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Courtney Roberts

1925

Bold Points

3x

Finalist

Bio

Hello, my name is Courtney Roberts. I am a second-year student at Spelman College majoring in Health Science on a premedical track and minoring in Comparative Women Studies. I plan to pursue a career in healthcare as a Dermatologist. I love reading, volunteering, practicing my Spanish, and learning from the world around me. I appreciate your consideration of my application!

Education

Spelman College

Bachelor's degree program
2023 - 2027
  • Majors:
    • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other
  • GPA:
    4

Bentonville High School

High School
2019 - 2023
  • GPA:
    3.8

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other
    • Chemistry
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Test scores:

    • 29
      ACT

    Career

    • Dream career field:

      Medical Practice

    • Dream career goals:

      To attend Medical School and open my own Dermatology Practice

    • Stylist

      Windsor
      2023 – 2023
    • Legal Assistant

      Johnson Cephas Law
      2020 – 2020
    • Instructor

      Mathnasium
      2022 – 2022

    Sports

    Marathon

    2019 – 20234 years

    Bowling

    Varsity
    2021 – Present3 years

    Arts

    • Ignite Professional Studies

      Videography
      2021 Horror Short
      2021 – 2021
    • Trike Theatre for Youth

      Theatre
      2016 – 2021
    • Bentonville High School Theatre

      Acting
      2020 – 2023

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Jack and Jill of America — Regional Teen Officer for Central Region
      2012 – Present
    • Volunteering

      March of Dimes — March Organizer, March for Babies Volunteer
      2019 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Rogers First Church of the Nazarene — Volunteer
      2012 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      Bentonville High School Library — Library Aide
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Beautiful Lives Boutique — Volunteer
      2020 – Present

    Future Interests

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Beyond The C.L.O.U.D Scholarship
    My name is Courtney Roberts. I was raised in Northwest Arkansas, where I completed my High School career with high honors. I am a Health Sciences student working towards my Bachelor of Science degree at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Spelman is recognized as the number one HBCU, and my experience thus far has opened my eyes to how important having Black professional representation in every aspect of society is for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of service. I enjoy crocheting, reading, skincare, haircare, and volunteering, all of which help me learn about myself and those around me. After graduating from college, I plan to attend medical school, match in a dermatology residency, and become a licensed dermatologist. My education will allow me to catalyze change within the dermatology industry through my own practice and developing my own products. As a Dermatologist, I plan to focus on educating my patients about their skin and promoting DEI in my industry. My introduction to Dermatology was through my Abuelita. Since I can remember, she has dealt with painful psoriasis and eczema. Her Dermatologist put her on medications that worsened her condition and forced her to live in discomfort. Soon, I began struggling with my skin as well and decided that I would contribute to making a change in the industry. Only 3% of dermatologists are black; this lack of black dermatologists has also caused a gap in DEI in the field. I plan to open my practice and ensure that all my staff are educated on holistic and Western medical treatment techniques. My practice will serve as a reliable place for all communities, give reliable treatment for darker skin tones, and offer the same innovative and precise care often offered to lighter skin tones that have been the center of much dermatology research. Like one of my role models- Rhianna- did with Fenty Beauty’s foundation ranges, I plan to change the industry, Providing for everyone and questioning why other practices, companies, and researchers have refused to do the same. In addition to my practice, I plan on publishing research and commercial books to educate those who cannot journey to my practice or meet me in person. To spread this dramatic industry-wide change, I must utilize modern tools like social media and ebooks to share my findings and desire for inclusion. Thus far, I have gotten involved in my school’s Health Careers Club and Society of Cosmetic Chemists; through these, I have taken advantage of opportunities to volunteer, listen to speakers, and host events related to my desired field. I believe that I deserve this scholarship because I’ve demonstrated the kind of discipline and passion representative of beyond the C.L.O.U.D. women. This past semester, I earned all A’s in my classes and have been diligently applying for opportunities to help me gain insightful experience. I am eager to get started and grateful and inspired that I won’t have to travel this road alone. I need familial and financial support to get where I need to be, as my education will be quite costly. As soon as I am able to, I hope to support other young women in the same way that I hope someone will support me. Until then, I will keep putting my best foot forward and stay the course, hopefully inspiring others along the way.
    Once Upon a #BookTok Scholarship
    Courtney’s #BookTok Must-Haves and Ideal Bookshelf As a #BookToker, I am always excited to share my book recommendations whether it be on Goodreads, TikTok, or even Bold.org! Two titles I have given five stars and feel are must-haves are Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron and A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. Both of these stories are very popular on BookTok, and for good reason. Kaylnn Bayron and Brigid Kemmerer’s stories have fantastic world-building and complex central characters. Through the skillfully written characters’ perspectives, we can experience their struggles, joys, unique perspectives, lessons, and emotions while reading. Cinderella is Dead follows Sophia Grimmins, a black teenager who lives in the world of Cinderella 200 years after her story. Society, now, is highly oppressive towards women, forcing them to attend a ball when they become “of age” to be married off to abusive men. Sophia’s story is about the desire for freedom, revolution, and the right to love. Cinderella is Dead was one of the few highly discussed Black, YA, Queer, and Fantasy-Romance stories on BookTok. Sophia's story gave BookTok representation of a Black queer girl determined to change the world, and for many readers, Sophia was the first character that they felt represented them. A Curse So Dark and Lonely is the first book in the Cursebreaker trilogy. It is a YA fantasy-romance retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The main character, Harper, is Prince Rhen of Emberfall’s last hope at saving his kingdom from a horrifying beast. Harper not only represents a complex female lead, but she also has cerebral palsy, and her disability is written not as a weakness but as something that just is. A Curse So Dark and Lonely served the BookTok community as the perfect introduction to an otherwise daunting genre. It exposed thousands of readers to cerebral palsy through the experiences of a person, not a textbook. My dream bookshelf overflows not only with my fairytale retelling personal favorites like “Cinderella is Dead” and “A Curse So Dark and Lonely” but also with the unearthed gems shared every day by the BookTok community. Beyond mere recommendations, BookTok has gifted me a global family of readers eager to dissect characters, celebrate triumphs, and mourn losses long after the final page. As a community, we breathe magic into these stories through our discussions, proving that the joy of reading has transcended its traditional solitary act and blossomed in shared enthusiasm.
    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship
    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship My name is Courtney Alana Roberts. I was raised in Northwest Arkansas, where I completed my High School Career with high honors, and have since relocated to Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, as a Health Sciences student working towards my Bachelor of Science. I enjoy crocheting, reading, baking, and volunteering, all of which help me learn about myself and those around me. After graduating from college, I plan to attend medical school, match into a dermatology residency, and become a licensed dermatologist. My introduction to Dermatology was through my Abuelita, a charismatic and respected lady of Puerto Rican immigrants whose jokes often went over my head. Since I can remember, she has dealt with painful psoriasis and eczema. She covered almost every part of her body in insecurity when she left the house. I would watch as she rubbed steroid creams into her skin, but the sound of manicured nails scratching skin persisted, first my grandma’s and soon, my own. But while my grandma continued to see dermatologists about her skin, I resigned to treating my painful body acne myself after prescriptions left me in more discomfort than I started with. In my self-treatment, I learned about acids and SPF. I went down internet loopholes of misdiagnosis treatments and learned that we can tell what our body needs from the state of our skin. Even now, I don’t dare to recommend treatments to my Abuelita. I am not qualified yet, but out of her struggle and my own came my desire to make a change to the field. I aim to conduct research that will produce more productive and safe solutions for skin ailments and successfully serve those who have continued to believe in dermatology despite the field historically neglecting them. I’m also hoping to help those who struggle to trust doctors after being scratched by one. I plan to be a Dermatologist who’s willing to connect with their patients and give them the care they need to improve permanently. Medicine is such a vast realm of studies, with different sectors and specialties, but at its core, its purpose is to help soothe and remove pain, and to me, it is the most admirable job there is. As a healthcare professional, I will contribute to the collective mission to alleviate pain and nurture health, and I plan to embrace these new responsibilities with open arms.
    Healing Self and Community Scholarship
    My unique contribution to making mental health care more accessible is to meet people where they are in their communities and start organizations to gently relieve mental health issues that are popular in that environment. For example, I attend Spelman College. Here, students struggle with anxiety and stress from school. In response to my struggles, I decided to join the Crochet Club, where I could participate in a calming activity and receive the rewarding feeling of completion that comes from finishing a project. Another frequent struggle of Spelman students is imposter syndrome; students report “feeling inadequate in the environment of excellence” and struggle to adjust from their previous schools. To combat this, my classmates and I have “Sister Chats,” where we honestly discuss our grades, internships, scholarships, problems, and just life. By being transparent, we receive each other’s support and companionship, positively contributing to our mental health. Supplying these simple but influential programs to different communities encourages healthy coping mechanisms. It provides tools to combat less severe mental health struggles. Though this strategy does not resolve the scarcity of formal mental healthcare, such as doctors and therapists, it is an accessible stepping stone for those who cannot yet access traditional help. It meets struggling communities in their neglected states, allowing them to feel the benefits of caring for their mental health while promoting the lifestyle changes necessary to improve mental health permanently.
    ESOF Academic Scholarship
    The Three T’s Growing up in my home, I was taught that community service was a family value. Both of my parents are active members of black Greek letter organizations (Alpha Phi Alpha and Alpha Kappa Alpha) and heavily involved in our church and various civic organizations. They fostered a spirit of radical generosity in all their children, teaching us that we should freely give of our treasure, time and talent to help those in need. Being a young person, I don’t have much treasure and I am still developing my talents but the one thing I have to give is my time. From an early age, it was normal for me to do much more than tag along with my parents for community service projects. I’ve always been excited to roll up my sleeves and use my hands to show my heart. At five years old, I joined my local Girl Scout troop and participated in dozens of community service events over the years eventually achieving the rank of Cadette. I have volunteered with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies walker and assisted with set up, tear down and working various booths for the last several years. I also have logged hundreds of community service hours through Jack and Jill of America, where I currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer for the Central Region and through my volunteer work with Beautiful Lives, a non-profit thrift boutique that serves the community and donates clothing to bring dignity to women in need. More information and pictures of my community service can be found at this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1t0JYNtP9cXuSprJnSZwAOPxSTfsLEwNp/edit?usp=share_link&ouid=112636152063903758223&rtpof=true&sd=true I love serving my community and meeting the needs of those close to home. However, my most impactful service opportunity was a trip outside of the United States. In 2018, my mother asked me if I would be interested in postponing Christmas and spending my holiday break on a church mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico. Initially, I hesitated because Christmas time has always held a special place in our home. I had mixed feelings about being away from my dad and siblings and a small part of me wondered if I would miss out on the fun, food and gifts that were holiday traditions. The more I thought about it, there was actually no better time to go on a trip like this because as much as I wanted those things, there were others who needed my help even more. During my trip I had the opportunity to serve hungry people hot meals and even helped repair a church roof destroyed in a recent storm. The needs I saw were heartbreaking. Although I’ve met struggling people here in the United States, there are so many more organizations, programs, and resources to help than in other countries. When I returned from Mexico, I got the chance to share my experiences with my church and everything my parents taught me came full circle as I began to understand that it’s so much better to give than to get. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a physician. Becoming a doctor will enable me to continue my passion for radical generosity and enable me to make a lasting impact using my three T’s: Treasure, Time and Talent. The lessons of my parents and my experiences thus far, have been the inspiration for a lifelong promise to give liberally to important causes, selflessly donate my time and use my medical skills and talents to improve the lives of those most in need.
    Michael Rudometkin Memorial Scholarship
    The Three T's Growing up in my home, I was taught that community service was a family value. My parents fostered a spirit of radical generosity in all their children, teaching us that we should freely give of our treasure, time and talent to help those in need. Being a young person, I don’t have much treasure and I am still developing my talents but the one thing I have to give is my time. From an early age, it was normal for me to do much more than tag along with my parents for community service projects. I’ve always been excited to roll up my sleeves and use my hands to show my heart. At five years old, I joined my local Girl Scout troop and participated in dozens of community service events over the years eventually achieving the rank of Cadette. I have volunteered with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies walker and assisted with set up, tear down and working various booths for the last several years. I also have logged hundreds of community service hours through Jack and Jill of America, where I currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer for the Central Region and through my volunteer work with Beautiful Lives, a non-profit thrift boutique that serves the community and donates clothing to bring dignity to women in need. More information and pictures of my community service can be found at this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1t0JYNtP9cXuSprJnSZwAOPxSTfsLEwNp/edit?usp=share_link&ouid=112636152063903758223&rtpof=true&sd=true I love serving my community and meeting the needs of those close to home. However, my most impactful service opportunity was a trip outside of the United States. In 2018, my mother asked me if I would be interested in postponing Christmas and spending my holiday break on a church mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico. Initially, I hesitated because Christmas time has always held a special place in our home. I had mixed feelings about being away from my dad and siblings and a small part of me wondered if I would miss out on the fun, food and gifts that were holiday traditions. The more I thought about it, there was actually no better time to go on a trip like this because as much as I wanted those things, there were others who needed my help even more. During my trip I had the opportunity to serve hungry people hot meals and even helped repair a church roof destroyed in a recent storm. The needs I saw were heartbreaking. Although I’ve met struggling people here in the United States, there are so many more organizations, programs, and resources to help than in other countries. When I returned from Mexico, I got the chance to share my experiences with my church and everything my parents taught me came full circle as I began to understand that it’s so much better to give than to get. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a physician. Becoming a doctor will enable me to continue my passion for radical generosity and enable me to make a lasting impact using my three T’s: Treasure, Time and Talent. The lessons of my parents and my experiences thus far, have been the inspiration for a lifelong promise to give liberally to important causes, selflessly donate my time and use my medical skills and talents to improve the lives of those most in need.
    Kiaan Patel Scholarship
    Growing up in my home, I was taught that community service was a family value. My parents fostered a spirit of radical generosity in all their children, teaching us that we should freely give of our treasure, time and talent to help those in need. Being a young person, I don’t have much treasure and I am still developing my talents but the one thing I have to give is my time. From an early age, it was normal for me to do much more than tag along with my parents for community service projects. I’ve always been excited to roll up my sleeves and use my hands to show my heart. At five years old, I joined my local Girl Scout troop and participated in dozens of community service events over the years eventually achieving the rank of Cadette. I have volunteered with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies walker and assisted with set up, tear down and working various booths for the last several years. I also have logged hundreds of community service hours through Jack and Jill of America, where I currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer for the Central Region and through my volunteer work with Beautiful Lives, a non-profit thrift boutique that serves the community and donates clothing to bring dignity to women in need. More information and pictures of my community service can be found at this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1t0JYNtP9cXuSprJnSZwAOPxSTfsLEwNp/edit?usp=share_link&ouid=112636152063903758223&rtpof=true&sd=true I love serving my community and meeting the needs of those close to home. However, my most impactful service opportunity was a trip outside of the United States. In 2018, my mother asked me if I would be interested in postponing Christmas and spending my holiday break on a church mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico. Initially, I hesitated because Christmas time has always held a special place in our home. I had mixed feelings about being away from my dad and siblings and a small part of me wondered if I would miss out on the fun, food and gifts that were holiday traditions. The more I thought about it, there was actually no better time to go on a trip like this because as much as I wanted those things, there were others who needed my help even more. During my trip I had the opportunity to serve hungry people hot meals and even helped repair a church roof destroyed in a recent storm. The needs I saw were heartbreaking. Although I’ve met struggling people here in the United States, there are so many more organizations, programs, and resources to help than in other countries. When I returned from Mexico, I got the chance to share my experiences with my church and everything my parents taught me came full circle as I began to understand that it’s so much better to give than to get. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a physician. Becoming a doctor will enable me to continue my passion for radical generosity and enable me to make a positive impact using my three T’s: Treasure, Time and Talent. The lessons of my parents and my experiences thus far, have been the inspiration for a lifelong promise to give liberally to important causes, selflessly donate my time and use my medical skills and talents to improve the lives of those most in need.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    The greatest version of my future self is the version that has the capacity to achieve anything I desire and the desire to achieve those things that will benefit others: I will be attending Spelman College this Fall, majoring in Biology- my dream is to become a doctor and dedicate my life to helping those who are most vulnerable among us.
    Strength in Neurodiversity Scholarship
    I have a stigmatism and autism. Although those two conditions are entirely unrelated, I often think about how my understanding of them has shaped my learning journey and life experiences so far. I have worn glasses since kindergarten. Before then, I had no idea that many people literally saw the world differently than me. However, after my first eye test at around five years old, a pair of sparkly red glasses instantly fixed my problem. Now, vision is only an issue when I leave my glasses on my dresser or on top of my head. An optometry appointment once a year is all that’s required to stay ahead of any issues. Autism is different. I went most of my life unaware of what was different about me. From a young age, I was unaware that my social interaction, communication and cognitive functions were different because I only had my own frame of reference. Autism is difficult to diagnose because it shows up in different ways, at different ages for different people, For those reasons, my social and education challenges were often ignored or attributed to other causes. Still, my parents, teachers and supporters tried their best to provide me with resources to succeed despite not fully understanding what I was going through. I made the best of the help I was given and used all the tools available to me to strive for success. One of the most devastating obstacles I have had to overcome was intense bullying because of what I now understand is autism. Common autism signs like social awkwardness and communication issues too often make autistic people easy targets for bullying. Bullying for an autistic person is particularly difficult because many autistic people lack the necessary communication skills to stand up for themselves or to seek help. Well before my autism diagnosis, I realized that in order to overcome obstacles, I had to approach life more intentionally than others. For me, this meant putting significant effort into raising my level of self-awareness. It takes a lot of effort and tons of patience to slow down and recognize that the way I communicate and respond to situations may differ greatly from the way my communication and responses might be perceived by others. In addition, it takes a great deal of grace to understand the way I process information makes sense to me but might not to others. I’ve been able to overcome bullying because of my autism by making the very intentional decision to take the time to better understand myself. Understanding my uniqueness and the potential I have inside of me has been invaluable. On the other hand, learning to speak up for myself requires a great deal of courage. As I learn more about my courageous self I can better relate to my peers, adults and community. Recognizing harassment and bigotry has had the unexpected effect of makes my voice even more confident. I am proud that in one of the most academically rigorous school districts in the nation, I have earned a 3.79 weighted cumulative G.P.A. and an ACT score among the top scores of students nationwide. There is no simple fix for autism like a pair of glasses for bad eyesight. It has taken a lot of self-reflection and patience to understand what success looks like in social situations and in the classroom. However, intelligent public policies focused on research, awareness and non-discrimination can help address the challenges that I, and millions of others like me, face on a daily basis.
    Jean Antoine Joas Scholarship
    Growing up in my home, I was taught that community service was a family value. Both of my parents are active members of black Greek letter organizations and heavily involved in our church and various civic organizations. They fostered a spirit of radical generosity in all their children, teaching us that we should freely give of our treasure, time and talent to help those in need. Being a young person, I don’t have much treasure and I am still developing my talents but the one thing I have to give is my time. From an early age, it was normal for me to do much more than tag along with my parents for community service projects. I’ve always been excited to roll up my sleeves and use my hands to show my heart. At five years old, I joined my local Girl Scout troop and participated in dozens of community service events over the years eventually achieving the rank of Cadette. I have volunteered with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies walker and assisted with set up, tear down and working various booths for the last several years. I also have logged hundreds of community service hours through Jack and Jill of America, where I currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer for the Central Region and through my volunteer work with Beautiful Lives, a non-profit thrift boutique that serves the community and donates clothing to bring dignity women in need. I love serving my community and meeting the needs of those close to home. However, my most impactful service opportunity was a trip outside of the United States. In 2018, my mother asked me if I would be interested in postponing Christmas and spending my holiday break on a church mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico. Initially, I hesitated because Christmas time has always held a special place in our home. I had mixed feelings about being away from my Dad and siblings and a small part of me wondered if I would miss out on the fun, food and gifts that were holiday traditions. The more I thought about it, there was actually no better time to go on a trip like this because as much as I wanted those things, there were others who needed my help even more. During, my trip I had the opportunity to serve hungry people hot meals and even helped repair a church roof destroyed in a recent storm. The needs I saw were heartbreaking. Although I’ve met struggling people here in the United States, there are so many more organizations, programs, and resources to help than in other countries. When I returned from Mexico, I got the chance to share my experiences with my church and everything my parents taught me came full circle as I began to understand that it’s so much better to give than to get. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a physician. Becoming a doctor will enable me to continue my passion for radical generosity and enable me to make a lasting impact using my three T’s: Treasure, Time and Talent. The lessons of my parents and my experiences thus far, have been the inspiration for a lifelong promise to give liberally to important causes, selflessly donate my time and use my medical skills and talents to improve the lives of those most in need.
    Stephan L. Daniels Lift As We Climb Scholarship
    The richest place on earth isn’t a diamond mine in Botswana or an oil field in Saudi Arabia. The richest place on earth is the cemetery because buried there are dreams that died too soon, inventions that were never discovered and purpose that was never fulfilled. My dream to become a doctor was born the first time I saw my grandmothers scars from her battle with breast cancer. Despite being slowed down by cancer, she always told me that as long as she was still on this earth, there was another day- one more opportunity, to pursue her God given purpose. For years, there have been three primary treatments for cancer: cut, burn or poison. Cancerous cells are always surgically removed when cutting is an option and radiation to damage the DNA of the cancerous tissue is often paired with chemotherapy. My grandmother’s cancer was discovered late, and she endured all of the above. More recently, scientists have developed immunotherapy treatments to activate the body’s immune system and “melt” the cancer cells. As good as the science is today, the survival rate of metastatic cancer is still only single digits while early-stage cancer- when it is still localized in the organ, has an 88-99% survival rate. While I intend to research and develop medicines that cure cancer, the data and trends suggest that we already have a cure: early detection. I am convinced that my purpose is to save lives and reduce the kind of suffering my grandmother went through by finding disease as early as possible. As we leverage computer modeling and artificial intelligence in genomics, we will be able to determine more quickly and accurately who is at risk for cancer, heart disease and host of other ailments. Our ability to detect and understand gene variations will continue to provide information and insight at an individual level that will predict future health problems. As technology accelerates, I believe we will transition from popular wearable devices like smart watches to nanomedicine and implants that perform diagnosis tasks on a daily or even hourly basis. We will continue to shrink detection tools like EKGs, blood pressure monitoring, and even MRIs from devices that fit on our wrists and in our pockets to eventually, a pill we take with our morning cups of coffee. I can imagine a world where a man with a family history of prostate cancer receives a text message on his phone- sent from an implant inside his body -alerting him about his PSA levels. Even as a High School student, I have demonstrated my commitment to the field of medicine by joining organizations and causes devoted to better health outcomes, particularly for underserved communities. I am a member of the Future Black Doctors National Registry through the Physicians Medical Forum, I’ve participated in the COVID-19 We Can Do This campaign with the National Medical Association and for the last 6 years, I have volunteered with the March of Dimes to raise money and awareness about maternal wellness and infant health issues. My experiences and “influencers” like my grandmother, have molded and motivated me to be on the front lines of the battle against death and disease. I want to lead a seismic shift in the way we approach human biology and the treatment of the most vulnerable among us. My purpose is to save lives and help people heal. In doing so, I am helping others live longer and healthier, giving them another chance- another day, to chase after purpose and live more meaningful lives.
    Net Impact Berkeley Social Impact Scholarship
    Growing up in my home, I was taught that community service was a family value. Both of my parents are active members of black Greek letter organizations and heavily involved in our church and various civic organizations. They fostered a spirit of radical generosity in all their children, teaching us that we should freely give of our treasure, time and talent to help those in need. Being a young person, I don’t have much treasure and I am still developing my talents but the one thing I have to give is my time. From an early age, it was normal for me to do much more than tag along with my parents for community service projects. I’ve always been excited to roll up my sleeves and use my hands to show my heart. At five years old, I joined my local Girl Scout troop and participated in dozens of community service events over the years eventually achieving the rank of Cadette. I have volunteered with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies walker and assisted with set up, tear down and working various booths for the last several years. I also have logged hundreds of community service hours through Jack and Jill of America, where I currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer for the Central Region and through my volunteer work with Beautiful Lives, a non-profit thrift boutique that serves the community and donates clothing to bring dignity to women in need. I love serving my community and meeting the needs of those close to home. However, my most impactful service opportunity was a trip outside of the United States. In 2018, my mother asked me if I would be interested in postponing Christmas and spending my holiday break on a church mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico. Initially, I hesitated because Christmas time has always held a special place in our home. I had mixed feelings about being away from my Dad and siblings and a small part of me wondered if I would miss out on the fun, food and gifts that were holiday traditions. The more I thought about it, there was actually no better time to go on a trip like this because as much as I wanted those things, there were others who needed my help even more. During my trip I had the opportunity to serve hungry people hot meals and even helped repair a church roof destroyed in a recent storm. The needs I saw were heartbreaking. Although I’ve met struggling people here in the United States, there are so many more organizations, programs, and resources to help than in other countries. When I returned from Mexico, I got the chance to share my experiences with my church and everything my parents taught me came full circle as I began to understand that it’s so much better to give than to get. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a physician. Becoming a doctor will enable me to continue my passion for radical generosity and enable me to make a lasting impact using my three T’s: Treasure, Time and Talent. The lessons of my parents and my experiences thus far, have been the inspiration for a lifelong promise to give liberally to important causes, selflessly donate my time and use my medical skills and talents to improve the lives of those most in need.
    Chris Ford Scholarship
    The richest place on earth isn’t a diamond mine in Botswana or an oil field in Saudi Arabia. My grandmother always says that the richest place on earth is the cemetery because buried there are dreams that died too soon, inventions that were never discovered and purpose that was never fulfilled. My dream to become a doctor was born the first time I saw my grandmothers scars from her battle with breast cancer. I was helping her wrap her swollen right arm to reduce fluid, a daily necessity following a mastectomy that also claimed the lymph nodes under her arm. I worked up the courage to ask her how her wounds and her burns and made her feel even after years in remission. True to form, she agreed that she was a little beat up from cancer but- I should see the other guy. After a good laugh, she told me that she was blessed to be alive and as long as she was still on this earth, there was another day- one more opportunity, to pursue purpose. For years, there have been three primary treatments for cancer: cut, burn or poison. Cancerous cells are always surgically removed when cutting is an option and radiation to damage the DNA of the cancerous tissue is often paired with chemotherapy. My grandmother’s cancer was discovered late, and she endured all of the above. More recently, scientists have developed immunotherapy treatments to activate the body’s immune system and “melt” the cancer cells. As good as the science is today, the survival rate of metastatic cancer is still only single digits while early-stage cancer- when it is still localized in the organ, has an 88-99% survival rate. While I intend to research and develop medicines that cure cancer, the data and trends suggest that we already have a cure: early detection. I am convinced that my purpose is to save lives and reduce the kind of suffering my grandmother went through by finding disease as early as possible. As we leverage computer modeling and artificial intelligence in genomics, we will be able to determine more quickly and accurately who is at risk for cancer, heart disease and host of other ailments. Our ability to detect and understand gene variations will continue to provide information and insight at an individual level that will predict future health problems. As technology accelerates, I believe we will transition from popular wearable devices like smart watches to nanomedicine and implants that perform diagnosis tasks on a daily or even hourly basis. We will continue to shrink detection tools like EKGs, blood pressure monitoring, and even MRIs from devices that fit on our wrists and in our pockets to eventually, a pill we take with our morning cups of coffee. I can imagine a world where a man with a family history of prostate cancer receives a text message on his phone- sent from an implant inside his body -alerting him about his PSA levels. My experiences and “influencers” like my grandmother, have molded and motivated me to be on the front lines of the battle against death and disease. I want to lead a seismic shift in the way we approach human biology and the treatment of the most vulnerable among us. My purpose is to save lives and help people heal. In doing so, I am helping others live longer and healthier, giving them another chance- another day, to chase after purpose and live more meaningful lives.
    Wellness Warriors Scholarship
    I have a stigmatism and depression. Although those two conditions are entirely unrelated, I often think about how my understanding of them has shaped my learning journey and life experiences so far. I have worn glasses since kindergarten. Before then, I had no idea that many people literally saw the world differently than me. As a young child, I was blissfully ignorant of any deficiency in my eyesight and took the world at face value. Although my parents have always taught me that "health is wealth", even they were unaware of my vision issues until I was first old enough the recognize letters and eventually, recognize that they were more blurry than they should have been. However, after my first eye test at around five years old, a pair of sparkly red glasses instantly fixed my problem. Depression is different. Having been recently diagnosed with depression, I went a long time unaware of what was different about me but knowing that I did not feel like myself. Initially, I was unaware that my social interaction, communication and cognitive functions were changing because I only had my own frame of reference. Depression is difficult to diagnose because it shows up in different ways, at different ages for different people, For those reasons, my challenges were often ignored, misunderstood, or attributed to other causes. An obstacle I have overcome was intense bullying because of what I now understand is depression. Common depression signs like low mood, disinterest, and aversion to activities too often make depressed people easy targets for bullying. Bullying for a depressed person is particularly difficult because many depressed people lack the necessary communication skills to stand up for themselves or to seek help. Well before my depression diagnosis, I realized that in order to overcome certain obstacles, I had to approach life more intentionally than others. For me, this meant putting significant effort into raising my level of self-awareness. It takes a lot of patience to recognize that the way I communicate and respond to situations may differ greatly from the way my communication and responses might be perceived by others. I’ve been able to overcome bullying because of my depression by making the very intentional decision to take the time to better understand myself, how I am feeling each day and what medicine regimen works best for me. Understanding my uniqueness and the potential I have inside of me has been invaluable. Knowing my value hasn’t eliminated bullying but it has lessened the impact on me and helped me respond in positive ways. As I learn more about my courageous self I can better relate to my peers, adults and community. Working through my depression has had the unexpected effect of makes my voice even more confident. There is no simple fix for depression like a pair of glasses for bad eyesight. It has taken a lot of self-reflection and a strong support system to succeed academically. I am looking forward to continuing my academic success at Spelman College, earning a Biology degree and attending Medical School. However, beyond academic and career success, I am excited to explore running trails in a new city. I am looking forward to finding a new local therapist and applying new perspectives to the relationships and situations I will meet in college. I am looking forward to better understanding human physiology in my biology classes and using those learnings to help others become the healthiest versions of themselves. In short, I am looking forward to making college the healthiest/wealthiest time of my life.
    Eleven Scholarship
    I have a stigmatism and autism. Although those two conditions are entirely unrelated, I often think about how my understanding of them has shaped my learning journey and life experiences so far. I have worn glasses since kindergarten. Before then, I had no idea that many people literally saw the world differently than me. As a young child, I was blissfully ignorant of any deficiency in my eyesight and took the world at face value. Although my parents have always done everything they could to support me, even they were unaware of my vision issues until I was first old enough to recognize letters and eventually, recognize that they were blurry than they should have been. However, after my first eye test at around five years old, a pair of sparkly red glasses instantly fixed my problem. Autism is different. Having been recently diagnosed with level 1 autism, I went most of my life unaware of what was different about me. From a young age, I was unaware that my social interaction, communication and cognitive functions were different because I only had my own frame of reference. Autism is difficult to diagnose because it truly is a spectrum and shows up in different ways, at different ages for different people. For those reasons, my social and education challenges were often ignored or attributed to other causes. One of the most devastating obstacles I have had to overcome was intense bullying because of what I now understand is autism. Common autism signs like social awkwardness and communication issues too often make autistic people easy targets for bullying. Bullying for an autistic person is particularly difficult because many autistic people lack the necessary communication skills to stand up for themselves or to seek help. Well before my autism diagnosis, I realized that in order to overcome certain obstacles, I had to approach life more intentionally than others. For me, this meant putting significant effort into raising my level of self-awareness. It takes a lot of effort and tons of patience to slow down and recognize that the way I communicate and respond to situations may differ greatly from the way my communication and responses might be perceived by others. In addition, it takes a great deal of grace to understand the way I process information makes sense to me but might not to others. I’ve been able to overcome bullying because of my autism by making the very intentional decision to take the time to better understand myself. Understanding my uniqueness and the potential I have inside of me has been invaluable. Knowing my value hasn’t eliminated bullying but it has lessened the impact on me and helped me respond in positive ways. On the other hand, learning to speak up for myself requires a great deal of courage. As I learn more about my courageous self I can better relate to my peers, adults and community. Recognizing harassment and bigotry has had the unexpected effect of making my voice even more confident. There is no simple fix for autism like a pair of glasses for bad eyesight. It has taken a lot of self-reflection patience to understand what success looks like in social situations and in the classroom. I am proud of what I have accomplished and hopeful that I will continue to turn what some may see as weaknesses into amazing strengths.
    Kenyada Me'Chon Thomas Legacy Scholarship
    My first exposure to Malcolm X as a young child was not through a history book or even his autobiography- It was through YouTube clips from a Spike Lee film. In fact, it took me serval weeks to realize that the person I was watching in these very short clips was actually a very famous actor portraying Malcolm X. This mistake says a lot about education priorities at the schools I attended but I believe it says even more about the power of artistic expression in the medium of film. When I was old enough, my parents recognized my curiosity and promised me that I could watch the full movie but only after I had read his autobiography. Being an avid reader, I was more than happy to accept those terms. Page after page I uncovered a world and a time that was foreign to me but still eerily similar. I was born in Philadelphia, but I have lived most of my life in a quiet suburb in Arkansas. Although the racism I grew up around was sometimes muted it was always present. I finished the autobiography and the movie as the pandemic was beginning. In the midst of worldwide fear and chaos, I witnessed a seismic shift when the numbers showed that that Covid-19 was disproportionately killing people of color. Almost immediately, media and state governments started to minimize the pandemic and calls to "de-mask" and "open up" grew louder. Something from Malcolm that was planted inside of me began rise up. Witnessing overt racism infect political and public health decisions, I recommitted myself to the fight for racial equity. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia- the only all-female Historically Black College or University. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a Physician. I want to explore and expose the social determinants of health and create healthier communities of color. I believe the first step to close the racial equity gap is creating equality in health and wellness solutions because health is wealth. Simply put, black people will never attain real equity if we can’t stay healthy and stay alive. There are lots of social issues impacting black and brown people, but the issue of health disparity is where I believe I can make a meaningful and lasting impact. Becoming a doctor will enable me to use my medical training and passion for people to improve the lives of those most in need.
    FLIK Hospitality Group’s Entrepreneurial Council Scholarship
    Growing up in my home, I was taught that community service was a family value. Both of my parents are active members of black Greek letter organizations and heavily involved in our church and various civic organizations. They fostered a spirit of radical generosity in all their children, teaching us that we should freely give of our treasure, time and talent to help those in need. Being a young person, I don’t have much treasure and I am still developing my talents but the one thing I have to give is my time. From an early age, it was normal for me to do much more than tag along with my parents for community service projects. I’ve always been excited to roll up my sleeves and use my hands to show my heart. At five years old, I joined my local Girl Scout troop and participated in dozens of community service events over the years eventually achieving the rank of Cadette. I have volunteered with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies walker and assisted with set up, tear down and working various booths for the last several years. I also have logged hundreds of community service hours through Jack and Jill of America, where I currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer for the Central Region and through my volunteer work with Beautiful Lives, a non-profit thrift boutique that serves the community and donates clothing to bring dignity women in need. I love serving my community and meeting the needs of those close to home. However, my most impactful service opportunity was a trip outside of the United States. In 2018, my mother asked me if I would be interested in postponing Christmas and spending my holiday break on a church mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico. Initially, I hesitated because Christmas time has always held a special place in our home. I had mixed feelings about being away from my Dad and siblings and a small part of me wondered if I would miss out on the fun, food and gifts that were holiday traditions. The more I thought about it, there was actually no better time to go on a trip like this because as much as I wanted those things, there were others who needed my help even more. During, my trip I had the opportunity to serve hungry people hot meals and even helped repair a church roof destroyed in a recent storm. The needs I saw were heartbreaking. Although I’ve met struggling people here in the United States, there are so many more organizations, programs, and resources to help than in other countries. When I returned from Mexico, I got the chance to share my experiences with my church and everything my parents taught me came full circle as I began to understand that it’s so much better to give than to get. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a physician. Over the next five years I'm dedicated to giving back and becoming a doctor will enable me to continue my passion for radical generosity and make a lasting impact using my three T’s: Treasure, Time and Talent. The lessons of my parents and my experiences thus far, have been the inspiration for a lifelong promise to give liberally to important causes, selflessly donate my time and use my medical skills and talents to improve the lives of those most in need.
    “I Matter” Scholarship
    Growing up in my home, I was taught that community service was a family value. Both of my parents are community leaders and heavily involved in our church and various civic organizations. They fostered a spirit of radical generosity in all their children, teaching us that we should freely give of our treasure, time and talent to help those in need. I am only 16, so I don’t have much treasure and I am still developing my talents but the one thing I have to give is my time. From an early age, it was normal for me to do much more than tag along with my parents for community service projects. I’ve always been excited to roll up my sleeves and use my hands to show my heart. At five years old, I joined my local Girl Scout troop and participated in dozens of community service events over the years eventually achieving the rank of Cadette. I have volunteered with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies walker and assisted with set up, tear down and working various booths for the last several years. I also have logged hundreds of community service hours through Jack and Jill of America, where I currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer for the Central Region and through my volunteer work with Beautiful Lives, a non-profit thrift boutique that serves the community and donates clothing to bring dignity women in need. I love serving my community and meeting the needs of those close to home. However, my most impactful service opportunity was a trip outside of the United States. In 2018, my mother asked me if I would be interested in postponing Christmas and spending my holiday break on a church mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico. Initially, I hesitated because Christmas time has always held a special place in our home. I had mixed feelings about being away from my Dad and siblings and a small part of me wondered if I would miss out on the fun, food and gifts that were holiday traditions. The more I thought about it, there was actually no better time to go on a trip like this because as much as I wanted those things, there were others who needed my help even more. During, my trip I had the opportunity to serve hungry people hot meals and even helped repair a church roof destroyed in a recent storm. The needs I saw were heartbreaking. Although I’ve met struggling people here in the United States, there are so many more organizations, programs, and resources to help than in other countries. When I returned from Mexico, I got the chance to share my experiences with my church and everything my parents taught me came full circle as I began to understand that it’s so much better to give than to get. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a physician. Becoming a doctor will enable me to continue my passion for radical generosity and enable me to make a lasting impact using my three T’s: Treasure, Time and Talent. The lessons of my parents and my experiences thus far, have been the inspiration for a lifelong promise to give liberally to important causes, selflessly donate my time and use my medical skills and talents to improve the lives of those most in need.
    Textbooks and Tatami Martial Arts Scholarship
    Steven Wilson, Sr. was a fighter. He was my mom’s dad and he taught her and I to fight, literally. Although he didn’t have a martial arts ranking or even a belt, he ensured that martial arts were an integral part my life. He was persuaded that the self-control, confidence and focus of martial arts would be relevant anywhere from a back alley to a board room. I can remember riding on the back of his motorcycle to karate class praying that the other kids would see me arrive and think maybe I inherited some of his cool confidence. He also coached and supported me in basketball and softball but no matter the activity, his lessons were always consistent: Do your best, don’t ever give up. After he died, I assumed that I had lost and had no choice but to simply give up. Working through the grief helped me understand that his death wasn’t the end. Over the years since he died, I have seen that there are still plenty of battles to fight and through those fights I have the honor of demonstrating his never give up spirit. I would love to have my grandfather by my side to see me graduate high school this May but that cannot happen. However, what will happen is I will walk across that graduation stage with the self-control, confidence and focus that he instilled in me, and I won’t back down from any fight in college, or in life.
    Julia Elizabeth Legacy Scholarship
    For much of my life I have been told that diversity matters. Being a diverse student, that message resonated with me and intuitively made sense. So, I accepted it as true without too much second guessing. I never really stopped to ask why diversity mattered and whether it mattered in every situation and in every career field. That was until my first dermatology appointment when I was thirteen years old. My back was painfully broken out and my persistent scratching left scars scattered across my shoulders and down my spine. Not only was it uncomfortable, but it was also embarrassing, especially when other kids my age would tease me because of it. Walking into the Doctor’s office the lack of diversity was evident. From the other patients in the waiting room to the staff working, everyone that I saw was white. Living in Northwest Arkansas, I came to expect this and went through with my visit. There were no questions about hair products, head wraps or the particulars of my diet. I was prescribed Clindamycin with no guidance on lotion pairing or advice to wear sunscreen, and my back actually got worse. I decided to take it into my own hands to fix it. Researching what kind of “bacne” I had, foods that would help, and acids that were notable for clearing hyperpigmentation on darker skin. Now as a high school senior, with a few over-the-counter solutions and a lot of research, my back is almost clear. My bacne experience left me with two things. A deep interest in the science of skincare and a strong desire to help others that are struggling with the same kinds of conditions that impacted me. Only about 3% of dermatologists are black and though skin color does not define us, it matters when providing individualized treatment and care for the body’s largest and most delicate organ: the skin. Certain conditions like vitiligo, keloid scarring and melasma are more prevalent for ethnic skin. Other conditions like skin cancer are more common in places that are not exposed to sunlight like the soles of their feet or the palms of their hands. Sharing a cultural connection and understanding with patients is often an important part of building the kind of trust that can lead to improved health outcomes. This is true in other STEM fields as well, whether it’s research or product development, understanding and connecting with impacted communities and customers is more effective if there is a diverse team of STEM professionals solving problems. I am attending Spelman College in the Fall of 2023 and pursuing a biology degree. After graduation, I plan to go to medical school and become a dermatologist. I will be able to give back to the black community with my specialization in the treatment of darker skin, ethnic hair, and nails. I plan to research and develop new products and open my own medical office with diverse and diversely trained doctors who will be able to account for these differences in their practices.
    Dema Dimbaya Humanitarianism and Disaster Relief Scholarship
    Growing up in my home, I was taught that community service was a family value. Both of my parents are active members of black Greek letter organizations and heavily involved in our church and various civic organizations. They fostered a spirit of radical generosity in all their children, teaching us that we should freely give of our treasure, time and talent to help those in need. Being a young person, I don’t have much treasure and I am still developing my talents but the one thing I have to give is my time. From an early age, it was normal for me to do much more than tag along with my parents for community service projects. I’ve always been excited to roll up my sleeves and use my hands to show my heart. At five years old, I joined my local Girl Scout troop and participated in dozens of community service events over the years eventually achieving the rank of Cadette. I have volunteered with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies walker and assisted with set up, tear down and working various booths for the last several years. I also have logged hundreds of community service hours through Jack and Jill of America, where I currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer for the Central Region and through my volunteer work with Beautiful Lives, a non-profit thrift boutique that serves the community and donates clothing to bring dignity women in need. I love serving my community and meeting the needs of those close to home. However, my most impactful service opportunity was a trip outside of the United States. In 2018, my mother asked me if I would be interested in postponing Christmas and spending my holiday break on a church mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico. Initially, I hesitated because Christmas time has always held a special place in our home. I had mixed feelings about being away from my Dad and siblings and a small part of me wondered if I would miss out on the fun, food and gifts that were holiday traditions. The more I thought about it, there was actually no better time to go on a trip like this because as much as I wanted those things, there were others who needed my help even more. During, my trip I had the opportunity to serve hungry people hot meals and even helped repair a church roof destroyed in a recent storm. The needs I saw were heartbreaking. Although I’ve met struggling people here in the United States, there are so many more organizations, programs, and resources to help than in other countries. When I returned from Mexico, I got the chance to share my experiences with my church and everything my parents taught me came full circle as I began to understand that it’s so much better to give than to get. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School and becoming a physician. Becoming a doctor will enable me to continue my passion for radical generosity and enable me to make a lasting impact using my three T’s: Treasure, Time and Talent. The lessons of my parents and my experiences thus far, have been the inspiration for a lifelong promise to give liberally to important causes, selflessly donate my time and use my medical skills and talents to improve the lives of those most in need.
    Rev. Herman A. Martin Memorial Scholarship
    My grandfather was a fist shaking, ‘get off my lawn” yelling, feisty old man. The list of things he didn’t particularly care for, far outweighed the things he did. At the top of his list of “troublemakers” were kids with brightly dyed hair or baggy clothes. Needless to say, I fit the description perfectly. I’ve never been in any real trouble mind you, but my edgy fashion clearly offended his sensibilities. He often would call his grandchildren "rebels" which I certainly took as a compliment. One of his favorite sayings is that “if you want attention, then go cure cancer.” Like many people, my grandfather assumed that those who make an affirmative choice not to “fit in” were doing so purely for attention. He was a very smart and caring man but, on this point, he couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, history proves that it is more often us rebels- the ones who challenge the status quo and social norms, that go on to change the world. From Salvador Dali to Elon Musk, unconventional traits are sometimes a symptom of genius rather than a plea for attention. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum even if that means marching alone. There are lots of things that make me unique but what I am must proud of, is that I live my life according to a radical world view: I have committed to love people immediately, rather than wait until they prove themselves as worthy. While this looks different in different situations, I should probably clarify that I don’t mean “love” in the sense of some deep indescribable emotion. What I mean is that I’ve resolved to have my thoughts and actions prioritize the wellbeing of others over myself simply because of their status as fellow humans. I have committed to turn the other cheek and love my enemies. If that sounds a bit reckless, I agree. However, I take a lot of comfort in the belief that I am following the example of another rebel named Jesus. Following Jesus these days gets me a few sideways glances, but in my book (and his) He was the ultimate rebel. Reckless love is just the beginning of what I plan to give back to my community. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School to pursue a career in Dermatology. I am particularly interested in researching different kinds of skin cancer in honor of my late grandfather. I want to be an example for kids who don’t exactly fit the mold. I want to be a leader in my community and explore the social determinants of health. Ultimately, I want to take my grandfather’s advice and join other doctors and scientists to help develop treatments for cancer and then (and only then) maybe this rebel might deserve a little bit of attention.
    Andrew Perez Mental Illness/Suicidal Awareness Education Scholarship
    I have a stigmatism and depression. Although those two conditions are entirely unrelated, I often think about how my understanding of them has shaped my learning journey and life experiences so far. I have worn glasses since kindergarten. Before then, I had no idea that many people literally saw the world differently than me. As a young child, I was blissfully ignorant of any deficiency in my eyesight and took the world at face value. Although my parents have always taught me that "health is wealth", even they were unaware of my vision issues until I was first old enough the recognize letters and eventually, recognize that they were more blurry than they should have been. However, after my first eye test at around five years old, a pair of sparkly red glasses instantly fixed my problem. Depression is different. Having been recently diagnosed with depression, I went a long time unaware of what was different about me but knowing that I did not feel like myself. Initially, I was unaware that my social interaction, communication and cognitive functions were changing because I only had my own frame of reference. Depression is difficult to diagnose because it shows up in different ways, at different ages for different people, For those reasons, my challenges were often ignored, misunderstood, or attributed to other causes. An obstacle I have overcome was intense bullying because of what I now understand is depression. Common depression signs like low mood, disinterest, and aversion to activities too often make depressed people easy targets for bullying. Bullying for a depressed person is particularly difficult because many depressed people lack the necessary communication skills to stand up for themselves or to seek help. Well before my depression diagnosis, I realized that in order to overcome certain obstacles, I had to approach life more intentionally than others. For me, this meant putting significant effort into raising my level of self-awareness. It takes a lot of patience to recognize that the way I communicate and respond to situations may differ greatly from the way my communication and responses might be perceived by others. I’ve been able to overcome bullying because of my depression by making the very intentional decision to take the time to better understand myself, how I am feeling each day and what medicine regimen works best for me. Understanding my uniqueness and the potential I have inside of me has been invaluable. Knowing my value hasn’t eliminated bullying but it has lessened the impact on me and helped me respond in positive ways. As I learn more about my courageous self I can better relate to my peers, adults and community. Working through my depression has had the unexpected effect of makes my voice even more confident. There is no simple fix for depression like a pair of glasses for bad eyesight. It has taken a lot of self-reflection and a strong support system to succeed academically. I am looking forward to continuing my academic success at Spelman College, earning a Biology degree and attending Medical School. However, beyond academic and career success, I am excited to explore running trails in a new city. I am looking forward to finding a new local therapist and applying new perspectives to the relationships and situations I will meet in college. I am looking forward to better understanding human physiology in my biology classes and using those learnings to help others become the healthiest versions of themselves. In short, I am looking forward to making college the healthiest/wealthiest time of my life.
    Theresa Lord Future Leader Scholarship
    I was born in Philadelphia, PA in 2006. However, as of last year, I have lived over half of my life in Northwest Arkansas. Both my parents are active members of black Greek letter organizations and have diverse safe spaces at work and in their community. However, I sometimes feel that I am having a different cultural experience than them even though we share the same home address. When I go out into the world, I don’t have their east coast swagger, a sorority shield to lean on or the protection of an HR department. My parents are sometimes shocked to hear the culturally insensitive and downright racists things the children of some of their co-workers say and how they behave. I appreciate that my parents moved our family to Arkansas to provide me with the very best education and opportunities. Still, they acknowledge that I have lived through the Trump presidency and the murder of George Floyd as a teenager in a bright red state, something they never had to endure. Most of my friends have their share of uncomfortable or scary racist experiences. I think racism shows up a little differently when you are not a star athlete, a class clown, or a stereotypical sassy black girl or any of the other boxes people try to force African Americans kids into. Despite all these challenges, I am inspired by the quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Rather than ignore issues, I’ve purposed to make an impact. I am a member of Jack and Jill of America and currently serve as a Regional Teen Officer (“RTO”) for the Central Region. Through Jack and Jill, I have participated and led a multitude of programs that raise public awareness of cultural issues. I am also active with the Bentonville High School Black Student Union where I join with other students of all races to raise awareness of diversity and belonging issues in our school. It is also important to me to share my culture in spaces and places that are not yet as diverse and educated as they could be, like my local Girl Scout troop where I reached the rank of Cadette, Rogers First Church of the Nazarene where I joined a mission trip to Guadalajara Mexico and the Bentonville High School Striking Tigers Bowling team where my team made it to the State championship. Many times, I am the only person of color in the room, but I know that representation matters. It can be exhausting being the only black person in a space because adults and peers sometimes expect you to be the expert on all things black. However, even when I am the “only”, I know I am not the “first.” Only about 3% of dermatologists are black and though skin color does not define us, it is very important in the felid of Dermatology. With a degree in biology and eventual PhD, I will be able to give back to the black community with my specialization in the treatment of darker skin. No matter my current challenge, I am constantly reminded that I am not the first and I will strive to do what I can, where I can, while I can, and that boldness gives me the faith to know I will not be the last.
    Normandie’s HBCU Empower Scholar Grant
    I was born in Philadelphia, PA in 2006. However, as of last year, I have lived over half of my life in Northwest Arkansas. Both my parents are active members of Black Greek Letter Organizations and have diverse safe spaces at work and in their community. However, I sometimes feel that I am having a different cultural experience than them, even though we share the same home address. When I go out into the world, I don’t have their east coast swagger, a sorority shield to lean on or the protection of an HR department. Most of my friends have had their share of uncomfortable racist experiences. However, I think racism shows up a little differently when you are not a star athlete, a class clown, or a stereotypical sassy black girl or any of the other boxes people try to force African Americans kids into. It can be exhausting being the only black person in a space because adults and peers sometimes expect you to be the expert on all things black. Despite these challenges, I want to be the change I wish to see in the world. As a high school senior that can seem daunting, and I know it will take a lot of growth, experiences and new relationships for me to reach my full potential. My dream of attending an HBCU will give me a safe space to continue developing into the leader I expect to be and fully prepare me to walk into any space with confidence, knowing that I may be the only, but I am not the first and certainly won't be the last.
    Maverick Grill and Saloon Scholarship
    My grandfather was a fist shaking, ‘get off my lawn” yelling, feisty old man. The list of things he didn’t particularly care for, far outweighed the things he did. At the top of his list of “troublemakers” were kids with brightly dyed hair or baggy clothes. Needless to say, I fit the description perfectly. I’ve never been in any real trouble mind you, but my edgy fashion clearly offended his sensibilities. Instead of using the word “maverick”, he called us “rebels” which I certainly took as a compliment. One of his favorite sayings is that “if you want attention, then go cure cancer.” Like many people, my grandfather assumed that those who make an affirmative choice not to “fit in” were doing so purely for attention. He was a very smart and caring man but, on this point, he couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, history proves that it is more often us mavericks- the ones who challenge the status quo and social norms, that go on to change the world. From Salvador Dali to Elon Musk, unconventional traits are sometimes a symptom of genius rather than a plea for attention. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum even if that means marching alone. There are lots of things that make me unique but where I live in northwest Arkansas you don’t find many African American 16-year-old girls who are into heavy metal and skateboarding. You may also be surprised that I am into knitting, bowling and crazy about science. However, what makes me truly unique is that I live my life according to a radical world view: I have committed to love people immediately, rather than wait until they prove themselves as worthy. While this looks different in different situations, I should probably clarify that I don’t mean “love” in the sense of some deep indescribable emotion. What I mean is that I’ve resolved to have my thoughts and actions prioritize the wellbeing of others simply because of their status as fellow humans. If that sounds a bit reckless, I agree. However, I take a lot of comfort in the belief that I am following the example of another maverick named Jesus. Yes, mentioning Jesus gets me a few sideways glances too, but in my book (and his) He was the ultimate rebel. Reckless love is just the beginning of what I plan to give back to my community. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There, I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I plan on attending Medical School to pursue a career in Dermatology. I am particularly interested in researching different kinds of skin cancer in honor of my late grandfather. I want to be an example for kids who don’t exactly fit the mold. I want to be a leader in my community and explore the social determinants of health. Ultimately, I want to take my grandfather’s advice and join other doctors and scientists to help develop treatments for cancer and then (and only then) maybe get a just a little bit of attention.
    Headbang For Science
    My name is Courtney Roberts and I am currently a senior at Bentonville High School in Northwest Arkansas.  Community service is a big part of my life and I have volunteered through Girl Scouts, Jack and Jill of America, March of Dimes and with a local women's' clothing boutique.  I am on my High School bowling team and active with youth theatre both on and behind the stage.  I also have two amazing dogs that I will desperately miss when I go off to college. This Fall, I will be attending Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. There I will major in Biology and minor in English. After receiving my Bachelors Degree, I plan on attending Medical School to pursue a career in Dermatology.  Eventually, I would like to open my own Dermatology practice and develop skin and hair care products. I need this scholarship award because nobody becomes a doctor by accident or luck.  The practice of medicine isn't like auditioning for American Idol because it's not something you just naturally have a knack for.  You have to be guided, trained and mentored in order to succeed.  In order for that to happen, you need people to believe in you and invest in you.  Winning this scholarship would mean that people (outside of my parents) believe in my dream to become a healer.  It's important that people who are connected to the things I am connected to, like music, believe in me because that belief and connection is the foundation for community. I received several full academic scholarships to other schools that frankly, would not have prepared me for medical school in the way that Spelman can.  Apart from academic rigor and excellence, Spelman offers an unparalleled nurturing experience as the only all female historically black college or university.  What they do not offer is very many academic scholarships.  My parents have about $10,000 saved for me so I decided to bet on myself to make up the rest in scholarships.  In perspective, I think it is a fairly safe bet that I will be able to find the right people and organizations to support my education.  My desire to go to college and medical school didn't appear overnight.  Well before High School, I was building a framework for success through service, activities and hard work.  I have been very intentional about my education and experiences and I would love for Headbang for Science to partner with me on my next chapter. In the fictional Star Trek universe, there is a gadget called a universal translator.  In the real universe, we have something similar:  Heavy Metal.  From oversized anthems to heart racing thrashing to the whimsical sounds of impending doom, Heavy Metal touches anyone who hears it whether they want to react or not.  Music is supposed to inspire feeling and no other genre does that as effectively and efficiently as Heavy Metal.  No matter the lyrical content of a Heavy Metal song, the vocals can always capture the listeners attention because there is always a slight undertone of aggression.  While some criticize Metal through the years because of this, it's not very different than the yearning in a love ballad, the sadness in a country song, or the teenage angst in a pop song- which is why Metal is so universal and why I am a self diagnosed metalhead.
    Ron & Janell Lunan Black Girls in STEM Scholarship
    Courtney Roberts 479.340.6681 robcourtney446@gmail.com Ron & Janell Lunan Black Girls in STEM Scholarship Essay I was born into a social media generation that promotes the idea that a woman’s body is currency. For years, I have been bombarded with images and stories of women monetizing their curves- sometimes, in very lucrative ways. This idea has become so normalized and celebrated in our culture that girls often face ridicule if they choose not to use their bodies as a source of financial gain. This is especially dangerous and damaging for young women of color who are disproportionately targeted and harassed because of genetics outside of our control. This world view is more than a disturbing social media algorithm and those advancing this view are not just social media “influencers.” This idea is also being exploited by government systems and industries from entertainment and beauty to retail and tech. Prior generations didn’t fare much better because those girls were taught that a woman’s intimate relationships were currency. That if you marry rich, you could secure a comfortable future. Sadly, these lessons came from well-intentioned grandmothers and from well-off celebrities like Marilyn Monroe. Still, other girls were taught that children were currency and could help secure stable financial standing even if the marriage soured. Thankfully, I have loving and insightful parents who taught me from an early age that currency is currency. My mother is an educator and an entrepreneur, which as it turns out, is a pretty dangerous combination. She has been teaching me how to save, invest and how to put my money to work for me. We use tools like Greenlight Investing for Kids, a Fidelity Youth Account and the Budget Real World Math board game. She also walks me through financial decisions she makes with her businesses and even solicits my input. I ultimately plan to attend medical school and open my own dermatology practice so having the financial know how to support myself and my business will be critical to my overall success and happiness. I am also interested in developing skin and hair products and a variety of heath care related businesses. I know that that beauty fades, relationships come and go, and children are unpredictable. There is nothing wrong with celebrating femininity, having meaningful personal relationships, or being blessed with children. All these things are amazing gifts- but relying on anything other than your own financial acumen to support yourself is foolish and ultimately discounts your value as a woman. Ultimately, the only currency is currency, and understanding how money works is the only way to make it, keep it and grow it. A career in STEM will give me the financial support for a bright future, brighten the future of my employees, patients and suppliers and light the path for the young girls who will come after me.
    Mind, Body, & Soul Scholarship
    In my home we have a slogan: health is wealth. Being the oldest of three children, I am probably the only one of my siblings who can remember a time before that slogan was a staple. Both of my parents struggled with their weight and with habits that adversely affected their health. Neither one of them came from ideal home situations but they both succeeded against all odds, and I am immensely proud of them. My father is an attorney and my mother is an educator and entrepreneur. They have been remarkably consistent in both teaching and living their values but for the first part of my childhood, other responsibilities held priority over their own well-being. Let’s not sugar coat it, they were obese, and they knew it. Around my 10th birthday, I saw a drastic change in their attitudes and behaviors toward diet and exercise and witnessing this transformation had a significant impact on me. They both realized that if they didn’t put their well-being first, they wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy the life they worked so hard to build including meaningful time with their children. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, we switched to a vegetarian diet and began training for races. Along with my parents, I began to look at food differently. Instead of living to eat, we saw food as fuel to get through the day and we began to eat to live. Learning to prepare vegetarian meals brought me closer together with my parents because of time in the kitchen and because we knew we were taking care of each other by sharing foods that would actually make us feel good. During the pandemic, when I was only fourteen years old, I completed my first half-marathon. The following week, I completed my second! I found that running gave me needed physical exercise, a sense of accomplishment and uninterrupted head space for meditation and reflection. I am a big believer in therapy and running gives me the personal time to practice what I’ve learned during my sessions. Running races has also been great for flexing my time management muscles and for goal setting. When I talk to my peers about going to college there is a lot of excitement. Some friends talk about parties and some talk about getting a good job or being financially independent. Oddly enough, no one has said anything approaching my family motto that health is wealth. If that slogan is true (and I believe it is) then a laudable goal is to make college the healthiest time in my life thus far. Accordingly, what I’m most excited about in leaving for college is being totally responsible for my own physical and mental health. It is simultaneously the most frightening thing about leaving my parents but that is part of the journey! I am looking forward to finding new vegetarian restaurants and exploring running trails in a new city. I am looking forward to finding a new local therapist and applying new perspectives to the relationships and situations I will meet in college. I am looking forward to better understanding human physiology in my biology class and using those learnings to help others become the healthiest versions of themselves. In short, I am looking forward to making college the wealthiest time of my life.
    Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
    My parents probably assumed I was asleep and truthfully, I should have been. It was after 2 a.m. when I heard a slow and deliberate knock at our front door. I watched silently from my bedroom as the silhouette of two uniformed policemen filled the door frame. My weary parents made no attempt to hide their frustration and confusion at being roused and the soft but ominous tone of the officers’ questions made the exchange even more agonizing. Eventually came some version of: “I am sorry, but there’s been an accident.” After that was a blur. A torrid mix of anguish, physical pain, and a dull aching as I cried myself to sleep. Early the next morning, my parents sat me down and told me that my grandfather-my hero, was dead. A young girl out for a drive with her friends hit him on his motorcycle just a couple minutes from his home. I was quiet. I was holding onto a quiet hope that the previous night had been a twisted dream or a movie I could pause and rewind and maybe if I didn’t acknowledge it, my parents wouldn’t either and the world would go on with my grandfather by my side. In my head I begged them to take back the words and not to give up on him. Steven Wilson, Sr. was a fighter. He was my mom’s dad and he taught her and I to fight, literally. Although he didn’t have a martial arts ranking or even a belt, he ensured that martial arts were an integral part my life. He was persuaded that the self-control, confidence and focus of martial arts would be relevant anywhere from a back alley to a board room. I can remember riding on the back of his motorcycle to karate class praying that the other kids would see me arrive and think maybe I inherited some of his cool confidence. He also coached and supported me in basketball and softball but no matter the activity, his lessons were always consistent: Do your best, don’t ever give up. As we laid him to rest, I was burdened with confusion and guilt because I struggled to apply his lessons to the only situation that mattered at the time. I wanted the world to stop, and I wanted to rewind at least long enough to say goodbye. Facing the biggest challenge of my young life I initially assumed that I had lost and had no choice but to simply give up. Working through the grief helped me understand that his death wasn’t the end. Over the years since he died, I have seen that there are still plenty of battles to fight and through those fights I have the honor of demonstrating his never give up spirit. I would love nothing more than to have my grandfather by my side to see me graduate high school this May but that cannot happen. However, what will happen is I will walk across that graduation stage with the self-control, confidence and focus that he instilled in me, and I won’t back down from any fight in college, career or life and I will keep fighting until every last dream I have has been achieved.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    I have a stigmatism and depression. Although those two conditions are entirely unrelated, I often think about how my understanding of them has shaped my learning journey and life experiences so far. I have worn glasses since kindergarten. Before then, I had no idea that many people literally saw the world differently than me. As a young child, I was blissfully ignorant of any deficiency in my eyesight and took the world at face value. Although my parents have always done everything they could to support me, even they were unaware of my vision issues until I was first old enough the recognize letters and eventually, recognize that they were more blurry than they should have been. However, after my first eye test at around five years old, a pair of sparkly red glasses instantly fixed my problem. Now, vision is only an issue when I leave my glasses on my dresser or on top of my head. An optometry appointment once a year is all that’s required to stay ahead of any issues. Depression is different. Having been recently diagnosed with depression, I went a long time unaware of what was different about me but knowing that I did not feel like myself. Initially, I was unaware that my social interaction, communication and cognitive functions were changing because I only had my own frame of reference. Depression is difficult to diagnose because it shows up in different ways, at different ages for different people, For those reasons, my struggles were often ignored, misunderstood, or attributed to other causes. Still, my parents, teachers and supporters tried their best to provide me with resources to succeed despite not fully understanding what I was going through. I made the best of the help I was given and used all the tools available to me to strive for success. One of the most devastating obstacles I have had to overcome was intense bullying because of what I now understand is depression. Common depression signs like low mood, disinterest, and aversion to activities too often make depressed people easy targets for bullying. Bullying for a depressed person is particularly difficult because many depressed people lack the necessary communication skills to stand up for themselves or to seek help. Well before my depression diagnosis, I realized that in order to overcome certain obstacles, I had to approach life more intentionally than others. For me, this meant putting significant effort into raising my level of self-awareness. It takes a lot of patience to recognize that the way I communicate and respond to situations may differ greatly from the way my communication and responses might be perceived by others. I’ve been able to overcome bullying because of my depression by making the very intentional decision to take the time to better understand myself, how I am feeling each day and what medicine regimen works best for me. Understanding my uniqueness and my beliefs about the the potential I have inside of me has been invaluable. Knowing my value hasn’t eliminated bullying but it has lessened the impact on me and helped me respond in positive ways. Learning to speak up for myself requires a great deal of courage. As I learn more about my courageous self, I can better relate to my peers, adults and community. Working through my depression has had the unexpected effect of makes my voice even more confident. My experience with depression has also solidified my aspiration to work in the medical field and help others who are struggling with physical and mental conditions. The silver lining of my condition is that I've gotten exposure to a wide range of medical professionals and from a patient's point of view, I've seen the impact a caring expert can have on someone experiencing hidden pain. There is no simple fix for depression like a pair of glasses for bad eyesight. It has taken a lot of self-reflection and a strong support system to succeed academically. Beyond academics, my future is bright and full of hope because I've taken all of the lessons of my illness to help form the beliefs, confidence and future career that will demonstrate that I am a person of significant worth.
    MedLuxe Representation Matters Scholarship
    My first visit to a Dermatologist was when I was thirteen years old. My back was painfully broken out and my persistent scratching left scars scattered across my shoulders and down my spine. Not only was it uncomfortable, but it was also embarrassing, especially when other kids my age would tease me because of it. Walking into the doctor's office that first time, the lack of diversity was apparent. From the other patients in the waiting room to the staff working, everyone that I saw was white. Living in Northwest Arkansas, I had come to accept this constant and went through with my visit. After being prescribed Clindamycin with no guidance on lotion pairing or advice to wear sunscreen, my back actually got worse. I decided to take it into my own hands to fix it. Researching what kind of “bacne” I had, foods that would help, and acids that were notable for clearing hyperpigmentation on black skin. Now as a high school senior, with a few over-the-counter solutions and a lot of research, my back is almost clear. My bacne experience left me with two things. A deep interest in the science of skincare and a strong desire to help others that are struggling with the same kinds of conditions that impacted me. Only about 3% of dermatologists are black and though skin color does not define us, it is extremely important in the delicate process of treating highly pigmented skin. With a degree in biology and eventual M.D., I will be able to give back to the black community with my specialization in the treatment of melanated skin. I plan to open a practice with diverse and diversely trained doctors who will be able to account for skin tones in their practices. Minorities not only need dermatologists who are trained to help their skin, they deserve them and I plan on providing them with specialized services. While my experience may have given me guidance on what I wanted with my future, the experiences of others can be much more frustrating and tiring. Spending money on prescriptions and products that don’t work instead of being told what will work for them by their dermatologist deters minorities from benefiting from this field of medicine. The skincare industry notoriously excludes darker skin when it comes to their products and dermatology notoriously underserved and underemployed darker skinned people. With my degree, I will work to give black communities the resources they need to properly take care of their skin by giving dark skin the same attention that has been long afforded to lighter tones. With this hyperfocus on serving communities of color, I plan to uncover new techniques and technologies and mentor other young women of color in the profession to help close the racial gap in the field.
    She Rose in STEAM Scholarship
    My first visit to a dermatologist was when I was around thirteen. My back was painfully broken out and my scratching had left scars scattered across my shoulders and down my spine. Not only was it uncomfortable, it was embarrassing, especially when other kids my age would tease me because of it. Walking into the office, the lack of diversity was apparent. From the other patients in the waiting room to the staff working, everyone that I could see was white. Living in Northwest Arkansas, I had come to accept this constant and went through with my visit. After being prescribed Clindamycin with no guidance on lotion pairing or advice to wear sunscreen, my back got worse. I decided to take it into my own hands to fix it. Researching what kind of “bacne” I had, foods that would help, and acids that were notable for clearing hyperpigmentation on black skin. Now as a highschool senior, with a few over the counter solutions and a lot of research, my back is almost clear. My bacne experience left me with two things. A steep interest in skincare and a desire to help others that are struggling with the same thing. Only about 3% of dermatologists are black and though skin color does not define us, it is extremely important in the delicate process of treating skin. With a degree in biology and eventual M.D., I will be able to give back to the black community with my specialization in the treatment of darker skin. I plan to open a practice with diverse and diversely trained doctors who will be able to account for skin tones in their practices. Minorities not only need dermatologists who are trained to help their skin, they deserve them and I plan on providing them with specialized services. While my experience may have given me guidance on what I wanted with my future, the experiences of others can be much more frustrating and tiring. Spending money on prescriptions and products that don’t work instead of being told what will work for them by their dermatologist deters minorities from benefiting from this field of medicine. The skincare industry notoriously excludes darker skin when it comes to their products and dermatology notoriously underserved and underemployed darker skinned people. With my degree, I will work to give black communities the resources they need to properly take care of their skin by giving dark skin the same attention that has been long afforded to lighter tones. With this hyperfocus on serving communities of color, I plan to uncover new techniques and technologies and mentor other young women of color in the profession to help close the racial gap in the field.