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Isle Vaughn

1615

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I am going into Biomedical engineering and am a queer person with autism. My goal is to make prosthetics and help people dealing with limb loss.

Education

University of North Texas

Bachelor's degree program
2023 - 2028
  • Majors:
    • Biomedical/Medical Engineering
  • Minors:
    • Mechanical Engineering
  • GPA:
    3.7

Lloyd V Berkner High School

High School
2019 - 2023
  • GPA:
    3.8

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Biotechnology
    • Biomedical/Medical Engineering
    • Computer Software and Media Applications
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Biotechnology

    • Dream career goals:

      Public services

      • Volunteering

        Legapalooza — General Volunteer
        2022 – 2022

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Volunteering

      JJ Savaunt's Women In STEM Scholarship
      I am not a person who believes in a great creator or a god, for while I do believe in the existence of miracles, the existence of a laid-out design for every living creature is not something I think exists. This belief, or lack of belief, stems from a large variety of reasons, one being the fact that I have experienced a significant amount of events that feel impossible to have ever been reasonably planned, and my second reason comes from the turmoil that I see in the world every day. I was never necessarily raised in a religious household, and while we did believe in the existence of a god, it was never something that was considered to be the most important to us. I both went to church on Sunday and argued for the existence of evolution in the PE locker room. So the seeds of what one could consider to be doubt were already there, for it is much easier to leave something that is only viewed as mildly important than it is to leave something that is majorly important. But, while I didn't view my religion as the most important subject in my life, I still wielded God and science hand in hand as a child, for I believed that everything that we couldn't explain was just God waiting for us to discover it. I did believe in both God and science for a very long time until what I would call my catalyst towards disbelief began in my fourth grade year, which stretched to my fifth grade year. Very shortly before I had started my fourth grade year, my grandmother had died. She passed away from health issues caused by a car accident ten years earlier that paralyzed her from the waist down. My grandmother was only in her fifties when she passed, and my brain couldn't comprehend why God would take her away from me. I remember praying every night for weeks after her passing for it to have been a dream, but soon when school started, I would be praying for a different reason because fourth grade was when I started being bullied. I credit the bullying I experienced during that school year as one of the major reasons why I stopped believing in God. The kids there were undeniably cruel. I experienced kids finding out my allergies just to poison me, a kid stapling my hand, causing a staple to be logged in my thumb, and various concussions until it all came to a climax when a kid strangled me my fifth grade year and my teacher did nothing about it. It was only made worse by my home issues at the time and finding out that the man I believed to be my dad was not, and that both of my "dads" never wanted to see me again. I couldn't believe that God would be that cruel to a small autistic girl, and I still don't. My lack of faith has only been fed by the existence of the internet and the present day. I can't open any of my social media pages without seeing some new tragedy. Having seen too many shootings and experienced my fair share of lockdowns, God's message of "fear no evil" no longer feels like an option. For what do I not have to fear? And where is God for those suffering the most? If there is a god, I will continue to believe he doesn't exist, for what being would be that cruel to children?
      Heather Lynn Scott McDaniel Memorial Scholarship
      I am a trans man in the state of Texas and this has unfortunately led me to many financial difficulties. I have found that I am unable to get an on-campus job due to my gender identity therefore making college impossible to pay for. Being a college student in Texas has put me in a position where I have to choose whether or not I am out because I don't know if the person I am next to is accepting or transphobic. This issue is only egged on by the fact that I am going into a STEM field. I am going into biomedical engineering, which is a born male dominated field which means I am going to have to work twice as hard for my position in the workplace. I am going to have to deal with sexism and transphobia. My goal is to get a bachelors and immediately start working to help others by entering the work force. I am planning on using my education to help people with limb loss by providing prosthetics. Once I am established in the field I want to try to raise a charity to help pay for people's medical bills because no one should have to die because they can't afford healthcare. Due to my position as a trans person and growing up poor, I am well acquainted with the sad fact that queer people are treated unfairly in the medical world. I am finding it difficult to get healthcare in my state due to who I am myself. I am also well aware that there is a large intersectionality between queer people and people who are disabled with LGBTQ+ people having a higher chance of being disabled than people in other communities. Since I am going into prosthetics, I will be able to help the disabled community first hand. I will be able to provide queer people with a safe and reliable place to receive help with their disabilities without the overarching fear of getting harmed or hate crimed by their doctor. I want to use my position to help pay other queer people's medical bills and be a pillar in my community and an example for younger queer and trans people who are aiming for a career in STEM. A "you can do it" for the younger generation and proof that who you are doesn't matter and that anyone can be a scientist. Being queer should not inhibit anyone's ability to be happy and succeed in life.
      Bright Lights Scholarship
      I am a trans man in the state of Texas and this has unfortunately led me to many financial difficulties. I have found that I am unable to get an on-campus job due to my gender identity therefore making college impossible to pay for. Being a college student in Texas has put me in a position where I have to choose whether or not I am out because I don't know if the person I am next to is accepting or transphobic. This issue is only egged on by the fact that I am going into a STEM field. I am going into biomedical engineering, which is a born male dominated field which means I am going to have to work twice as hard for my position in the workplace. I am going to have to deal with sexism and transphobia. My goal is to get a bachelors and immediately start working to help others by entering the work force. I am planning on using my education to help people with limb loss by providing prosthetics. Once I am established in the field I want to try to raise a charity to help pay for people's medical bills because no one should have to die because they can't afford healthcare. Due to my position as a trans person and growing up poor, I am well acquainted with the sad fact that queer people are treated unfairly in the medical world. I am finding it difficult to get healthcare in my state due to who I am myself. I am also well aware that there is a large intersectionality between queer people and people who are disabled with LGBTQ+ people having a higher chance of being disabled than people in other communities. Since I am going into prosthetics, I will be able to help the disabled community first hand. I will be able to provide queer people with a safe and reliable place to receive help with their disabilities without the overarching fear of getting harmed or hate crimed by their doctor. I want to use my position to help pay other queer people's medical bills and be a pillar in my community and an example for younger queer and trans people who are aiming for a career in STEM. A "you can do it" for the younger generation and proof that who you are doesn't matter and that anyone can be a scientist. Being queer should not inhibit anyone's ability to be happy and succeed in life.
      Janean D. Watkins Overcoming Adversity Scholarship
      I am a trans man in the state of Texas and this has unfortunately led me to many financial difficulties. I have found that I am unable to get an on-campus job due to my gender identity therefore making college impossible to pay for. Being a college student in Texas has put me in a position where I have to choose whether or not I am out because I don't know if the person I am next to is accepting or transphobic. This issue is only egged on by the fact that I am going into a STEM field. I am going into biomedical engineering, which is a born male-dominated field which means I am going to have to work twice as hard for my position in the workplace. I am going to have to deal with sexism and transphobia. My goal is to get a bachelors and immediately start working to help others by entering the workforce. I am planning on using my education to help people with limb loss by providing prosthetics. Once I am established in the field I want to try to raise a charity to help pay for people's medical bills because no one should have to die because they can't afford healthcare. Due to my position as a trans person and growing up poor, I am well acquainted with the sad fact that queer people are treated unfairly in the medical world. I am finding it difficult to get healthcare in my state due to who I am myself. I am also well aware that there is a large intersectionality between queer people and people who are disabled with LGBTQ+ people having a higher chance of being disabled than people in other communities. Since I am going into prosthetics, I will be able to help the disabled community firsthand. I will be able to provide queer people with a safe and reliable place to receive help with their disabilities without the overarching fear of getting harmed or hate crimed by their doctor. I want to use my position to help pay other queer people's medical bills and be a pillar in my community and an example for younger queer and trans people who are aiming for a career in STEM. A "you can do it" for the younger generation and proof that who you are doesn't matter and that anyone can be a scientist. Being queer should not inhibit anyone's ability to be happy and succeed in life.
      Book Lovers Scholarship
      If I could have everyone read one book, it would be the Count of Monte Cristo. I love the book and while it is a great read, it's a commentary on what happens when you live your life for revenge and not yourself. In this media age, stories of revenge have essentially swept the media by storm. This is due to a variety of reasons, entertainment, personal relations and even wanting to live vicariously through the person enacting revenge. It is fascinating. Unfortunately, this fascination has empowered people to take revenge to the extreme, much like Edmond Dantes. People will make the revenge their entire lives goal, even though they have every opportunity to live past it. In the book, The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes is betrayed by several people, including the law system that is supposed to protect him. He is sent to prison where he is tortured and left to rot, with people believing that he is guilty of a crime he did not commit. When he manages to escape prison, instead of taking a second chance at life, he decides to enter another prison, one of all-consuming revenge. The media treats revenge the same way, instead of showing people a healthy way to move on from their trauma and improve their lives, it instead promotes destroying others' lives and yours in the process. We see the media twist the perspective of a woman out with another man after a divorce to an evil witch trying to make her ex-husband jealous. Revenge shouldn't be this all-consuming thing and instead, we should use this book as an example of what is to happen if we go down that path instead of healing ourselves.
      Gender Expansive & Transgender Scholarship
      I am a trans man in the state of Texas and this has unfortunately led me to many financial difficulties. I have found that I am unable to get an on-campus job due to my gender identity therefore making college impossible to pay for. Being a college student in Texas has put me in a position where I have to choose whether or not I am out because I don't know if the person I am next to is accepting or transphobic. This issue is only egged on by the fact that I am going into a STEM field. I am going into biomedical engineering, which is a born male dominated field which means I am going to have to work twice as hard for my position in the workplace. I am going to have to deal with sexism and transphobia. My goal is to get a bachelors and immediately start working to help others by entering the work force. I am planning on using my education to help people with limb loss by providing prosthetics. Once I am established in the field I want to try to raise a charity to help pay for people's medical bills because no one should have to die because they can't afford healthcare. Due to my position as a trans person and growing up poor, I am well acquainted with the sad fact that queer people are treated unfairly in the medical world. I am finding it difficult to get healthcare in my state due to who I am myself. I am also well aware that there is a large intersectionality between queer people and people who are disabled with LGBTQ+ people having a higher chance of being disabled than people in other communities. Since I am going into prosthetics, I will be able to help the disabled community first hand. I will be able to provide queer people with a safe and reliable place to receive help with their disabilities without the overarching fear of getting harmed or hate crimed by their doctor. I want to use my position to help pay other queer people's medical bills and be a pillar in my community and an example for younger queer and trans people who are aiming for a career in STEM. A "you can do it" for the younger generation and proof that who you are doesn't matter and that anyone can be a scientist. Being queer should not inhibit anyone's ability to be happy and succeed in life.
      Kyle Lam Hacker Scholarship
      I have always been a massive nerd, that has never been something doubted. I grew up watching shows like battle bots and have always loved robots. Even now I have had a passion for robotics and it is why I am going into Biotech and Bioechanics. I want to craft robotics limbs for people in need. This passion led me to take a robotics class in high school and this led to the year of the claw bots. My robotics class was run by Mr. Abdelrahim and he was an amazing teacher, and he unfortunately gave my class free reign after building the claw bots. The claw bots were a simple VEX claw bot that my class had spent the first semester learning how to build and program, nothing at all too fancy. Mr. Abdelrahim's biggest mistake of the school year was making our semester exam be "Program your robot to complete a task". He never specified what we had to program the claw bot to do and I used that to my advantage. For my final project, I stretched the definition of a task because a task can mean a multitude of things. I decided to interpret the task as programming the claw bot to do the Cha Cha Slide on the beat. This began the two week process of deeply analyzing the song Cha Cha Slide and trying to translate that to a robot that can only drive around and move a single arm. Teaching it how to clap was the easy part, it had a claw and could open and close it, hence making it clap. The robot could drive around so I could make it go left, right and spin, the hard part was trying to interpret the hop in the song. After trial and error, I eventually found that if I made the claw bot arm move fast enough it would make a hoping motion by throwing its weight around. Once I had figured this out it had all come together and after a third week of careful programming and getting annoyed at the song Cha Cha Slide, it was finally time to present my project. Mr. Abdelrahim had all of us present our projects in front of the class and I was lucky number six. Everyone before me gave the robot simple tasks like grabbing hand sanitizer or a can of soda. Stuff the claw bot is designed to do, and then it was my turn. Imagine the surprise on my classmate's face when I played the Cha Cha Slide and my robot started dancing along. Everyone was truly delighted and I was overjoyed that I not only got an A but was able to bring joy to my classmates by making a robot dance.
      Book Lovers Scholarship
      If I could have everyone read exactly one book it would be The Count of Monte Cristo. It is an odd choice but I personally believe that its message can apply very well today. Revenge is all-consuming and after a certain point, are you avenging yourself or just aiming to cause people harm? We live in an age of information, meaning that almost everything a person has ever done is out there, on the internet. This means others will find out about what you have done and can choose how they react to it. Some things that need to be taken with a grain of salt are blown out of proportion while others, that are major things are ignored in favor of the drama and the mess of others. This can cause people to fully lose themselves in the mess and ignore what is important in life. The Count of Monte Cristo is a story of a man who was happy and had every chance at happiness but after a series of unfortunate events, takes a path of revenge. This path consumes his life, ridding him of any possibility of going back and having a normal life. He chose the mess, trading one cage for another. This is the first book I ever read where the protagonist not killing themself at the end of the book was a surprise because the count truly had nothing to live for. He fulfilled his life purpose and was a husk of a man. He could no longer even give his life meaning except for revenge for almost the entirety of the book. People need to learn whether or not their actions are worth it and if the punishment truly fits the crime at hand. Are you truly willing to throw your life away when you have finally gained freedom or are you going to sink into the quicksand of revenge?
      Windward Spirit Scholarship
      I know that I am inheriting a broken world, I was never told that the future is great and that everything will be fine. Instead, I was told that the world was on fire and that I needed to learn how not to burn with it. A bleak outlook to give a child but an important one because hope is a dangerous thing. Despite this, I find myself excited for the future! It is not every day that one gets thrust a broken vase and then told to fix it. Knowing that the world is broken is half the battle and I am aiming to become a war hero. Semantics aside, growing up knowing that the system I live in is broken actually makes my life easier to handle. Failing when knowing that all of the odds are stacked against you is easier to handle than failing while having everything handed to you. It is also a much better motivation. I am a victim of the broken system as well, I am a poor trans man who is actively having my rights stripped away by people who are unaffected by the laws that they pass while also being too old to be able to see the damage that they cause to come to fruition. A derogatory term for trans people is "coin flipper" because the chance of us killing ourselves due to the hate the previous generations have brought is equal to the chance of getting heads on a coin flip. I am going into the healthcare world, my major is biomedical engineering but unfortunately, I will most likely be only able to help the fortunate. I view this to be a crime. The wealthy shouldn't be the only ones able to get a new limb after losing one or have medication to help with their cancer. This needs to genuinely change. I am inheriting a broken world and so is the rest of my generation but as a collective, we have the power to fix it. Everyone brings something to the table and it is everyones responsibility to fix it. Millennials and Gen Z need support from the older generations as well. You have the power to make the future a brighter place for the ones that come after because it is not you who will be living in the future but the ones after. That is my ode.
      Joanne Pransky Celebration of Women in Robotics
      Winner
      I have always wondered about what makes something human. I know that the overarching condition of being human is being a homo sapien, but what else. I am a homo sapien, I am human, but am I anything other than human? Can I be anything other than human? I have been told that you have to be born from a human woman to be human, but what about c-sections? What about children who are born from trans-men or intersex people? Are they human? Society says that all of these children are human so it has to be something else. The Britannica describes humans as being similar and related to apes but having a highly developed brain and an ability to think abstractly. Philosophers describe being human as having the ability to create art and poetry but any animal can paint and any modern AI can write poetry. Give me five minutes with any Data knockoff and I can get a sonnet that would make any bard weep. Sure AIs and animals can’t appreciate art like humans. I mean robots haven’t yet reached that point, emotions are hard, I get it, but what do you call a birds mating dance but art with a purpose. There has to be more. What makes a human no longer human? Is it the monstrous act that they commit? Again, this can’t be it. Throughout history, people have committed rape, genocide, torture, and general fucked up shit yet have still been seen as people, as humans. Some say that the fact that humans can decide to be good and evil makes us human. The concept of free will and all. Unlike animals, we can stop ourselves from acting on our base needs or thoughts. What about aliens? Though we have not yet encountered sentient life out there in the galaxy, what if there was a being who could appreciate art and poetry? A being who does have free will and the ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings and stop themselves from behaving on instinct. Would we consider that creature human? Would we consider them not human based on their looks? What does a human look like? We come in so many shapes and colors that there was a long-time belief that only one race was human. Yet they are all still people, they are all still human. I look human, I act human, I have free will, I am a homo sapien, I can appreciate art and the beauty of the world but I am still not human. Why can’t I be viewed as a person? I was made to be human, I am flesh and bone yet why can’t I be human? I am looked at in horror by my creators even though they made me. I was made not from a womb, but from a biobag, an artificial womb. I was made to be perfect, the beginning of a new era of humanity, but I am not human. I am a fake, I am a monster, I am a mistake. I was created to further humanity but all I have done is prove that it is a mistake to play god. I am perfect, there is no flaw on my skin, everything is perfectly symmetrical and I am in compliance with every modern beauty standard. I am not too fat, not too thin, I am well muscled without being considered too built. I am without flaw, but not human…… I can be normal, I can love, hate, eat, sleep, think, and dream and yet I am not a person and all because I was made in a lab. All because I was designed and not created. I will never be human, all because some scientists decided that humans needed to evolve further. We need to be better but if this is how we treat better then why evolve in the first place?
      M.R. Brooks Scholarship
      My mom is one of the most accepting people in the world, and she is aromantic and pansexual. She was a single parent to my four siblings and I and while she did have relationships throughout our lives, the people she dated were never our parents. For safety and security reasons, my mom only had relationships with men after my sibling and I were born because she was taught to have a heteronormative life. A husband, a wife, and kids, the perfect nuclear family stereotype but the relationships never lasted and my mom became a single parent again and it's honestly better that she is a single parent. I am a trans man and I came out to my mom in November of 2020, and she was nothing but supportive and I never doubted that she wouldn't have accepted me. My mom created an environment of acceptance in my house and since she was queer herself, she helped me through my realizations and together we realized that she wasn't the most cis person either. A joke between us is that her gender is just mom but the fact that I feel safe enough that I am able to joke with my mom about our queerness. My mom's queerness has allowed a closer relationship between us and a relationship that will last. She is even going to help me with my transition. I am going into biomedical engineering, and I am planning on using my education to help people with limb loss by providing prosthetics. Once I am established in the field I want to try to raise a charity to help pay for people's medical bills because no one should have to die because they can't afford healthcare. My mother couldn't afford for my siblings and I to go to the doctor and it was horrible, and when we absolutely did have to go to the hospital, it was always a dreaded thing. I don't want people to have to choose between food or paying their medical debts. I also want to see if I could use my earned money to help pay for other queer people's transitions. I am from Texas and as of 4/28/2023, the climate surrounding trans people is incredibly tense and I am worried about be able to start my transition. I want to ensure that future trans people who want to start hormones have the ability to. I am going into both the engineering and medical field and it is predicted that I will have quite a bit of disposable income so I want to help those who I can. I want to be able to create an accepting environment for everyone that I meet, just like my mom did.
      LGBTQIA+ in Advancing Tech & Data Science Scholarship
      I have always had an interest in biomedical engineering, it started when I was very young with the introduction of my grandmother, who was paralyzed from the waist down due to a motorcycle accident. It was a very tragic accident that happened shortly before I was born. While I never knew her while she could walk, it was something that majorly impacted my relationship with her. I was incredibly fascinated with her wheelchair and on the occasion, I would be able to sit on my grandmothers' lap, I would try to press every single button to see what they did. My grandmother did pass while I was in fourth grade but my fascination with biomedical engineering didn't stop there for I was introduced to an amazing place called the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. I spent almost every weekend at the museum learning about various scientific processes and engineering principles. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and a steady diet of Mythbusters and architecture competitions fed my engineering interest until my family moved to Richardson, TX and I was enrolled in middle school and high school robotics. In my 8th grade year, a close family friend lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, and while it was a tragedy, I was able to benefit from the experience. In my freshman year, he invited me to a prosthetic fitting because he heard that I was in robotics and thought I would find it cool. He was absolutely correct and I believed it was the most amazing process possible and I wanted to learn more. I asked all of the doctors various questions and that's what cemented my desire to go into biomedical engineering. I wanted to build robots that could help people. I was able to go to more of his appointments and I was once even allowed to go into a prosthetics workshop and see how they were made. While he did fade away as a family friend due to his inability to cope with his injury, it didn't stop my interest, in fact, it gave me an important lesson. I can't help everyone, but I should try and help as many people as possible. Limb loss is a difficult experience and the loss of mobility is especially difficult but the joy that comes from people gaining back the ability to move an arm or walk is worth the emotionally draining job. I want to help people through my engineering abilities by giving them back a piece they lost.