endurance. I will continue to listen to and collaborate with my medical specialists, I will be open to new medical research, and I will keep my spirits high, until the day comes that we find the right treatment. I will endure. I will persevere. And I will again see a day when I will run and not grow weary.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    “You will run and not grow weary.” – Isaiah 40:31 I found my love for running in elementary school. The daily long-distance runs through wooded trails with my coach and my friends were a comforting and calming routine. In middle school, when many of my friends dropped out of cross-country, I discovered the thrill of performing at my personal best and exceeding all my personal records. As I entered high school, running allowed me to clear my head during emotionally difficult days, taught me life lessons around endurance, and empowered me to persevere in other areas of my life. Running is my joy, much like a good friend who makes you feel great about yourself. In the past year, however, my relationship with running has changed. I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that attacks my digestion system. Since I struggle to eat, or even absorb nutrients normally, my gastroenterologist has placed a feeding tube for my nutrition. Since Fall 2020, I’ve been unable to sustain the energy levels needed to run long distances without severely impacting my overall health. I grieve the loss of, running-- my friend, my joy. But I remind myself daily that running taught me the life lesson of endurance. I will continue to listen to and collaborate with my medical specialists, I will be open to new medical research, and I will keep my spirits high, until the day comes that we find the right treatment. I will endure. I will persevere. And I will again see a day when I will run and not grow weary.
    Bold Optimist Scholarship
    Let me tell you about my buddies. Jenn is sassy and passionate about people she loves. Brendan is strong and kind-hearted. Connor is funny and excited for life. I love everything about them, including their drive to overcome challenges. I met my buddies when I began mentoring in the Gross Motor Development Program at school. I am called their peer and they are called my buddies. But the bonds we share are real, and my perspective on disabilities and illnesses have changed because of them. Three years ago, I didn't anticipate the impact these individuals would personally have on my life. That changed when I developed a serious and chronic gastrointestinal disorder. I noticed many friends shied away from me because they were uncomfortable asking questions. But not Jenn, Brendan and Connor. Especially not them. They understand, more than most. We all have struggles—some you see, some you don’t. My buddies’ struggles are visible, and persistent, they will never go away. But they spend their time bringing joy to others. They teach me strength, endurance and grace to manage all struggles. They teach me that we all have a story to tell. Through the hardships, you find your own story of redemption, growth and purpose. Recently, a nationally-known photographer invited me to join his model team. He invited me not because of my disability, or even in spite of it. Instead, he chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to a project. There is something powerful about not letting your hardships finish writing your story. I no longer seek a life without struggles. Instead I seek courage to be authentic, strength to endure challenges, and grace to inspire others so that today’s struggles will lead to tomorrow’s successes.
    Bold Mentor Scholarship
    Let me tell you about my buddies. Jenn is sassy and passionate about people she loves. Brendan is strong and kind-hearted. Connor is funny and excited for life. I love everything about them, including their drive to overcome challenges. I met my buddies when I began mentoring in the Gross Motor Development Program at school. I am called their peer and they are called my buddies. But the bonds we share are real, and my perspective on disabilities and illnesses have changed because of them. Three years ago, I didn't anticipate the impact these individuals would personally have on my life. That changed when I developed a serious and chronic gastrointestinal disorder. I noticed many friends shied away from me because they were uncomfortable asking questions. But not Jenn, Brendan and Connor. Especially not them. They understand, more than most. We all have struggles—some you see, some you don’t. My buddies’ struggles are visible, and persistent, they will never go away. But they spend their time bringing joy to others. They teach me strength, endurance and grace to manage all struggles. They teach me that we all have a story to tell. Through the hardships, you find your own story of redemption, growth and purpose. Recently, a nationally-known photographer invited me to join his model team. He invited me not because of my disability, or even in spite of it. Instead, he chose me because I have the courage to show authenticity, unafraid to bring my whole self to a project. There is something powerful about not letting your hardships finish writing your story. I no longer seek a life without struggles. Instead I seek courage to be authentic, strength to endure challenges, and grace to inspire others so that today’s struggles will lead to tomorrow’s successes.