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Cassian Anderson


Bold Points


I am a non-binary high school senior attending public school in Michigan. I am passionate about reading and the environment, and I want to use the skills I develop in my education to make the world a more sustainable and equitable place.


Dearborn High School

High School
2020 - 2024


  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Geography and Environmental Studies
    • Sustainability Studies
    • International/Globalization Studies
    • Environmental/Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Renewables & Environment

    • Dream career goals:

    • Intern

      Concerned Residents of Southend Dearborn
      2023 – Present1 year



    2020 – Present4 years


    • MVP, Pioneer of the Year


    2019 – Present5 years


    • Geography and Environmental Studies

      Our Future Is Science — Mentee
      2022 – 2023

    Future Interests





    Hopke Foundation Scholarship
    My favorite moments in my life come from being outdoors, whether it be swimming in Lake Huron or daily walks in the woods near my neighborhood. As I grew up, I became more scientifically aware of the importance of stable ecosystems and natural resources in providing for both plant, animal, and human life. My first forays into the digital world coincided with enhanced reporting on the negative effects of human development on the environment. As I began forging my individual identity and principles, I was heavily influenced by these circumstances, from the United States withdrawing from the Paris Agreement to Greta Thunberg’s climate strikes. I realized that I would inherit this world– a world of rampant pollution, vanishing forests and climate instability. Indeed, every week, record heat waves, floods, storms, and wildfires appear in the headlines; the effects of climate change are happening now. If past generations have conveniently decided to ignore this future, I now know that we can no longer afford to do so. And thus, a new generation of thinkers and doers is necessary to think critically about and combat the degradation of our world. This realization has inspired me to study geography at university, a discipline uniquely positioned to analyze the intersection of human activity and environmental impact. By blending technical and social sciences, I aim to contribute to a road map for sustainable change, essential for preserving our planet for future generations. Another concern that I have recognized around me is a growing culture of ignorance and fear, manifesting in homophobia and transphobia. As a gender non-conforming person, I am highly aware of how hard it is to be a LGBTQ+ young person in America. Whether jumping through hoops to obtain a legal name change or reading about hate crimes committed against people like me in the media, it deeply concerns me how hostile our society is to LGTBQ+ people. However, in the face of this inhospitablity, I have come to recognize the importance of creating a welcoming community. It is my dream to speak up against ignorance and discrimination, advocating for inclusionary policies and diverse viewpoints. I aspire to be a role model of success within the LGBTQ+ community, advocating for the protection of LGTBTQ+ rights while pursuing my own career goals. I want to pursue a career with either government or non-profit organizations, shaping public policy to further sustainable development and social equality. I believe we need a global shift in priorities, from exploitation and resource extraction to human rights and environmental stewardship. This vision has inspired my dream career of working with the United Nations. As an international organization devoted to protecting peace, security, human rights, and sustainable development, the principles of the UN align with my own educational goals and vision. As human beings, I believe that we all have fundamental rights. Rights to a clean and healthy environment. Rights to express our identities authentically without fear of harm. This idealistic world may not exist in our present, but I aspire to protect these rights in our shared future. Throughout my life, I want to be an advocate for social change and the protection of human rights. With this scholarship, I also want to continue my education in the field of geography, with an emphasis on sustainable development and environmental justice. I hope to use the skills I develop throughout my ongoing educational experience to devote my life to the pursuit of peace, justice, and sustainability for those around the world. I believe that this scholarship can help me achieve this dream for my future.
    Barbara Cain Literary Scholarship
    Spring vacation of 7th grade finds my family wandering the aisles of a tiny California gold rush town’s library. In the rack of beat-up, forgotten books for sale, I alight on two decrepit volumes swathed in ancient red cloth. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, V. 1 and 2, printed in 1924. I buy them on the spot. Even though they are quite literally falling apart, I, at age 12, read all 1,391 Bible-thin pages. There are tears in my eyes as I carefully close the back cover. The passion–the sincerity–of the piece appeals to me. It captures both the euphoric heights of love and spiritual freedom, as well as the heart-wrenching depths of injustice and loss. The story’s plot and characters are expressive of all the world’s love and heartbreak. Jean Valjean, Eponine, Fantine, Javert– they taught me what it means to be a human being. I learned to recognize the inherent good in every person. Jean Valjean, a stone-hearted convict, was transformed into the most venerable of men by the forgiveness of an old bishop. Directed by his strong moral compass, Valjean challenged society’s stark conventions of right and wrong. Like him, I want to have the courage to live life on the terms of my own principles. I want to stand up for those who society disregards and use my voice to make a difference in the world. But perhaps the most impactful words that have shaped my life’s ambitions were those spoken by Miss Rumphius, the gentle, red-haired heroine of a 1982 picture book. As a small child, I was captivated by the delicate pastel watercolor scenes that graced each page. The book covers the life story of Miss Rumphius, a single woman who grows up traveling the world before settling down and planting lupine flowers to make the world a more beautiful place. Now, when I imagine myself in my own old age, I want to be the worldy, benevolent, and philanthropic elder exemplified by this fictional character. The book opens with an encounter between a young Alice Rumphius and her beloved grandfather. From him, she discovers the three tasks she must do to lead an enjoyable and meaningful life: travel to faraway places, settle by the sea, and do something to make the world a more beautiful place. These words echo somewhere in my subconscious, providing a framework for my own desire for an enjoyable and meaningful life. Travel to faraway places-- There is the whole world out there, and I want to broaden my horizons, gaining diverse perspectives outside of where I grew up. Settle by the sea-- For me, water is symbolic of freedom and renewal. This reminds me to not shy away from flexibility and new beginnings in my life. Make the world a more beautiful place-- I believe beauty is the joy that comes from the heart, and Miss Rumphius has inspired my mission to spread that love, joy, and connection. I love writing poetry, where I attempt to capture a moment or a feeling and share that emotional state with someone else. Well-crafted words have had the power to make me laugh, cry, and dream. I want to continue to reach out through writing and make an impactful emotional connection with another human being. To me, Les Miserables and Miss Rumphius are more than just the 3-inch novel and 30-page picture book that I have read time and time again. They represent a way of life. As I navigate this complex, morally ambiguous world, my actions are guided by the universal truths embodied in Les Mis and Miss Rumphius.