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Katarina Salisbury

1045

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I plan to attend medical school, specializing in psychiatry. I am motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. I am a compassionate, service-oriented person. I'm passionate about helping individuals and improving larger systems in mental health care.

Education

Davidson College

Bachelor's degree program
2024 - 2028
  • Majors:
    • Psychology, General
  • Minors:
    • Medicine

Lafayette High School

High School
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Psychology, Other
    • Medicine
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mental Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      Sports

      Weightlifting

      2022 – Present2 years

      Bowling

      Varsity
      2021 – Present3 years

      Research

      • Psychology, Other

        Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families — volunteer; participated in trainings; offered state legislative testimony about the experiences of bereaved children
        2021 – Present

      Arts

      • School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA)

        Music
        solos at choral concerts; 2 x a year jury evaluations
        2020 – Present

      Public services

      • Advocacy

        Kentucky House Interim Joint Committee on Families and Children — Speaker
        2023 – 2023
      • Volunteering

        Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families — Co-leader of evidence-based 8 week support groups for teens
        2021 – Present
      • Volunteering

        Annie's Answer Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy — volunteer; camp counselor
        2021 – Present

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Volunteering

      Janean D. Watkins Aspiring Healthcare Professionals Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--using my future role in healhcare to improve the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Janean D. Watkins Overcoming Adversity Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Jeanie A. Memorial Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Harriett Russell Carr Memorial Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, but I also know that I had a supportive mom and school counselor who advocated for me. Many kids do not have that, and so I'm dedicated to working with and serving them. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Scholarship Institute’s Annual Women’s Leadership Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. So I became committed to being a leader in the field of childhood grief and started using my voice and experience to help others. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. The initial curriculum included assumptions of beach vacations and in-depth knowledge of Jon Kabat Zinn’s principles of mindfulness. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens in Kentucky. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Autumn Davis Memorial Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens in Kentucky. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Women in Healthcare Scholarship
      Winner
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. Through my own and my volunteer experience, I've noticed it's especially hard for girls to advocate for their needs in a mental health setting. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children, especially young women. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children and transforming systems.
      Brian J Boley Memorial Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens in Kentucky. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Mental Health Empowerment Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens in Kentucky. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced losses and the stigma of mental health issues.
      Elizabeth Schalk Memorial Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens in Kentucky. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am now motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. Through my coursework I’m also interested in exploring how healthcare and other educational systems are structured. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. The initial curriculum included assumptions of beach vacations and in-depth knowledge of Jon Kabat Zinn’s principles of mindfulness. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens in Kentucky. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship
      My father died by suicide when I was 5 years old. In the years that followed, I was bullied for that loss, told to get over it, and made to feel different. When my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close after my dad's death, died suddenly and traumatically when I was 13, I struggled with extreme anxiety and feelings of isolation. I connected with an equine therapy center that focused on working with children with loss, trauma, and abuse. I used to joke that I was going to "horse camp for traumatized kids." But I found incredible healing and acceptance, both from the staff and the horses there. A few years later I started volunteering with the center that had helped me so much through a very dark time in my life. I am deeply motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. The initial curriculum included assumptions of beach vacations and in-depth knowledge of Jon Kabat Zinn’s principles of mindfulness. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens in Kentucky. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. I have come from a place where I had little hope to a place where I can be a source of hope for other kids and teens with death losses. The systems that exist, especially school systems, are not set up well to support bereaved children. This fall I was able to testify before our state legislative committee for families and children about my experiences and what help that I needed that didn't yet exist at the state and local level. I want to fight for others to get the help and supports they need, and I have already started using my voice at a state and national level to do that. I know that this is my life's work--improving the experiences of other children who have experienced big losses.
      VonDerek Casteel Being There Counts Scholarship
      I've been bullied for having lost my father to suicide when I was 5. People told me everything from "Your dad is in hell because of how he died" to "You just need to get over it." I was lucky to have a mom who could support me and advocate for me, but not everyone who experiences loss gets that support at home. So my plan is to attend medical school, specializing in adolescent psychiatry. I am motivated by my own experiences as a child who lost her father at a young age. I had trouble finding the right therapeutic supports, as do many of the kids I work with. I volunteered with a young woman whose life I saw transformed by finding the right combination of medications. I was in awe at the positive change in her, and that experience has inspired me to become an adolescent psychiatrist. I’m very interested in the psychology of grief and how it presents in adolescents and young adults. I had the unique opportunity to be part of a national team developing a teen-led grief support curriculum. With a team that ranged from a social worker to a med student to three high schoolers, we tested the proposed curriculum. Though we all had a shared bereavement experience, each of us had access to different grief resources and tools that had led us on our own path. As someone who had experienced traumatic and stigmatized loss, I helped the group understand that losses can be perceived very differently and made sure the language and tone of the curriculum reflected that. One example of this was that instead of saying “your loved one,” I encouraged the team to change the wording to “your person who died” in order to acknowledge that stigmatized grievers may have a complicated relationship with the person who died. I also worked to make sure that the curriculum remained accessible to teens with rural backgrounds and fewer educational or socioeconomic resources. The original curriculum assumed that participants would have knowledge and experiences that reflected a privileged background. The initial curriculum included assumptions of beach vacations and in-depth knowledge of Jon Kabat Zinn’s principles of mindfulness. So, I advocated for language and concept changes that would better serve teens in Kentucky. Because I was included in this space, I was able to bring different perspectives that improve a resource and made it more accessible to an increased number of people who would benefit from it. This scholarship would benefit me by making college more affordable for me so I can save for medical school. I want to be able to help others, working especially with nonprofits and services focused on lower income and vulnerable children and teens who need mental health supports.