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Blane Henok

1085

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

TSA Role (50): Vice President (VP)/Competitor Organization (100) : Technology Student Association (TSA) Description of Accomplishments(150): I made Engineering drawings and 3D-printed for projects, my group placed in regionals and states. As VP I plan meetings and check members’ progress. Hours spent per week: 14 Weeks spent per year: 20 Scholastic Bowl Role (50): Competitor Organization (100) : Scholastic Bowl Description of Accomplishments(150): I compete against other schools within my region in QuizBowl, and practice with my team weekly. Hours spent per week: 2 Weeks spent per year: 27 Honor Societies Role (50): Member Organization (100) : History Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Computer Science Honor Society Description of Accomplishments(150): I tutor students, aid teachers, volunteer outside of school, and design decorations to advocate for these honor societies. Hours spent per week: 1 Weeks spent per year: 36 Robotics Club Role (50): Designer/Builder Organization (100) : Robotics Description of Accomplishments(150): I collaborated with others to build robots. I researched robotic designs, and with creativity and past engineering experience, created unique robots. Hours spent per week: 1 Weeks spent per year: 27 Hours spent per week: 1 Weeks spent per year: 16

Education

West Springfield High

High School
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    High School

  • Majors of interest:

    • Computer Science
    • Computer Software and Media Applications
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Computer Software

    • Dream career goals:

      Research

      • Computer Science

        InspiritAI — Researcher/Presenter
        2023 – 2023

      Arts

      • Inventor Software

        Computer Art
        2020 – Present

      Public services

      • Volunteering

        CoderDojo — Mentor
        2022 – 2024

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Volunteering

      Philanthropy

      Eleven Scholarship
      Hiding behind the silver Lexus, crouching down on the parking lot, while peeking to see if she saw me wearing my kemis (a traditional Ethiopian dress). I was leaving for a family gathering, and suddenly, I saw my neighbor and friend approach me. My immediate reaction was to duck behind the car because I was so embarrassed for her to see my culture. I was only about nine years old and had already convinced myself that my Ethiopian identity was something to be ashamed of. This belief would follow me for years, and I would continue to conceal my culture. In middle school, when I witnessed kids at my school teasing Ethiopians, I was perceived as “American” because I did not have an accent, and was too scared to stand up for my people. The distaste for Ethiopians I saw at school affected how I embraced my identity at family gatherings. I would refuse to do eskista (a traditional Ethiopian dance) and insist to relatives that I was American and not Ethiopian. My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved my Amharic and even took the initiative to learn to write the language. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Even at school, when I had accidentally slipped and spoke Amharic, I was not ashamed. Instead, I was proud that my Amharic had gotten that good. Furthermore, I became closer friends with the Ethiopians at my school and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. From this, I learned the importance of learning, and this experience showed me how rewarding teaching people new concepts is. The following school year, I began tutoring my peers in school, and outside of school, I would help my cousins with schoolwork. I took this new passion even further by becoming a tutor at my school’s Peer Tutoring Center. Eventually, I took more responsibility by becoming part of the center’s leadership team, and I started tutoring children from low-income families via the platform Learn To Be. Through learning the importance of learning, I discovered my interest in teaching others and gained leadership skills. I aspire to use these skills to lead and educate others in a college environment and learn from others. A college environment would help me achieve this because an atmosphere filled with people from different cultures would give me this opportunity. Though coming to terms with accepting and embracing my Ethiopian was difficult to overcome, I am grateful to have overcome it because, through this time, I found my new passion for learning and teaching others.
      Resilient Scholar Award
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by Ethiopian immigrants and a single-parent household, I was motivated to academically succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources. Carnegie Mellon reflects an oasis to draw resources from and extend it to those in need. My time there will be spent taking advantage of resources and opportunities that uphold core values of social, cultural and economic equity. I have acted on this resolve as I have already participated in various activities to give back. I am a tutor at my school’s Peer Tutoring Center, and went to lead fellow tutors as a captain. Additionally, with the program CoderDojo, I mentor children coding at my local library. Most importantly, I virtually tutor with the platform LearnToBe which specifically helps low-income students nationwide. Additionally, My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved my Amharic and even took the initiative to learn to write the language. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Even at school, when I had accidentally slipped and spoke Amharic, I was not ashamed. Instead, I was proud that my Amharic had gotten that good. Furthermore, I became closer friends with the Ethiopians at my school and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. From this, I learned the importance of learning, and this experience showed me how rewarding teaching people new concepts is. The following school year, I began tutoring my peers in school, and outside of school, I would help my cousins with schoolwork. I took this new passion even further by becoming a tutor at my school’s Peer Tutoring Center. Eventually, I took more responsibility by becoming part of the center’s leadership team, and I started tutoring children from low-income families via the platform Learn To Be. Through learning the importance of learning, I discovered my interest in teaching others and gained leadership skills. I aspire to use these skills to lead and educate others in a college environment and learn from others. A college environment would help me achieve this because an atmosphere filled with people from different cultures would give me this opportunity. Though coming to terms with accepting and embracing my Ethiopian was difficult to overcome, I am grateful to have overcome it because, through this time, I found my new passion for learning and teaching others.
      Simon Strong Scholarship
      Hiding behind the silver Lexus, crouching down on the parking lot, while peeking to see if she saw me wearing my kemis (a traditional Ethiopian dress). I was leaving for a family gathering, and suddenly, I saw my neighbor and friend approach me. My immediate reaction was to duck behind the car because I was so embarrassed for her to see my culture. I was only about nine years old and had already convinced myself that my Ethiopian identity was something to be ashamed of. This belief would follow me for years, and I would continue to conceal my culture. In middle school, when I witnessed kids at my school teasing Ethiopians, I was perceived as “American” because I did not have an accent, and was too scared to stand up for my people. The distaste for Ethiopians I saw at school affected how I embraced my identity at family gatherings. I would refuse to do eskista (a traditional Ethiopian dance) and insist to relatives that I was American and not Ethiopian. My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved my Amharic and even took the initiative to learn to write the language. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Even at school, when I had accidentally slipped and spoke Amharic, I was not ashamed. Instead, I was proud that my Amharic had gotten that good. Furthermore, I became closer friends with the Ethiopians at my school and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. From this, I learned the importance of learning, and this experience showed me how rewarding teaching people new concepts is. The following school year, I began tutoring my peers in school, and outside of school, I would help my cousins with schoolwork. I took this new passion even further by becoming a tutor at my school’s Peer Tutoring Center. Eventually, I took more responsibility by becoming part of the center’s leadership team, and I started tutoring children from low-income families via the platform Learn To Be. Through learning the importance of learning, I discovered my interest in teaching others and gained leadership skills. I aspire to use these skills to lead and educate others in a college environment and learn from others. A college environment would help me achieve this because an atmosphere filled with people from different cultures would give me this opportunity. Though coming to terms with accepting and embracing my Ethiopian was difficult to overcome, I am grateful to have overcome it because, through this time, I found my new passion for learning and teaching others and advise others to do the same when experiencing adversity.
      Stephan L. Daniels Lift As We Climb Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change in a world where I witnessed and faced the obstacles minorities go through.
      Delon Hampton & Associates African Americans in STEM Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change in a world where I witnessed and faced the obstacles minorities go through.
      Dr. Soronnadi Nnaji Legacy Scholarship
      Hiding behind the silver Lexus, crouching down on the parking lot, while peeking to see if she saw me wearing my kemis (a traditional Ethiopian dress). I was leaving for a family gathering, and suddenly, I saw my neighbor and friend approach me. My immediate reaction was to duck behind the car because I was so embarrassed for her to see my culture. I was only about nine years old and had already convinced myself that my Ethiopian identity was something to be ashamed of. My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved their native language Amharic and took the initiative to learn to write. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Even at school, when I had accidentally slipped and spoke Amharic, I was not ashamed. Instead, I was proud that my Amharic had gotten that good. Furthermore, I became closer friends with Ethiopians peers and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. I also learned the importance of learning, and this experience showed me how rewarding teaching people new concepts is. Through learning the importance of learning, I discovered my interest in teaching others and gained leadership skills. I aspire to use these skills to lead and educate others in a college environment and learn from others. A college environment would help me achieve this goal because an atmosphere filled with people from different cultures would give me this opportunity. Though coming to terms with accepting and embracing my Ethiopian was difficult to overcome, I am grateful to have overcome it because, through this time, I found my new passion for learning and teaching others.
      Jerzee Foundation Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change in a world where I witnessed and faced the obstacles minorities go through.
      Margalie Jean-Baptiste Scholarship
      Winner
      Hiding behind the silver Lexus, crouching down on the parking lot, while peeking to see if she saw me wearing my kemis (a traditional Ethiopian dress). I was leaving for a family gathering, and suddenly, I saw my neighbor and friend approach me. My immediate reaction was to duck behind the car because I was so embarrassed for her to see my culture. I was only about nine years old and had already convinced myself that my Ethiopian identity was something to be ashamed of. My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved their native language Amharic and took the initiative to learn to write. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Even at school, when I had accidentally slipped and spoke Amharic, I was not ashamed. Instead, I was proud that my Amharic had gotten that good. Furthermore, I became closer friends with Ethiopians peers and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. I also learned the importance of learning, and this experience showed me how rewarding teaching people new concepts is. Through learning the importance of learning, I discovered my interest in teaching others and gained leadership skills. I aspire to use these skills to lead and educate others in a college environment and learn from others. A college environment would help me achieve this goal because an atmosphere filled with people from different cultures would give me this opportunity. Though coming to terms with accepting and embracing my Ethiopian was difficult to overcome, I am grateful to have overcome it because, through this time, I found my new passion for learning and teaching others.
      Walking In Authority International Ministry Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change in a world where I witnessed and faced the obstacles minorities go through.
      Dimon A. Williams Memorial Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change in a world where I witnessed and faced the obstacles minorities go through.
      Goobie-Ramlal Education Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change in the world that I grew up in seeing others and myself face many challenges.
      Marie Jean Baptiste Memorial Scholarship
      Hiding behind the silver Lexus, crouching down on the parking lot, while peeking to see if she saw me wearing my kemis (a traditional Ethiopian dress). I was leaving for a family gathering, and suddenly, I saw my neighbor and friend approach me. My immediate reaction was to duck behind the car because I was so embarrassed for her to see my culture. I was only about nine years old and had already convinced myself that my Ethiopian identity was something to be ashamed of. This belief would follow me for years, and I would continue to conceal my culture. In middle school, when I witnessed kids at my school teasing Ethiopians, I was perceived as “American” because I did not have an accent, and was too scared to stand up for my people. The distaste for Ethiopians I saw at school affected how I embraced my identity at family gatherings. I would refuse to do eskista (a traditional Ethiopian dance) and insist to relatives that I was American and not Ethiopian. My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved my Amharic and even took the initiative to learn to write the language. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Furthermore, I became closer friends with the Ethiopians at my school and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. From this, I learned the importance of learning, and this experience showed me how rewarding teaching people new concepts is. The following school year, I began tutoring my peers in school, and outside of school, I would help my cousins with schoolwork. I took this new passion even further by becoming a tutor at my school’s Peer Tutoring Center. Eventually, I took more responsibility by becoming part of the center’s leadership team, and I started tutoring children from low-income families via the platform Learn To Be. Through learning the importance of learning, I discovered my interest in teaching others and gained leadership skills. Though coming to terms with accepting and embracing my Ethiopian was difficult to overcome, I am grateful to have overcome it because, through this time, I found my new passion for learning and teaching others.
      Desiree Jeana Wapples Scholarship for Young Women
      As a first-generation and lower-income student, I was not afforded the opportunity to see financial success within my family, especially given their immigrant background. Also, I had not seen any relatives have a job they were passionate about – instead, I witnessed tired relatives who worked solely for money. I knew I did not want this life for me, and they, especially my mother, did not want this for me either. I aimed to be academically successful so I could work in a field I was passionate about and which would give me the opportunities my family lacked. Through my experiences, I have learned how the United States government has failed its minorities, despite my evident achievements, I have also gone through many obstacles and have seen peers of similar situations experience challenges. I have learned that the resources that may seem available to everyone, are not, and this country’s government could use their finances to fund initiatives. My resolve to help low-income people comes from seeing my mom do the same. Although we did not have much, my mom always gave what she could when she saw members of our community struggling, such as paying for my schoolmates' treats when their parents could not and giving rides to neighbors who did not own their cars. Also, I saw projects within my school to help those in need, such as providing WiFi chips for peers during the COVID-19 pandemic because not everyone has access to at-home Internet. These are some of the many ways I have seen my community help others, and I would like to enlarge this cause by taking it to the national level. Congress's role in providing these means is significant. Such as more accessible transportation and more affordable after/before-school care. Implementing the need to help communities in education will have a large impact, since the lack of knowledge many have about the underrepresented is apparent, and advocacy of this in school will make a difference. The members of Congress are not to blame. It is not your fault that the many minority groups in this country are underrepresented. How could you know the many needs that many communities need? I am using this opportunity to represent my community and its needs, and I hope you take what I said to help make an impact on the underrepresented. Thank you so much for this opportunity to help my academic journey.
      Julia Elizabeth Legacy Scholarship
      For most of my education, my classrooms were filled with people from different backgrounds. I took my interest even further by participating in the International Inspirit AI Program. Within the program, I had collaborated with students from across the United States, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, and more countries. From this program I learned how people of different cultures can collaborate to innovate and learn from each other, shaping AI as a whole. Learning the experiences of people from different international backgrounds helps improve technology for people of those backgrounds, and technology should be made for all. Also, As a black woman in STEM, I have become accustomed to being in a minority, like being the one of a few or only one of my Computer Science, Physics, Engineering and Calculus classes. From this, I have learned the importance of finding spaces for people like me to connect because community is beneficial to my learning. Additionally, My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved my Amharic and even took the initiative to learn to write the language. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Even at school, when I had accidentally slipped and spoke Amharic, I was not ashamed. Instead, I was proud that my Amharic had gotten that good. Furthermore, I became closer friends with the Ethiopians at my school and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. Motivating me to I am a tutor at my school’s Peer Tutoring Center, and went to lead fellow tutors as a captain. Additionally, with the program CoderDojo, I mentor children coding at my local library. Most importantly, I virtually tutor with the platform LearnToBe which specifically helps low-income students nationwide. My experiences would make me a great fit for UVA because Rise Together reflects largely on UVA’s mission to serve its community which I have shown to admire.
      Peter and Nan Liubenov Student Scholarship
      For most of my education, my classrooms were filled with people from different backgrounds. I would enjoy learning about various cultures, and similarly I would enjoy teaching them about my Ethiopian background. I took my interest even further by participating in the International Inspirit AI Program. Within the program, I collaborated with students from across the United States, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, and more countries. As a team, we conducted research on Facial Emotion Detection using artificial intelligence. In doing so, we learned more about our various and diverse perspectives on artificial intelligence in today’s society, and we later presented our research. I learned how people of different cultures can collaborate to innovate and learn from each other, shaping AI as a whole. Learning the experiences of people from different international backgrounds helps improve technology for people of those backgrounds, and technology should be made for all. I am looking forward to connecting with the diverse college community. I would specifically like to explore my college by participating in a study-abroad program where I can experience learning in a new environment and bring a different perspective to the country I visit while learning about the different experiences people have nationwide. Also, by engaging in an international immersion program, I can help fellow students of foreign backgrounds to learn to acclimate to their new environment like I have witnessed many of my immigrant family and peers do. I am also excited to work with people of not only cultural differences but also people of different socioeconomic backgrounds who should unite and have equity. A college environment would also be a great way to utilize my leadership to help implement equity, which I have already worked to improve in academic spaces. As a believer in equity, I have worked with the virtual platform LearnToBe by tutoring low-income students nationwide. Additionally, to help children in my community, I have worked with the organization CoderDojo to mentor kids at my local library for basic coding. I enjoy tutoring disadvantaged youth because I can provide them with opportunities I did not have, especially as a first-generation college student of an immigrant background. The inclusive academic environment of colleges would be a great space for me to help, connect with, and learn from others of different backgrounds. The parameters of current social norms shape this thinking because many minorities are not represented in affluent spaces, thus the problem is there is not enough thinking to solve this issue. Ido agree, our society has come along way in resolving disparities, however there i sroom for improvement.
      Koehler Family Trades and Engineering Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm and working long hours to complete my English assignment all alone. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of immigrant backgrounds, I was motivated to academically succeed and have a post-secondary education because they were not afforded one. I was constantly aware of the opportunities they missed, and my mother especially did not want that for me. Growing up in a single-parent household, I did not have access to at-home help for homework; however, I was driven to excel despite my challenges. Throughout time, I began to further explore my interests, and unexpectedly during the COVID-19 pandemic I found my passion. During the pandemic when I felt unproductive and alone, I took the time to explore Computer-Aided Design. From this activity, I learned that computers were what I wanted to work with in the future. I took the initiative to explore this field further during high school by taking engineering and computer science classes, and competing within the Technology Student Association. I pursued these interests by tutoring children with the basics of coding within the CoderDojo organization at the local library to connect them with opportunities within the STEM field that I was not afforded. I also began to tutor mathematics and physics with the platform LearnToBe which specifically helps low-income students. Additionally, I was motivated to work in the STEM field because it will give me the professional opportunities I did not see growing up. I have a strong passion for STEM, and I partake in this passion by taking advanced STEM courses, and tutoring STEM. Also, within my school’s Technology Student Association, my group and I competed for the Board Game Design. Our goal was to create a fun and interactive way for children to learn about STEM from home. We won 2nd place in the Northern Virginia regional competition, and 5th place in the Virginia competition; however, that was not the best part. Instead, the most rewarding aspect of that experience was the feeling of helping my younger peers excel in the STEM field. This was significant to me because it furthered my passion to help children in academic spaces. I had this passion for a while, but being rewarded for my actions really motivated me to continue. In conclusion, I would like to pursue Computer Engineering because of I can innovate to help others using computing skills.
      #AuthenticallyYOU Scholarship
      Hiding behind the silver Lexus, crouching down on the parking lot, while peeking to see if she saw me wearing my kemis (a traditional Ethiopian dress). I was leaving for a family gathering, and suddenly, I saw my neighbor and friend approach me. My immediate reaction was to duck behind the car because I was so embarrassed for her to see my culture. I was only about nine years old and had already convinced myself that my Ethiopian identity was something to be ashamed of. This belief would follow me for years, and I would continue to conceal my culture. In middle school, when I witnessed kids at my school teasing Ethiopians, I was perceived as “American” because I did not have an accent, and was too scared to stand up for my people. The distaste for Ethiopians I saw at school affected how I embraced my identity at family gatherings. I would refuse to do eskista (a traditional Ethiopian dance) and insist to relatives that I was American and not Ethiopian. My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved my Amharic and even took the initiative to learn to write the language. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Even at school, when I had accidentally slipped and spoke Amharic, I was not ashamed. Instead, I was proud that my Amharic had gotten that good. Furthermore, I became closer friends with the Ethiopians at my school and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. From this, I learned the importance of learning, and this experience showed me how rewarding teaching people new concepts is. The following school year, I began tutoring my peers in school, and outside of school, I would help my cousins with schoolwork. I took this new passion even further by becoming a tutor at my school’s Peer Tutoring Center. Eventually, I took more responsibility by becoming part of the center’s leadership team, and I started tutoring children from low-income families via the platform Learn To Be. Through learning the importance of learning, I discovered my interest in teaching others and gained leadership skills. I aspire to use these skills to lead and educate others in a college environment and learn from others. A college environment would help me achieve this because an atmosphere filled with people from different cultures would give me this opportunity. Though coming to terms with accepting and embracing my Ethiopian was difficult to overcome, I am grateful to have overcome it because, through this time, I found my new passion for learning and teaching others.
      Patrick B. Moore Memorial Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change. I know many children in similar positions, motivating me to make an impact.
      Rep the Pep Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change. I know many children in similar positions, motivating me to make an impact.
      A Man Helping Women Helping Women Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change. I know many children in similar positions, motivating me to make an impact.
      Rose Ifebigh Memorial Scholarship
      Hiding behind the silver Lexus, crouching down on the parking lot, while peeking to see if she saw me wearing my kemis (a traditional Ethiopian dress). I was leaving for a family gathering, and suddenly, I saw my neighbor and friend approach me. My immediate reaction was to duck behind the car because I was so embarrassed for her to see my culture. I was only about nine years old and had already convinced myself that my Ethiopian identity was something to be ashamed of. This belief would follow me for years, and I would continue to conceal my culture. In middle school, when I witnessed kids at my school teasing Ethiopians, I was perceived as “American” because I did not have an accent, and was too scared to stand up for my people. The distaste for Ethiopians I saw at school affected how I embraced my identity at family gatherings. I would refuse to do eskista (a traditional Ethiopian dance) and insist to relatives that I was American and not Ethiopian. My view of my Ethiopian identity completely changed in the summer of 2019 when I visited Ethiopia for three months. There, I improved my Amharic and even took the initiative to learn to write the language. Even more importantly, being in an environment where everyone shared my culture made me feel comfortable to embrace my culture more. I could now wear my kemis in public. Talking to my cousins in Amharic and about our culture was such an improvement from hearing my peers tease my culture. In return, I showed my American identity to my cousins by describing American culture and teaching English. When I returned to the U.S., I decided to embrace my culture. I only spoke Amharic with my family, shocking them with the drastic change in the connection with my Ethiopian identity. Even at school, when I had accidentally slipped and spoke Amharic, I was not ashamed. Instead, I was proud that my Amharic had gotten that good. Furthermore, I became closer friends with the Ethiopians at my school and soon realized that our cultural connection was unmatched by my other friends. From this, I took the initiative to motivate my younger cousins in America to embrace their culture and taught them Amharic. From this, I learned the importance of learning, and this experience showed me how rewarding teaching people new concepts is. The following school year, I began tutoring my peers in school, and outside of school, I would help my cousins with schoolwork. I took this new passion even further by becoming a tutor at my school’s Peer Tutoring Center. Eventually, I took more responsibility by becoming part of the center’s leadership team, and I started tutoring children from low-income families via the platform Learn To Be. Through learning the importance of learning, I discovered my interest in teaching others and gained leadership skills. I aspire to use these skills to lead and educate others in a college environment and learn from others. A college environment would help me achieve this because an atmosphere filled with people from different cultures would give me this opportunity. Though coming to terms with accepting and embracing my Ethiopian was difficult to overcome, I am grateful to have overcome it because, through this time, I found my new passion for learning and teaching others.
      William A. Stuart Dream Scholarship
      I was in the 5th grade, awake at 10 pm, and working long hours to complete my English assignment independently. I had to struggle for so long because I did not have academic support at home. Growing up surrounded by relatives of Ethiopian immigrant backgrounds and a single-parent household, I was motivated academically to succeed but I did not have access to at-home help for homework. My resolve to succeed has cultivated in me a desire to help those who may not have resources and have historically been underrepresented. The change I want to make in this world is to promote equity and give students of lower-income backgrounds, like myself, access to resources to help them succeed. I have witnessed how my creativity and innovative skills can be used to help those in need. For example, in STEM Advanced Engineering class I learned how I could use engineering to help others when I was assigned to design a product using upcycled resources that would benefit the community. My idea was a water filtration system using oil bottles, cotton balls, tea bags, coffee filters, styrofoam, and more. This inspired me to help those in need because I was utilizing resources that would usually be disregarded and transforming them into means for good, showing me that the essential part of making a change to help others is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Thus, I will take the initiative to start a local organization providing low-income students with academic and emotional resources they may need, at a cost they can afford, even if that is zero. I will start this cause at my college as a club, and as it grows through advertising, I will ask for sponsorships. There are many obstacles that I may face, such as meeting the financial needs of these resources and helping others comprehend the necessity of aiding underrepresented groups. However, using my communication skills, I will take the initiative to meet these needs by creating charity functions, promoting this cause on social media, and simply spreading the word. From my experiences helping others and going through hardships when I needed help, I understand the necessity of creating equity in academic spaces. I want to use the resources of a college education to help me make a change. I know many children in similar positions and I would like to make an impact.