For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Jennifer Butler

3315

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

Bio

I was a lost kid. I was depressed, suicidal, and using drugs to escape these feelings. No one around me knew how to help, and no one could relate. Even the therapist my parents eventually sent me to, and the psychiatrist I met with when I was 14, misdiagnosed me and gave me meds that made me feel like a zombie. Over the years I was put on different meds, none of which stopped me from my suicide attempts, and I eventually turned to recreational drugs to escape my bleak reality. Years later, I became a full-blown drug addict. On the last day I used, I overdosed in a suicide attempt that brought me to the hospital and gave me the opportunity to get clean. I got clean on 12/23/2019. I have completely turned my life around. It has given me the desire to turn around and be that person who can relate to the depressed kid. Everyone around me kept telling me how wonderful it was to be young, and how I should be enjoying my childhood. No one understood the pain I was in, and it would have made a world of difference had someone been able to look me in the eye and tell me that they genuinely understood. I will be that person by getting a Ph.D. in Psychology and working with adolescents through one-on-one and group therapy.

Education

San Jose State University

Bachelor's degree program
2020 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Biology, General
  • Minors:
    • Chemistry
  • GPA:
    3.6

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Psychology, Other
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Child and Adolescent Psychology

    • Dream career goals:

      Adolescent Therapist

    • Floor Associate

      Marshall's
      2015 – 20161 year
    • Crew Member

      Pile It On Pizza
      2016 – 20171 year
    • Office Manager

      Magnolia Bank
      2017 – 20181 year
    • GIS Technician

      Frontdoor Inc.
      2019 – Present5 years
    • Accounts Receivable

      Harper Motors
      2018 – 20191 year

    Sports

    Volleyball

    Varsity
    2014 – 20151 year

    Track & Field

    Junior Varsity
    2009 – 20123 years

    Volleyball

    Intramural
    2012 – 20197 years

    Research

    • Human/Medical Genetics

      University of California, Irvine, Pediatrics — Research Intern
      2015 – 2016

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      ENGin — Volunteer, Tutor
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Be A Mentor — Mentor
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Cakes4Kids — Volunteer
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      American Cancer Society — Volunteer
      2011 – 2013

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Jimmy Cardenas Community Leader Scholarship
    It was 2015, and I had just visited my dream school, UCI. I walked all over campus, and my father bought me a cute armadillo stuffed animal as an acceptance gift. My life plan was to go to school for genetics, continue onto higher education, and eventually become a researcher and a professor of genetics. I had this all planned out at the age of 8. It’s 2016, and it’s been a year at UCI and my dreams are slowly crumbling. I am ostracized in intramural sports because I am an older transfer student, and my only friends are my roommates. I sit in an auditorium of 300 students where everyone already has someone to sit with. I skate home, feeling empty and alone. I miss going to my local community college where I made friends in every class and excelled in my academics. I feel hopeless and lost. I have never had trouble making friends. My grades are beginning to fall. Something must be wrong with me. It’s the end of 2016, and I have a plan to kill myself if I don’t get my grades up in time to get off probation. There is a six-story parking structure near my apartment that I have decided I would jump off of. I am beginning to abuse my prescribed medications in an attempt to help my depression, but I don’t know what else to do. Looking back at that time in my life is painful for me. After finally admitting to family and friends how poorly I was doing, they came through for me. I took a leave of absence from school and moved back home, but my dreams had been utterly crushed. I felt like a complete failure and it took me a long time to recover. I learned through therapy and my community that I lacked the knowledge and tools to maintain my mental health. I didn’t know that I had ADHD, and I just thought I was lazy. Which in turn made me feel worse, and I got stuck in perpetual loops. I hadn’t ever received proper treatment for my depression, anxiety, and ADHD, but once I did it felt like an entirely different world. A brighter world that finally contained some hope. I worked for a number of years, attending individual and group therapy. Finally, in 2020, I decided I would give it another go. I chose to attend a local university so I could remain within my support group and I worked on letting go of all those past feelings. Fast forward to today: I will graduate in Spring 2023 with my BA in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. I received my first A+ this past semester, something I plan on framing and putting up on my wall! I have been accepted into an honors society for my academics. I will be applying to graduate school and I understand that even if my higher education doesn’t turn out how I wanted it to, that doesn’t mean I’m a failure and that doesn’t have to be the end of my journey. It just means that the way I was going about it wasn’t the best path, and all I have to do is simply back up and take another one. Whether or not it’s the road less traveled matters less than if it’s the road I should travel. I’ve learned how to ask for help and accept the help offered. I won’t ever have to give up on my dreams again. I look forward to my bright future, wherever it might lead me.
    Lo Easton's “Wrong Answers Only” Scholarship
    1. Well, I don't. I suck just as much as every other student who will apply. Even those who pick their nose in their car, thinking that no one can see them, even though I'm staring at them through my window. I just do it in private, so maybe I am better. 2. To build a rideable spaceship that can not only tunnel through the earth but one you can use for people you don't like by strapping them on and shooting them into space. 3. Well this one time, I pulled a glass door and it didn't open. So I pulled several more times, and it still didn't open. I saw there were words on the door that read, "Push to open" so I broke the glass and stepped inside.
    Hobbies Matter
    Have you ever gone so fast that the trees around you become a blur? When was the last time you relied purely on your instincts, and not your mind? Some call me an adrenaline junkie, but I prefer to think of it as meditative. After all, my mind does go blank while I let my body make the decisions. Have you heard of street luge? If you haven't, that's okay. Not many have. It's basically laying down on a big skateboard, 6 wheels instead of 4, and going very fast down mountain roads. The fastest I've gone is about 74mph, down Whitney Portal in the Sierras. Was it scary? Well, only when I glanced to the side, watching the foliage turn to a blur. Only when I realized I was going to have to pass the cars in front of me because I was going faster than they were. This isn't where I started though, so let me take you back, because I'd like to convince you that this is one of the best hobbies in the world. These boys taught me how to luge, by patiently showing me how all the gear worked, and then going down the mountain with me, showing me the lines. I started out with lots of braking, feeling that I was going much too fast. But as I got more comfortable on my board, my courage grew. Within a few months, I was flying down the mountain alongside those who had shown me the ropes. Imagine driving up to a mountain pass before the sun has come up, watching the stars slowly fade and the sky lighten. It's a Saturday morning, and you sip on a coffee you grabbed on your way out of the city. You turn into the pull out, parking parallel to several other cars full of skaters, waiting for you. You get out, give everyone a hug, and then someone shouts, "Let's skate!" You grab your gear and jump on your board. You fall into synch with them, slamming the apexes and flying out of turns. You don't have an engine, so you have to maintain the perfect balance between entering a turn at maximum speed and holding it, without losing grip. I don't always succeed, but I always get back on my board. That was my morning almost every weekend for several years. I can't describe the beauty and peace that I feel when I don my helmet and gloves, and sit down on my board, getting ready to go. The sun is just coming over the mountains, turning the cloud cover pink and orange. My friends are whooping and shouting with excitement, and someone comes up behind me to slap me on the back. I glance over to see a smiling face, one of the countless skaters who wants to ride with me. I give them a wide grin, a mischievous grin, and I say, "Let's go!"
    Scholarship Institute Future Leaders Scholarship
    I recently took on several service positions in a community of recovering addicts and I've learned an incredible amount from it. I learned that not every job is meant for me, that it's okay if I realize that I'm not the ideal person for the position. Delegating has become one of my most treasured skills. I've found that leading a group doesn't just mean I've done a service for those involved, but I've done a service to myself. By getting involved, I give myself purpose and life experience. Many of those I work with are much older; most are between 50 to 60 years old. I expected it would be difficult for me to gain respect among these members, me being 26. To my surprise, it wasn't. When I stepped up, it showed others my passion and my determination. They were happy to let me take the reins. I found I am very comfortable falling into a leadership position. I belong to several subcommittees of which I run, going over the agenda, and ensuring that everyone gets to speak their mind safely. I didn't necessarily mean to lead these groups, but it felt natural so I went for it. I've now become a respected member of this group, and I've found that great leadership doesn't mean great success. It means passion, fueled with willingness and open-mindedness, surrounded by honesty. I say honesty because being admitting mistakes is incredibly important. I'm not the perfect person leading this group; I cannot be unquestioned. When I keep an open mind, I hear everyone's feedback, negative and positive. Willingness comes in when I want to grow as a person and help the group grow as well. When I hear someone's negative feedback, even though it makes me uncomfortable, it's an opportunity for growth. When I can swallow my pride, I can truly lead. Because without the group, what am I even leading? It's not just about me, it's that all the members' opinions and thoughts have gone into the decision making. Leadership is not authority. Leadership is living by example.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    Recovery means a new way of life to me. Before I got clean, I had destroyed all of my relationships, and when I was in treatment, I remember being so scared that I had ruined everything, forever. That no one in my family would ever forgive me or ever want to see me again. Recovery opened this door for me to walk through, leading into a completely different way of life. Granted, it wasn't easy to walk through the door. I was told to get a sponsor, work steps, and go to meetings every day. It was a simple and very clear recipe, but it took everything. And that's the point - you have to give everything up and let go of your old life in order to embrace the new one. My clean date is 12/23/2019 and I found that I am, in fact, redeemable. I no longer hate myself, and I learned how to allow others to love me. I now have three sponsees, whom I love dearly and freely. I have a life where I live by principles, honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, which I share with these women to help them through the door into their recovery. Nothing in my life has ever given me such happiness; getting to turn around and give someone what I was given when I arrived in the program. Abstinence isn't recovery. It's a way of life in which I can finally love and respect myself, by letting go of my past.
    Darryl Davis "Follow Your Heart" Scholarship
    Since getting clean, I've dived headfirst into service and community. My community is what gives me life, and it gives me great joy to give back. I have a higher power that I rely on greatly. Through working with my community, I have become a dopeless hope fiend, as we like to say here. I hope to finish my degree and begin to work with kids who were like me; lost and hopeless. I want to reach the young girl that I once was, who was alone and terrified. She was so afraid of everything and everyone and couldn't relate to anyone. She was scared to share her inner thoughts, for they were so dark, she knew others would stare and become afraid of her. So she kept it all in, only releasing it with self-harm and drug use. I know there are more young teens out there, and young adults too, that feel this way. It is so hard to find someone who understands, and can relate. Furthermore, someone who can help light the way out of the dark tunnel they've lost hope of finding a way out. I hope I can work with these young adults and children through therapy. Help them heal themselves, through understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness. Through spiritual principles that I've learned over the years. I know I can make a difference and that excites me. I lead a life I never dreamed I could, and I want that joy and light to shine on someone who needs it.
    SkipSchool Scholarship
    My favorite scientist is Jennifer Doudna, hands down. To co-invent the CRISPR technique was ground-breaking, but she's not stopping there. I eagerly await her future work, and I look forward to working with this technique myself.