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Keaton Lawson

2305

Bold Points

4x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

Bio

I am a college sophomore and student-athlete at Macalester College for the 2022-2023 school year. I have been building computers since the 8th grade, and my goal is to pursue a computer engineering degree and work for a Fortune 500 company one day. I want to change the world for the better by opening doors for people like me who want to pursue a career in Computer Engineering but don't know or have a clear answer on how to get there. I played basketball and football at Park Center High School, at the varsity level, and took all AP/IB courses, and am currently learning Japanese for a future study abroad in my junior year. I maintained a high GPA throughout high school, and I hope to further my education, and athletics, through hard work and scholarship opportunities.

Education

Macalester College

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • Computer Science
  • Minors:
    • Computer Engineering
  • GPA:
    3.4

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Computer Science
    • Computer Engineering
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Computer Hardware

    • Dream career goals:

      Senior Engineer, Company founder

    • waterpark attendant

      Minneapolis Park Board
      2019 – 2019
    • Online Shopper

      Hy-Vee
      2020 – Present4 years

    Sports

    Football

    Varsity
    2017 – Present7 years

    Basketball

    Varsity
    2019 – Present5 years

    Arts

    • Birch Grove school for the Arts

      Acting
      Shrek the Musical, Peter Pan
      2010 – 2012

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Victory Neighborhood association — lawn care
      2015 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Julia Elizabeth Legacy Scholarship
    I am very aware that I have grown up in a society where the white gaze affects almost every aspect of the lives and careers of minorities. All around me and everywhere I go I see messages telling me what I should be as a black male; be a rapper, a basketball player, a football player, some sort of athlete, or, better yet, be in prison. I know that the preconceived notions of what people of color should be are embedded in almost all aspects of our society, even though we have a black Vice President and recently had a black President. In addition, I live in an area of Minneapolis that always seems to be the focus of negativity about black people. Typically, when I tell somebody I live on the Northside, I get disdain followed up with a look of being sorry. I don’t know if they are sorry for their reaction or sorry for me. As a black male, I rarely hear or see any imagery about becoming a computer engineer, getting a degree in computer science, or landing a big position at a Fortune 500 company in Silicon Valley. Recently, I started to research and learn about statistics for science-related fields for people of color. One of the craziest statistics I saw was that African Americans as a whole make up a staggering 4.3% of total engineering jobs in the United States and they make up 6.3% of total Science & Engineering positions combined. These statistics opened my eyes to how to shut off Science and Engineering fields are and how to shut off they have been to people of color for decades. I have been building computers since I was a kid. I have always been fascinated by technology and was given the space, by my parents, to explore. I wasn’t, however, just given the tools to build, I had to cut grass and shovel show to earn the money to start making the types of computers that I wanted to build. I guess I just didn’t know until recently that there is a real need for me to be an example for other kids of color, as a black leader in the field of Engineering. Diversity and inclusion for people of color need to be thought of in all types of careers, not just public offices. That’s why it is imperative that I take every opportunity to expand my knowledge in computer engineering, and become a catalyst for change in the world.
    Graduate Debt-Free Scholarship
    College debt is a topic that my family discusses often. Both of my parents attended several colleges and universities. My mother attained a master's degree and my father attained a master's degree and a professional degree. My parents have been open and honest with me about college debt. Both of my parents made it clear to me that they are not paying for my college education, if I am going to a college or university, I will need to get scholarships or grants. Since elementary school and throughout my high school career, I knew I was going to attend college and graduate without student debt. I never grasped the difficulty of applying for scholarships until recently. There are not a lot of paths to free education. Students are either good at sports, your parents pay for tuition or you simply apply for as many scholarships as you can find. Not many students utilize the countless scholarship opportunities that are available to them. Most students would rather focus their time and effort on becoming an athlete in their respective sports or satisfying other wants. I have played football and basketball throughout my high school career and wish to continue playing at least one of those sports in college. I am now choosing to commit my time and effort to apply for academic scholarships. For the past two years, I have been searching for different academic scholarships to pay for continuing my education. I have come across some amazing scholarships. I am taking advantage of these opportunities early to stay ahead of the game instead of scrambling at the end of my school year wondering how I'm gonna pay for college. In conclusion, my parent's straightforward attitude on paying for school has forced me to put in the work to earn scholarships. I am completing applications early so that I am prepared to pay for college when I enter. I think It is unfortunate that more students are not taking advantage of the scholarships that are available to them now. Students are often rushing to pay for school at the last minute. I do not plan on following that course. I have plans, and I have goals, and I am going to accomplish all of them. Without scholarship money, I will not be able to attend a college or university. This is why I am taking the initiative to invest my time in my future.
    Mark Caldwell Memorial STEM/STEAM Scholarship
    I was born with a condition called klippel trenaunay weber syndrome. As a ten-year-old, I spent three weeks in a hospital and had two surgeries on an infected hip because of this complication. Hardships never made me weaker. Sure, it may have hampered my ability to do certain things for some time, but it was all just a challenge for me to overcome. My condition caused extra blood vessels to form in my right leg, and as a result, caused me tremendous amounts of pain while in elementary school. I often had to stand in class and rub my leg to get rid of the pain. The condition got so bad that my parents started looking for a permanent solution to my permanent condition. This led us to the discovery of a procedure that would kill off some of the extra blood vessels in my right leg. We went through with the procedure. For the most part, the procedure was a success. The pain in my knee was completely gone. Unfortunately, a few days later the unforeseen side effects of my somewhat invasive procedure would surface. While I was mowing some grass, I felt a sharp pain from my left hip, as if it was stabbed, the pain was only for a moment. Later that evening I was laying down on my couch before going to dinner. It was time for dinner and I suddenly could not get up off of my couch, the pain I had felt earlier was back, but in a much worse way. It was a constant ache in my hip that wouldn't disappear. By nightfall, I was in constant pain that was bringing me to tears. My mom rushed me to a hospital. I had to be picked up by my older brother just to get off of the couch. He gave me a rag to bite down on for the pain. When I got to the emergency room, I was rushed into surgery within the hour of my arrival. The doctors quickly diagnosed me with strep. The strep had slowly settled in my left hip and infected it. The infection was called septic hip. I was told that If I hadn’t come in when I did, the possibility of amputation of my entire left leg would’ve become a reality. After two surgeries, a two-and-a-half-week hospital stay, and a big scar on my left hip, I was discharged from the hospital. After being discharged from the hospital, the only thing I was able to do was take a few steps. I slept on my couch for the entirety of that summer because I was not able to walk up the stairs. I had to be weaned off of the medication and I often stayed awake at night, sweating, and having bad dreams from the withdrawal. My dad took me to the gym every day for three months so I could regain my strength. After three months of hard work, I had about fifty percent strength in my leg, although this did not stop me from participating in football and basketball that school year. I pushed through it because that’s the goal I set for myself. I am now a senior in high school and I am still participating in the sports that I love. Looking back on my past situation now, I really believe that was the catalyst for my steadfast attitude on life. Even though negative things in life are inevitable, you should never let it be an excuse for you to give up on a goal.
    SkipSchool Scholarship
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson is by far, my favorite scientist. Because he is true to himself and unwilling to change his personality and characteristics for anyone, he is able to connect the mass public to the fascinating world of astronomy and astrophysics. He breaks down racial barriers and is a trailblazer In in his field. I am inspired by him because I, too, as an African American, want to be a trailblazer in the field of computer hardware engineering. I am inspired to not only be a computer hardware engineer, but to also be an example and help create pathways for others who, like me, have found a love for working with computers and technology, but do not know how to leverage their talents to make a successful career for themselves.
    Tyrell Terry "Challenge and Opportunity" Scholarship
    Covid-19 was a very unexpected thing for all of us. I feel as if I went from being a sophomore in high school to a full senior in a blink of an eye. For the pandemic to still not be finished is very surreal, to me. Even though Covid has augmented my high school experience by, for example, cutting my football and basketball seasons and forcing me to stay indoors for a huge portion of my life, I made the most of my quarantine by staying focused not only on my present but also on my future. This focus came in the form of me researching my future desire to be a computer engineer. I have researched the parameters of the profession from how much it pays, to opportunities for students of cole and finding the correct path towards that career. College is a must for me so a degree in Computer Engineering, or Computer Science, as well as a master’s in one of the two fields, would set me up for success. The next step was doing my research on colleges and the degrees they offered, as well as the most daunting task; figuring out how to pay for it. I’ve done my research on the types of colleges I would like to attend. Because I have always been pretty much the only African American male in my AP and IB classes in high school, I am used to the smaller class sizes. In fact, these classes have been very conducive to my learning style. I know that smaller liberal arts colleges could give me the opportunity to continue with this type of learning environment. In addition, ‘Co-vacation’ has also made me determined to try to play sports, collegiately. I know that I am not a division one athlete, but I am determined to attend a college where I can still play either football or basketball. Playing sports has been very beneficial to me in that I have learned how to be a better student because I understand what it is to be a student-athlete. I come from a home that stressed academics first, sports second, and this philosophy has given me the drive to use sports as an outlet that helps me be better in the classroom. Focusing on my future during covid also forced me to think about how am I going to pay for the future that I envision for myself. Sure colleges give you basic scholarships based on your grades and ACT scores, but covering the rest of the costs is on you. I began utilizing websites like RaiseMe and Bold.org, to begin my hunt for the crucial and much-needed funding for my education. It is through this research that I found this scholarship and I am hoping that you understand, through reading this essay, how determined I am to take advantage of every opportunity that I am fortunate to get to invest in my education. In conclusion, Covid-19 has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience that the entire world will remember for generations to come. But I will remember it as a time of reflection, growth, and investment into my future. I hope that all of my hard work over these past two years will result In a world-class education at a price I will not have to be afraid to look at, maybe even won’t even be a price to look at, one can only dream, fortunate enough for me, I plan to turn my dreams into reality.
    Black Students in STEM Scholarship
    I have often been the only black or brown face in my high-performance classes. Even though this felt isolating, I was never allowed to switch out because I was being prepared for excellence. The concept of excellence can be confusing when you feel that you are the only minority speaking up in an era when others feel more entitled to openly share their opinions about race. I am very aware that I live in a society where the white gaze affects almost every aspect of the lives and careers of minorities. All around me and everywhere I go I see messages telling me what I should be as a black male; be a rapper, a basketball player, a football player, some sort of athlete, or, better yet, be in prison. I know that the preconceived notions of what people of color should be are embedded in almost all aspects of our society, even though we have a black Vice President and recently had a black President, what I rarely hear or see any imagery about is a black male becoming a computer engineer, getting a degree in computer science, or landing a big position at a Fortune 500 company in Silicon Valley. Recently, I started to research and learn about statistics for science-related fields for people of color. One of the craziest statistics I saw was that African Americans as a whole make up a staggering 4.3% of total engineering jobs in the United States and they make up 6.3% of total Science & Engineering positions combined. These statistics opened my eyes to how to shut off Science and Engineering fields are, and how to shut off they have been for decades, to people of color. I have been building computers since I was a kid. I have always been fascinated by technology and was given the space, by my parents, to explore. I wasn’t, however, just given the tools to build, I had to cut grass and shovel show to earn the money to start making the types of computers that I wanted to build. I guess I just didn’t know until recently that there is a real need for me to be an example for other kids of color, to follow a science pathway to adulthood. Diversity and inclusion for people of color need to be thought of in all types of careers, not just public offices. I am inspired to not only be a computer hardware engineer, but to also be an example and help create pathways for others who, like me, have found a love for working with computers and technology, but do not know how to leverage their talents to make a successful career for themselves.