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Malakai Chappell

5865

Bold Points

4x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I'm an aspiring game designer fresh out of Job Corps. Growing up, I never had ambitious goals. My parents were both college dropouts who saw no value in traditional education, so I was homeschooled until the middle of 11th grade. Then, because we couldn’t afford the workbooks, I started helping out in my parents’ print shop. I expected to work there all my life, but when I was 21, my mom left and the shop went under. I moved to Oregon and got my GED, passing three of four tests with college-ready scores despite my truncated schooling. Soon after, I found work washing dishes and moved into my first apartment. This was when my anxiety and depression flared up. My upbringing had been socially isolated, so being surrounded by people was overstimulating. I dreaded going to work and eventually quit. Six months later I was homeless. But I joined a Job Corps program to learn office administration, and despite a speed bump courtesy of Covid, I earned my certification in August of 2021. Today I’m on medication and have more energy and motivation than I’ve had in years. I’m living onsite at the Job Corps center while I wait to start at Portland State University, and I hold multiple student leadership positions. My plan for college is to study computer science and video game design so I can make educational games. I hope to intern at an established company at some point during my education so I can start my career as soon as possible. Thank you for taking the time to read to the end. A scholarship would be a wonderful opportunity, and I hope you’ll consider me in your decision.

Education

Portland State University

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2027
  • Majors:
    • Computer Science
  • Minors:
    • Film/Video and Photographic Arts

Home School Experience

High School
2000 - 2012
  • Majors:
    • Computer Science
  • Minors:
    • Film/Video and Photographic Arts

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

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

    • Dream career field:

      Computer Games

    • Dream career goals:

      Indie game developer

    • Student Worker

      Springdale Job Corps
      2021 – 2021
    • Cold Caller

      StoneRidge Payments
      2019 – 2019
    • Dietary Aide

      Brookdale Rose Valley
      2016 – 20182 years

    Sports

    None

    2021 – Present3 years

    Awards

    • None

    Research

    • Education, General

      Personal Use — As a hobby writer, I frequently need to look up information and learn how things work. Prominent subjects include psychology, sociology, and science.
      2011 – Present

    Arts

    • Basin Library

      Drawing
      My local library held a silent art auction that gave half the money from sales to the artist, and half to charity. I sold one peice for $10.
      2009 – 2009

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Basin Library — I helped to set up the annual book sale.
      2010 – 2010
    • Volunteering

      Springdale Job Corps — Student Government; Treasurer
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Springdale Job Corps — Administrative Dorm Leader
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Free Geek — Taking apart old computers and sorting the pieces for recycling.
      2019 – 2019

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Entrepreneurship

    Bold Loving Others Scholarship
    I'm an introvert who prefers my own company, so the primary way I express love is by spending time with people. Frequently that means playing games or watching movies together, sharing a meal, or just spending time in the same room with them. I also enjoy cooking for people, though because of my depression, I don't always have the energy for it. For me, though, it's more about feeding people than the act of preparing food, so it works just as well to give them small items like Hershey's kisses. It's nicely low-effort and works just as well to show them I care. When I can't be with people in person, I prefer real-time communication over emails because it's the next closest thing to being together physically. I also find short messages easier to reply to than long emails, so it's easier for me to socialize without burning myself out.
    Bold Joy Scholarship
    To me, joy is more than just happiness. It's a zest for life and excitement for new experiences more commonly found among children than adults. Unfortunately, with all the stresses and responsibilities of adult life, moments of pure joy can be few and far between in older populations. That's why, for adults, seeking out joy is a must. I experience it rarely, but I'm always on the lookout for opportunities. Joy most frequently comes to me when I'm sharing my latest piece of art or a story chapter with someone else. Writing and digital art are my favorite hobbies, but while the act of working on them makes me happy, joy is something I only find when I share the results. As an animal lover, I also deeply enjoy playing with dogs and cats, watching videos of animals at play, and catching a glimpse of wildlife like deer and raccoons.
    Bold Perseverance Scholarship
    In 2019 I became homeless. It was my fault, to an extent. I'd quit my previous job in favor of a new one, but it turned out that telemarketing wasn't something I was good at. After a couple of months, I quit that job too, motivated by a two-hour commute and the belief that quitting would look better on my record than getting fired. I'd saved some money before quitting the first job, but it only lasted me until June. I moved out of my apartment rather than wait to be evicted and went to a homeless shelter instead. Thanks to Covid, that shelter would be my home for over a year. The staff told me about Job Corps, and I enrolled as soon as I could. I chose to study office administration and made rapid progress until the pandemic started and Oregon went into lockdown. After a month, Job Corps resumed training online. But because I didn't have the programs I needed on my laptop, I moved to an onsite location accepting students who didn't have stable housing. Eventually, the teachers could come on campus again, and face-to-face instruction resumed. In August of 2021, I finally completed my administration program. I planned to go straight into the workforce, but as it turned out, finding both housing and a job with starting dates that lined up right was an issue. At the recommendation of my career counselor, I turned my attention to a college that offers on-campus housing. I'm still homeless, but I have a plan to get from college to secure housing, and if it doesn't work out, I'll try something else. Being homeless during the pandemic and simultaneously trying to better my situation has forced me to adapt in ways I hadn't known I could before it happened.
    Bold Simple Pleasures Scholarship
    When I need to relax, few things make me happier than putting on some music and doing something creative. Writing and digital art are my favorite activities, but any design work that involves visual elements or storytelling is great for taking my mind off things for a while. I love turning my imagination into reality, whether it's putting the story in my head on paper, bringing a mental image into the physical realm, or building a whole website. Because I also like puzzles, even running into problems can be enjoyable. Figuring out how to make things work the way I want them to is fun, and it's rewarding to fix issues that come up. I'm always looking to improve my skills and learn new things, too, so problems provide a means of obtaining that growth. There's nothing quite like looking over a finished product and seeing how far I've come.
    Bold Great Minds Scholarship
    Benjamin Franklin is well known as a politician and scientist, and of course, as one of the Founding Fathers of the US. In many ways, he was what we would now consider an activist: he went vegetarian at a young age, advocated for freedom of speech long before it became a right, and opposed slavery later in life. He also supported vaccination, believing it was safer than catching a frequently fatal illness. To me, the most admirable thing about Franklin is that he was a flawed man who recognized and accepted those flaws without letting them take over. He had a clearly defined set of principles and, while he didn't always live up to them, he believed that he was a better person for making the attempt. An all-or-nothing attitude is, unfortunately, a hallmark of modern society, especially where morals are concerned. Many will point to a single instance of an advocate acting against their message as hypocrisy and claim it as proof that they don't live by the principles they defend. However, this sort of thinking is inherently flawed because humans don't live in isolation from their environment. Even the most well-meaning people will find themselves in situations where they have to make exceptions to their own rules, simply because of how our society is structured. For my part, I feel that society would do better to adopt Benjamin Franklin's approach and accept that no one can follow their ideals perfectly. The world can always use more kindness, and it's more productive to acknowledge the nine times a person makes an effort than to criticize them for the one time they slip up.
    Dr. Samuel Attoh Legacy Scholarship
    To me, legacy is what you leave behind when you're gone. It can be anything: inventions, memories, inspiration. Any impact you leave on others, positive or negative, is your legacy. When I was growing up, my dad was the one who stayed home with the kids. He did computer repairs for people around town for a while, then changed his focus to graphic design after he and my mom purchased a small print shop. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke in 2011, but that didn't stop him from picking up 3D modeling and animation as well. He was the creative mind behind the business and designed advertisements, T-shirts, and images for customers. Graphic design was just one aspect of who he was; just one of his many talents. My dad was a photographer, a gardener, an inventor, and an entrepreneur to the core. In the years before he died, he became stressed and bitter, but I best remember him as someone who loved cooking and baking, had a passion for art, and was never happier than when he was making something new. I always took after him far more than I did my mom. I started drawing when I was young and was helping in the garden as soon as I was old enough to plant seeds. Then, as I grew older, I became involved in several of his entrepreneurial endeavors, from packing vegetables for him to take to the local farmer's market to watching the small candy shop he started in an unused room of the print shop. Sadly, my dad passed in 2019. But I like to think his passion lives on. Now that I'm an adult choosing my own career path, I'm looking to harness my own creativity and interest in computers, and develop skills that I can use in entrepreneurial pursuits. Both graphic design and advertising interest me from a business perspective, but I primarily want to turn my talents to video game design. Alongside everything else, my dad was a gamer. Some of my earliest memories are of watching him play games on our old Super Nintendo, and many of my favorite games are ones that he enjoyed. There are a lot of games I want to develop - more than is realistic for a single person - but I know at least one has to be the sort of game he would have liked to play. It seems only fitting after he inspired me so much.
    Susy Ruiz Superhero Scholarship
    When I met my career counselor for the first time, he told me that he knows college graduates who don't know how to stream video games or plug in a computer mouse. On the surface that sounds like he sees no value in college, but his intention was very different: he wanted to convince me that if those graduates could handle college, so can I. I came to Job Corps with the intention of completing an office administration course and finding a job as soon as possible. My parents were both college dropouts who saw no point in higher education, so I grew up believing that it serves no purpose unless you're going to medical school or similar. I felt that my best course of action from a financial standpoint was to enter the workforce and go from there. My counselor didn't change my mind on that first meeting. But it was only the first of many conversations about the topic. Eventually, I learned that a local community college offers a two-year degree for video game design - my industry of choice - and I finally agreed to give it a shot. My counselor helped me fill out the application and sign up for FAFSA, but because of Covid regulations, I was unable to take the necessary placement tests to sign up for classes. For a while I returned to my original goal of starting work, but in perusing job listings, I saw college degrees listed as requirements everywhere. It seemed as though every field I was interested in wanted some level of higher education, even when the job was classed as entry level. It was frustrating, but it wasn't long before my counselor suggested another course of action: a degree in computer science from a college that would accept my GED scores in lieu of entrance exams. I agreed to try again, so we filled out a new application and my counselor arranged for a transcript of my GED scores to be sent to the college admissions office. We haven't yet heard whether I'll be accepted or not, but my counselor thinks that with my scores, I'll have no trouble getting in. Either way, I wouldn't have even tried without his encouragement. And if I don't get in, I can always try again somewhere else. I'm committed to the college path now, so it's no longer a matter of if I'll attend. Only of when.
    AMPLIFY Diversity in Technology Scholarship
    Like anything else, technology is designed for its intended users. The defaults are established with a specific audience in mind, and any modifications, like those required for accessibility, are made only when there becomes a need for them. Sometimes this isn't a problem because the defaults are universal enough that almost anyone can use them. A light switch, for example, can be flipped by anyone who can reach it, even if their hands are full. But as technology becomes more complicated, it begins to reflect the priorities - and sometimes the biases - of its human developers. A surprising example of bias influencing technology is GPS. Some GPS systems provide the user with multiple routes to their destination, allowing them to choose their path, while others only offer the route determined by the system's algorithms as the "best" route. But those algorithms are written by humans, and if the programmers have a conscious or unconscious bias against other races, that bias can affect how they code the system. That means the GPS might perceive specific communities as "undesirable" and adjust its route to avoid that community. Problems like the above can be avoided with a diverse team because different perspectives reduce the possibility of bias and design flaws. It's especially important that minorities have a voice in projects meant to help them, but even technology used in everyday life can benefit from a diverse perspective. As an aspiring game designer, I want to develop games that are educational in some way. So many students struggle, especially with abstract subjects like history, because they learn best by doing. They need physical movement to help them focus or build associations, or they don't quite understand things until they do it themselves. In some ways, traditional schooling can accommodate this need, but some subjects just don't lend themselves well to physical activities. Educational games could be invaluable for learning facts and practicing skills. Games set during historical eras would make it much easier for students to retain information about major events and people because they would be taking part in those events and getting to know the people as characters. Science-based games could cover all sorts of subjects while reinforcing math skills and going over the topic's history. One of the greatest benefits of games is that they can go into more detail than a traditional class, and they can be made for virtually any topic. Players could learn about the major exports of various countries through games with a focus on trade and economy or learn to read music by using their keyboards to follow along with songs. Even a relatively short, simple game could lay the foundation for more advanced skills. Given a choice between having fun and reading a boring textbook, too many students will choose fun over responsibility. But there's no reason why learning can't be fun, and games can provide both the emotional engagement required to stay focused and the repetition needed to learn skills. Gaming might not replace traditional education, but it shouldn't be overlooked as a learning aid either. And with so many students currently struggling in school, it's past time we consider alternative means.
    Deborah's Grace Scholarship
    In 2019 I became homeless. It was my fault, to an extent. I had quit my previous job in favor of a new one, but it turned out that telemarketing wasn't something I was good at. After only a couple of months I quit that job as well, motivated by a two-hour commute and the belief that quitting would look better on my track record than getting fired. I'd saved some money prior to quitting the first job, but it only lasted me until June. I moved out of my apartment rather than wait to be evicted, and went to a homeless shelter instead. Thanks to Covid, that shelter would be my home for over a year. The staff told me about the Job Corps training program for young adults and I enrolled as soon as I could. My program of choice was office administration, and I made rapid progress up until the pandemic started and Oregon went into lockdown. When it became clear that the situation wouldn't end any time soon, Job Corps resumed training online. But because I didn't have the programs I needed on my laptop, I soon moved to an onsite location that was accepting students who didn't have stable housing. Our education continued online for a while longer, but eventually the teachers were able to come on campus again and face to face instruction resumed. In August of 2021, I finally completed my administration program. My plan was to go straight into the workforce when I finished, but as it turned out, finding both housing and a job with starting dates that lined up right was an issue. At the recommendation of my career councilor, I turned my attention to a college that offers on-campus housing. As I'm still homeless, this adversity hasn't technically been overcome. But I have a plan to get from college to secure housing, and if it doesn't work out as intended, I'll try something else. Being homeless during the pandemic, and trying to better my situation at the same time, has forced me to adapt in ways I hadn't known I could before it happened. My hope is that I can take everything I've learned, both from being homeless and the events that led to it, and set myself up for a healthier financial life in the future. When I have the means, I also want to give back to shelters like the one that took me in, so other homeless people have an opportunity to rebuild their lives.
    Loan Lawyers 2021 Annual Scholarship Competition
    To me, financial freedom means having enough money to pay for everything I need without help and without having to work multiple jobs. This includes any items and services required to maintain a home and live a healthy life, even if those items and services are an unexpected cost. That last point means financial freedom should also come with the ability to save money for emergencies without compromising my quality of life. Unfortunately, this degree of financial stability is hard for the average person to reach. With minimum wage set well below a living wage, many are forced to work multiple jobs just to pay their bills, never mind live comfortably. Even those who can manage with only one job have to take on additional work if they don't want to be left living paycheck to paycheck. I don't want to be one of those people who has to work two jobs and budget every penny to make a living. My only alternatives are to either find work that pays really well, which is somewhat out of my control since I can't be certain of being hired, or find a way to make extra money without an extra job. I have more control over the latter, so I would rather find a secondary source of income. College is actually a great time to start building toward financial freedom, because student loans and scholarships can pay a large part of my expenses. That frees me up to play the long game, and take steps that yield bigger rewards over time. I've already taken one such step by placing the majority of my money in a high-interest savings account. I also made my very first investment by signing up for the Aspiration Redwood Fund. Another slow-but-steady approach is the use of rewards programs for things I already do, like shopping and web browsing. Programs like these don't usually pay much, but they're also low effort, and can save you money with gift cards or cash rewards. I like to transfer monetary rewards to my savings account to boost the return on interest. Financial freedom is hard to obtain, no matter how you go about it. It takes a lot of time, work, or both. But it doesn't hurt to try; as long as you aren't overworking yourself, the worst that can happen is that you'll have a little extra money in your pocket, and who wouldn't like that?
    Bold Mentor Scholarship
    One of my earliest memories is of being nine or ten years old and helping my brother learn multiplication. We were both homeschooled, but because our parents were always busy, our primary teachers were workbooks. Since I was the older of us, and two grades ahead of my brother, it often fell to me to help him when he was struggling. Fast forward 15 years and I'm in a Job Corps program, where I spent part of 2021 tutoring my fellow students in elementary level math. It was unexpectedly satisfying, and for a while it was the highlight of my day to watch my mentee finally pick up a skill and burn through their assignments without help. I stayed with that class until everyone was managing on their own. I have no special desire to be a teacher, but it's always gratifying to help someone learn a skill. Our education system rarely takes individual learning styles into account, and it bothers me when students struggle because the class isn't designed for them. Mentoring lets me help those students, however slightly, and for me that's all the impact I need.
    Bold Art Matters Scholarship
    One of my favorite paintings is "Spirits of the Wild" by Chuck Black. I've loved wolves since I was a kid, and this painting has them everywhere: in the water, the moon, the trees, and even playing together among the stars. From an artistic standpoint, I love how masterfully the wolves are hidden throughout the painting. Every time I think I've found them all, I spot another one. It's a clever way to hold people's attention, and the painting itself is just beautiful. On a more personal level, this painting gives me a profound sense of connectedness. The wolf stands alone as it howls at the moon, yet nothing about the image feels lonely. If anything, it feels like the wolf has found its family after a long journey, and now sings its song knowing that even if the others are dead, they're still a part of the world around it. And that it will eventually join them in their eternal watch over their kin.
    Bold Art Scholarship
    One of my favorite paintings is "Spirits of the Wild" by Chuck Black. I've loved wolves since I was a kid, and this painting has them everywhere: in the water, the moon, the trees, and even playing together among the stars. From an artistic standpoint, I love how masterfully the wolves are hidden throughout the painting. Every time I think I've found them all, I spot another one. It's a clever way to hold people's attention, and the painting itself is just beautiful. On a more personal level, this painting gives me a profound sense of connectedness. The wolf stands alone as it howls at the moon, yet nothing about the image feels lonely. If anything, it feels like the wolf has found its family after a long journey, and now sings its song knowing that even if the others are dead, they're still a part of the world around it. And that it will eventually join them in their eternal watch over their kin.
    Bold Science Matters Scholarship
    My favorite scientific discoveries have to do with the brain. If I had to choose just one, I would probably go with the way our brains can compensate for missing lobes by creating new pathways for information, but everything about the brain and mind is fascinating to me. My one regret is that so many opportunities for learning throughout history have come through tragic circumstances. Thankfully, as our knowledge deepens, our ability to treat brain damage and psychological trauma grows. We already know so much about the way brains work and process information, and we're slowly phasing out harmful and outdated treatments in favor of more effective, kinder remedies. My hope is that with time, we'll find ways to prevent or even reverse illnesses associated with aging and genetic defects so more people can have a better quality of life. Whatever discoveries come next, I can't wait to see them.
    Breanden Beneschott Ambitious Entrepreneurs Scholarship
    My ultimate goal is to design and promote computer games that aren't just fun, they're educational. Ever since I discovered phone apps that teach through games, the app store has been my first stop whenever I want to learn something. I'm the kind of person who has trouble sticking with new skills for a prolonged period of time, especially when I'm learning on my own. So apps and games are a great way to hold my attention. I can't always find an app that works for me, but anything that keeps me coming back for even a week is more effective than a course I forget about after one lesson. I'm not the only one who has this problem. So many students struggle, especially with abstract subjects like history, because they learn best by doing. They need physical movement to help them focus, or to build associations, or they just don't quite understand things until they do it themselves. In some ways, traditional schooling can accommodate this need, but some subjects just don't lend themselves well to physical activities. Educational games could be invaluable for learning facts and practicing skills. Games set during historical eras would make it much easier for students to retain information about major events and people, because they would be taking part in those events and getting to know the people as characters. Science-based games could cover all sorts of subjects while reinforcing math skills and going over the history of the topic. One of the major benefits of games is that they can go into more detail than a traditional class, and they can be made for virtually any topic. Players could learn about the major exports of various countries through games with a focus on trade and economy, or learn to read music by using their keyboards to follow along with songs. Even a fairly short, simple game could lay the foundation for more advanced skills. My hope is to bridge that gap by both designing my own educational games and promoting those designed by others. There are already a lot of games out there with educational value, but not all of them are obvious about it, especially if they're not being sold as educational games. The Assassin's Creed series, for example, is marketed for action/adventure and stealth mechanics, but its historical accuracy is such that students can learn real facts from it. I think it would be amazing to have more games like these that blend real world knowledge with an engaging story and gameplay. Given a choice between having fun and reading a boring textbook, too many students will choose fun over responsibility. But there's no reason why learning can't be fun, and games can provide both the emotional engagement required to stay focused, and the repetition needed to learn skills. Gaming might not replace traditional education, but it shouldn't be overlooked as a learning aid either. And with so many students currently struggling in school, it's past time we consider alternative means.
    Bold Generosity Matters Scholarship
    To me, generosity is giving something to someone without expecting anything in return. This can mean physical items, but it could also mean spending time with someone or doing things for them. Generosity and altruism are not the same thing. Often, generosity is approached as a selfless sacrifice; something you do without concern for your own desires or well-being. But while this can sometimes be the case, giving to others is no less meaningful because you want to keep something for yourself. In some cases, giving up something you want can be more meaningful than giving something you don't care about. Similarly, while generosity is usually lauded as something you should strive for even when you don't have enough for yourself, there are limits to how far you can realistically take it. Even virtues can become self-destructive when taken too far, and it's rarely worth giving until there's nothing left of you. After a certain point you have to take care of yourself, even if others call you selfish for it. And that, too, can be more meaningful than giving all you are. You can help more people by keeping yourself in a position to continue than by destroying yourself for one or two people.
    Bold Know Yourself Scholarship
    I'm open-minded and willing to learn from my mistakes. It's not always easy to admit to being wrong, especially when it's about a deeply held belief. A lot of people will just dig in their heels and hold more tightly to their perceptions when called on them, no matter how flawed or harmful those beliefs are. Even when there is no clear right or wrong, people on both sides of the issue tend to cling to extremes rather than consider that the other party might have a point. No human is immune to bias, myself included. But I try to remember to examine my beliefs and why I hold them, and if I realize I'm getting worked up over nothing, I do my best to let it go. Behaviors are harder to change, but I try to check in with those too, especially when I know I've had trouble with something in the past. Most importantly, I try to be nice to myself when I do inevitably slip up. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and it doesn't do me any good to beat myself up over something that might not even be a big deal.
    Bold Love Yourself Scholarship
    I love myself for being open-minded and willing to learn from my mistakes. It's not always easy to admit to being wrong, especially when it's about a deeply held belief. A lot of people will just dig in their heels and hold more tightly to their perceptions when called on them, no matter how flawed or harmful those beliefs are. Even when there is no clear right or wrong, people on both sides of the issue tend to cling to extremes rather than consider that the other party might have a point. No human is immune to bias, myself included. But I try to remember to examine my beliefs and why I hold them, and if I realize I'm getting worked up over nothing, I do my best to let it go. Behaviors are harder to change, but I try to check in with those too, especially when I know I've had trouble with something in the past. Most importantly, I try to be nice to myself when I do inevitably slip up. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and it doesn't do me any good to beat myself up over something that might not even be a big deal.
    Bold Influence Scholarship
    I would advocate for people with disabilities and chronic illness. Today's society places heavy emphasis on always doing your best and pushing until you succeed. No matter what stands in our way, the mantra is, "don't give up", "no excuses", "try harder". Often, people with disabilities are held up as a source of inspiration that also manages to be very shaming: "they didn't let their disability stop them, so what's your excuse?" For some people, this form of motivation works. But for the majority, it's an endless source of stress, shame, and self-loathing. We aren't meant to give our all 100% of the time. We need time to rest and have fun, otherwise our physical and mental health suffers. And for people who already struggle with their health, stress can be especially debilitating. We as a society would benefit tremendously from placing less emphasis on constant activity and more emphasis on self-care. Encouraging people to push themselves to their limit is not only harmful for those with health concerns, it creates problems for people who didn't previously have them. And disability is already prevalent enough without forcing otherwise healthy people to the point of needing their own diagnosis.
    Bold Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    Mental health concerns of all sorts are typically accompanied by some degree of anxiety or depression. Even those without specific diagnoses can experience symptoms when under high levels of stress, or outright develop disorders. For this reason, I think a good way to help people with their mental health is to encourage rest and self-care as a normal part of a productive life. Today's society places heavy emphasis on always doing your best and pushing until you succeed. No matter what stands in our way, the mantra is, "don't give up", "no excuses", "try harder". Often, people with disabilities are held up as a source of inspiration that also manages to be very shaming: "they didn't let their disability stop them, so what's your excuse?" For some people, this form of motivation works. But for the majority, it's an endless source of stress, shame, and self-loathing. We aren't meant to give our all 100% of the time. We need time to rest and have fun, otherwise our physical and mental health suffers. And for people who already struggle with mental health, stress can be especially debilitating. We as a society would benefit tremendously from placing less emphasis on constant activity and more emphasis on self-care. Encouraging people to push themselves to their limit is not only harmful for those with mental health concerns, it creates problems for people who didn't previously have them. And mental illness is already prevalent enough without forcing otherwise healthy people to the point of needing their own diagnosis.
    Bold Hope for the Future Scholarship
    I'm not a natural optimist. Because I've struggled with anxiety and depression for years, it's usually easier to take a pessimistic outlook on life. Even as a kid, I was known as the Voice of Doom because, whenever someone presented a hopeful possibility, my mind would go straight for the negative alternative. Positivity has definitely been a skill I needed to learn. Ironically, despite the disruption and turmoil it's caused, the pandemic is what finally taught me hope. In some ways, it's a "the worst has already happened" thing; when there's nowhere left to go but up, the worst that can happen is nothing changes. But beyond that, the pandemic stripped away the curtain and exposed the flaws in numerous systems, from healthcare to the job market. And that's something we desperately needed. It's easy to ignore problems when you can argue that things are going well despite them. But Covid created a situation where we can't ignore the problems anymore, and that makes this our best opportunity to fix them. I can't do much as an individual, but I have hope that if enough people are talking about it, we can turn this situation around and build something better than what we had before. Because at the end of the day, we shouldn't be trying to go back to normal. We should be learning from the mistakes that let the pandemic get so bad and make sure we don't make them again. It's going to be a rough road. Change takes time and it's inevitable that there will be opposition from people who think things were fine the way they were, or who don't agree with the way things change. But I think, in the end, we'll come out the other side better off than we were going in.
    Bold Optimist Scholarship
    I'm not a natural optimist. Because I've struggled with anxiety and depression for years, it's usually easier to take a pessimistic outlook on life. Even as a kid, I was known as the Voice of Doom because whenever someone presented a hopeful possibility, my mind would go straight for the negative alternative. Positivity has definitely been a skill I needed to learn. Ironically, despite the disruption and turmoil it's caused, the pandemic is what finally taught me hope. In some ways, it's a "the worst has already happened" thing; when there's nowhere left to go but up, the worst that can happen is nothing changes. But beyond that, the pandemic stripped away the curtain and exposed the flaws in numerous systems, from healthcare to the job market. It's easy to ignore problems when you can argue that things are going well despite them. But Covid created a situation where we can't ignore the problems anymore, and that makes this our best opportunity to fix them. I can't do much as an individual, but I have hope that we can turn this situation around and build something better than what we had before. Because at the end of the day, we shouldn't be trying to go back to normal. We should be learning from the mistakes that let the pandemic get so bad and make sure we don't make them again. It's going to be a rough road, and it's inevitable that there will be opposition from people who think things were fine the way they were. But I think, in the end, we'll come out the other side better off than we were going in.
    I Am Third Scholarship
    My ultimate goal is to design and promote computer games that aren't just fun, they're educational. Ever since I discovered phone apps that teach through games, the app store has been my first stop whenever I want to learn something. I'm the kind of person who has trouble sticking with new skills for a prolonged period of time, especially when I'm learning on my own. So apps and games are a great way to hold my attention. I can't always find an app that works for me, but anything that keeps me coming back for even a week is more effective than a course I forget about after one lesson. I'm not the only one who has this problem. So many students struggle, especially with abstract subjects like history, because they learn best by doing. They need physical movement to help them focus, or to build associations, or they just don't quite understand things until they do it themselves. In some ways, traditional schooling can accommodate this need, but some subjects just don't lend themselves well to physical activities. Educational games could be invaluable for learning facts and practicing skills. Games set during historical eras would make it much easier for students to retain information about major events and people, because they would be taking part in those events and getting to know the people as characters. Science-based games could cover all sorts of subjects while reinforcing math skills and going over the history of the topic. One of the major benefits of games is that they can go into more detail than a traditional class, and they can be made for virtually any topic. Players could learn about the major exports of various countries through games with a focus on trade and economy, or learn to read music by using their keyboards to follow along with songs. Even a fairly short, simple game could lay the foundation for more advanced skills. Given a choice between having fun and reading a boring textbook, too many students will choose fun over responsibility. But there's no reason why learning can't be fun, and games can provide both the emotional engagement required to stay focused, and the repetition needed to learn skills. Gaming might not replace traditional education, but it shouldn't be overlooked as a learning aid either. And with so many students currently struggling in school, it's past time we consider alternative means.
    Bold Legacy Scholarship
    My ultimate goal is to design and promote computer games that aren't just fun, they're educational. So many students struggle, especially with abstract subjects like history, because they learn best by doing. They need physical movement to help them focus, or to build associations, or they just don't quite understand things until they do it themselves. In some ways, traditional schooling can accommodate this need, but some subjects just don't lend themselves well to physical activities. Educational games could be invaluable for learning facts and practicing skills. Games set during historical eras would make it much easier for students to retain information about major events and people, because they would be taking part in those events and getting to know the people as characters. Science-based games could cover all sorts of subjects while reinforcing math skills and going over the history of the topic. One of the major benefits of games is that they can go into more detail than a traditional class, and they can be made for virtually any topic. Players could learn about the major exports of various countries through games with a focus on trade and economy, or learn to read music by using their keyboards to follow along with songs. Even a fairly short, simple game could lay the foundation for more advanced skills. Given a choice between having fun and reading a boring textbook, too many students will choose fun over responsibility. But there's no reason why learning can't be fun, and games can provide both the emotional engagement required to stay focused, and the repetition needed to learn skills. Gaming might not replace traditional education, but it shouldn't be overlooked as a learning aid either. And with so many students currently struggling in school, it's past time we consider alternative means.
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    "Time makes all things possible." A children's cartoon might not be the strangest place to draw inspiration from, considering how many characters espouse the value of asking for help and doing your best. But the above line from The Transformers wasn't spoken by a hero. It comes from Starscream, one of the franchise's most popular villains. A lot of cartoons give some form of the "don't give up on your dreams" lesson, but it's almost always provided by the heroes of the story: the characters who always win, no matter how the odds are stacked against them. They might suffer some losses along the way, but in the end, they always come out on top. Because that's how the story goes. But for a lot of people, the story isn't on their side. No matter how hard they try, no matter how solid their plans, they can only do so much when the system is against them. No weight is given to the moment when Starscream states that time makes all things possible. It's not a lesson or an intended source of inspiration, and Starscream himself rarely secures any meaningful wins. He's the villain of the narrative; he's not supposed to win. But he never stops trying either, and to me, that means so much more than a grand statement from a character who rarely loses.
    Bold Wisdom Scholarship
    "Time makes all things possible." A children's cartoon might not be the strangest place to draw inspiration from, considering how many characters espouse the value of asking for help and doing your best. But the above line from The Transformers wasn't spoken by a hero. It comes from Starscream, one of the franchise's most popular villains. A lot of cartoons give some form of the "don't give up on your dreams" lesson, but it's almost always provided by the heroes of the story: the characters who always win, no matter how the odds are stacked against them. They might suffer some losses along the way, but in the end, they always come out on top. Because that's how the story goes. But for a lot of people, the story isn't on their side. No matter how hard they try, no matter how solid their plans, they can only do so much when the system is against them. No weight is given to the moment when Starscream states that time makes all things possible. It's not a lesson or an intended source of inspiration, and Starscream himself rarely secures any meaningful wins. He's the villain of the narrative; he's not supposed to win. But he never stops trying either, and to me, that means so much more than a grand statement from a character who rarely loses.
    Bold Motivation Scholarship
    My biggest source of motivation is progress. It might be hard to get started some days, but if I have a goal and can take that first step of getting started, it becomes easier to keep going. And the faster progress is made, the more motivation I have to continue. On days when motivation for a particular project is hard to come by, I look for another project to work on; preferably a related one, but anything will do. Often, once I make some progress on something, it's easier to find the motivation to redirect that motivation in other directions. But if it doesn't work, I'll still have accomplished something else I needed to do, which helps to avoid discouragement. When all else fails and I can't find the motivation to do anything, I generally take it as a sign that I need a day off. Everyone needs to rest, no matter their goals, and sometimes a lack of motivation is your brain's way of telling you to take a break. More often than not, I get more done in the long run if I rest for a day or two instead of trying to force myself to work.
    Bold Helping Others Scholarship
    I always do my best to help people with their self-doubt, especially when they're feeling down because they're comparing themselves to other people. I strongly believe in going your own way rather than trying to conform, and I encourage my friends to see the value in their talents and personal style. To me, the only true path to happiness is self-acceptance, and that's hard enough already without using other people as the gold standard for "successful", "skilled", or "attractive". When self-doubt is caused by a problem that someone is having trouble solving, I'm always happy to jump in and help. Often they figure out the solution themselves just by having someone to explain the problem to, or they just need one suggestion to open them to a new perspective. These are my favorite problems because nothing gives a person confidence like finally doing the thing they struggled with on their own.
    Bold Best Skills Scholarship
    I've been writing fiction as a hobby for over a decade. When I started, I had that supreme confidence that only a beginner has: I thought my style would never change because I was already happy with it, and I was proud of every word I wrote just because I had written it. I would spend hours every day filling up notebook pages. Over time, though, my style did change, and I'm glad of it. I read reviews of other people's work online and noted things I did that came up as problems. I showed my own work to a couple of people who pointed out habits that weakened my writing. I also read some books about story structure to improve my pacing. I'm still writing today, and I'm constantly learning. My style still shifts occasionally, and it probably always will, but I'm okay with that. It's good to be open to change.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    If the pandemic has done anything, it's highlight the many problems in the world. Sometimes it feels like, for every person who cares about making things better, there are five who don't care about anything except themselves and maybe their friends and family. Logically, I know that many of the people who seem not to care actually care very much, and that their perspective of things is just different from mine. But that understanding doesn't solve the problems those differing perspectives create. The USA is a mess and possibly the most divided it's been since the Civil War. Our healthcare system is in pieces, the education system is broken, and the job market favors those with a college degree, even when the jobs in question don't require much schooling. And these problems are reflected in various forms all over the world. For example, people in countries with universal healthcare might not have access to it because of where they live, and many countries still struggle with healthcare and education in general. I want to see more equality in the world, both on a smaller and larger scale. Everyone should have access to medical care and education, regardless of their income or geographic location. Most of all, I want jobs to be available to anyone with the skills required. Not just those with a degree. It's hard to imagine one person making any real difference in a situation like this, so I'm still figuring out what I can do that would be meaningful. I am currently a student leader at Springdale Job Corps, and the other leaders and I are trying to bring the student body together. It's an experience that's taught me that I still have a long way to go in being tolerant of others' perspectives, but I'm working to be more patient. I'm also trying to be a better advocate for myself and others. Being a dorm leader has made me more comfortable with public speaking and giving my opinion, and I've begun to speak up more when something needs addressing. Of course, I'm still learning not to wait until I'm frustrated to say something, but I like to think I'm making progress. It's easier for me to communicate effectively online, where I can step back and think before I respond to people. As a result, I've started touching on real-world issues on social media. Especially Twitter, because the character limit forces me to think about how I say things. But I'm thinking about starting a blog, too, so I can go into my topics in more detail; there's only so much you can say in 300 characters. I'm not sure what more I can do to make things better, at least right now. It's a big world with a lot of problems, and most of those problems are going to take decades to fix. But I'm hopeful that over time, I'll find more and better ways to make a difference. I'm starting from nothing, so there's nowhere I can go but up.
    Bold Community Activist Scholarship
    For several months in early 2021, I served as a math tutor for other students on the Springdale Job Corps campus. Because of Covid, we only had a few students, so when I'd helped them as much as possible, I returned to my studies. Then, in late August, I joined the student dorm leadership in an administrative role. As a student leader, I help new students learn the rules and layout of the center and assist the other leaders in keeping everyone up to date with what's going on. In addition, I recently became the treasurer of the student government, which makes it my job to help plan monthly events and keep the student store supplied. I also help out as a student worker in the kitchen and as a volunteer in the recreation center. Both roles involve cleaning and sanitizing frequently used surfaces, while the rec position includes computer work and inventory.
    Bold Climate Changemakers Scholarship
    The biggest thing I do to help the environment is to recycle as much as I can. Mostly, this means water bottles, drink cans, and cardboard boxes. When I finish a pack that uses plastic rings to hold bottles together, I cut the rings before throwing them away so they won't pose a threat to animals who might get their heads stuck inside. I don't shop in person as much as before Covid, but when I do, I bring reusable bags with me and opt for paper if I need an extra from the store. In addition, whether I'm shopping online or off, I use my Aspiration debit card so I can track how my spending affects the planet and help plant trees. I also avoid plastic or styrofoam packaging as much as possible and look for recyclable plastics when paper or cardboard aren't options. I prefer walking or public transit over driving, and I'm always looking for more ways to help the environment.
    Bold Future of Education Scholarship
    I feel that computer/video games are underutilized as educational tools. There are a wide variety of games available to help young children learn everything from math and reading to basic programing, but as we get older, there seems to be an expectation that we set aside games in favor of traditional learning; even when traditional learning doesn't work for many individuals. While it's true that not everyone is a gamer and a lot of people need the help teachers can provide, games could be invaluable for learning facts and practicing skills. Games set during historical eras would make it much easier for students to retain information about major events and people, because they would be taking part in those events and getting to know the people as characters. Science-based games could cover all sorts of subjects while reinforcing math skills and going over the history of the topic. One of the major benefits of games is that they can go into more detail than a traditional class, and they can be made for virtually any topic. Players could learn about the major exports of various countries through games with a focus on trade and economy, or learn to read music by using their keyboards to follow along with songs. Even a fairly short, simple game could lay the foundation for more advanced skills. Given a choice between having fun and reading several pages of a boring text, far too many students will choose fun over responsibility. But there's no reason why learning can't be fun for all ages, and games can provide both the emotional engagement required to stay focused, and the repetition needed to learn skills. Perhaps gaming can't replace traditional education, but it shouldn't be overlooked as a learning aid either. And with so many students currently struggling in school, it's past time we consider alternative means.
    Bold Financial Literacy Scholarship
    It's better to spend more money on something that will last a long time than less money on something you'll have to replace constantly. Lower prices create the illusion of savings, but in the long term, replacing things every time they wear out adds up to far more than if you had spent the extra money in the first place. The same principle can be applied to almost anything you spend money on, from food to subscription services. An annual subscription will almost always cost less in the long term than renewing it every month, and buying food in bulk is typically less expensive than buying a small amount, especially if you shop online. When you're on a budget, it can be tempting to go for the cheaper option anyway. But if it's something you really need, and you're going to need it for a while, go for the long-term investment as soon as you can afford it.
    Bold Technology Matters Scholarship
    While it's not necessarily a new technology, I do feel that computer/video games are underutilized as educational tools. There are a wide variety of games available to help young children learn everything from math and reading to basic programing, but as we get older, there seems to be an expectation that we set aside games in favor of traditional learning; even when traditional learning doesn't work for many individuals. While it's true that not everyone is a gamer and a lot of people need the help teachers can provide, games could be invaluable for learning facts and practicing skills. Games set during historical eras would make it much easier for students to retain information about major events and people, because they would be taking part in those events and getting to know the people as characters. Science-based games could cover all sorts of subjects while reinforcing math skills and going over the history of the topic. One of the major benefits of games is that they can go into more detail than a traditional class, and they can be made for virtually any topic. Players could learn about the major exports of various countries through games with a focus on trade and economy, or learn to read music by using their keyboards to follow along with songs. Even a fairly short, simple game could lay the foundation for more advanced skills. Given a choice between having fun and reading several pages of a boring text, far too many students will choose fun over responsibility. But there's no reason why learning can't be fun for all ages, and games can provide both the emotional engagement required to stay focused, and the repetition needed to learn skills. Perhaps gaming can't replace traditional education, but it shouldn't be overlooked as a learning aid either.
    Bold Great Books Scholarship
    When I was a kid, I began reading Chris D'Lacey's The Last Dragon Chronicles. The first book, The Fire Within, told the story of a young man who signs on as a tenant with a potter while he attends college. The house is full of clay dragons, and the student's landlady makes him one as a gift. But the dragons aren't simple statuettes, and the student's dragon becomes his muse as he discovers a talent for writing stories. This book led me to discover my own knack for writing and storytelling. For a long time I wanted to be an author myself, though I never embraced it as a plausible career. Even so, writing became my favorite hobby, and I still do it to this day. The Fire Within also brings up topics of climate change and conservation, which develop as major themes throughout the series. But where a lot of books can get heavy-handed with their environmental messages, The Last Dragon Chronicles work it in seamlessly. The Fire Within contains a subplot centered on finding and helping an injured squirrel who lost his home when a local oak was cut down. The sequel, Icefire, introduces the idea that polar bears have ties to dragons, and that it was dragon magic that created the first "ice bear". Between them, the two books set the stage for concern over the bears' endangered habitat in subsequent books. In The Last Dragon Chronicles, magic is real and words have the ability to alter the course of time itself. But my favorite takeaway from these books is that maybe there's magic in the mundane too.
    Bold Financial Freedom Scholarship
    It's better to spend more money on something that will last a long time than less money on something you'll have to replace constantly. Lower prices create the illusion of savings, but in the long term, replacing things every time they wear out adds up to far more than if you had spent the extra money in the first place. The same principle can be applied to almost anything you spend money on, from food to subscription services. An annual subscription will almost always cost less in the long term than renewing it every month, and buying food in bulk is typically less expensive than buying a small amount, especially if you shop online. If you can only afford a single month's subscription or a few servings of food, it might be helpful to have a credit card on hand for larger purchases. You shouldn't go crazy with it, of course, but if you're only a week out from payday and there's a big sale on something you use all the time, it won't hurt to pay with a card. Just make sure you pay off the debt at first opportunity so it doesn't pile up - or worse, start accruing interest that will eat up whatever you saved. When you're on a budget, it can be tempting to go for the cheaper option anyway. But if it's something you really need, and you're going to need it for a while, go for the long-term investment as soon as you can afford it.
    Bold Happiness Scholarship
    Any chance to be creative makes me happy. I love writing and drawing, and can spend all day on either given the opportunity. I especially enjoy digital art, which is more forgiving than traditional media and lets me just relax. I also like being creative with food, and have put together a few of my own recipes. Baking, and eating the fresh, warm results, is a special sort of joy that makes me love the cooler months. Gaming is another thing that makes me happy, whether it's playing myself or watching someone else play. My favorite genres are strategy/puzzle games and adventure games, but I also love games that make learning or managing day-to-day tasks easier. The latter is the kind of game I would love to make someday, particularly if I could integrate it with another genre. Other sources of happiness include snow, thunderstorms, and a mug of hot cocoa on a cold winter's day.
    Bold Music Scholarship
    I draw inspiration from a lot of songs, but if I had to choose just one, I'd say my favorite is "Phoenix" by Fall Out Boy. According to the song writer, he wanted a song that reflects those summer days of being a teenager in the suburbs, hanging out with your friends and trying to find your place in a world where you don't really fit in. For me, the appeal of the song comes from the desire to escape one's current situation in exchange for something better. I felt a lot of anger while going through depression, and "Phoenix" is an angry, defiant song. At the same time, though, it has uplifting qualities. The world is messed up and unfair, and "Phoenix" calls that out, but the focus is on change. Like the mythical bird rising from its own ashes, the song challenges us to make something new and beautiful out of hardship.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    I experience depression and anxiety. From 2018 through 2020, I lived life in a numb sort of haze, and I ultimately ended up jobless and homeless because of it. I spent over a year in a shelter with a strong Christian emphasis, but the stories told by other residents about how they found purpose through God didn't help me. If anything, our weekly Bible meetings were just another source of misery. During this time, the only thing that made life bearable was daily conversations with a close friend. She was the one who encouraged me to find a shelter when I couldn't pay my rent anymore, and the day-to-day struggles of living there were a little easier knowing I could tell her about them and share a laugh about it. I eventually moved to a Job Corps center where I spoke to a therapist about my depression, and after a few false starts, I found a medication that makes me feel better. But I still remember the struggle, and I write a lot of stories with themes of depression and anxiety. Some of those stories go up online for other people to read, and I like to think they showcase some of the ugliness of mental illness. It's not something to be romanticized or brushed aside, as it often is in media, but nor is it something to be scorned.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    I experience depression and anxiety. From 2018 through 2020, I lived life in a numb sort of haze, and I ultimately ended up jobless and homeless because of it. I spent over a year in a shelter with a strong Christian emphasis, but the stories told by other residents about how they found purpose through God didn't help me. If anything, our weekly Bible meetings were just another source of misery. During this time, the only thing that made life bearable was daily conversations with a close friend. She was the one who encouraged me to find a shelter when I couldn't pay my rent anymore, and the day-to-day struggles of living there were a little easier knowing I could tell her about them and share a laugh about it. I eventually moved to a Job Corps center where I spoke to a therapist about my depression, and after a few false starts, I found a medication that makes me feel better. But I still remember the struggle, and I write a lot of stories with themes of depression and anxiety. Some of those stories go up online for other people to read, and I like to think they showcase some of the ugliness of mental illness. It's not something to be romanticized or brushed aside, as it often is in media, but nor is it something to be scorned.
    Studyist Education Equity Scholarship
    In today's day and age, you're almost required to have a college degree to earn a living wage. Most jobs without degree listings only pay minimum wage, and internships - which should be the best path to learn new skills without formal education - are often only available to college students. There seems to be an unspoken expectation that "starter jobs" like those in the service industry are only meant for young people who will be able to get "proper jobs" once they have their degrees. For the majority of students, however, college isn't an option. The costs of living are so high that many families struggle to meet day-to-day needs, never mind setting anything aside for college. This can trap multiple generations in a cycle of low-paying jobs and little or no secondary education. To make things worse, minorities often have the hardest time affording college. As a result, employers who insist on degrees may be inadvertently filtering out minority job seekers. This leaves would-be applicants frustrated and forced to settle for lower-paying jobs; jobs that don't pay enough to live on, never mind fund college with. This perpetuates the cycle of low education and traps entire families in poverty.
    Bold Deep Thinking Scholarship
    To me, the greatest problem the world faces right now is a lack of social responsibility. On the surface this seems more a Western problem, as many cultures place more emphasis on the collective than on individuals. But the world's nations are so interconnected these days that the failings of one affect many others, whether through action or inaction. This is especially true in the case of situations like climate change, which affects the entire planet. The problems caused by self-interest can be seen at every level of society. At the individual level, there is a sometimes callous disregard for anyone outside of one's own social circle, and a refusal to do anything for the benefit of others if it costs one's own comfort. In the wider community, employers regularly refuse to pay workers a living wage, and in too many parts of the world, slave and child labor is still used in agricultural work. At the top of the food chain, millionaires and billionaires hoard more money than they can ever spend, and far too few of them use their wealth to make a difference. Developing a world-wide sense of community is a near-impossible task, at least in today's era. But if we all made an effort to change one thing in our lives that would help others, even if it's just doing part of our shopping at a local business instead of a big company, we could start to develop more connections on an individual level. And if enough people made those connections, we can eventually normalize a greater sense of social responsibility than what we see today.
    Bold Be You Scholarship
    For me, staying true to myself is a lot easier than pretending I'm someone else. I don't like lying and have trouble hiding my emotions, especially when I'm tired or upset. I've never felt much desire to be someone else either, and I'm not willing to sacrifice my comfort just to make a group of people happy. I'm not unreasonable - I'll wear a uniform if a job calls for it - but I wear clothes I like and don't care how anyone else feels about them. That said, I don't like hurting people either. Sometimes this makes me a pushover, but it also means that if being myself hurts someone, I'm willing to change; or at least compromise, if it's over a minor issue. In that sense, being open to change is also a part of who I am. Additionally, if I see someone being treated unfairly, I'm willing to stand up for them.
    Bold Memories Scholarship
    When I started my first job, I received my paychecks via direct deposit into a bank account set up by the company. At first I had no trouble with it, but after about a year, my account somehow became locked. This led to two weeks of stress while I tried to get it unlocked while living on the relatively small amount of cash I had available. I eventually got back into my account and there was no lasting harm done, but since then I've been careful not to keep all my money in one place. It also taught me the importance of having cash and nonperishable food on hand for emergencies. Getting locked out of my account was a minor emergency in that it was resolved quickly and without cost to me, but there are a lot of worse ways things can go wrong. So it never hurts to be prepared.
    Bold Books Scholarship
    When I was a kid, I began reading Chris D'Lacey's The Last Dragon Chronicles. The first book, The Fire Within, told the story of a young man who signs on as a tenant with a potter while he attends college. The house is full of clay dragons, and the student's landlady makes him one as a gift. But the dragons aren't simple statuettes, and the student's dragon becomes his muse as he discovers a talent for writing stories. This book led me to discover my own knack for writing and storytelling. For a long time I wanted to be an author myself, though I never embraced it as a plausible career. Even so, writing became my favorite hobby, and I still do it to this day. The Fire Within also brings up topics of climate change and conservation, which develop as major themes throughout the series. Because I grew up in a house without internet, this gave me an invaluable look at real world issues and a deep appreciation for nature.
    Bold Impact Matters Scholarship
    I always do my best to help people with their self-doubt, especially when they're feeling down because they're comparing themselves to other people. I strongly believe in going your own way rather than trying to conform, and encourage my friends to see the value in their talents and personal style. To me, the only true path to happiness is self-acceptance, and that's hard enough already without using other people as the gold standard for "successful", "skilled", or "attractive". When the self-doubt is being caused by a problem that someone is having trouble solving, I'm always happy to jump in and help. Often they figure out the solution themselves just by having someone to explain the problem to, or they just need one suggestion to open them to a new perspective. These are my favorite problems, because nothing gives a person confidence like finally doing the thing they struggled with on their own.
    Bold Dream Big Scholarship
    In my dream life, I'm an indie game developer with enough successful games to make a living. I have my own website and blog for promos and demos, and I use affiliate marketing to earn a bit more money. I might also have a YouTube channel for playing games, or for showing off my latest projects. And since my job only requires a computer and internet connection, I can travel while working on my next game. My permanent residence is in Canada, where I live near the beach with a couple cats. When I'm not working, I'm writing or drawing, and I spend a lot of time watching game playthroughs for inspiration. Some of my games have been discovered by big-name gamers like Markiplier, which was key in fueling the growth of my business. Sometimes I get ideas for new games or improvements to current ones from watching playthroughs of my work.
    Bold Independence Scholarship
    Since July of 2019, I have been homeless. I spent the first 16 months living in a homeless shelter where large parts of my schedule were decided for me, and then I moved into a Job Corps center where I have been for the last year. Because of Covid I haven't been able to leave center since my arrival, and my financial situation limits what I can purchase for myself. I have had to eat the meals provided, obey the rules of the center - many of which treat the students as kids more than adults - and have overall had little say in where I go or what I do. For me, independence would be the ability to make my own decisions about the basic details of my life. I want to be able to set my own schedule, eat what I like rather than what's available, and purchase items I need when I need them. College will provide me with much of this, as I'll have more freedom to do things myself.
    Carlynn's Comic Scholarship
    Starscream from The Transformers is a big inspiration for me. He's ambitious, sets lofty goals for himself, and keeps trying even when he faces setbacks.
    SkipSchool Scholarship
    My favorite artist is Amy Lee from Evanescence. She writes a number of songs for her band, drawing inspiration from her own life, and each album includes a song dedicated to her late sister.
    Bold Longevity Scholarship
    Rest is not something that's often encouraged in Western society. We're always told that you need to work hard, get up early, and give 100% of yourself all the time, but rarely does anyone tell us to take a nap or go easy on ourselves. If anything we're taught that needing a break, whether physical or mental, is a sign of weakness. People push themselves harder and longer than is safe, leading to burnout or injury. Getting enough rest is vital to all aspects of our health. Sleep is the most obvious form of rest, but there are others that are just as important. We all need a chance to have fun and forget our stress for a while, and sometimes the most physically demanding activities can be the most relaxing for our minds. It's something of a balancing act, like so many other things in life, but time spent taking care of yourself is never time wasted.
    Bold Investing Scholarship
    It's better to spend more money on something that will last a long time than less money on something you'll have to replace constantly. Lower prices create the illusion of savings, but in the long term, replacing things every time they wear out adds up to far more than if you had spent the extra money in the first place. The same principle can be applied to almost anything you spend money on, from food to subscription services. An annual subscription will almost always cost less in the long term than renewing it every month, and buying food in bulk is typically less expensive than buying a small amount, especially if you shop online. When you're on a budget, it can be tempting to go for the cheaper option anyway. But if it's something you really need, and you're going to need it for a while, go for the long-term investment as soon as you can afford it.
    Bold Learning and Changing Scholarship
    I was always that person who didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a kid I would kick ideas around, but I was never serious about any of them. I always figured I would be whatever my parents wanted me to be. Life eventually proved me wrong. I ended up on my own, living in a shelter with no job and no qualifications beyond my GED. I learned about Job Corps from one of the staff at the shelter, but even after I joined the program, I didn't know what I wanted my career path to look like. My trade was office administration, but I had no desire to be a receptionist or customer service representative. It was so easy to point to the things I didn't want to do, but I couldn't tell anyone what would make me happy. That changed when the pandemic hit. Out of boredom, I downloaded a phone app that taught basic Python through building a simple game, and it struck me as I followed the instructions that game design would make use of things I actually enjoy: writing, digital art and design, music. And now coding, limited though my experience was. For the first time in my life, I knew what I wanted to be. Since then, game design has never been far from my thoughts. I've watched videos, read tutorials, and even played around with a free game engine. Now I'm ready to take the next step with formal education.