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Kenyana Tyiska

3425

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Finalist

Bio

I am a dedicated STEM enthusiast and medical student originally from the southside of Chicago. Growing up in a low-income community, I have always been passionate about community activism, volunteering, and addressing healthcare inequities. My passion for medicine and community service has inspired me to pursue a career as a physician. I am committed to making a positive impact on the health outcomes of underserved communities, like my own. Through my medical training and future practice, I aim to use scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies to revolutionize the healthcare system on a global level. I am driven by a deep desire to serve those who have been historically marginalized and underserved by the healthcare system. I believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality healthcare, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographic location. As a physician, I will work tirelessly to address the systemic barriers that prevent equal access to healthcare and improve health outcomes for all. In addition to my academic pursuits, I am actively involved in community service and volunteer work. I believe that giving back to my community is an essential part of my journey as a future physician. By volunteering my time and expertise, I hope to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those around me and inspire others to do the same. Overall, I am passionate and committed to improving the health outcomes of underserved communities. Through my work in medicine and community service, I hope to create a more equitable and just world for all.

Education

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)
2022 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • Public Health
    • Health/Medical Preparatory Programs
    • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other
    • Medicine
  • GPA:
    3.7

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bachelor's degree program
2016 - 2020
  • Majors:
    • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
  • Minors:
    • Chemistry
  • GPA:
    3.3

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Biomathematics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology
    • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other
    • Medicine
    • Health/Medical Preparatory Programs
    • Medical Clinical Sciences/Graduate Medical Studies
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Medicine

    • Dream career goals:

      Physician

    • Chemist

      Hallstar
      2021 – 20221 year
    • Cashier/ Supply Stocker

      Illini Bookstore
      2017 – 20181 year
    • Leasing agent

      Asset Campus Housing
      2018 – 20202 years

    Research

    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other

      University of Wisconsin Madison Department of Urology — Student Research Assistant
      2023 – Present
    • Chemistry

      University of Illinois Urbana — Student research assistant
      2017 – 2020

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      DREAAM House — I designed age appropriate science projects and taught the boys fundamental scientific information behind the science projects they were working on, helping them to better understand the scientific principles at play.
      2018 – 2020
    • Advocacy

      Physicians for Human Right (PHR) — Work on an American Medical Association resolution that sought to enhance access to forensic evaluations and legal representation for asylum seekers.
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Lussier Community Education Center — I help distribute food and other essential items to community members in need. I assisted with organizing and stocking shelves, packing food boxes, carrying bags of food to people’s cars, and sorting donations.
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Don Myers boys and girls club — Volunteer
      2017 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      Christ Hospital — Volunteer
      2014 – 2020
    • Volunteering

      Girls 4 Science — Volunteer/mentor
      2016 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Entrepreneurship

    Catrina Celestine Aquilino Memorial Scholarship
    At the tender age of seven, my introduction to the world of medicine was far from conventional. I vividly recall the day when my cousin, battling breast cancer, showed me the needles and clear solution tucked within her luggage. Little did I understand that her daily injections were part of her grueling chemotherapy regimen. It was my role as her caretaker, disinfecting her leg and gently applying a bandage, that opened my eyes to the healing power of medicine. These early experiences ignited a passion within me, a fervent desire to become a physician, a testament to the profound impact of witnessing a loved one's battle with a life-threatening illness. My desire to help others and make a difference in their lives was also fueled by my firsthand experience of medical deserts in my community. Growing up in a south-side Chicago neighborhood as a black woman, I witnessed the impact of health disparities on myself and those around me. Due to economic and social isolation in communities like mine, I have watched people struggle with health complications due to upstream determinants of health. Attending a medical school with a public health focus continues to shape me into a health advocate. I am committed to advocating for those who cannot speak up for themselves and to working towards creating access to quality healthcare for all individuals, regardless of their social or economic status. During my first year of medical school, I had the opportunity to work on an American Medical Association resolution that sought to enhance access to forensic evaluations and legal representation for asylum seekers. This experience was rewarding, and it continues to drive my passion for advocating for healthcare reform and ensuring that all individuals have access to quality care. As a rising second-year medical student, I support underserved communities through volunteering with my school’s free clinic to provide medical care to uninsured people, volunteering at food shelters, and providing mentorship and tutoring to low-income students. I am also excited to gain my clinical experience in the underserved neighborhoods of Milwaukee as well as working with community leaders to implement community-based health improvement projects starting next January. As a future physician, my ultimate goal is to serve underserved communities and address healthcare disparities by providing quality medical care to those who lack access. My short-term goal is to complete medical school with a focus on maternal health and preventive medicine through creating policies through the American Medical Association. By specializing in these fields, I can play a vital role in promoting health equity and reducing health disparities in underserved communities. In the short term, I plan to continue participating in free medical clinics that provide medical care and education to individuals who lack insurance. Through these programs, I can gain hands-on experience in providing medical care and help educate people about the importance of preventive medicine. I believe that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare, regardless of their social or economic status, and I am committed to doing my part to make that a reality. In the long term, I aspire to work as a physician in underserved communities. By doing so, I can provide essential medical care to individuals who may not otherwise have access to it. In addition to providing medical care, I also want to become an advocate for health equity, particularly in maternal health. I believe that every woman should have access to high-quality healthcare during and after pregnancy, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or economic status.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    I aspire to be the embodiment of hope, equity, and compassion as a black female physician, bridging the gap and breaking down barriers for those affected by healthcare disparities on the Southside of Chicago and beyond.
    Headbang For Science
    “BEEP BEEP”..”BEEP BEEP. The sound of my grandmother’s alarm clock sang as I struggled to get out of bed. My family from San Francisco was visiting for the week and like any only child, I was eager to spend as much time with my older cousin as I possibly could. After breakfast, my cousin went back to her room and I followed, imitating each step. She reached into her luggage and pulled out needles and a clear solution. She pulled her ankle-length skirt up just enough to her thigh and began pumping solution into the needle. I watched her slowly with a spark of interest in my eyes as she punctured her skin with the needle. I later found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and that the “shot” was a part of her chemotherapy. As I grew more comfortable with seeing the needle, I took it upon myself to be her caretaker. This included disinfecting her leg and placing a bandaid, all of which I modeled after my experiences with my pediatrician. Although my story began with Alice, my passion for wanting to become a physician is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a south-side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed firsthand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. As a first-generation medical student, I should be proud of making it this far but a part of me feels guilty. I can no longer assist my mom financially and will have to watch her struggle for the next four years of my life. Growing up in a low-income family, I have always been aware of the financial burden that medical school would bring, but it was not until I started my program that I grasped the extent of this challenge. Despite the financial burden of medical school, it is important to me that I remain committed to my purpose because I believe that someone's destiny is tied to me becoming the person I am meant to be. Currently, my education and other expenses are being paid for by loans. I hope to mitigate the cost of my education by applying for scholarships such as this one. Winning the “Headbang for Science” scholarship will help eliminate the stress and financial barrier of education that I have continued to face throughout my educational journey. As a med student, my days are filled with scientific jargon, textbooks, and anatomy charts. That's why, to me, heavy metal is a release from the rigors of medical school. Heavy metal is more than just a genre of music to me; it's a community of like-minded individuals who come together to express themselves through sound. The music is characterized by its aggressive guitar riffs, thundering drums, and soaring vocals. A band that resonates with me is Metallica. Their album "Master of Puppets" is a perfect example of the power and intensity of the genre. The song "Battery" starts with a slow, ominous buildup before exploding into a frenzy of sound. The lyrics deal with themes of control and manipulation. Moreover, the song "One" is a haunting reminder of the physical and psychological toll that war can take on the human body. As medical professionals, we may not be on the front lines of combat, but we bear witness to the aftermath of violence, trauma, and illness daily. This song reminds me of the importance of treating each patient with respect, dignity, and a deep understanding of the struggles they may be facing. In conclusion, heavy metal music and medicine may seem like strange bedfellows, but the two worlds share a surprising amount of common ground. Whether it's through the intensity and urgency of certain songs or the themes of pain and struggle that permeate much of the genre, heavy metal can serve as a powerful reminder of the gravity of our work as medical professionals.
    Andrea M Taylor Future Doctors Scholarship
    “BEEP BEEP”..”BEEP BEEP. The sound of my grandmother’s alarm clock sang as I struggled to get out of bed. The aroma of the pancakes and coffee my grandmother prepared woke the entire house up. My family from San Francisco was visiting for the week and like an only child, I was eager to spend as much time with my older cousins as I possibly could. After breakfast, my cousin went back to her room and I followed, imitating each step. She reached into her luggage and pulled out a clear ziplock bag with needles and a clear solution. She pulled her ankle-length skirt up just enough to her thigh and began pumping solution into the needle. As I ran back to the door post afraid, I wondered to myself “Why is she giving herself a shot?” She offered to let me get a front-row seat, but being the timid seven-year-old kid I was, I turned the offer down. I watched her slowly with a spark of interest in my eyes as she punctured her skin with the needle. I later found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and that the “shot” was a part of her chemotherapy. As she noticed my interest through the nature of my questions, she continued to invite me to watch her administer the medicine. As I grew more comfortable with seeing the needle, I took it upon myself to be her caretaker. This included disinfecting her leg and placing a bandaid, all of which I modeled after my experiences with my pediatrician. It wasn't until Alice called me “The best doctor in town” that my journey to fulfilling this prophecy began. My passion for wanting to become a physician did not only come from the countless hours I spent shadowing or volunteering at hospitals, it is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a south-side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed firsthand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. A study conducted by NYU School of Medicine found that Chicago has the largest life expectancy gap in the country. According to the data, I will live 30 years less than more wealthy individuals living just 9 miles away from me. The cause of this gap was concluded to stem from healthcare inequities. This reality led me to an internship at UChicago Urban Labs. Here, I was able to get a better understanding of how public policy and physician advocacy greatly affected the health outcomes within different communities. As a physician, I want to work to dismantle the systemic barriers that prevent many marginalized communities from accessing healthcare and to ensure that every patient receives compassionate, culturally competent, and evidence-based care. Reading Medical Apartheid reinforced the importance of being a patient advocate and a lifelong learner. It is essential to acknowledge and confront the systemic racism that exists in healthcare and work towards building a more equitable system. I am motivated to become a doctor who is not only competent but also compassionate and who is committed to promoting social justice in healthcare.
    Financial Literacy Importance Scholarship
    As a current medical student, I have come to realize the importance of financial literacy and money management in my daily life. Growing up as a low-income child on the South Side of Chicago, I had a limited understanding of money and the importance of financial planning. However, as I navigated through college and now medical school, I understand the role that prioritizing my health and financial stability plays in achieving my life goals. The financial strain of medical school is particularly difficult for me because from childhood until now, I have watched my mother work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Financial stress can have significant negative impacts on mental and physical health, and can also impact academic performance. However, by managing my finances effectively, I can avoid taking on unnecessary debt and ensure that I have a clear understanding of my financial obligations. However, these things are much easier said than done. With the rise in the cost of education in this country, graduate students are likely to have significant debt which can have long-term implications for our financial well-being. I knew that my decision to pursue a career in medicine was not just for me, but also for those who were counting on me to succeed. I felt a deep sense of responsibility to not only fulfill my dreams but also to provide a better future for my family regardless of my current financial situation. Despite this challenge, it is important to me that I stay committed to living in my purpose because someone’s destiny is tied to me becoming who I am. Managing my finances effectively has helped me build financial literacy and develop good financial habits. With limited funds, I must allocate resources effectively and ensure that the most critical expenses are covered. By creating a budget, I can identify areas where I am overspending and make adjustments to ensure that I have enough money to cover my essential expenses. The important financial skills that I am developing now will help me to pay off my student loans faster and reduce the amount of interest that I have to pay over time. The challenges of financial management remind me of the importance of seeking out resources and support systems. It also reinforces my commitment to pursuing my dreams despite the obstacles that may arise. Overall, the financial challenges that I face as a first-year medical student are difficult but I have learned a necessary lesson in resilience and financial management.
    Dr. Jade Education Scholarship
    As I close my eyes and imagine myself living the life of my dreams, I see myself as an accomplished anesthesiologist, giving back to my community by volunteering with the youth in underserved areas of Chicago, providing for my family, and living in my God-given purpose. This is not just a fantasy, but a vision that I am actively working towards, and I know that with hard work and dedication, it will become a reality. Firstly, as an anesthesiologist, I envision myself at the forefront of medicine, utilizing my expertise to make a meaningful impact on the lives of my patients. I see myself working long hours, sometimes late into the night, providing care and comfort to those in need. The feeling of knowing that I have helped someone to overcome their pain and discomfort is one that brings me immense joy and satisfaction. As a doctor, I will have the power to make a positive impact on people's lives, and I intend to do so with all the knowledge and passion that I can bring to the table. Secondly, volunteering with the youth in underserved areas of Chicago is a calling that I hold dear to my heart. Growing up in a community that was plagued with gun violence and limited access to resources and education has given me a firsthand understanding of how important it is to give back. As a volunteer, I see myself teaching the youth valuable life skills and providing mentorship, helping to shape their futures in a positive way. I want to empower the next generation, to equip them with the tools they need to overcome obstacles and to become successful in their own right. This is a mission that I am committed to and one that I know will bring a great sense of fulfillment. Thirdly, being able to provide for my family is of utmost importance to me. I envision myself living in a comfortable home, with all of my family's needs taken care of. This includes access to quality education, healthcare, and leisure activities that will allow us to create memories that will last a lifetime. The ability to provide for my family will not only bring me peace of mind, but it will also allow us to live life to the fullest, making the most of every opportunity that comes our way. Finally, I envision myself living in my God-given purpose. This means having a clear understanding of my unique talents and abilities and using them to make a difference in the world. Whether it is through my work as an anesthesiologist, volunteering with the youth, or simply being a loving and supportive member of my family, I want to live a life that is meaningful and purposeful. In conclusion, the life of my dreams is filled with purpose, passion, and meaning. It is a life that is centered around serving others, making a difference, and being true to who I am. While it may not always be easy, I know that with determination and hard work, I can turn my vision into a reality.
    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship
    “BEEP BEEP”..”BEEP BEEP. The sound of my grandmother’s alarm clock sang as I struggled to get out of bed. The aroma of the pancakes and coffee my grandmother prepared woke the entire house up. My family from San Francisco was visiting for the week and like any only child, I was eager to spend as much time with my older cousins as I possibly could. After breakfast, my cousin went back to her room and I followed, imitating each step. She reached into her luggage and pulled out needles and a clear solution. She pulled her ankle-length skirt up just enough to her thigh and began pumping solution into the needle. As I ran back to the door post afraid, I wondered to myself “Why is she giving herself a shot?” She offered to let me get a front-row seat, but being the timid seven-year-old kid I was, I turned the offer down. I watched her slowly with a spark of interest in my eyes as she punctured her skin with the needle. I later found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and that the “shot” was a part of her chemotherapy. As I grew more comfortable with seeing the needle, I took it upon myself to be her caretaker. This included disinfecting her leg and placing a bandaid, all of which I modeled after my experiences with my pediatrician. It wasn't until Alice called me “The best doctor in town” that my journey to fulfilling this prophecy began. My passion for wanting to become a physician did not only come from the countless hours I spent shadowing or volunteering at hospitals, it is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a south-side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed firsthand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. As my undergraduate research career progressed, I utilized computer science to develop models using Matlab to detect biochemical compounds in different regions of the eye. This sparked an interest in me to merge my love for medicine and computer science. After graduation, I completed a computer science certificate program at NYU to learn how to design, refine, and use machine learning algorithms. With this experience, I wish to develop a program that will help detect diseases, disease outcomes and disease more rapidly based on geographic location and someone’s access to fresh foods, educational support, and medical facilities. My medical contributions will help optimize the way physicians everywhere will medically treat patients. As the field of medicine is constantly evolving, I want to serve on the front and back end of medicine not only catering to the clinical needs of my patients but serving them through advocacy, medical research, community service and community education. People fail to realize the linkage between people’s everyday lives and the impact it has on their medical needs. Medical professionals must understand how the lack of things such as fresh food and medical facilities negatively impacts underserved communities.
    She Rose in Health Scholarship
    “BEEP BEEP”..”BEEP BEEP. The sound of my grandmother’s alarm clock sang as I struggled to get out of bed. The aroma of the pancakes and coffee my grandmother prepared woke the entire house up. My family from San Francisco was visiting for the week and like any only child, I was eager to spend as much time with my older cousins as I possibly could. After breakfast, my cousin went back to her room and I followed, imitating each step. She reached in her luggage and pulled out needles and a clear solution. She pulled her ankle length skirt up just enough to her thigh and began pumping solution into the needle. As I ran back to the door post afraid, I wondered to myself “Why is she giving herself a shot?” She offered to let me get a front row seat, but being the timid seven year old kid I was, I turned the offer down. I watched her slowly with a spark of interest in my eyes as she punctured her skin with the needle. I later found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and that the “shot” was a part of her chemotherapy. As I grew more comfortable with seeing the needle, I took it upon myself to be her caretaker. This included disinfecting her leg and placing a bandaid, all of which I modeled after my experiences with my pediatrician. It wasn't until Alice called me “The best doctor in town” that my journey to fulfilling this prophecy began. My passion for wanting to become a physician did not only come from the countless hours I spent shadowing or volunteering at hospitals, it is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a south side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed first hand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. As my undergraduate research career progressed, I utilized computer science to develop models using matlab to detect biochemical compounds in different regions of the eye. This sparked an interest in me to merging my love for medicine and computer science. After graduation, I completed a computer science certificate program at NYU to learn how to design, refine, and use machine learning algorithms. With this experience, I wish to develop a program that will help detect diseases, disease outcomes and disease more rapidly based on geographic location and someone’s access to fresh foods, educational support, medical facilities. My medical contributions will help optimize the way physicians everywhere will medically treat patients. As the field of medicine is constantly evolving, I want to serve on the front and back end of medicine not only catering to the clinical needs of my patients but serving them through advocacy, medical research, community service and community education. People fail to realize is the linkage between people’s everyday lives and the impact it has on their medical needs. It is crucial that medical professionals understand how the lack of things such as fresh food and medical facilities negatively impact underserved communities. Winning the “She Rose in Health” scholarship will help eliminate the stress and financial barrier of education that I, as a low income student, have continued to face throughout my educational journey.
    @frankadvice National Scholarship Month TikTok Scholarship
    @normandiealise National Scholarship Month TikTok Scholarship
    @GrowingWithGabby National Scholarship Month TikTok Scholarship
    Analtha Parr Pell Memorial Scholarship
    “BEEP BEEP...BEEP BEEP." The sound of my grandmother’s alarm clock sang as I struggled to get out of bed. The aroma of the pancakes and coffee my grandmother prepared woke the entire house up. My family from San Francisco was visiting for the week and like any only child, I was eager to spend as much time with my older cousins as I possibly could. After breakfast, my cousin went back to her room and I followed, imitating each step. She reached in her luggage and pulled out a clear ziplock bag with needles and a clear solution. She pulled her ankle length skirt up just enough to her thigh and began pumping solution into the needle. As I ran back to the door post afraid, I asked Alice “Why are you giving yourself a shot?” puzzled at the thought that someone would willingly give themselves a shot. She replied, “ This is my medicine to help me feel better.” She offered to let me get a front row seat , but being the timid seven year old kid I was, I turned the offer down. I watched her slowly with a spark of interest in my eyes as she punctured her skin with the needle. I later found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and that the “shot” was a part of her intramuscular chemotherapy. As she noticed my interest through the nature of my questions, she continued to invite me to watch her administer the medicine. As I grew more comfortable with seeing the needle, I took it upon myself to be her caretaker. This included disinfecting her leg and placing a bandaid, all of which I modeled after my experiences with my pediatrician. It wasn't until My passion for wanting to become a physician did not only come from the countless hours I spent shadowing or volunteering at hospitals, it is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a south side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed first hand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. My journey to medicine hasn’t been easy. In my darkest moments I have been questioned by my peers, professors, and even myself on why I choose to dedicate my life to gain a medical education. “ Why take quantum physics to become a doctor and not a scientist or engineer and revolutionize medicine that way? “Why not work on public policy and aid in changing policies that prevent disadvantaged communities from receiving adequate health care?” The way in which I choose to revolutionize medicine will encompass all. Many of the greats that have revolutionized medicine had interdisciplinary skills. All of these things are an embodiment of what it truly means to be altruistic as a physician. “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” A medical school education will not only provide me with the ability to improve health outcomes by practicing within disadvantaged communities such as my own but through the scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that can revolutionize the medical system on a global level.
    Female Empowerment Scholarship
    “BEEP BEEP”..”BEEP BEEP. The sound of my grandmother’s alarm clock sang as I struggled to get out of bed. The aroma of the pancakes and coffee my grandmother prepared woke the entire house up. My family from San Francisco was visiting for the week and like any only child, I was eager to spend as much time with my older cousins as I possibly could. After breakfast, my cousin went back to her room and I followed, imitating each step. She reached in her luggage and pulled out a clear ziplock bag with needles and a clear solution. She pulled her ankle length skirt up just enough to her thigh and began pumping solution into the needle. As I ran back to the door post afraid, I asked Alice “Why are you giving yourself a shot?” puzzled at the thought that someone would willingly give themselves a shot. She replied, “ This is my medicine to help me feel better.” She offered to let me get a front row seat , but being the timid seven year old kid I was, I turned the offer down. I watched her slowly with a spark of interest in my eyes as she punctured her skin with the needle. I later found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and that the “shot” was a part of her intramuscular chemotherapy. As she noticed my interest through the nature of my questions, she continued to invite me to watch her administer the medicine. As I grew more comfortable with seeing the needle, I took it upon myself to be her caretaker. This included disinfecting her leg and placing a band aid, all of which I modeled after my experiences with my pediatrician. It wasn't until Alice called me “The best doctor in town” that my journey to fulfilling this prophecy began. My passion for wanting to become a physician is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. Growing up in a south side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed first hand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. This reality led me to an internship at UChicago Urban Labs. Here, I was able to get a better understanding on how public policy greatly affected the health outcomes within different communities. My journey to medicine hasn’t been easy. In my darkest moments I have been questioned by my peers, professors, and even myself on why I choose to dedicate my life to gain a medical education. “ Why not become a scientist and revolutionize medicine that way? “Why not work on public policy and aid in changing policies that prevent communities from receiving adequate health care?” The way I choose to revolutionize medicine will encompass all. Many of the greats that have revolutionized medicine had interdisciplinary skills. All of these things are an embodiment of what it truly means to be altruistic as a physician. “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” A medical school education will not only provide me with the ability to improve health outcomes by practicing within disadvantaged communities such as my own but through the scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that can revolutionize the medical system on a global level.
    Femi Chebaís Scholarship
    "What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Becoming a physician will not only provide me with the ability to improve health outcomes by practicing within disadvantaged communities such as my own but also through the scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that can revolutionize the medical system on a global level.
    William M. DeSantis Sr. Scholarship
    “Life is life” a statement that I would hear all too often from my research advisor after failed experiments. Like any overachieving pre-med student, I began to question my competency anytime I wasn't successful on a chemistry exam or couldn’t wrap my head around quantum physics theories. I thought these things meant the end of my STEM career and journey to medicine. Coming from a lower income background, imposter syndrome would often rattle through my mind until my instinct became fear and shamefulness. It wasn’t until I gave more thought to my advisor's statement that I began to realize that there are things in life that are simply out of my control. I needed to understand that as I began to break new ground and into new territories I will be faced with learning lessons that disguise themselves as failures. Being a trailblazer always comes with learning experiences disguised as failures. As someone who comes from a low income background, most of my peers were drug dealers, in jail, or had fallen victim to the gang violence that plagues Chicago. At the start of my STEM journey, I had no clue how to map out my journey to medicine and struggled to find my place. I didn't fully comprehend these things until my unintentionally, yet much needed gap year. While reflecting on my shortcomings I realized a couple of things. The first one being the common saying of “Good things come to those who wait.” As early as my childhood, I mapped out my life with a very strict timeline not knowing that I was limiting myself. With such sophisticated plans, I left myself little to no room for self improvement. As you grow wiser your plans should evolve. Not executing or excusing a plan later in life does not make you a failure. I wasn’t able to see the transformation of what I had done for my generational mobility because I was too focused on what I had not done. “It is only up from here!”, an expression that brings me to another lesson. Progress rarely comes from those who are content and secure, it comes from those who have been unsettled by what they have seen and experienced. My failures are a reflection of how I am willing to challenge myself academically and personally. I will leave you with part of a poem that continues to inspire to rise to the occasion regardless of past challenges. “Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise. Up from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise.” “Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise! I rise! I rise!”
    Bold Career Goals Scholarship
    Recently I gained a once in a lifetime opportunity of being accepted into medical school. Becoming a doctor has been a lifelong dream of mine. Being raised in a medically underserved area on the southside of Chicago, I have experienced first hand how public health policy, or the lack thereof, has negatively impacted my health as well as the health of my community. Through that experience, I sought out an internship with UChicago Urban labs. Here, I had my first look into how healthcare policy played a crucial role in health inequalities. As an intern, I focused on how healthcare reform can sustainably and reliably improve health outcomes for underserved populations including the homeless, the elderly, and those in the criminal justice system. Coming from a research intensive background, I was provided with the foundation to cater to the needs of my patients through the process of research and discovery. Through my childhood, volunteer, and internship experiences, I realize that patient care starts before you see a patient at the clinic. As the field of medicine is constantly evolving, I want to serve on the front and back end of medicine not only catering to the clinical needs of my patients but serving them through advocacy, medical research, community service and community education. Oftentimes, I have been told by others that my interest in engineering, policy, and computer science should not be mentioned in fear of it appearing that I am not dedicated to medicine. What these people fail to realize is the linkage between people’s everyday lives and the impact it has on their medical needs. It is crucial that medical professionals understand how the lack of things such as educational attainment, fresh food, and medical facilities negatively impact underserved communities.
    Bold Success Scholarship
    My passion for wanting to become a physician is coupled with my experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a southside Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed first hand how health disparities can negatively impact underserved communities. A study conducted by NYU School of Medicine found that Chicago has the largest life expectancy gap in the country. According to the data, I will live 30 years less than more wealthy individuals living just 9 miles away from me. This gap was concluded to be from healthcare inequities. This reality led me to an internship at UChicago Urban Labs. Here, I got a better understanding on how being at the forefront of public policy as an advocating physician is what drives change to improving health outcomes. My journey to medicine hasn’t been easy. In my darkest moments I have been questioned by my peers, professors, and even myself on why I choose to dedicate my life to gain a medical education. “ Why take quantum physics to become a doctor and not a scientist or engineer and revolutionize medicine that way? “Why not work on public policy and aid in changing policies that prevent disadvantaged communities from receiving adequate health care?” The way I choose to revolutionize medicine will encompass all. All of these things are an embodiment of what it means to be altruistic as a physician. “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” A medical school education will not only provide me with the ability to improve health outcomes by practicing within disadvantaged communities such as my own but through the scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that can revolutionize the medical system on a global level.
    Bold Bravery Scholarship
    Growing up in a low-income household on Chicago’s southside, I always felt like I had a predetermined limit to what I could accomplish in life. From an early age, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. My dreams were quickly shot down by peers, teachers, and other adults. Any time I messed up on words when reading a passage in class or couldn’t catch on to topics as quickly as other students, I was met with taunting statements like “ I don’t want you to be my doctor if you can’t read.” This type of embarrassment left me shy and too insecure to accomplish my goals. The self doubt planted in me as a child began to grow and hold me hostage through college. My self doubt led to anxiety, impostor syndrome, and depression whilst I was in college because I didn’t believe I was good enough to be there. I was afraid of being rejected from internships, failing classes, and proving everyone who doubted me right. I allowed the opinions of others to cripple me so much that I didn’t even want to apply to medical school because of everyone telling me that I wouldn’t get in with my stats. Eventually, I got to a point where I was tired of living in fear of the unknown. In 2020 after graduating undergrad, I vowed to myself that no matter what happens I will always pursue my passions regardless of the rejection that may come. This vow led me to doing a solo trip to Mexico, applying and being accepted to medical school, and most importantly gave me back my childlike faith that I do anything that I set my mind to. All you need is one person to believe in you even if that one person is yourself.
    Catrina Celestine Aquilino Memorial Scholarship
    “BEEP BEEP”..”BEEP BEEP. The sound of my grandmother’s alarm clock sang as I struggled to get out of bed. My family from San Francisco was visiting for the week and like any only child, I was eager to spend as much time with my older cousins as I possibly could. After breakfast, my cousin went back to her room and I followed, imitating each step. She reached in her luggage and pulled out a clear ziplock bag with needles and a clear solution. She pulled her ankle length skirt up just enough to her thigh and began pumping solution into the needle. As I ran back to the door post afraid, I asked Alice “Why are you giving yourself a shot?” puzzled at the thought that someone would willingly give themselves a shot. She replied, “ This is my medicine to help me feel better.” She offered to let me get a front row seat, but being the timid seven year old kid I was, I turned the offer down. I watched her slowly with a spark of interest in my eyes as she punctured her skin with the needle. I later found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and that the “shot” was a part of her intramuscular chemotherapy. As she noticed my interest through the nature of my questions, she continued to invite me to watch her administer the medicine. As I grew more comfortable with seeing the needle, I took it upon myself to be her caretaker. This included disinfecting her leg and placing a Band-Aid, all of which I modeled after my experiences with my pediatrician. It wasn't until Alice called me “The best doctor in town” that my journey to fulfilling this prophecy began. My passion for wanting to become a physician is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a south side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed first hand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. According to the data collected by NYU School of Medicine, I will live 30 years less than more wealthy individuals living just 9 miles away from me. The cause of this gap was concluded to be from healthcare inequities. This reality led me to an internship at UChicago Urban Labs where I was able to get a better understanding on how public policy greatly affected the health outcomes within different communities. In my hardest moments, I have been questioned by my peers, professors, and even myself on why I choose to dedicate my life to gain a medical education. “ Why take quantum physics to become a doctor and not a scientist or engineer and revolutionize medicine that way? “Why not work on public policy and aid in changing policies that prevent disadvantaged communities from receiving adequate health care?” All of these things are an embodiment of what it truly means to be altruistic as a physician. “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” On this journey, I will improve health outcomes within disadvantaged communities through scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that will revolutionize the medical system on a global level.
    Bold Goals Scholarship
    My passion for wanting to become a physician is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a south side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed first hand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. A study conducted by NYU School of Medicine found that Chicago has the largest life expectancy gap in the country. According to the data, I will live 30 years less than more wealthy individuals living just 9 miles away from me. This reality led me to an internship at UChicago Urban Labs. Here, I was able to get a better understanding on how public policy greatly affected the health outcomes within different communities. Being at the forefront of public policy as an advocating physician is what drives change to improve health outcomes. My favorite quote is “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” A medical school education will not only provide me with the ability to improve health outcomes by practicing within disadvantaged communities such as my own but through the scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that can revolutionize the medical system on a global level.
    Jae'Sean Tate BUILT Scholarship
    Growing up in a low income single parent household on Chicago's southside, my mother and I often relied on assistance programs such as welfare and food banks to provide food for us. For the first seven years of my life my mother and I shared a bed in the basement of my grandparents’ crowded house. In high school, my mother got laid off from her job which negatively impacted my access to a comfortable living situation. We oftentimes went without lights, water, and heat in Chicago winters. Due to the lack of access to a quality education and mentorship on the southside that many of my undergraduate peers had access to, I struggled with juggling the course work in my STEM classes. As I began undergrad, my mother worked multiple jobs to help circumvent the financial hole that was created from her 3 year lay off. This left me, a first generation STEM student, struggling financially. Due to these circumstances, at times I worked 30+ hours a week in order to qualify for food stamps, buy feminine products, and housing. Working as a full time student made it difficult for me to fulfill other premed requirements. This put a strain on me academically, mentally and emotionally. Although my life comes from a past that is rooted in pain and obstacles I have remained determined to pursue a medical education. Being a trailblazer always comes with learning experiences disguised as failures. As someone who comes from a low income background, most of my peers were drug dealers, in jail, or had fallen victim to the gang violence that plagues Chicago. At the start of my STEM journey, I had no clue how to map out my journey to medicine and struggled to find my place. My setbacks taught me that everyone’s journey is different. My approach to academics needed to be different because my background was different. Most of my classmates went to the best high schools, had a network of people who could assist them through their journey and didn’t have to work their way through college. I took advice from people who had never done what I was doing. As I matured in my academic journey, I realized that mentorship is vital in academic success. Now, close your eyes and picture a beautiful Saturday morning, listen to the birds singing and people are mowing their lawns. The aroma of the pancakes and coffee my grandmother prepared woke the entire house up. My family from San Francisco was visiting for the week and like any only child, I was eager to spend as much time with my older cousins as I possibly could. After breakfast, my cousin went back to her room and I followed, imitating each step. She reached in her luggage and pulled out a clear ziplock bag with needles and a clear solution. She pulled her ankle length skirt up just enough to her thigh and began pumping solution into the needle. As I ran back to the door post afraid, I asked Alice “Why are you giving yourself a shot?” puzzled at the thought that someone would willingly give themselves a shot. She replied, “ This is my medicine to help me feel better.” She offered to let me get a front row seat , but being the timid seven year old kid I was, I turned the offer down. I watched her slowly with a spark of interest in my eyes as she punctured her skin with the needle. I later found out that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer years prior and that the “shot” was a part of her intramuscular chemotherapy. As she noticed my interest through the nature of my questions, she continued to invite me to watch her administer the medicine. As I grew more comfortable with seeing the needle, I took it upon myself to be her caretaker. This included disinfecting her leg and placing a bandaid, all of which I modeled after my experiences with my pediatrician. It wasn't until Alice called me “The best doctor in town” that my journey to fulfilling this prophecy began. Months after Alice left, I saw a doctor’s set in a catalog and begged my mother to get it for me so that I could be “official.” Being seven, I was unable to shadow healthcare providers so I lived vicariously through the physicians I saw on television shows such as Grey’s anatomy and General hospital. Even begging my mom to buy me a doctor's set so that I could practice the techniques I learned on the shows. Although shadowing was not available at the time, when I turned 16, I applied as a volunteer at a hospital near my high school. During this time I learned that the work of a physician was more than just the regular, sometimes forced, check ups I went through to satisfy a school requirement. To be a good physician you first need to embody an altruistic mindset. My passion for wanting to become a physician is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. I witnessed first hand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. As a first generation medical student, this scholarship will offset some of the financial burden that medical school brings. A medical school education will not only provide me with the ability to improve health outcomes by practicing within disadvantaged communities such as my own but through the scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that can revolutionize the medical system on a global level.
    Bold Community Activist Scholarship
    Seventy-five percent of students at the lowest-performing elementary schools in Chicago failed to meet standards on state exams. More than 20 percent of these students scored in the lowest category in reading, meaning they have a difficult time determining the main idea of a persuasive essay or the plot of a short story. I know this story all too well! I was significantly behind my peers in almost every respect when I reached college. As someone who was failed by the Chicago school system, I felt like it was my duty to address the needs of my community by using my talents to serve others. At the core of advocacy is a deeply embedded purpose. It can be defined by me as an act that aims to influence the decisions for economic, political and social systems. What is perceived as a basic human right can be known as a privilege from afar. The civil liberty of education shouldn’t be looked at as a privilege. Currently, I am tutoring and mentoring homeless students at a shelter in my neighborhood. This experience is important to me because I know how it is to be overlooked by a school system when you need extra help as a low income student.
    Robert Lee, Sr. and Bernice Williams Memorial Scholarship
    Growing up in a low income single parent household on Chicago's southside, my mother and I often relied on assistance programs such as welfare and food banks to provide food for us. For the first seven years of my life my mother and I shared a bed in the basement of my grandparents’ crowded house. In highschool, my mother got laid off from her job which negatively impacted my access to a comfortable living situation. We oftentimes went without lights, water, and heat in Chicago winters. As a child, I felt that I had a predetermined limit for what I could accomplish in life. I worked hard to resist the negative influences of my environment and through different clubs, my curiosity for STEM grew into a burning passion for learning more about medicine and wanting to become a physician. As my love for STEM grew, I volunteered at hospitals, joined STEM organizations, and conducted research at the University of Chicago where I used genetic, cell biological and imaging approaches to investigate how organs take on their unique shapes during development. Due to the lack of access to a quality education and mentorship on the southside that many of my undergraduate peers had access to, I struggled with juggling the course work in my STEM classes. As I began undergrad, my mother worked multiple jobs to help circumvent the financial hole that was created from her 3 year lay off. This left me, a first generation STEM student, struggling financially. Due to these circumstances, at times I worked 30+ hours a week in order to qualify for food stamps, buy feminine products, and housing. Working as a full time student made it difficult for me to fulfill other premed requirements. This put a strain on me academically, mentally and emotionally. Although my life comes from a past that is rooted in pain and obstacles I have remained determined to pursue a medical education. All events leading to where I am now have shaped me into becoming a community activist dedicated to inspiring young women to choose a STEM related career. Earning a degree in biochemistry was my stepping stone to become the pioneer woman in STEM I have always dreamt of becoming. Health disparities for minorities is a growing epidemic in the US as well as other countries. I want to help shape the world by bridging the gap so that everyone can have an equal shot at living a long healthy. Throughout my life, I have watched people, including myself, who struggled with common illnesses such as the flu and asthma to more severe illnesses such as heart disease and cancer deny the proper health care they needed simply because they viewed medical treatment as a financial liability. I plan to bridge the gap by giving back to impoverished communities across the nation, starting with the one I grew up in. My goal is to implement free healthcare programs in minority communities so that people will be able to receive health exams and speak with physicians about any health problem they are experiencing. I also have hopes that my program will have the means to provide people with funds to help pay for other medical care cost. A medical school education will not only provide me with the ability to improve health outcomes by practicing within disadvantaged communities such as my own but through the scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that can revolutionize the medical system on a global level.
    Melaninwhitecoats Podcast Annual Scholarship
    My passion for wanting to become a physician did not only come from the countless hours I spent shadowing or volunteering at hospitals, it is coupled with a deeper connection from my own firsthand experiences of medical deserts within my community. As an African American woman growing up in a south side Chicago neighborhood, I witnessed first hand how health disparities negatively impacted me as well as the people around me. Due to the economic and social isolation in communities such as mine, I have watched people struggle with preventable illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer, be denied the proper health care they needed simply because of the lack of quality medical facilities/professionals. A study conducted by NYU School of Medicine found that Chicago has the largest life expectancy gap in the country. According to the data, I will live 30 years less than more wealthy individuals living just 9 miles away from me. The cause of this gap was concluded to be from healthcare inequities. This reality led me to an internship at UChicago Urban Labs. Here, I was able to get a better understanding on how public policy greatly affected the health outcomes within different communities. A take away that I learned from David Meltzer, a physician and the director of UChicago Urban Labs, is that being at the forefront of public policy as an advocating physician is what drives change to improving health outcomes. As the reputation of my city hold true, growing up there were times when I went days without electricity and running water due to financial hardships that my mom was facing. Growing up in a single parent household, I have watched my mom work multiple jobs just to make sure we were able to have basic necessities such as food on the table. In my current position in life, I would like to live a life that is free from worrying about financial hardships. I will use the scholarship money to help off put some of the expenses of medical school. My journey to medicine hasn’t been easy. In my darkest moments I have been questioned by my peers, professors, and even myself on why I choose to dedicate my life to gain a medical education. “ Why take quantum physics to become a doctor and not a scientist or engineer and revolutionize medicine that way? “Why not work on public policy and aid in changing policies that prevent disadvantaged communities from receiving adequate health care?” The way in which I choose to revolutionize medicine in the years to come will encompass all. Many of the greats that have revolutionized medicine had interdisciplinary skills. All of these things are an embodiment of what it truly means to be altruistic as a physician. “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” A medical school education will not only provide me with the ability to improve health outcomes by practicing within disadvantaged communities such as my own but through the scientific innovations, technological improvements, and public policies that can revolutionize the medical system on a global level.