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Maren Blanchard

2505

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

Bio

I am a senior at the University of Michigan double majoring in Economics and Psychology. After graduating this spring, I hope to continue my academic journey with a Master's in Industrial Organizational Psychology. On campus, I am involved in multiple extracurriculars, and am the leader of the Arts Ambassadors, a Program Coordinator for the Center for Campus Involvement, and a writer and editor for the Michigan Journal of Economics. I am passionate about promoting mental wellness, creating art, exploring nature, and continuing to learn throughout life. While working multiple jobs through college, my financial stress grows with each year. I would sincerely appreciate your consideration for scholarships as it would allow me to continue my education and obtain my Bachelor's Degree.

Education

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Bachelor's degree program
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Human Resources

    • Dream career goals:

      Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

    • Management Trainee Intern

      Enterprise Rent-A-Car
      2023 – 2023
    • Program Coordinator

      University of Michigan-Center for Campus Involvement
      2022 – Present2 years
    • Box Office & Concessions Cashier

      Cinemark
      2022 – 2022
    • Retail Associate

      Bullpen Sports
      2021 – 20221 year

    Sports

    Softball

    Varsity
    2009 – 202011 years

    Awards

    • All State Academic

    Research

    • Economics

      Michigan Journal of Economics — Research Article-Writer
      2022 – 2023

    Arts

    • Arts Ambassadors

      2022 – Present
    • Independent

      Stained Glass
      2021 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Davison Youth Softball League — Coach
      2021 – 2021

    Future Interests

    Volunteering

    Entrepreneurship

    Your Dream Music Scholarship
    When I was little, my grandmother gave me the book "I Hope You Dance". Inside there was a CD with the same title. I listened to it, and as I flipped the book’s pages, the words matched what the woman sang. “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,” “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,” “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,” and most importantly: “I hope you dance.” The lyrics told the story of a little girl growing up. She was filled with wonder, understood how big the world was, and knew that she could brave anything, even if it scared her. And when she got the choice “to sit it out or dance,” she danced. I listened to that song throughout my childhood and adolescence. When I was unsure of what to do, I remembered the song’s message and ultimately chose to “dance”. Whether it meant trying out for the middle school softball team, going on a first date, or applying to my dream college, I felt encouragement from those lyrics. Even more encouraging was that my grandmother had given them to me. It was not just a story, but her own wishes. It was not just instructions on how to live, but her desire for me to grow up unafraid of failure, enjoying life’s little moments. In that book, she inscribed that she hoped to one day dance together at my wedding. It is my hope, too, that we dance to that song that has guided me through the years. Of all the music I’ve listened to, the song “I Hope You Dance” still contains the message that is most important to me. Like my grandmother, I, too, hope that I continue to dance.
    Bold Dream Big Scholarship
    My dream life begins now. I am currently working on creating an online platform that I believe has enormous potential for helping others. In my dream life, I will act as the CEO and marketing lead for the company I will create, as well as venturing into several separate entrepreneurial endeavors. Maintaining my desire to learn and try new things, I will be able to work on my passion (company) while also finding other opportunities to grow (new investments and business opportunities). In my dream life, I am able to help millions of people through the platform I've created, offering them support and guidance. The goal is to offer its basic services free of charge, but the premium option will provide the company with enough money to operate and generate a healthy profit, allowing us to live comfortably and invest back into the community. The premium option will also have scholarships available so that low-income users may have the same program opportunities as more affluent users. I intend to work hard to provide for my family; my future husband and children being my top priority. While I will be dedicated to my career, I will remain family-oriented at my core, and put their happiness above any monetary value. I will repay my parents for all of the help they have given me, sending them on a tour of Italy-one of their own dreams. My husband and I can begin a family owned business in interior design. I will feel loved, fulfilled, and incredibly grateful. My children will look up to me and feel inspired to dream just as big as I have, sharing in my belief that with hard work, dreams can come true. My dream life begins now, and I am beyond excited to turn it into reality.
    Bold Best Skills Scholarship
    While I pride myself on having a wide skill set and many hobbies, I feel my best skill is my ability to problem solve. I think in terms of solutions: when presented with an issue, I tend to give advice on what the next step should be, how to address and correct whatever the problem at hand may be. Unfortunately, problems tend to present themselves in every realm of life, my problem solving skills proving helpful in the academic, personal, and creative senses. While it would be easy to dwell upon the many problems each of us have, I believe it is better to see these burdensome issues as opportunities in disguise. If there is a problem at hand, we have a few options: ignore it, solve it, or make it worse. Generally speaking, we try to avoid the latter. Ignoring it will sometimes make it go away, but this option is unreliable. The best option is to solve the problem. As long as you have problems, you have an opportunity to practice problem-solving. I improve upon this skill by evaluating my line of thinking for each issue. For example, my thought process for solving a physics problem would be analytical and conceptual, whereas my thought process for planning my next art endeavor would be more creative and abstract. Knowing the best line of thinking to solve a problem is greatly helpful to finding your solution as well as becoming a more versatile person overall. Being able to solve different types of problems allows you to become a valuable asset to any team, being able to solve problems for yourself or others. I will continue improving on this skill by embracing the many problems life throws my way, using ingenuity and creativity to find the best solution.
    Bold Love Yourself Scholarship
    When my friends are in need of advice, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to listen, I am the one they come to. When a stranger walks by and I compliment their shoes, I see their eyes light up as they continue on with their day. When my parents come home from their long days at work, I watch them instantly relax after seeing the house has been cleaned. These small acts, words, and feelings of support that I offer others are my favorite thing about myself. I love that I am able to make a positive impact in another's day, to be there for the people I care about and for them to know that they are cared for. Kindness is something this world often seems to have too little of, and I love that I am someone people know as kind, helpful, and supportive. There are many things I love about my personality-after all, I am the one responsible for creating it-but this has always been a point of pride for me. Since I was young I have always enjoyed helping others, whether through a grand act or a few kind words. While many things have changed over the years, my willingness to help others has not, and it is a quality I truly do admire in myself. Through the years there have been many times when a good friend made me feel better, when a stranger's kind words turned my day around, when a small act of kindness meant so much more than the person realized, and being able to be that someone for others is something I am quite proud of. Kindness is a simple thing that is not unique to me, but it is an important part of why I love who I am.
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    I learned to speak long ago, but it wasn't until more recently that I learned a better way. How I speak, think, and act, have all changed due to a single word: yet. Rather than telling myself that I do not have what it takes to succeed, I can instead say that I do not have what it takes yet. The true purpose of this word is to grant yourself potential. If everyone believed that just because we cannot do something now, we never will, this world would be free of progress, innovation, and improvement. Success is not guaranteed, but neither is failure. A growth mindset is one that seeks self betterment, believing that goals are yours to accomplish and ambition can turn into success, even if you encounter failure first. I have kept a growth mindset by keeping this potential open, not feeling limited by where I am today, but building myself up for a better tomorrow. The way I see it, a growth mindset is something we need to keep. The only alternatives are stagnancy or regression, and neither of those will make us the people we aspire to be. Personally, I try to accomplish my goals through small steps. In pushing ourselves too hard too quickly, we are more likely to become exhausted and give up before we see any progress. Rather than jump straight into deep waters, I instead like to form a plan of small, gradually increasing steps, allowing myself time to get comfortable and establish a routine. Knowing yourself is an important part of growth, and believing in yourself is even more imperative. In keeping this potential open, being willing to work, no matter how small or large the steps, and always moving forward, we can see ourselves, our futures, and our potential grow.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    When I was young, I often stumbled over my words. Especially when sad, excited, or any particular emotion in great quantity, I could never seem to get my thoughts out; my brain moving too quickly for me to comprehend. My mom could always tell when this was happening, and instructed me to slow down, breathe, and think about what I wanted to say. As I got older, she continued to urge me to slow down and breathe. Such a simple instruction, breathing, yet it has made all the difference in my life. During high school I put excessive stress on myself. Academics were important and I worked tirelessly trying to earn scholarships. In doing so, I refused to rest. I did not allow myself adequate sleep, rarely ate enough nutrients, and neglected my well-being. My life felt void of meaning and full of tasks. Eventually, the worries worsened and I regressed back into my childhood habit of not knowing how to express my thoughts. I didn’t understand them myself. My mom recognized this and, like any mother would, worried. She would check on me while I was cooped up studying in my room during the small hours of night. She asked how I was and reassured me that I did not need to put so much pressure on myself. My mother would look at me with loving concern, meeting my eyes and knowing I was not okay. Even when I was not mentally well, she never judged me for it, only reminding me that I am loved and advising me to breathe. When my mom would check on me and find tears in my eyes, she would give me a hug and that same instruction: breathe. As I would sit in her arms, pausing my tears for a deep inhale, I felt safe. While I am not proud to say it, there were several times I considered not heeding her advice, believing it would be better to stop breathing altogether. I knew this was not true, regardless of its appeal to my unwell mind. When these thoughts would enter my brain, I would repeat that word over and over, pleading with myself to calm down, to breathe. That one word saved my life many times. I wanted to live, just not like that. I reprioritized my life, seeking balance instead of achievements, happiness instead of academic success. I chose to let myself breathe. While stress remains a part of my life, how I deal with it has changed significantly. I accept difficulties but don’t let them negatively influence me. I can shut down intrusive thoughts and put myself first. I know I have a support system, still turning to my mom whenever overtaken by worry, calling her just to hear that one wise word, the instruction that has helped me to keep on going. My mom is credited with bringing me into this world, but it was her wise words and never ending support that have kept me in it.
    Education Matters Scholarship
    For many years, a horrible bug lived in my ear. It nestled in one day and invaded my brain with its thoughts, convincing me that whatever I was doing was not enough. This cruel bug thrived upon my academic success, and did not care what I had to sacrifice in order to accomplish its goals. Failure always frightened me, and though I would like to say I accepted it as a part of success, that would be a lie. Perfection was the only route, I had to take advanced classes and finish them all with an ‘A’. Anything less would mean I didn’t do my best, could have done better, should have done better. It began as a way to get into college. I aspired for a higher education and wanted as many academic scholarships as I could possibly get. When I realized that grades alone were not enough, the bug whispered “do more.” By my senior year I was National Honor Society President, Spanish Club Vice President, a Varsity Softball Player, Student Ambassador, and member of the GSA. But most of all, I was tired. I had dedicated the last three years of high school to appeasing this bug in my mind, this nagging creature telling me that amongst all of these small successes I was still a failure. Averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night and 18 hours of school, studying, and extracurriculars, I made little time for myself. The illusions of success outweighed my well being, and I slowly crumbled. The bug was no longer satiated by my academic success, it now preyed upon my sanity, telling me that I couldn’t do this any longer, that I should just give in and give up. There were times when I truly believed him, so much so that I had to sit holding my legs, rocking back and forth, pleading to make the bug stop. He got louder and louder and I believed his lies more and more. All of this work that I had put in to get into a good school seemed bleak now; frankly I wasn’t sure that this bug would let me live to see college. Once COVID-19 cancelled the remainder of my senior year, I was left alone with myself. No school, no sports, no illusions of success. Although I had always wanted to do more, there was nothing more to do. Only myself and the reality of what was. I began sleeping again, the proper amount. I took up embroidery and sewing, spent time with my family, and even smiled. For the first time in years, I relaxed. While this pandemic has by no means been a positive experience, in taking time to rest I realized how much better life is without the bug. I evicted that heinous creature and learned to balance my life with my goals. The last years of high school and its unpredictable ending taught me how strong I had been, and more importantly that I didn’t need to be. In bearing so much weight, I became weak, and so far taking care of myself has proved more beneficial for my long term goals. I am happy to announce that I did indeed make it to college and am now studying at the University of Michigan. I plan to major in Data Science during my undergraduate years and work in the field while studying for my Master’s. Education remains important to me as I still love to learn, but I have since learned that like the equations that once caused me grief, people need balance too.
    Dynamic Edge Women in STEM Scholarship
    Data surrounds us. Regardless of where we are or what we are doing, there are intricate series of numbers and patterns that most fail to notice. Perhaps it is not a failure to notice, but a comfortable acceptance of its direct influence upon our lives. The technology we have become so accustomed to knows what we do with our time, where we go, what we like, what we hate. Some may argue that it is a violation of privacy, others may claim they are willing to sacrifice some information for the sake of convenience. Regardless of one’s stance on the privacy debate, data heavily impacts their lives. One of the major ways in which we observe this is through social media. Although the dawn of social media began prior to this past decade, its vast improvements and growing numbers make it one of the most impactful technological advancements within the last ten years. Specifically looking at younger generations and newer applications, we observe that algorithm based apps have a ludicrous amount of control over the daily lives and actions of its users. Not only does it affect individuals who use the app, but the world around them as well. Apps like TikTok and Instagram have turned everyday citizens into “influencers”, made unheard of songs hit the top charts, and have greatly influenced the identities of impressionable individuals learning who they are. In using data about what someone enjoys, they can tell them what else they ought to like, leading them down a rabbit hole of easy-to-consume content. In our current technological age, everything seems two sided. Yes, these apps can connect people, allowing for common ground between millions of young people. However, it also has potential to lead to a dangerous reduction in originality and life progress outside of the application. Data can be used in many ways, but our current applications of it are not helping us progress to our fullest extent, instead it manipulates what we consume to keep us and our time locked in a bubble separate from our own reality. I hope to help change this. In studying Data Science, I aspire to learn how we can use data to push people to improve themselves rather than feeding them content. Without a change, people will become too comfortable with the technology controlling their time, and society will become stagnant. In my future career I hope to manipulate data to help people progress and regain control of their lives. In understanding what someone likes, future applications could know how they currently spend time and advise them to make better choices. If someone listens to a lot of classical music, direct them to a local musician where they can learn piano for a discounted price. If someone plays Words with Friends, suggest to them a local board game tournament at the park. Bring humanity back into technology by using the trends, patterns, and data sets already available. Social media has unequivocally changed the world in more ways than self driving cars, tablets, and other recent advancements. While not everyone has access to higher technology, we are all affected by the actions of others. With future advancements I hope to be a part of, social media can reform data patterns to be used for an experience of bettering oneself and widening skill sets rather than wasting the little time that belongs to us consuming the lives of others. Think about the current generations today and ask yourself: why shouldn’t we improve?