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Jacqueline Gayden

775

Bold Points

3x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I am a future first-generation college student studying animal science and pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. My dream is to become a Veterinarian and open a practice, inspiring other black and female individuals in STEM-related fields. I am dedicated and sure about my future goals, but most of all I am excited to start a new chapter in my life and explore the wonderful world one step at a time!

Education

Texas State University

Bachelor's degree program
2024 - 2028
  • Majors:
    • Agriculture/Veterinary Preparatory Programs
    • Animal Sciences

Mcneil High School

High School
2020 - 2024
  • GPA:
    4

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Majors of interest:

    • Agricultural/Animal/Plant/Veterinary Science and Related Fields, Other
    • Veterinary/Animal Health Technologies/Technicians
    • Agriculture/Veterinary Preparatory Programs
    • Veterinary Administrative Services
    • Animal Sciences
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Veterinary

    • Dream career goals:

      Found and operate a veterinary clinic.

    • Cashier

      Michaels
      2022 – 2022
    • General Merchandiser

      Walmart
      2022 – Present2 years

    Sports

    Dancing

    Junior Varsity
    2022 – 20242 years

    Awards

    • February 2023 Sapphire of the Month
    • December 2023 Leaders Choice

    Arts

    • McNeil High School Ensemble Dance Team

      Dance
      2022 – 2024

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      McNeil National Honor Society — Member
      2023 – 2024
    • Advocacy

      McNeil High School Black Student Union — Vice President
      2023 – 2024
    • Advocacy

      McNeil High School Black Student Union — Fundraising Committee Leader
      2021 – 2022

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Entrepreneurship

    Aserina Hill Memorial Scholarship
    My name is Jacqueline, I am a high school senior in high school. I love to dance, spend time with family and friends, and explore my hometown of Austin while trying new food and seeing new places. I am a member of the National Honor Society and I have volunteered through NHS at many elementary schools and community events for children. I am also a member of my high school ensemble dance team and serve as Vice President of the Black Student Union. I plan to major in animal science with a concentration in veterinary medicine at Texas State University in the fall and ultimately go to Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. I was almost done with 4th grade when I was told my childhood home was foreclosed and my mother had no plan. My heart shattered. My family had only three days to pack the entire house and move out. Luckily a nearby extended-stay hotel offered my mother a discounted price and my three brothers, uncle, mother, and I moved in right away. The hotel would be my home for six months. I saw my two older brothers, still in school, struggling to help pay the hotel bills and trying to cope with living in a 2-bed hotel room, all trying to hide that fact from their peers. That was the first time I realized the financial problems were more than just the ability to get Christmas presents. Living in a hotel taught me that homelessness is not just someone lying down on a park bench asking for change. It is a spectrum that isn’t always visible at first glance. This realization is why my mission would be to help homeless individuals, especially families, through their difficult times so they can conquer homelessness, however, it may look for them. Volunteers would aid these individuals through financial courses and discussions to educate the community about financial literacy, which the lack of caused my house to be foreclosed after my parents got divorced. Volunteers who run these courses will also provide individuals with access to computers and aid with job applications or applications for government assistance programs. In addition to financial literacy education, I would provide free and reduced housing through my charity and work with the community to find programs and income-cap communities. I would also have volunteers create care bags including essentials like deodorant, floss, hair care products, tampons, etc. These care bags will mitigate the stress of choosing between food or personal hygiene products creating healthier and happier lives. My charity would have a service where volunteers travel to extended-stay hotels, food banks, or community centers to have fun events for children. These events will include things like balloon animals or face painting to help children get their minds off the stressful situation and allow parents to provide happiness to their children. If I could start a charity the services provided by volunteers would be to help individuals find joy and hope in a difficult situation. I understand the emotional turmoil homelessness can put individuals in, I want to be a source of light changing individuals' perspectives and providing tools so that they can see a way out of homelessness and work to get there.
    Julie Adams Memorial Scholarship – Women in STEM
    Growing up a mischievous Husky and a playful German Shepherd were my best friends. Together, we ran around the backyard chasing each other for hours. I’d occasionally sneak a hot dog or two for each of them as a special treat, not knowing any better, and in return, I would receive a hoard of wet kisses. I was too young to understand my mother's decision when I was sat down and told she gave the dogs up for adoption because we couldn’t afford to pay for any unexpected vet bills or routine checkups. I had just returned from outside, yelling their names without them appearing. Tears began to rush down my face because I didn’t get to say goodbye to my best friends. My two beautiful dogs are why I’ve decided to major in animal science and ultimately pursue a career in veterinary medicine. The revelation of the unconditional love and joy I received from my childhood pets even when they weren’t receiving the most ideal care showed me the purpose of my mother's actions; to ensure my beautiful dogs got a healthy and fulfilling life they greatly deserved. My first-hand experience with the happiness and grief of having pets has caused me to want to be just one small part of the process to provide a great life to many deserving animals and allow families to keep their pets. As a veterinarian I want to spread my lasting impact beyond just the clinic by utilizing my passion and ambition to aid animals and the community through advocacy, education, and further research. I plan to be a vocal supporter of the increased welfare standards for all animals through policymaking and raising the community's ethical standards. In addition to supporting legislation to increase the acceptable living standards for animals, I plan to advocate for legislation for affordable and more accessible healthcare for all animals. Although many domestic pet owners love their animals, the high expenses of veterinary care can cause them to go without veterinary insurance and not get their pets the care they deserve, like yearly exams and vaccinations. I desire to engage in programs like these, that aid regions with little to no access to veterinary care, across the globe. Policymaking also creates discussions within the community creating unity among pet owners, advocates, and the general public. My commitment also includes educating owners because they are the ones who care for their pets day to day. Education based on required nutrition, activity levels, attention, etc for different species/breeds can improve an animal's life greatly causing them to live longer and healthier lives. Overall animal health is important to humans as well. I plan to work with experts worldwide to resolve interconnected health issues affecting humans and animals by eradicating diseases that cause serious health problems in different species that ultimately affect humans. I desire to engage in programs that aid regions of the world with little to no access to veterinary care and improve life for all animals. Lastly and most importantly, as a veterinarian, my impact will go further than the veterinary clinic because, from my personal experience, to cause real change it's important to reach out beyond traditional ways. I plan to offer discounted or free veterinary care as I volunteer in my community and through my veterinary clinic so individuals struggling with finances, like my recently divorced mother, can keep their pets at a time when they deeply need companionship.
    Inguz Memorial Scholarship
    My name is Jacqueline Gayden and I am a high school senior. I plan to major in animal science with a concentration in veterinary medicine at Texas State University and ultimately go to Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. In my free time, I enjoy dancing spending time with friends and family, and collecting Narwhal items. Narwhals, also known as the unicorn of the sea, have been my favorite animal since fifth grade when I heard the “Narwhals” song. It was amazing to entertain the idea of a tiny unicorn inside the sea creature. I fell in love with the silly way they are portrayed in the media and their mysteriousness. Animal experts are still uncertain what their horn, a giant tooth, is used for and I’ve heard many people even say they aren't real! This mysteriousness and many cute collectible items are the reasons I still love narwhals even now! Growing up a mischievous Husky and a playful German Shepherd were my best friends. Together, we ran around the backyard chasing each other for hours. I’d occasionally sneak a hot dog or two for each of them as a special treat, not knowing any better, and in return, I would receive a hoard of wet kisses. I was too young to understand my mother's decision when I was sat down and told she gave the dogs up for adoption because we couldn’t afford to pay for any unexpected vet bills or routine checkups. I had just returned from outside, yelling their names without them appearing. Tears began to rush down my face because I didn’t get to say goodbye to my best friends. My two beautiful dogs are why I’ve decided to major in animal science and ultimately pursue a career in veterinary medicine. The revelation of the unconditional love and joy I received from my childhood pets even when they weren’t receiving the most ideal care showed me the purpose of my mother's actions; to ensure my beautiful dogs got a healthy and fulfilling life they greatly deserved. My first-hand experience with the happiness and grief of having pets has caused me to want to be even just one small part of the process to provide a great life to so many deserving animals and allow families to keep their pets. I hope to offer individuals struggling with finances, like my recently divorced mother was, to keep their pets at a time when they deeply need companionship. I plan to do this by offering discounted or free veterinary care as I volunteer in my community and one day open my veterinary clinic. As a veterinarian, I will go further than the veterinary clinic because, from my personal experience, to cause real change it's important to reach out further than just the veterinary clinic.
    James Lynn Baker II #BeACoffeeBean Scholarship
    Currently, I live in Austin Texas and a major issue affecting my community is education disparity. The intense gentrification that has taken place in Austin for the last 15 years has caused an immense wealth gap between the different zip codes that make up Austin. This gap is highlighted through funding cutbacks and inadequate faculty training in many middle and lower-class schools which I have experienced firsthand. However, there are even classes that many students are missing out on. Texas Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes are classes that each school has that present students with real hands-on learning opportunities for their future careers, such as medical sciences, marketing, and animation that many schools don’t have the resources to allow their students access to these programs which further creates economic gaps in future generations. My plan to address this gap is first to get involved within the community. Many people don’t even realize the opportunities their children are missing out on because they don’t have access to compare different school programs and don’t feel they have a place to voice their concerns and then see real change, causing them to feel alone. This feeling of isolation without seeing change causes individuals to stay silent and never discover like-minded people. I believe it’s vital to cause discussion in the community to build unity and find a common ground for change. Once I create unity within the community and hear personal accounts from students on their experiences in the public school system I will create a plan to advocate for policy that not only addresses socio-economic disparities in education but also measures and makes sure that policies are being executed the proper way for maximum positive change. Legislation is a requirement and by passing laws that address education disparities I can ensure that appointed officials are doing their due diligence. Furthermore, I would advocate for not only students but teachers as well. Teachers are constantly facing the badgering of many, as they are the anchor to a child's education. This is why I believe all students deserve well-qualified, trained, and most importantly well-supported teachers. I would be a listening ear for teachers' concerns and needs for their students and themselves and to the best of my ability make sure they are heard. I have experienced many wonderful passionate teachers leave the profession because of administration and how they are treated and ultimately it negatively affects student's education. My overall goal is to lessen the education gap in my community to create adequate funding for disadvantaged students. I want all students to have the opportunity to take however many AP, honors, and CTE classes they choose regardless of their parent's socioeconomic status. I want all students to have the opportunity to receive tutoring and early education intervention to ensure a strong foundation for all. I know to make this happen the community, students, and parents, as well as teachers, empowered and educated themselves about their opportunities. An empowered community will cause more change long after me which is the main way I would address this issue. Through my effort to address this issue, I hope that positive change is seen through more career growth within the community and overall happiness as students can discover their passion and have the confidence and tools to pursue and accomplish their higher education goals.
    Gabriel Martin Memorial Annual Scholarship
    Asthma has been a constant battle of mine since childhood. I was plagued with asthma attacks throughout elementary and middle school which led me in and out of the ER and continuous doctor visits as doctors tried to find a remedy for my symptoms that could be inflamed by something as little common cold or seasonal allergies. I was often too embarrassed to have my classmates see me leave the classroom early to go to the nurse before PE or see me take my asthma pump leading to inquiring about what made me, in my eyes, so very different from them. This feeling of otherness many times led me to choose to bear the beast that is asthma head-on. I would hope to be able to breathe without strain just enough to continue the class and head to the nurse later or have a moment to go to the bathroom and take my pump without anyone noticing. This led me to have countlessly asthma attacks without knowing it as I continued to take pump after pump without seeking help because I truly didn’t understand the seriousness of my continued troubled breathing and I felt as though no one truly understood what I was going through. To this day I still feel a sense of embarrassment due to my asthma, as many people have overcome it from childhood I still seem to struggle with it day to day. A simple laughing fit with my loved ones causes me to wheeze but I have learned to overcome it. I plan to make a lasting impact in my community by being just one small part of the process of providing a healthy and fun life to so many deserving animals, similar to the way my many pediatricians have been a huge part of the person I am today. I plan to be a vocal supporter of the increased welfare standards for all animals through policymaking and raising the community's ethical standards. Implementing legislation creates a standard for all and holds owners accountable for their actions. Legislation also communicates standards to the community. As I am continuously vocal about the required standard of care for animals it educates the general public that may not be pet owners but may be witnesses to animal neglect without knowing it. This education creates discussions within the community among different individuals developing unity amongst all three groups. Furthermore, I intend to advocate for further legislation toward affordable and more accessible healthcare for all animals. Although many domestic pet owners love their animals, the high expenses of veterinary care can cause owners to make the tough decision to go without care for their pets such as yearly exams and vaccinations. Which was the case with my childhood pets. My commitment to making a difference in the animal science and veterinary medicine field further includes educating owners as they care for their animals day to day. I plan to educate owners on required nutrition, activity levels, attention, etc for different species/breeds through volunteering with nonprofits, animal hospitals, and shelters and ultimately through my animal clinic. Ultimately improving pets' lifestyles leading to longer and healthier lives. My goal as a veterinarian is to innovate existing and new ways to ensure the protection of all animals. I aim to increase access to veterinary care regardless of the amount of money I make. I aspire to make a difference for not only animals but their owners by going further than just the veterinary clinic because to cause real change I believe the world needs individuals to branch out from traditional ways.
    Jiang Amel STEM Scholarship
    My name is Jacqueline, but everyone calls me Jackie. I am a soon-to-be 18-year-old senior in high school. I currently live in Austin Texas and I love drawing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends. I am considering attending Texas State Univerity in the fall to major in animal science. When I have completed my Bachelor's degree I intend to pursue further education in veterinary medicine to become a veterinarian and eventually open my practice. I plan for my STEM career impact to spread further than just the clinic by utilizing my passion and ambition to aid animals and the community through advocacy, education, and further research. As a woman, I would make up about 40% of all animal science majors. As an African-American woman, I would make up less than 5% of all animal science majors and less than 3% of all veterinarians. These demographics alone are a big part of how I plan to contribute to my field of study through representation. It is vital to see women of color in all spaces, not only to inspire individuals but to cultivate innovation, increase perspectives, and increase access to all. As different people from different walks of life come together the impact of change is greater. Additionally, I plan to be a vocal supporter of the increased welfare standards for all animals through policymaking and raising the community's ethical standards. Implementing legislation creates a standard for all owners to be held to and holds owners accountable for their actions. Legislation also communicates standards to the community. As I am continuously vocal about the required standard of care for animals it educates the general public that may not be pet owners but may be witnesses to animal neglect without knowing it. This education creates discussions within the community among pet owners, advocates, and the general public developing unity amongst all three groups. Furthermore, I intend to advocate for further legislation toward affordable and more accessible healthcare for all animals. Although many domestic pet owners love their animals, the high expenses of veterinary care can cause owners to make the tough decision to go without care for their pets such as yearly exams and vaccinations. Which was the case with my childhood pets. My commitment to making a difference in the animal science and veterinary medicine field further includes educating owners as they care for their animals day to day. I plan to educate owners on required nutrition, activity levels, attention, etc for different species/breeds through volunteering with nonprofits, animal hospitals, shelters, social media, and ultimately through my animal clinic. Educating others is a powerful tool to cause positive change in the world because people aren’t able to change if they firstly don’t know their actions are incorrect and secondly if they aren’t provided with a better alternative for their incorrect actions, and educating owners improves pets lifestyles leading to longer and healthier lives of well deserving animals. My goal as a veterinarian to foster a lasting impact on the world is to innovate existing and new ways to ensure the protection of all animals. I aim to increase access to veterinary care regardless of the amount of money I make. I aspire to make a difference for not only animals but their owners by going further than just the veterinary clinic because to cause real change I believe the world needs individuals to branch out from traditional ways.
    Hester Richardson Powell Memorial Service Scholarship
    I was a sophomore in high school when I walked into my first dance class. I continuously found myself behind all of the other individuals in my class. As I struggled to get the basics down, they had mastered them in elementary school. I could feel their eyes and was engulfed with their judgmental whispers as I moved across the floor doing almost everything wrong, waiting for the instructor to come to me and give me the usual rundown of what I needed to work on. I had decided to try out for the drill team at the beginning of the year, and even though I continued to struggle and found myself not up to par with my peers I still tried out. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the drill team. This disappointment didn’t stop me though. I continued to practice at home and came in for extra time to work on my technique with my dance teachers. As I continued I found my strength as a dancer and I decided to try out for my school's ensemble dance team. I made the team! My journey was not over when I made the team. As a member, I faced many challenges from mastering difficult choreography in a short amount of time to embracing and pushing through the anxiety of performing in front of an auditorium filled with people. These challenges pushed me even more as I found my confidence as a dancer and my place on the team. The following March, tryouts were again underway and this time I would be assisting a group of girls like myself that were hopefuls for the dance team. I saw myself in them as they looked around at the other girls comparing themselves to each other. I dawned back on my feelings and began to give them words of encouragement as I shared my story. I began instilling in them that perfection wasn’t required, just the hard work they decided to put in the moment they walked through the studio doors. I then began going through the required materials for the audition making certain to remember the things I struggled with and assisting the girls individually when needed. Throughout my experience, I realized the importance of knowing a group consists of individuals and that those individuals require different needs. When the preparation for the audition came to an end in 3 short days, I saw the fear in my group's eyes as they wanted their group number to be called. I gave them the immense amount of encouragement I knew they needed and told them how proud I was that they decided to embark on this journey regardless of the results. I hugged each one of them individually and gave each a handwritten note with further words of encouragement and reminders. As I saw them into the gym doors with their heads held high, I knew that each of them had found their confidence in themselves and that was what I wanted out of them more than anything. My resilience to keep pushing and growing as a dancer allowed me to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to girls who didn’t have years of dancing experience and were uncertain if they could do it. I was able to be a living example of triumph. I'm so happy that the four girls in my group made the team and are such amazing dancers and we have continued to work together to perfect our technique and movement quality.
    Women in STEM Scholarship
    A mischievous Husky and a playful German Shepherd were my best friends growing up. Together, we ran around the backyard chasing each other for hours. I’d occasionally sneak a hot dog or two for each of them as a special treat, not knowing any better. I was too young to understand my mother's decision when I was sat down and told she gave the dogs up for adoption because we couldn’t afford to take care of them properly anymore. I had just returned from outside, yelling their names without them appearing. Tears began to rush down my face because I didn’t get to say goodbye to my best friends. My two beautiful dogs are the reason I’ve decided to major in animal science and ultimately pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I now know what my mother did was to ensure my beautiful dogs got the life they deserved. I want to be even just one small part of the process to provide a healthy and fun life to so many deserving animals. As a woman, I would make up about 40% of all animal science majors. As an African-American woman, I would make up less than 5% of all animal science majors and less than 3% of all veterinarians. These demographics alone are a big part of how I plan to contribute to the field, through representation. It is vital to see women of color in all spaces, not only to inspire individuals but to cultivate innovation, increase perspectives, and increase access to all. As different people from different walks of life come together the impact of change is greater. Additionally, I plan to be a vocal supporter of the increased welfare standards for all animals through policymaking and raising the community's ethical standards. Implementing legislation creates a standard for all owners to be held to and holds owners accountable for their actions. The policies created by legislation also communicate standards to the community. As I am continuously vocal about the required standard of care for animals it educates the general public that may not be pet owners but may be witnesses to animal neglect without knowing it. This education creates discussions within the community among pet owners, advocates, and the general public developing unity amongst all three groups. Furthermore, I intend to advocate for further legislation toward affordable and more accessible healthcare for all animals. Although many domestic pet owners love their animals, the high expenses of veterinary care can cause owners to make the tough decision to go without care for their pets such as yearly exams and vaccinations. Which was the case with my childhood pets. My commitment to making a difference in the animal science and veterinary medicine field further includes educating owners as they care for their animals day to day. I plan to educate owners on required nutrition, activity levels, attention, etc for different species/breeds through volunteering with nonprofits, animal hospitals, and shelters and ultimately through my very own animal clinic. Ultimately improving pets' lifestyles leading to longer and healthier lives. Although most veterinarians are women, my goal as a veterinarian is to innovate existing and new ways to ensure the protection of all animals. I aim to increase access to veterinary care regardless of the amount of money I make. I aspire to make a difference for not only animals but their owners by going further than just the veterinary clinic because to cause real change I believe the world needs individuals to branch out from traditional ways.
    Abu Omar Halal Scholarship
    Winner
    My name is Jacqueline, but everyone calls me Jackie. I am a 17-year-old senior in high school. I love drawing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends. I plan to attend Texas A&M University and major in animal science. When I have completed my Bachelor's degree I plan to pursue further education in veterinary medicine to become a veterinarian and eventually open my practice. I plan for my lasting impact to spread further than just the clinic by utilizing my passion and ambition to aid animals and the community through advocacy, education, and further research. I plan to be a vocal supporter of the increased welfare standards for all animals through policymaking and raising the community's ethical standards. Creating legislation holds owners accountable for their actions and allows reporters of animal abuse situations to know that their concerns aren’t left without investigation. In addition to supporting legislation to increase the acceptable living standards for animals, I plan to advocate for legislation for affordable and more accessible healthcare for all animals. Although many domestic pet owners love their animals, the high expenses of veterinary care can cause them to go without veterinary insurance and not get their pets the care they deserve, like yearly exams and vaccinations. Policymaking also creates discussions within the community which will in turn create unity among pet owners, advocates, and the general public. The general public is more informed about laws when new ones are introduced and therefore that could create a positive dynamic where if community members see animal neglect they will know to evaluate it and call on the knowledge of the animals that do not have a voice themselves. My commitment to the increase of animal welfare also includes educating owners as they are the ones who care for their pets day to day. Education based on required nutrition, activity levels, attention, etc for different species/breeds can improve an animal's life greatly causing them to live longer and healthier lives. Overall animal health is important to humans as well. I plan to work with experts to resolve interconnected health issues affecting humans and animals by eradicating diseases that cause serious health problems in all organisms. I hope to have the opportunity to engage in programs that aid regions of the world with little to no access to veterinary care. In essence, my goal as a veterinarian is to innovate existing and new ways to ensure the protection of all animals. I want to go further than just the veterinary clinic because to cause real change you need to branch out from traditional ways.
    Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship
    Healthcare technology represents a ray of hope in a world that is continuously evolving and striving to create a better quality of life for all. Through medical 3D printing creating specific prosthetics, medical devices, and even organ models has become a reality improving the quality of life for individuals all over the world. Custom-fitted 3D limbs for amputees are one of the most magnificent feats accomplished through medical 3D printing. The custom fit of the limbs allows individuals to have increased mobility and a sense of personalization when it comes to their new limbs increasing mental health among amputees that are struggling with the often tragic way they ultimately lost their limb(s). Medical 3D printing technology also creates a reliable source of medical devices, like surgical instruments, dental restorations, orthopedic implants, and more in emergencies such as hurricanes. Exceptionally detailed molds created by 3D printing are utilized to create personalized healthcare for all. Every individual is different and creating molds of an individual organ(s) allows medical professionals to practice on a replica, ensuring that surgeons and medical staff are well prepared when they are called to perform a procedure. Allowing medical professionals to make first-time mistakes without putting a person's life in jeopardy. Medical professionals are human and are bound to make mistakes, although those simple mistakes shouldn’t cost a loved one's life. Healthcare technology has inspired me to not resent technology for creating a digital divide but rather see that it is the way society chooses to utilize it and that is what creates its negative effects. Technology holds the power to not only save lives but to make them better for all organisms. Creating a world where fewer people have to die an early and unnecessary death is due to medical technology and its advancements are something I can’t wait to witness.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    Growing up I didn’t realize my mother's constant wandering eyes for the people watching her and her periods of highs and extreme lows were due to mental illness. These were just the quirks of my mother, not bipolar, at least that is what I believed. As I was planted and watered for growth in an unstable environment I became lost within myself. From my fifth to freshman year of high school I struggled with self-harm and depression. As the world around me was beginning to be destroyed due to homelessness and constant job loss from my mother I never felt safe anymore. My child-like look on life came crashing down and so did my self-confidence. I began not being able to look in the mirror out of utter and complete disgust. I felt like I was being punished by life and believed for no apparent reason I deserved it. I began to stay inside, experiencing panic attacks when the thought of others looking at me was possible. The voice in my head was telling me everyone around me was criticizing all of the bad parts of me, which was every part of me. I didn't believe I could ever get out of this dark hole and fantasized about not feeling these immense feelings anymore, or just anything at all. I was not allowed to seek mental health resources, as my mother couldn't afford it and was terrified of me getting taken away but slowly I began to take control of my life after seeing the hurt and devastation from my loved ones when they saw the red horizontal hatches on my arm. Hurting myself was one thing, but hurting the person I loved most, my mother, devastated me. This life-altering experience allowed me to relate to my mother. I saw her struggles and realized it was not solely her who made all of her decisions. Mental health cannot be seen on the outside, and I finally could understand that. I began to talk to her about my struggles and we began to open up to each other. For the first time, I saw my mother as completely vulnerable. This helped me allow myself to be vulnerable to not only her but my friends. I began to open up to them and share my experiences and they did the same. I found a supporting community that would uplift and stand with me through times when I didn't feel strong enough on my own. As I began to see the shining sunlight from the darkness of self isolation I came to the belief that I was good enough. I was worthy of self-love and battling with mental health doesn’t make me a sort of outcast. I began to look at the world differently, always trying to help rather than criticize others, something a preteen girl is conditioned to excel at. I began and currently still do hold to the belief that an individual is more than their mental illness. My experience with mental health has also caused me to want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, as I want to be able to advocate for those who do not have a voice for themselves. Seeing animals in pain without the ability to say how they feel reminds me of myself throughout my life and being able to help hurting animals make a recovery will help me make a difference in this world healing one soul at a time.
    Trever David Clark Memorial Scholarship
    Growing up I didn’t realize my mother's constant wandering eyes for the people watching her and her periods of highs and extreme lows were due to mental illness. These were just the quirks of my mother, not bipolar, at least that is what I believed. As I was planted and watered for growth in an unstable environment I became lost within myself. From my fifth to freshman year of high school I struggled with self-harm and depression. As the world around me was beginning to be destroyed due to homelessness and constant job loss from my mother I never felt safe anymore. My child-like look on life came crashing down and so did my self-confidence. I began not being able to look in the mirror out of utter and complete disgust. I felt like I was being punished by life and believed for no apparent reason I deserved it. I began to stay inside, experiencing panic attacks when the thought of others looking at me was possible. The voice in my head was telling me everyone around me was criticizing all of the bad parts of me, which was every part of me. I didn't believe I could ever get out of this dark hole and fantasized about not feeling these immense feelings anymore, or just anything at all. I was not afforded the opportunity to seek mental health resources, as my mother couldn't afford it and was terrified of me getting taken away but slowly I began to take control of my life after seeing the hurt and devastation from my loved ones when they saw the red horizontal hatches on my arm. Hurting myself was one thing, but hurting the person I loved most, my mother, devastated me. This life-altering experience allowed me to relate to my mother. I saw her struggles and realized it was not solely her who made all of her decisions. Mental health cannot be seen on the outside, and I finally could understand that. I began to talk to her about my struggles and we began to open up to each other. For the first time, I saw my mother as completely vulnerable. This helped me allow myself to be vulnerable to not only her but my friends. I began to open up to them and share my experiences and they did the same. I found a supporting community that would uplift and stand with me through times when I didn't feel strong enough on my own. As I began to see the shining sunlight from the darkness of self isolation I came to the belief that I was good enough. I was worthy of self-love and battling with mental health doesn’t make me a sort of outcast. I began to look at the world differently, always trying to help rather than criticize others, something a preteen girl is conditioned to excel at. I began and currently still do hold to the belief that an individual is more than their mental illness. My experience with mental health has also caused me to want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, as I want to be able to advocate for those who do not have a voice for themselves. Seeing animals in pain without the ability to say how they feel reminds me of myself throughout my life and being able to help hurting animals make a recovery will help me make a difference in this world healing one soul at a time.