For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Tavares McBee

2035

Bold Points

3x

Nominee

4x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Leadership, the ability to influence and effect change through leading by example, is the key to success in this world. It is just as essential as the ambition necessary to make a change in your community. A good leader should be a servant and possess qualities such as empathy, courage, determination, and emotional intelligence. I consider myself to be a great leader, and many of my peers would atone to the same. I simply enjoy helping others and making people feel welcome, and one very beneficial tool in my box is my relatability to a wide array of people, regardless of how different our backgrounds may be. I pride myself on being able to talk to pretty much anyone, as well as fit into any group quite well. As a leader in the traditional sense, I have had many amazing opportunities in my life as a young student, both in my middle and high school years. In my time at Fruitvale Jr High in Bakersfield, California, I was nominated as a representative for our school to win the Gold Ribbon award. I was tasked, along with a few of my fellow classmates, with giving a tour of our school and some of our most prestigious junior programs to representatives from the California Department of Education(CDE). Upon graduation, I was also presented with the John Hefner Scholarship Award for exemplifying enthusiasm, encouragement and outstanding academic achievement. In High School, I have been involved in Associated Student Body (ASB), National Honors Society (NHS) and during my current senior year, I am one of five head commissioners of the Link Crew chapter at Centennial High School.

Education

San Diego State University

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Computer Science
  • Minors:
    • Engineering Science

Centennial High School

High School
2017 - 2021

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Computer Software and Media Applications
    • Visual and Performing Arts, General
    • Psychology, General
    • Economics and Computer Science
    • Finance and Financial Management Services
    • Economics
    • Mathematics
    • Drama/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft
    • Visual and Performing Arts, Other
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Entertainment

    • Dream career goals:

      Actor

      Sports

      Track & Field

      Varsity
      2015 – Present9 years

      Awards

      • Kern County Champion 2017

      Research

      • Engineering, Other

        Project Lead The Way — Student Researcher
        2017 – 2021

      Arts

      • International Thespian Society

        Acting
        Wizard of Oz
        2017 – Present

      Public services

      • Advocacy

        OneLegacy — As a OneLegacy Ambassador, I was able to go to various hosting events and help educate people on what it meant to be a donor and how drastic an impact they could have on thousands of lives.
        2017 – Present

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Politics

      Volunteering

      Philanthropy

      Entrepreneurship

      Novitas Diverse Voices Scholarship
      As a black college student navigating through the realm of public relations, I am acutely aware of the profound impact that diverse voices can have on shaping public narratives. For far too long, mainstream narratives have been dominated by a homogenous group, often failing to capture the multifaceted realities and experiences of marginalized communities like mine. However, the power of diverse voices in public relations cannot be overstated, as it holds the potential to foster greater inclusivity, representation, and understanding within society. First and foremost, the inclusion of diverse voices in public relations allows for a more authentic representation of the various perspectives and experiences that exist within our society. When individuals from different racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds are involved in crafting and disseminating narratives, it ensures that a broader range of voices are heard and represented. This not only enriches the quality of public discourse but also helps to challenge stereotypes, debunk myths, and dispel misconceptions that may have otherwise been perpetuated in mainstream media. Moreover, diverse voices in public relations have the power to amplify underrepresented narratives and bring attention to social issues that have historically been sidelined or ignored. As a black college student, I recognize the importance of having a seat at the table when decisions are being made about which stories are told and how they are framed. By leveraging our voices and platforms, we can shine a spotlight on issues such as racial injustice, economic inequality, and systemic discrimination, thereby prompting meaningful conversations and driving positive change within society. Additionally, the power of diverse voices in public relations extends beyond mere representation; it also influences how messages are crafted and communicated to different audiences. As individuals who have lived experiences shaped by our identities, we possess unique insights and cultural competencies that allow us to tailor messages in a way that resonates with diverse communities. This not only enhances the effectiveness of communication strategies but also fosters greater empathy, connection, and trust between organizations and their stakeholders. Ultimately, the power of diverse voices in public relations lies in its ability to foster a more inclusive, equitable, and empathetic society. By elevating marginalized perspectives, challenging dominant narratives, and advocating for social justice, we can contribute to the creation of a world where all voices are valued, respected, and heard. As a black college student aspiring to make a difference in the field of public relations, I am committed to leveraging my voice and platform to drive positive change and promote greater understanding and solidarity among all members of society.
      Charles B. Brazelton Memorial Scholarship
      Throughout high school and college, I have had the opportunity to work on several projects that I was passionate about. One of the most exciting projects I have worked on was a mobile app designed to help students track their academic progress and plan for their future. The app itself was designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, allowing students to input information about their grades, classes, and extracurricular activities. The app would then generate personalized recommendations for courses and activities that would help the student achieve their academic and career goals. What inspired me to take on this project was my own experience navigating the complex world of high school and college academics. I realized that many students struggle to keep track of their grades and plan for their future, and I wanted to create a tool that could help make this process easier and more accessible. Working in technology played a crucial role in this project. I utilized a wide range of tools and technologies, from programming languages like Java and Swift to design software like Adobe Illustrator. By leveraging these technologies, I was able to create a robust and scalable platform that could help students all over the world. What was most inspiring about this project was the potential impact it could have on students' lives. By empowering students to take control of their academic progress and plan for their future, the app could help them achieve their goals and realize their full potential. This project also inspired me to explore the field of technology further. I was fascinated by the power of technology to solve real-world problems and make a positive impact on people's lives. I began to explore different areas of technology, from web development to artificial intelligence, and I discovered a passion for this field that I never knew existed. I deeply desire to use technology in the future to improve the lives of those around me, whether that be in the areas of life enrichment and entertainment or using technology to save lives. In conclusion, working on the academic progress tracking app was a transformative experience that inspired me to explore the field of technology further. By harnessing the power of technology, I was able to create a tool that could help students achieve their academic and career goals. I am excited to continue exploring the many possibilities of technology and to use my skills to make a positive impact on the world.
      Laurette Scholarship
      Mental health is a complex issue that can have a profound impact on an individual's beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. As someone who has struggled with OCD, I have experienced firsthand how these challenges can shape one's perspective and trajectory in life. My experience with mental health and OCD has influenced my beliefs in several ways. Firstly, it has taught me to approach mental health issues with compassion and empathy. OCD is a condition that is often misunderstood and stigmatized, and I believe that it is important to challenge these misconceptions and promote greater understanding. I also believe that mental health challenges are not a sign of weakness and that seeking help is a brave and necessary step toward recovery. Furthermore, my experience with OCD has led me to question the conventional definitions of "normal" and "abnormal" behavior. I believe that everyone has unique quirks and idiosyncrasies and that these differences should be celebrated rather than stigmatized. Rather than trying to conform to a narrow definition of "normal," I believe that it is important to embrace our individuality and pursue our passions without fear of judgment. My experience with mental health and OCD has also impacted my relationships. I have learned to communicate more openly and honestly with those around me, particularly when it comes to discussing mental health challenges. This has allowed me to build deeper and more meaningful connections with others, as well as to provide support and understanding to those who may be struggling with similar issues. Finally, my experience with OCD has influenced my career aspirations. It has led me to pursue a career in mental health advocacy and counseling, with the goal of helping others who may be struggling with mental health challenges. I am particularly interested in working with individuals who have OCD, as I believe that this condition is often overlooked and misunderstood by society at large. My experience with mental health and OCD has had a significant impact on my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. It has taught me to approach mental health issues with empathy and understanding, to embrace my individuality, to communicate openly and honestly with those around me, and to pursue a career in mental health advocacy and counseling. While these challenges have not always been easy to navigate, I am grateful for the lessons they have taught me, and I am committed to using my experiences to make a positive impact on the world around me.
      Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color, this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM companies have made huge advancements to better our day-to-day lives; I want to use my abilities in CS to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games, and entertainment for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement and show the world that regardless of our social class separation and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Debra Victoria Scholarship
      Though my mother has found a loving husband today, there was a time when she was raising me alone. Growing up in a single-parent household has significantly shaped my perspective on life and influenced my career goals. Raised by my mother, who took on the dual roles of provider and nurturer, I learned valuable lessons about resilience, independence, and the importance of hard work. These experiences have not only shaped my character but have also fueled my determination to pursue a meaningful and successful career. My early life taught me the value of perseverance. My mother faced numerous challenges, juggling work, household responsibilities, and my upbringing on her own. Witnessing and now fully realizing her unwavering commitment to providing a stable and loving home environment inspired me to approach life's challenges with a similar tenacity. This resilience became a fundamental aspect of my personality, influencing my career goals by instilling in me a desire to tackle obstacles head-on and persist in the face of adversity. Independence is another key lesson I learned from growing up in a single-parent household. With my mother being the sole breadwinner, I had to learn to be self-reliant from an early age. This independence translated into a strong sense of responsibility and a proactive approach to problem-solving. As I chart my career path, this independence becomes an asset, allowing me to take initiative and navigate the professional world with confidence. Living with a single parent also made me appreciate the value of hard work and dedication. My mother's relentless efforts to provide for our family demonstrated the importance of a strong work ethic. This lesson has become the driving force behind my career goals. I am determined to excel in my chosen field, knowing that hard work is not only a means to success but also a testament to the values instilled in me by my single-parent upbringing. As I embark on my college journey, I am acutely aware of the sacrifices my mother made to support my education. In pursuing my career goals, I plan to honor her sacrifices by excelling academically and actively seeking opportunities for personal and professional growth. I recognize the importance of leveraging my education to create a better future for myself and, by extension, for my family. The lessons of resilience, independence, and hard work imparted by my mother have become the foundation upon which I build my future. As I navigate through college and beyond, I am committed to embodying these values, driven by a desire to create a fulfilling and successful life for myself while honoring the sacrifices of the woman who shaped me into the person I am today.
      Curtis Holloway Memorial Scholarship
      Throughout my educational journey, the unwavering support of my mother has been the driving force behind my pursuit of academic success. Her influence on my life has been profound, shaping not only my educational aspirations but also my understanding of diversity, identity, and resilience. From the early years of elementary school to the challenges of college, my mother's support has been consistent and profound. As a mixed-race individual, navigating the complexities of identity has been a unique aspect of my educational experience. My mother, being European, has played a crucial role in helping me embrace and celebrate my diverse heritage with my father. She encouraged me to appreciate both sides of my cultural background and provided a safe space for open conversations about race, fostering a strong sense of self. Education has always been a priority in our household, and my mother instilled in me the importance of learning as a tool for empowerment. She recognized the systemic challenges that individuals from marginalized communities often face in the educational system and equipped me with the knowledge and resilience to overcome these hurdles. My mother's advocacy for equal opportunities and her commitment to dismantling racial barriers have fueled my determination to excel academically. Practical support has also been a cornerstone of my mother's contribution to my educational journey. While pursuing higher education, financial constraints and the associated stressors can be overwhelming. Despite facing economic challenges, my mother prioritized my education and made sacrifices to ensure that I had access to the resources needed for success. Her sacrifices were not only financial; she also invested time and effort in understanding the intricacies of the college application process, scholarships, and academic requirements, guiding me through each step. Emotionally, my mother has been a pillar of strength during the inevitable moments of self-doubt and academic pressure. Her encouragement and belief in my abilities have served as a constant reminder that I can overcome any challenges that come my way. In a world where disparities persist, having a strong support system is vital, and my mother has been that unwavering source of encouragement and inspiration. In conclusion, my educational journey has been significantly shaped by the support of my mother. She has not only provided practical assistance but also fostered a deep appreciation for my cultural identity and a resilience that propels me forward. Her commitment to dismantling barriers, advocating for equal opportunities, and fostering an environment of unwavering support has been instrumental in my pursuit of educational excellence. I am grateful for the guidance and love that my mother has consistently bestowed upon me, propelling me toward my educational goals with confidence and determination.
      Bruce & Kathy Bevan Scholarship
      Balancing work and school has been both challenging and rewarding. Navigating the demands of academics and employment has significantly impacted my personal and professional growth, fostering resilience, time management skills, and providing unique insights into the world of sports and events. One of the key challenges I've faced is managing a hectic schedule. As a college student, academic responsibilities are demanding, with lectures, assignments, and exams requiring dedicated time and effort. Simultaneously, my job at Snapdragon Stadium involves irregular hours, especially during game days and events. Juggling both commitments has honed my time management skills, forcing me to prioritize tasks efficiently. Creating a detailed schedule, breaking down assignments into manageable chunks, and setting realistic goals have become essential practices in maintaining balance. Furthermore, the experience has taught me to adapt quickly to unexpected situations. Working in a dynamic environment like Snapdragon Stadium means that the workload can vary significantly. Learning to stay composed under pressure, think on my feet, and make decisions swiftly has been crucial to my professional growth. These skills have not only helped me excel in my current role but are also transferable to various other aspects of life. Balancing work and school has also enriched my understanding of the sports and events industry. Being directly involved in the operations of Snapdragon Stadium has provided me with a behind-the-scenes perspective. I've gained insights into event planning, logistics, and the coordination required to ensure the smooth execution of large-scale gatherings. This experiential knowledge has complemented my academic studies, offering a practical dimension to theoretical concepts learned in the classroom. Moreover, my dual role has expanded my professional network. Interacting with colleagues, event organizers, and sports enthusiasts has allowed me to build connections that extend beyond the university setting. Networking has been instrumental in opening up opportunities for internships and future employment prospects. It has also exposed me to diverse perspectives and career paths within the sports and events industry, helping me shape my long-term goals. On a personal level, the experience has enhanced my resilience and work ethic. Overcoming the challenges of balancing work and school has instilled a sense of determination and perseverance. It has taught me to balance achieving academic excellence and delivering quality work in my professional role. In conclusion, my journey as a third-year student at SDSU, concurrently working at Snapdragon Stadium, has been a transformative experience. The challenges posed by this dual role have strengthened my time management skills, enhanced my adaptability, deepened my understanding of the sports and events industry, expanded my professional network, and fostered personal resilience. This delicate balance has not only positively impacted my academic and professional growth but has also equipped me with valuable life skills that will undoubtedly contribute to my success in future endeavors.
      Walking In Authority International Ministry Scholarship
      My journey of community involvement has been both transformative and inspiring. The decision to engage with my community stems from a combination of personal values, academic pursuits, and a desire to contribute meaningfully to the world around me. One of the primary sources of inspiration for my community involvement is the realization that I am part of a larger ecosystem that extends beyond the confines of the university campus. College serves as a microcosm of society, and the issues and challenges faced by the broader community are often reflected within its walls. Recognizing this interconnectedness, I felt a sense of responsibility to utilize the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom to address real-world problems. Academic pursuits have played a crucial role in shaping my understanding of societal issues and providing me with the tools to analyze and address them. Courses in sociology, political science, and environmental studies have heightened my awareness of various social, economic, and environmental challenges. This academic foundation has been instrumental in guiding my efforts to make a positive impact in the community. My involvement in community service and advocacy has taken various forms. Volunteering with local non-profit organizations has allowed me to directly engage with the community and witness the tangible effects of collective efforts. Whether it's participating in food drives, tutoring programs, or environmental clean-up initiatives, these experiences have provided me with a hands-on understanding of the challenges faced by different segments of the community. In addition to direct service, I have actively sought opportunities to advocate for change at a systemic level. This involves engaging in community meetings, collaborating with local leaders, and participating in grassroots movements. For instance, I have been involved in campaigns addressing environmental sustainability, advocating for affordable housing, and promoting educational equity. By working collaboratively with like-minded individuals and organizations, I have aimed to amplify the impact of our collective voices. Moreover, my involvement in student organizations on campus has been a crucial avenue for initiating change. Serving in leadership roles within these groups has allowed me to organize events, workshops, and awareness campaigns that address pertinent issues. These activities not only contribute to the development of a socially conscious campus culture but also serve as a bridge between the university and the surrounding community. In summary, my inspiration to get involved in the community is rooted in a holistic understanding of my role as a member of society, complemented by academic insights and a commitment to positive change. Through a combination of direct service, advocacy, and leadership roles, I have sought to influence change in my community by addressing immediate needs and contributing to broader systemic transformation. This journey has not only enriched my college experience but has also instilled in me a lifelong commitment to civic engagement and social responsibility.
      TEAM ROX Scholarship
      In my third year as a computer science major, my journey has been marked by a continuous evolution of skills, a deepening sense of purpose, and the cultivation of a passion for helping others excel in their endeavors. From coding challenges to collaborative projects, my experiences have shaped not only my technical proficiency but also my commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive community within the realm of computer science. One pivotal aspect of my skill development has been the immersion in a diverse array of programming languages and technologies. The curriculum has exposed me to the foundations of algorithms, data structures, and software development, laying a robust groundwork for my technical competence. Beyond the classroom, I've actively sought out opportunities to engage in real-world projects and internships, delving into the practical applications of my knowledge. Through this hands-on experience, I've honed my problem-solving abilities, learning to navigate the complexities of software development and debugging. Collaborating with peers on group projects has not only enhanced my coding skills but also fostered teamwork, communication, and a shared sense of accomplishment when overcoming challenges. These experiences have instilled in me the value of collaboration and the understanding that the collective strength of a team often surpasses individual capabilities. As my technical proficiency has grown, so too has my recognition of the importance of mentorship and knowledge-sharing. I have actively taken on roles as a tutor and mentor, helping fellow students navigate the intricacies of programming languages and concepts. This not only solidifies my own understanding but also allows me to contribute to the academic success of my peers. Witnessing the "aha" moments in others as they grasp challenging concepts is immensely rewarding and reinforces my commitment to helping others reach their full potential. Moreover, I've engaged in extracurricular activities that promote diversity and inclusion in computer science. As a member of coding clubs and organizations, I've actively participated in initiatives to attract and support underrepresented groups in the field. This commitment to diversity aligns with my belief that a varied and inclusive community fosters innovation and creativity, ultimately benefiting the entire field of computer science. In developing my purpose and passion for helping others be their best, I've recognized the symbiotic relationship between individual growth and community support. Whether through tutoring, mentorship, or advocacy for diversity, my journey as a computer science major is not merely about mastering code but about uplifting others along the way. I envision a future where the collaborative spirit of the computer science community continues to thrive, where individuals from all backgrounds feel empowered to contribute their unique perspectives, and where my skills serve as a catalyst for positive change. Through these endeavors, I am not only advancing my own knowledge but actively contributing to the collective success and advancement of the computer science field.
      Learner Calculus Scholarship
      Calculus stands as a foundational pillar in the edifice of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. As a college student navigating the intricate terrain of calculus, I've come to understand its pivotal importance and profound relevance across various STEM disciplines. Calculus, comprising differential and integral calculus, acts as the language of change and motion. It's the mathematical apparatus that unveils the dynamic nature of our world. In science, calculus becomes indispensable in explaining the behavior of natural phenomena. For instance, in physics, calculus helps unravel the motion of objects, the principles of electromagnetism, and the dynamics of celestial bodies. It enables us to comprehend how forces interact, how particles move, and how systems change over time. Equations derived from calculus describe these phenomena with precision, empowering scientists to make predictions and develop theories. Moreover, in engineering, calculus serves as a tool to design and analyze structures, systems, and processes. From determining stress distribution in bridges to optimizing the performance of electrical circuits, calculus aids engineers in solving complex problems. The ability to model real-world situations mathematically allows for the creation and improvement of innovative technologies. Calculus also underpins crucial concepts in computer science. Algorithms, which form the backbone of computing, are often based on mathematical functions that derive from calculus. Understanding rates of change and optimization through calculus enables programmers to develop efficient and optimized code. Machine learning, a burgeoning field, heavily relies on calculus for its algorithms and models, enabling computers to learn and make decisions based on vast amounts of data. In the realm of medicine and biology, calculus is pivotal in comprehending biological systems. Whether it's modeling the spread of diseases, analyzing population growth, or understanding the intricacies of physiological processes, calculus provides the mathematical framework essential for these investigations. Furthermore, calculus is foundational in economics and finance. It assists in determining optimal solutions in business and finance, such as maximizing profit or minimizing risk. Concepts like derivatives and integrals are integral to the analysis of economic trends and the formulation of financial models. Beyond its direct applications, mastering calculus fosters critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to approach complex challenges with a structured, analytical mindset. It instills a quantitative reasoning ability that is vital across all STEM disciplines. In summary, calculus is not merely a subject in isolation but a fundamental tool that permeates various STEM fields. Its understanding is crucial for unraveling the complexities of the natural world, advancing technology, and solving real-world problems across diverse domains. As a college student delving into calculus, I recognize its immense importance and its role as the bedrock of scientific and technological advancement.
      Learner Math Lover Scholarship
      The love for mathematics is deeply ingrained in the very essence of its being. As a mathematician, my passion for this discipline is multifaceted, stemming from the elegance of its logic, the unbounded scope of its applications, and the sheer beauty inherent in its abstract structures. Firstly, mathematics embodies a pure, unadulterated form of reasoning. It is a realm where ideas flow and interconnect in a symphony of logic, following precise rules and patterns. This logical coherence is enchanting; it presents a canvas on which one can create, explore, and decipher complex problems. The process of unveiling these solutions, akin to solving an intricate puzzle, offers a unique satisfaction that drives my love for the subject. The universal language of mathematics is a marvel. It transcends cultural, geographical, and temporal barriers. Whether in ancient civilizations or the technology-driven world of today, mathematical principles remain immutable, serving as an indispensable tool in understanding our universe. This universality creates a sense of connection and unity among mathematicians globally. Moreover, the versatility and applicability of mathematics across diverse disciplines are staggering. From unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos through physics to optimizing complex systems in engineering, and even in the nuanced models of economics, mathematics is an omnipresent force. This aspect of the subject fuels my fascination, allowing me to explore its various branches and witness its profound impact on the world. The aesthetics of mathematics cannot be overlooked. The symmetries in geometric shapes, the elegance of equations, and the harmonic patterns in number theory possess an inherent beauty. As a mathematician, the pursuit of uncovering these aesthetic elements feels akin to an artist unveiling the beauty within a masterpiece. The challenge and creativity that mathematics demands are exhilarating. It's a blend of rigorous reasoning and creative thinking, a fusion that keeps the mind constantly engaged and stimulated. In essence, my love for mathematics emerges from its structure, its capacity to provide clarity and order, its global relevance, and the inherent beauty that resides within its abstract concepts. The gratification of understanding a complex theorem or formulating an innovative solution is a testament to the allure and fulfillment that mathematics consistently offers.
      1989 (Taylor's Version) Fan Scholarship
      "1989 (Taylor's Version)" by Taylor Swift serves as a poignant and evocative musical journey into a bygone era, echoing emotions and experiences that transcend time. When considering the resonance of this album's songs in the context of the year 2023, several tracks emerge as fitting reflections of the events, emotions, and prevailing attitudes. The catchy anthem "Shake It Off" epitomizes resilience and triumph over adversity. Its upbeat tempo and empowering lyrics echo the spirit of perseverance, encouraging listeners to shake off negativity and embrace a more positive outlook. In the midst of the myriad challenges that may have characterized 2023, this song acts as a reminder to rise above obstacles and maintain a resilient stance. "Blank Space" stands out as a narrative of unexpected twists and turns. In 2023, the year might have unfolded in a manner that nobody quite anticipated, much like the lyrics of this song. Embracing unforeseen events, learning from the experiences, and adapting to unforeseen situations could reflect the essence of the year, making this song an apt representation of the unexpected events and personal experiences that might have marked the journey of 2023. Then there's "Style," a track that resonates with a sense of nostalgia and reflection. Throughout 2023, individuals might have found themselves revisiting the past, reminiscing over cherished memories, and finding solace in the comfort of the familiar. The song encapsulates a sense of comfort in revisiting the bygone days and a celebration of personal style, mirroring the inclination of individuals to embrace their unique ways of navigating life's journey in the year 2023. The multi-faceted nature of "1989 (Taylor's Version)" allows for a diverse interpretation of its songs, reflecting the kaleidoscope of experiences, emotions, and responses to the world's dynamics. Each track serves as a narrative that resonates with the collective consciousness or individual stories that unfolded throughout the year. In a year like 2023, when the world might have faced multifaceted challenges, these songs from "1989 (Taylor's Version)" act as beacons of strength, resilience, adaptation, and nostalgia. They reflect the rollercoaster of emotions, the unexpected twists, and the determination to rise above adversity. As the echoes of Taylor Swift's '1989' reverberate through the collective consciousness, they mirror the diverse, vibrant, and unpredictable nature of 2023. These songs encapsulate the human experience, resonating with the challenges faced, the moments cherished, and the unyielding spirit to navigate through the ever-evolving journey of life.
      Veerakasturi and Venkateswarlu Ganapaneni Memorial Scholarship
      I never would have considered myself the type to travel abroad for my studies. Spontaneity doesn’t come easy to all people. Some are born with talent, and some develop skills to escape their comfort zone. When it comes down to talent or skill, Sara Stelzer had both regarding spontaneity, social interaction, and a carefree lifestyle. She was always comfortable with herself and living on the edge, with uncertainty in the future and optimistic excitement to face the world. This is something I’m envious of and, though I will never be the person Sara was, she motivates me to strive for the greatness she exuded. Studying abroad in Europe is a key step in my journey to pursue her level of achievement. I hope to visit a place like Portugal for its immense diversity, a sensation that cannot truly be experienced here in the US. Its neighboring country, Spain, will allow me to fully immerse myself in a culture other than my own, which I feel is the best way to learn a new language. Spanish is one of the most important languages to learn in America, seeing as how most people speak English. Being that Spanish is a primary language in Spain, and with the social lessons I will learn from Portugal's inclusivity, it would be in my best interest to broaden my knowledge in one of these countries. With my future goals in mind, I must set my eyes on what I can do now to further advance myself. The best way to grow is to take things one step at a time, with focus and diligence. Studying abroad will further not only my professional, personal, and academic goals, but it will fuel my future as a whole. A scholarship would have a major impact on my financial journey as well. Given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, my father was unfortunately laid off from his occupation as a correctional officer. This leaves my family with much less money and freedom, and my mother’s nursing occupation is our sole source of income. My parents have been so kind as to offer to help me pay for college, which contributes significantly leaving a financial gap. My freshman year will be more manageable to pay off on account of my birth father’s death and social security benefits being put towards tuition. Afterward, finances remain a major obstacle to overcome. My mother, step-father, brother, and sister live in an RV and travel on the road, after a mistake made by our former real estate agent causing us to lose our house. Additionally, the end of my mother’s disability leave due to recent circumstances is fast approaching. The best way for me to help my parents and myself get over this hurdle(in addition to working over the summer, saving money, and possibly qualifying for work-study) is through scholarships, and I hope I may be considered as a recipient of the Sara Stelzer Scholarship award as well.
      Jeanie A. Memorial Scholarship
      There are many beautiful things to be attained in this world. As a matter of fact, I would not consider myself unfortunate in any way to have as much as I do. Still, some of the most valuable things in life are not physical, but emotional or internal. Ironically, one of the greatest things to ever happen to me in my entire life resulted from one of the most tragic. When I was nine years old, I got out of school one day in September extremely excited; the day had finally arrived that my friends and I, with our simple innocent minds, would get to go to the park right after school, with NO homework. I asked my dad as we got in the car, but he told me today wasn't the day. I'll never forget the tone of his voice that day, for my dad wasn't upset with me, but sincere and mournful. As we dropped my friends off and arrived home, I was struck down by the shattering news that my biological father had passed away due to cardiac disease, just that morning. I was heartbroken, as were my mom and dad. But after my father's funeral, I remembered one thing he had always told me to do. My grandmother reminded me of the promise I made to my father, and how he always told me to run: “Always keep running. Run towards your problems, not away from them. Face them head-on, and embrace the challenge. Run towards your goals, your greatest hopes and dreams. Embrace who you are, and never forget it.” When I was young it was a bit harder for me to truly grasp the meaning of what my father told me. But as I grew older and mentally developed over time, the huge obstacle of not having him around began to seem smaller and smaller as clarity found its way into my mind. He meant that what happened in the past didn’t truly matter. Not the negative things at least. “Don't let your past negatively define who you will be, you define who you are meant to be.” This was the message that I ultimately took away, and it has brought me through many hardships in my journey through life. This challenge of mine is an ongoing one, as I am still living my life learning new lessons (from my mistakes and victories), facing new obstacles, fighting new battles, and reaping new rewards as I go. But there is one thing I know to be true: as I strive to overcome my father’s challenge, the challenge of my life and his death, I have kept my promise to him all the while. And I am still running to this very day.
      Veerappan Memorial Scholarship
      Financial literacy is an essential skill that everyone should strive to possess. It enables individuals to make informed financial decisions and plan for their financial future. As such, it is important to educate oneself and others on financial literacy to ensure that we are able to effectively manage our finances and make sound financial choices. There are several steps that I plan on taking to educate myself and others on financial literacy. One of the first steps I plan on taking is continuing to educate myself on financial concepts and best practices. This can be done through reading books, taking online courses, and attending seminars or workshops. I believe that the more knowledge and understanding I have about personal finance, the better equipped I will be to help others. Second, I plan on sharing this knowledge with others. This could include hosting workshops or seminars on financial literacy or simply sharing financial tips and resources with friends and family. I believe that financial literacy is something that should be taught at a young age, and I will strive to educate children and young adults on the importance of financial literacy and how to manage their finances effectively. Another way I plan on educating myself and others to become financially literate is by participating in community events and volunteering my time to organizations that focus on financial education. This can be a great way to not only give back to the community but also to learn from others who are also passionate about financial literacy. Finally, I plan on setting a good example for others by being financially responsible and disciplined in my own personal finances. By demonstrating good financial habits and making smart financial decisions, I hope to inspire others to do the same. For example, I plan to start an investment portfolio in the next two weeks to practice some of what I have learned about the economy and more useful ways to store my finances and make my money work for me. Overall, becoming financially literate is a continuous process that requires ongoing education and effort and financial literacy is an essential skill that everyone should strive to possess. By seeking out educational resources, practicing good financial habits, staying up to date on financial trends, taking an active role in my own financial education, and helping others to do the same by sharing my findings, I believe that I can make a positive impact on the financial well-being of myself and those around me to ensure that we are able to effectively manage our finances and make sound financial decisions.
      Shays Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color, this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe.” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock, I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of this or allow those I care about to be victims. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” This message will not go unspoken any longer. In my career as an educator, I may want to teach something in STEM or how to be financially independent. But most importantly, along with my message about defying the weights of this world, I would teach students how to grow. Life is made to be enjoyed, but we can’t enjoy life without freedom. Who doesn’t want to have control over their lives and the ability to make choices for themselves; still, freedom comes in many forms. One of the most important aspects of freedom is freedom of mind. Our entire early lives, as we go through our mandatory educational institutions, we are taught not how to learn and grow, but how to follow directions. We are taught to be another number in a never-ending cycle, a system that does not allow us to truly free our minds and let our imaginations run wild. We are not encouraged to express ourselves and create what our dreams move us to create; we aren’t urged on to become one of the greats and make the next Facebook or TikTok. When I step into the classroom, students of all minorities will know that they can break their societally oppressive chains to achieve greatness.
      GUTS- Olivia Rodrigo Fan Scholarship
      One lyric from Olivia Rodrigo's song 'GUTS' that deeply resonates with my own experiences is, "It's like running away from a hurricane." This poignant line encapsulates the essence of adolescence and the myriad challenges that come with it, evoking a sense of chaos, uncertainty, and the struggle for identity and self-discovery. Adolescence is a tumultuous phase of life, marked by rapid physical, emotional, and psychological changes. It's a period when we are caught in the storm of self-discovery, grappling with questions about our identity, purpose, and place in the world. Just like running away from a hurricane, navigating these formative years often feels like an uphill battle. The hurricane symbolizes the various pressures and expectations that society, family, and even we ourselves place on our shoulders. One of the central challenges of adolescence is the search for identity. We are constantly trying to define ourselves, to figure out who we are and who we want to become. The hurricane represents the external forces that attempt to shape us—peer pressure, societal norms, and the desire to fit in. These pressures can be overwhelming, making it difficult to stay true to ourselves and our values. In 'GUTS,' Olivia Rodrigo's lyric reminds us that running away from this hurricane is not an easy feat. Moreover, adolescence is a time when we grapple with intense emotions, another aspect captured in the lyric. The hurricane serves as a metaphor for the emotional turmoil we often experience during these years. The highs and lows of teenage emotions can feel like a storm swirling inside us, pushing us to our limits. We're dealing with first loves, heartbreaks, friendships, and the pressure to succeed academically—all while trying to understand our own feelings. This emotional intensity can be overwhelming, akin to running away from a hurricane that threatens to engulf us. Furthermore, the lyric reflects the idea of vulnerability during adolescence. Just as running away from a hurricane exposes one to the elements, the journey of self-discovery in these years leaves us exposed and vulnerable. We often make mistakes, face rejection, and encounter failure, all of which can be emotionally painful. This vulnerability is an essential part of growing up, as it teaches us resilience and helps us develop a sense of self-worth. In conclusion, the lyric from Olivia Rodrigo's 'GUTS,' "It's like running away from a hurricane," perfectly encapsulates the essence of adolescence and the challenges that come with it. Adolescence is a turbulent time marked by the search for identity, emotional turmoil, and vulnerability. It's a period when we must confront external pressures and internal conflicts in our quest to discover who we truly are. Like running away from a hurricane, it may feel daunting and overwhelming at times, but it is also a journey that shapes us and prepares us for adulthood.
      Lyndsey Scott Coding+ Scholarship
      Since I was young, I had an immense interest in technology and how it could be used to interact with people. When watching science fiction shows and movies of people with special abilities or biotic enhancements, I would dream of a future where this would one day be possible. Of course in youth, these were just the dreams of a child. But now that I am older and have looked further into the state of our current world, I’ve come to realize that magic and superpowers may not be so far-fetched as they seem; imagine people who can see when their eyes don’t hold the capacity, who can hear better than any common person could ever imagine, individuals with small objects in their body that allow them to identify and cure illnesses. There is a gateway to this reality, and it is slowly being made possible by engineering. Many individuals have already made steps towards this future. One such person is Neil Harbisson, an artist who was born completely color-blind. His life changed due to a revolutionary antenna developed in 2003 by himself, college colleague Adam Montandon, and upgraded by Peter Kese and Matias Lizana, among others. The antenna was surgically implanted into his skull, enabling him to "hear" color. The colors are transmitted to his mind as audible vibrations in the form of different musical notes, including colors we can’t see. Another movie-like character is Dr. Kevin Warwick, a cybernetics professor at the University of Reading in Reading, Berkshire, England. Warwick has done experiments with electronic implants on himself since 1998; he installed a microchip in his arm allowing him to operate lights, computers, and heaters remotely. Dr. Warwick is the founder of Project Cyborg, volunteering as the main test subject with aspirations to become the world’s most complete cyborg. This, and more, has earned him the name “Captain Cyborg”. Jesse Sullivan is yet another name to go down in biomedical history. After suffering a life-threatening electrocution in 2001 while working as an electrical linesman, he had to have not one, but both of his arms amputated. With the help of biomedical engineering developments, his tragedy was turned into triumph; his arms were replaced with robotic prosthetics by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, making him the world’s first “Bionic Man”. The bionic limb is connected through a nerve-muscle grafting so that he can move his arm with his mind. This works nearly as seamlessly as when normal people do it; when he thinks about lifting his arm, muscles in his chest contract, and the bionic limb interprets this sensation as a queue to move a certain way. He can also feel the temperature in the limb and how much pressure his grip applies to outside objects. I seek to continue on this path, with bolder ambitions. My goal is to one day allow us to have the same supernatural powers that we dreamed of as children so that our lives will be forever changed for the better.
      Eras Tour Farewell Fan Scholarship
      Taylor Swift's music is known for its relatability and emotional depth, which often addresses themes of love, heartbreak, self-discovery, and personal growth. While it didn't necessarily help me discover something new about myself, many fans have found solace and connection in her lyrics, and her music has served as a mirror to their own experiences. Here's how her music can help people discover or understand something new about themselves: Self-Reflection: Taylor Swift's songs often explore complex emotions and relationships. Listening to her music can prompt self-reflection and encourage individuals to think deeply about their own experiences and emotions. This can lead to a better understanding of their own feelings and motivations. Empowerment: Many of Taylor Swift's songs, especially in her later career, convey messages of empowerment and self-confidence. Her music can inspire listeners to believe in themselves, pursue their dreams, and stand up for what they believe in. It can help individuals discover newfound strength within themselves. Navigating Relationships: Taylor Swift's songs often delve into the intricacies of romantic relationships. Listening to her music can help people better understand their own relationship dynamics, whether it's dealing with heartbreak, finding the courage to move on, or recognizing signs of a toxic relationship. Embracing Individuality: Taylor Swift's journey from country to pop music and her evolving style can teach people the importance of embracing change and exploring different aspects of themselves. Her willingness to reinvent herself can inspire listeners to be open to new experiences and growth. Validation of Emotions: Sometimes, people may feel isolated or unsure about their feelings. Taylor Swift's lyrics, which touch on a wide range of emotions, can make individuals realize that their experiences and emotions are valid. This validation can be comforting and help people accept and process their feelings. Connecting with Others: Taylor Swift's music has created a sense of community among her fans. Attending her concerts or engaging with other Swifties can lead to new friendships and a sense of belonging, which can be a powerful discovery for individuals. Taylor Swift's music, with its relatable themes and emotionally charged lyrics, has the potential to help individuals discover and understand various aspects of themselves. Whether it's through self-reflection, empowerment, or a sense of community, her music can be a source of personal growth and self-discovery for many fans. While I am not very familiar with her new work, she has always been a strong motivation for her fans and I have no doubt she will continue to be such.
      Boatswain’s Mate Third Class Antonie Bernard Thomas Memorial Scholarship
      I demonstrate strong leadership and communication skills by actively listening to others, valuing their input, and fostering an open and inclusive environment for collaboration in my classes and workplace. I often take the initiative to lead group projects or discussions, ensuring that everyone's ideas are heard and respected. Additionally, I communicate clearly and effectively, whether in written or spoken form, to convey ideas and instructions. I am resilient in my everyday routine by maintaining a positive attitude in the face of challenges and setbacks. I view obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning rather than as insurmountable barriers. This mindset helps me bounce back from disappointments and continue working towards my goals. Being unselfish is important to me, and I demonstrate this trait by actively seeking opportunities to help others. I volunteer my time and expertise to assist colleagues and friends, and I prioritize the well-being of my team or community over personal gain. I believe that collective success is more meaningful than individual achievements. I maintain focus and determination by setting clear goals and prioritizing tasks. I create actionable plans to achieve these goals and remain committed to seeing them through, reminding myself that I have a lot to fight for. I am not easily deterred by distractions or obstacles, as I understand that persistence is key to reaching long-term objectives. I exhibit a strong work ethic by consistently putting in the effort required to excel in my studies, work, and personal endeavors. I am punctual, reliable, and dedicated to producing high-quality results. I believe in the value of hard work and take pride in my ability to meet or exceed expectations. My future goals include pursuing a career in a field that allows me to make a positive impact on society, whether through innovation, education, or community service. I aspire to work in the field of computer science in any facet, as I truly believe technology is and will forever be a key part of our future. I also seek to develop my personal and professional growth, seeking opportunities for lifelong learning and self-improvement. I am pursuing my computer science degree because I believe that education is a powerful tool for personal and societal advancement. A degree provides me with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute meaningfully to my specific field and make a difference in the world. It also opens up opportunities for career advancement and personal fulfillment. Leadership, to me, means guiding and inspiring others to achieve common goals while fostering a sense of trust, respect, and collaboration within a team or community. It involves not only making decisions and taking responsibility but also actively listening to others, empowering them to contribute their unique strengths, and creating an environment where everyone can thrive. A true leader leads by example, demonstrating the qualities of integrity, empathy, and vision, while always striving for the betterment of the group and its members. Leadership is about service, growth, and making a positive impact on individuals and the world as a whole.
      John Nathan Lee Foundation Heart Scholarship
      There are many beautiful things to be attained in this world. As a matter of fact, I would not consider myself unfortunate in any way to have as much as I do. Still, some of the most valuable things in life are not physical, but emotional or internal. Ironically, one of the greatest things to ever happen to me in my entire life resulted from one of the most tragic. When I was nine years old, I got out of school one day in September extremely excited; the day had finally arrived that my friends and I, with our simple innocent minds, would get to go to the park right after school, with NO homework. I asked my dad as we got in the car, but he told me today wasn't the day. I'll never forget the tone of his voice that day, for my dad wasn't upset with me, but sincere and mournful. As we dropped my friends off and arrived home, I was struck down by the shattering news that my biological father had passed away due to cardiac disease, just that morning. I was heartbroken, as were my mom and dad. But after my father's funeral, I remembered one thing he had always told me to do. My grandmother reminded me of the promise I made to my father, and how he always told me to run: “Always keep running. Run towards your problems, not away from them. Face them head-on, and embrace the challenge. Run towards your goals, your greatest hopes and dreams. Embrace who you are, and never forget it.” When I was young it was a bit harder for me to truly grasp the meaning of what my father told me. But as I grew older and mentally developed over time, the huge obstacle of not having him around began to seem smaller and smaller as clarity found its way into my mind. He meant that what happened in the past didn’t truly matter. Not the negative things at least. “Don't let your past negatively define who you will be, you define who you are meant to be.” This was the message that I ultimately took away, and it has brought me through many hardships in my journey through life. This challenge of mine is an ongoing one, as I am still living my life learning new lessons (from my mistakes and victories), facing new obstacles, fighting new battles, and reaping new rewards as I go. But there is one thing I know to be true: as I strive to overcome my father’s challenge, the challenge of my life and his death, I have kept my promise to him all the while. And I am still running to this very day.
      Pratibha Pandey Merit-Based Scholarship
      Leadership is the ability to influence and effect change through setting an example. To be a good leader, one should possess qualities such as empathy, courage, determination, selflessness, and emotional intelligence. I consider myself to be a great leader, and many of my peers and adults around me would validate this notion. I simply enjoy helping others and making people feel welcome, and one very beneficial tool in my box is my relatability to a wide array of people, regardless of how different our backgrounds may be. I pride myself on being able to talk to pretty much anyone and fit into any group quite well. As a leader in the traditional sense, I have had many amazing opportunities to demonstrate my ability in my life as a young student, both in my middle and high school years. In my time at Fruitvale Jr High in Bakersfield, California, I was nominated as a representative for our school to win the Gold Ribbon award. I was tasked, along with a few of my fellow classmates, with giving a tour of our school and some of our most prestigious junior programs to representatives from the California Department of Education(CDE). Upon graduation, I was also presented with the John Hefner Scholarship Award for exemplifying enthusiasm, encouragement, and outstanding academic achievement. In High School, I was involved in Associated Student Body (ASB), National Honors Society (NHS), and during my senior year, I was one of five head commissioners of the Link Crew chapter at Centennial High School. During my freshman year in college at San Diego State University, I joined a frat to help me diversify my experience with different groups of people from different walks of life even further. I was president of my class and led us through countless activities and tests to build us up and bring us all closer together. Between my extracurricular activities, classes and other obligations, maintaining a steady work-life balance can be a challenge. But I have found that one of the best ways to help me manage my time and maintain my grade point average is to make a weekly calendar. I organize it with all of my tasks and assignments, the times they need to be done by and the best order in which to complete them. I also use something called the "8-8-8 Rule". It is a tool and mentality that helps one increase their organization and creativity. It states that "you should dedicate eight hours to sleep, eight hours to work, and eight hours to leisure activities" each day. By following this schedule, your body will be ready to focus on creative tasks when it is time for leisure, thus improving your overall mental state and ability to find new things you'll enjoy.
      Abu Omar Halal Scholarship
      The future is an interesting concept; we can’t see what it holds, yet we are the only ones with the power to change it. Our futures are entirely up to us and what we choose to make of them. Though there are walls we have to climb and different goals we have to accomplish on a person-to-person basis, they can be very different. I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. Recently, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM based companies have already made huge advancements in our day to day lives that make them easier; I want to use my abilities in STEM to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games and entertainment as a whole for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement, and show the world that regardless of our financial situations and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Colby R. Eggleston and Kyla Lee Entrepreneurship Award
      The armed forces have always been at the forefront of technological innovation, from the development of radar and sonar to the creation of GPS and satellite communication systems. Today, technology continues to play a vital role in the armed forces, providing soldiers with the tools and resources they need to succeed on the battlefield. However, technology can also be used to make a positive impact on the world beyond the battlefield. One way that I could make a positive impact through my career in the armed forces using technology is by working to develop new and innovative solutions to the challenges faced by soldiers on the battlefield. I could focus on developing new technologies to improve communication and situational awareness for soldiers, making it easier for them to work together and respond quickly to changing circumstances. Another way technology could be used to make a positive impact is by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations. Advanced simulations and modeling tools could be used to better predict the outcomes of military operations and optimize the use of resources. Technology could also be used to improve the lives of soldiers themselves. For example, wearable health monitoring devices could be used to track soldiers' vital signs and alert medical personnel to potential health issues before they become serious. In addition, I could make a positive impact by leveraging technology to support humanitarian efforts. The armed forces often play a key role in assisting in disaster areas or conflict zones, and technology can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these efforts. A possible development might be drones equipped with advanced sensors and cameras, which could be used to survey disaster areas and identify areas in need of assistance. Machine learning algorithms could be used to analyze data from these sensors and provide real-time insights to aid workers on the ground. Ultimately, making a positive impact on the world through a career in the armed forces will require a commitment to using technology in creative and innovative ways, a commitment that I’ve always had and held dear. By leveraging the latest advancements in technology, I could not only help soldiers achieve their mission objectives but also make a positive impact on the world and help those in need. Technology is the future, one way or another, and using my skills in the military would be a great use of technology's potential.
      Bald Eagle Scholarship
      I have had many amazing people come into my life, and many that I am sad to say I cannot see anymore. This is the way of life after all, and we can only be so grateful when we have something right in front of us. However, I do not forget those I no longer have or can no longer see in life, for the things I have learned and gained from them will remain with me forever. My grandmother has been one of the most influential people in my life, both directly and indirectly. And I would not be the person I am today without her. My grandmother, Mrs. McBee as she was known, had an immense impact on the way my mother viewed the world. As an immigrant during the Bosnian Civil War, my mother eventually found refuge in Memphis, Tennessee. When she met my father, she was also met with open arms by my grandmother in a southern-hospitality country-compassion household. My mother was Muslim at the time and eventually converted to Christianity due to the love and lifestyle Mrs. McBee demonstrated with every waking moment. This allowed me to grow up knowing God and having confidence in who I was regardless of what the world said about me. My voice, mannerisms, the color of my skin, my ideals, none of these could stop me from living my life happily and spreading that same compassion to all those I interact with. Mrs. McBee also taught me to “make A’s, not E’s. E’s, ironically, aren’t as Exceptional or beneficial.” What she meant by this was to make allies and acquaintances, not enemies, because there is no need. It’s much easier to be nice and love others for no reason than it is to be rude and hold a grudge for no reason. I have too many friends to count today and no enemies that I can so much as begin to imagine. And that is thanks to my grandmother. Given what Mrs. McBee has taught me and all the life takeaways I have obtained through my time with her, I am able to use my gifts and abilities freely to express myself and encourage others to do the same. Freely is the word of focus here; it is extremely important, as my grandmother taught me, that we pursue our dreams and artistic desires with bliss and glee, or whatever emotions may be present. But we must pursue them without hindrance or external influence. My artistic gift is not so much in writing or drawing, though I am very fond of the work I do. I find that I am able to use my emotion for art in a variety of different ways. One such application of my ability is reaching a wide audience of people through discussion or interaction. I also find that with my high sense of emotional intelligence and perception, I can relate to people and nature scenes much more in-depth than others, and communicate to them the emotion that is present in a way that they understand. I hope to use my gift to unite people with compassion and appreciation for the world we inhabit, and all those we share it with.
      Cheryl Twilley Outreach Memorial Scholarship
      Financial literacy is an essential skill that everyone should strive to possess. It enables individuals to make informed financial decisions and plan for their financial future. As such, it is important to educate oneself and others on financial literacy to ensure that we are able to effectively manage our finances and make sound financial choices. There are several steps that I plan on taking to educate myself and others on financial literacy. One of the first steps I plan on taking is continuing to educate myself on financial concepts and best practices. This can be done through reading books, taking online courses, and attending seminars or workshops. I believe that the more knowledge and understanding I have about personal finance, the better equipped I will be to help others. Second, I plan on sharing this knowledge with others. This could include hosting workshops or seminars on financial literacy or simply sharing financial tips and resources with friends and family. I believe that financial literacy is something that should be taught at a young age, and I will strive to educate children and young adults on the importance of financial literacy and how to manage their finances effectively. Another way I plan on educating myself and others to become financially literate is by participating in community events and volunteering my time to organizations that focus on financial education. This can be a great way to not only give back to the community but also to learn from others who are also passionate about financial literacy. Finally, I plan on setting a good example for others by being financially responsible and disciplined in my own personal finances. By demonstrating good financial habits and making smart financial decisions, I hope to inspire others to do the same. For example, I plan to start an investment portfolio in the next two weeks to practice some of what I have learned about the economy and more useful ways to store my finances and make my money work for me. Overall, becoming financially literate is a continuous process that requires ongoing education and effort and financial literacy is an essential skill that everyone should strive to possess. By seeking out educational resources, practicing good financial habits, staying up to date on financial trends, taking an active role in my own financial education, and helping others to do the same by sharing my findings, I believe that I can make a positive impact on the financial well-being of myself and those around me to ensure that we are able to effectively manage our finances and make sound financial decisions.
      Dedication for Education Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color, this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe.” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock, I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of this or allow those I care about to be victims. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” This message will not go unspoken any longer. In my career as an educator, I may want to teach something in STEM or how to be financially independent. But most importantly, along with my message about defying the weights of this world, I would teach students how to grow. Life is made to be enjoyed, but we can’t enjoy life without freedom. Who doesn’t want to have control over their lives and the ability to make choices for themselves; still, freedom comes in many forms. One of the most important aspects of freedom is freedom of mind. Our entire early lives, as we go through our mandatory educational institutions, we are taught not how to learn and grow, but how to follow directions. We are taught to be another number in a never-ending cycle, a system that does not allow us to truly free our minds and let our imaginations run wild. We are not encouraged to express ourselves and create what our dreams move us to create; we aren’t urged on to become one of the greats and make the next Facebook or TikTok. When I step into the classroom, students of all minorities will know that they can break their societally oppressive chains to achieve greatness.
      Carlos F. Garcia Muentes Scholarship
      I have had many amazing people come into my life, and many that I am sad to say I cannot see anymore. This is the way of life after all, and we can only be so grateful when we have something right in front of us. However, I do not forget those I no longer have or can no longer see in life, for the things I have learned and gained from them will remain with me forever. My grandmother has been one of the most influential people in my life, both directly and indirectly. And I would not be the person I am today without her. My grandmother, Mrs. McBee as she was known, had an immense impact on the way my mother viewed the world. As an immigrant during the Bosnian Civil War, my mother eventually found refuge in Memphis, Tennessee. When she met my father, she was also met with open arms by my grandmother in a southern-hospitality country-compassion household. My mother was Muslim at the time and eventually converted to Christianity due to the love and lifestyle Mrs. McBee demonstrated with every waking moment. This allowed me to grow up knowing God and having confidence in who I was regardless of what the world said about me. My voice, mannerisms, the color of my skin, my ideals, none of these could stop me from living my life happily and spreading that same compassion to all those I interact with. Mrs. McBee also taught me to “make A’s, not E’s. E’s, ironically, aren’t as Exceptional or beneficial.” What she meant by this was to make allies and acquaintances, not enemies, because there is no need. It’s much easier to be nice and love others for no reason than it is to be rude and hold a grudge for no reason. I have too many friends to count today and no enemies that I can so much as begin to imagine. And that is thanks to my grandmother. Given what Mrs. McBee has taught me and all the life takeaways I have obtained through my time with her, I am able to use my gifts and abilities freely to express myself and encourage others to do the same. Freely is the word of focus here; it is extremely important, as my grandmother taught me, that we pursue our dreams and artistic desires with bliss and glee, or whatever emotions may be present. But we must pursue them without hindrance or external influence. My artistic gift is not so much in writing or drawing, though I am very fond of the work I do. I find that I am able to use my emotion for art in a variety of different ways. One such application of my ability is reaching a wide audience of people through discussion or interaction. I also find that with my high sense of emotional intelligence and perception, I can relate to people and nature scenes much more in-depth than others, and communicate to them the emotion that is present in a way that they understand. I hope to use my gift to unite people with compassion and appreciation for the world we inhabit, and all those we share it with.
      Michael Valdivia Scholarship
      My experience with mental health has been a journey of self-discovery, growth, and resilience. From a young age, I struggled with anxiety and depression, and these struggles greatly influenced my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. Growing up, my mental health struggles were often accompanied by feelings of isolation and self-doubt. These negative thoughts and emotions made it difficult for me to form meaningful connections with others and to see the beauty and potential in life. I often felt overwhelmed and powerless, and these feelings contributed to a belief that I was not good enough or worthy of happiness. However, as I grew older, I began to understand the importance of seeking help and support. I sought therapy and medication, which helped me to better manage my symptoms and gain a deeper understanding of my emotions and thoughts. Through therapy, I learned about the mind-body connection and the impact of my thoughts and emotions on my physical and mental well-being. I also learned about the importance of self-care and self-compassion, and how to develop a more positive and resilient mindset. My experience with therapy also taught me the value of open communication and vulnerability in relationships. I began to share my struggles and emotions with my loved ones, which helped to build deeper and more meaningful connections with them. I also learned how to set boundaries and take care of myself in relationships, which improved my overall well-being. I believe that being open and honest with others about my mental health journey has helped me to build stronger and more authentic relationships. My experience with mental health has also greatly influenced my career aspirations. I have always been drawn to the field of psychology and mental health, and as a result, I am now pursuing a career as a therapist. I am passionate about helping others to navigate their mental health journeys and to build resilience, self-compassion, and self-care. I believe that mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being and that with the right support, we can all learn to thrive. In conclusion, my experience with mental health has been a challenging and transformative journey. Through therapy, medication, and open communication, I have been able to manage my symptoms and build a more positive and resilient mindset. My experience has also helped me to form deeper connections with others and has greatly influenced my career aspirations. I believe that mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being and that with the right support, we can all learn to thrive. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help to break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage others to seek help and support.
      Minority/Women in STEM Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color, this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM companies have made huge advancements to better our day-to-day lives; I want to use my abilities in CS to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games, and entertainment for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement and show the world that regardless of our social class separation and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Chris Jackson Computer Science Education Scholarship
      Since I was young, I had an immense interest in technology and how it could be used to interact with people. When watching science fiction shows and movies of people with special abilities or biotic enhancements, I would dream of a future where this would one day be possible. Of course in youth, these were just the dreams of a child. But now that I am older and have looked further into the state of our current world, I’ve come to realize that magic and superpowers may not be so far-fetched as they seem; imagine people that can see when their eyes don’t hold the capacity, who can hear better than any common person could ever imagine, individuals with small objects in their body that allow them to identify and cure illnesses. There is a gateway to this reality, and it is slowly being made possible by engineering. Many individuals have already made steps toward this future. One such person is Neil Harbisson, an artist who was born completely color-blind. His life changed due to a revolutionary antenna developed in 2003 by himself, college colleague Adam Montandon, and upgraded by Peter Kese and Matias Lizana, among others. The antenna was surgically implanted into his skull, enabling him to "hear" color. The colors are transmitted to his mind as audible vibrations in the form of different musical notes, including colors we can’t see. Another movie-like character is Dr. Kevin Warwick, a cybernetics professor at the University of Reading in Reading, Berkshire, England. Warwick has done experiments with electronic implants on himself since 1998; he installed a microchip in his arm allowing him to operate lights, computers, and heaters remotely. Dr. Warwick is the founder of Project Cyborg, volunteering as the main test subject with aspirations to become the world’s most complete cyborg. This, and more, has earned him the name “Captain Cyborg”. Jesse Sullivan is yet another name to go down in biomedical history. After suffering a life-threatening electrocution in 2001 while working as an electrical linesman, he had to have not one, but both of his arms amputated. With the help of biomedical engineering developments, his tragedy was turned into triumph; his arms were replaced with robotic prosthetics by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, making him the world’s first “Bionic Man”. The bionic limb is connected through a nerve-muscle grafting so that he can move his arm with his mind. This works nearly as seamlessly as when normal people do it; when he thinks about lifting his arm, muscles in his chest contract, and the bionic limb interprets this sensation as a queue to move a certain way. He can also feel the temperature in the limb and how much pressure his grip applies to outside objects. I seek to continue on this path, with bolder ambitions. My goal is to one day allow us to have the same supernatural powers that we dreamed of as children so that our lives will be forever changed for the better.
      Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
      My experience with mental health has been a journey of self-discovery, growth, and resilience. From a young age, I struggled with anxiety and depression, and these struggles greatly influenced my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. Growing up, my mental health struggles were often accompanied by feelings of isolation and self-doubt. These negative thoughts and emotions made it difficult for me to form meaningful connections with others and to see the beauty and potential in life. I often felt overwhelmed and powerless, and these feelings contributed to a belief that I was not good enough or worthy of happiness. However, as I grew older, I began to understand the importance of seeking help and support. I sought therapy and medication, which helped me to better manage my symptoms and gain a deeper understanding of my emotions and thoughts. Through therapy, I learned about the mind-body connection and the impact of my thoughts and emotions on my physical and mental well-being. I also learned about the importance of self-care and self-compassion, and how to develop a more positive and resilient mindset. My experience with therapy also taught me the value of open communication and vulnerability in relationships. I began to share my struggles and emotions with my loved ones, which helped to build deeper and more meaningful connections with them. I also learned how to set boundaries and take care of myself in relationships, which improved my overall well-being. I believe that being open and honest with others about my mental health journey has helped me to build stronger and more authentic relationships. My experience with mental health has also greatly influenced my career aspirations. I have always been drawn to the field of psychology and mental health, and as a result, I am now pursuing a career as a therapist. I am passionate about helping others to navigate their mental health journeys and to build resilience, self-compassion, and self-care. I believe that mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being and that with the right support, we can all learn to thrive. In conclusion, my experience with mental health has been a challenging and transformative journey. Through therapy, medication, and open communication, I have been able to manage my symptoms and build a more positive and resilient mindset. My experience has also helped me to form deeper connections with others and has greatly influenced my career aspirations. I believe that mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being and that with the right support, we can all learn to thrive. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help to break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage others to seek help and support.
      Adam Montes Pride Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color, this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM companies have made huge advancements to better our day-to-day lives; I want to use my abilities in CS to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games, and entertainment for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement and show the world that regardless of our social class separation and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Priscilla Shireen Luke Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color, this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM companies have made huge advancements to better our day-to-day lives; I want to use my abilities in CS to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games, and entertainment for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement and show the world that regardless of our social class separation and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Elijah's Helping Hand Scholarship Award
      Mental health is a complex issue that can have a profound impact on an individual's beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. As someone who has struggled with OCD, I have experienced firsthand how these challenges can shape one's perspective and trajectory in life. My experience with mental health and OCD has influenced my beliefs in several ways. Firstly, it has taught me to approach mental health issues with compassion and empathy. OCD is a condition that is often misunderstood and stigmatized, and I believe that it is important to challenge these misconceptions and promote greater understanding. I also believe that mental health challenges are not a sign of weakness and that seeking help is a brave and necessary step toward recovery. Furthermore, my experience with OCD has led me to question the conventional definitions of "normal" and "abnormal" behavior. I believe that everyone has unique quirks and idiosyncrasies and that these differences should be celebrated rather than stigmatized. Rather than trying to conform to a narrow definition of "normal," I believe that it is important to embrace our individuality and pursue our passions without fear of judgment. My experience with mental health and OCD has also impacted my relationships. I have learned to communicate more openly and honestly with those around me, particularly when it comes to discussing mental health challenges. This has allowed me to build deeper and more meaningful connections with others, as well as to provide support and understanding to those who may be struggling with similar issues. Finally, my experience with OCD has influenced my career aspirations. It has led me to pursue a career in mental health advocacy and counseling, with the goal of helping others who may be struggling with mental health challenges. I am particularly interested in working with individuals who have OCD, as I believe that this condition is often overlooked and misunderstood by society at large. My experience with mental health and OCD has had a significant impact on my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. It has taught me to approach mental health issues with empathy and understanding, to embrace my individuality, to communicate openly and honestly with those around me, and to pursue a career in mental health advocacy and counseling. While these challenges have not always been easy to navigate, I am grateful for the lessons they have taught me, and I am committed to using my experiences to make a positive impact on the world around me.
      Patriots Path Scholarship
      The armed forces have always been at the forefront of technological innovation, from the development of radar and sonar to the creation of GPS and satellite communication systems. Today, technology continues to play a vital role in the armed forces, providing soldiers with the tools and resources they need to succeed on the battlefield. However, technology can also be used to make a positive impact on the world beyond the battlefield. One way that I could make a positive impact through my career in the armed forces using technology is by working to develop new and innovative solutions to the challenges faced by soldiers on the battlefield. I could focus on developing new technologies to improve communication and situational awareness for soldiers, making it easier for them to work together and respond quickly to changing circumstances. Another way technology could be used to make a positive impact is by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations. Advanced simulations and modeling tools could be used to better predict the outcomes of military operations and optimize the use of resources. Technology could also be used to improve the lives of soldiers themselves. For example, wearable health monitoring devices could be used to track soldiers' vital signs and alert medical personnel to potential health issues before they become serious. In addition, I could make a positive impact by leveraging technology to support humanitarian efforts. The armed forces often play a key role in assisting in disaster areas or conflict zones, and technology can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these efforts. A possible development might be drones equipped with advanced sensors and cameras, which could be used to survey disaster areas and identify areas in need of assistance. Machine learning algorithms could be used to analyze data from these sensors and provide real-time insights to aid workers on the ground. Ultimately, making a positive impact on the world through a career in the armed forces will require a commitment to using technology in creative and innovative ways, a commitment that I’ve always had and held dear. By leveraging the latest advancements in technology, I could not only help soldiers achieve their mission objectives but also make a positive impact on the world and help those in need. Technology is the future, one way or another, and using my skills in the military would be a great use of technology's potential.
      Brent Haines "Make it Happen" Scholarship
      I love to give to others, whether that be through physical items and donations or through my time and efforts toward helping a certain group of people. In my ideal world, people have come to realize that the beautiful things in life are only as special as those we share them with. I aspire to become a major socialite or entertainer with a very specific and simple mission in mind. I hope to use my gifts and talent to bring joy to those around me, make them feel as though they belong to a family, something greater, and encourage them to spread that loving spirit to all those they interact with. Many people tend to view money or riches and fame as a means of achieving happiness. But if we look at the celebrities who have already “been there, and done that”, we quickly see a pattern. They all come to the same conclusion, and that is that the only way they achieve true happiness is not through their riches, wealth or fame, but through their actions, what they do with their resources and how they change the lives of others around them and in their community. A community should be a safe place for diversity and for people to express who they truly are; I love to provide that and be open and welcoming to people. In my school, I am involved in ASB(student council), NHS(National Honors Society) and Link Crew. Within ASB, I am an honorary member, which puts me in a position to advise the senior and ASB presidents, and I can do a lot of hands-on work in projects to improve our school environment and quality of life and spirit, such as help set up for rallies and events in our school courtyard. National Honors Society allows me to participate in more activities outside of school to help benefit the community, such as LEGO build days with children on the autism spectrum, park clean-ups and volunteering for various other events throughout the city. Link Crew is another opportunity I have within my school to help the new class of Freshmen get more acclimated to the high school environment, especially in these hard and unprecedented times. As one of five head commissioners of the Link Crew chapter at Centennial High School, I organize activities and topics to discuss with our freshmen to help connect with them, put their minds at ease and overall make them feel more welcome and at home within our school. Along with many additional middle school volunteer opportunities for seasonal and annual events, I am currently an Ambassador for OneLegacy. OneLegacy is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in the seven-county greater Los Angeles area. Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the U.S., I was able to go to various hosting events and help educate people on what it meant to be a donor. This has a special place in my heart because I was blessed with the gift of time with my father thanks to a wonderful donor and his family. With OneLegacy, I can give many more people the opportunity to save hundreds of lives as my father’s donor did.
      Learner Geometry Scholarship
      Mathematics has always come naturally to me. Since I was in elementary school, my parents and I have noticed that I would take seemingly simple concepts in mathematics and understand all of the intricacies and complexities that go into them. It’s proven a useful tool, especially today in my second year of college! The smallest details can make the biggest difference when dealing with mathematics, and seeing as how attention to detail was something I was blessed with, it made sense that I took such a liking to crunching numbers and mastering how to use them to my advantage. But this isn’t the only reason I wish to pursue a career in mathematics and STEM overall. Mathematics, specifically in the realm of statistics, will help me achieve financial freedom. While pursuing one's goals and education towards a career in college, sometimes it can be easy to forget that none of that matters if you aren’t enjoying the life you live and taking the opportunities it has to offer. We shouldn’t slave away for the first and, quite frankly, the better half of our lives just to live the later and shorter end of it in luxury. We have to take care of ourselves, making sure we are healthy as well as ensuring that we give ourselves breaks to let loose and have fun! There are many obstacles in life that hinder our progress to enjoy this existence, but the top contenders are societal views and pressures, specifically emphasizing the importance of money. Finance and economics both incorporate mathematics and statistics quite a lot, and I would love to use my gifts to be more involved with the stock market. The number one rule of financial security is to pay yourself first, whether that be through growing your knowledge or using that knowledge to literally pay your future self, like through investing. Investing in various markets across the world allows you to grow your wealth while supporting our global economy, a win-win situation. When one has a lot of investments in a lot of different markets, that person has what is known as a diversified portfolio. Having a diversified portfolio allows your money to be well protected for the long haul and gives you a wide scope of benefits. Some investments give out dividends on different periodical bases, while some support their investors by giving them even more stocks. Regardless of how the money is earned, being well-versed in mathematics and economics will allow me to be much more financially independent in life. This means I can truly pursue my passions and even other careers in life, all without having to worry about how much money I will make doing what I love to reach more people in the world. I can enjoy what this beautiful earth has to offer and give the same opportunities to those that otherwise wouldn’t have them. Living a happy life where your money works for you, now that math makes statistical sense.
      Henry Bynum, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM companies have made huge advancements to better our day-to-day lives; I want to use my abilities in CS to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games and entertainment for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement and show the world that regardless of our social class separation and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Miguel Mendez Social Justice Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” This message will not go unspoken any longer. In my career as an educator, I may want to teach something in STEM or educate on how to be financially independent. But most importantly, along with my message about defying the weights of this world, I would teach students how to grow. Life is made to be enjoyed, but we can’t enjoy life without freedom. Who doesn’t want to have control over their lives and the ability to make choices for themselves; still, freedom comes in many forms. One of the most important aspects of freedom is freedom of mind. Our entire early lives, as we go through our mandatory educational institutions, we are taught not how to learn and grow, but how to follow directions. We are taught to be another number in a never ending cycle, a system that does not allow us to truly free our minds and let our imaginations run wild. We are not encouraged to express ourselves and create what our dreams move us to create; we aren’t urged on to become one of the greats and make the next Facebook or TikTok. When I step into the classroom, students of all minorities will know that they can break their societally oppressive chains to achieve greatness.
      Andrew Perez Mental Illness/Suicidal Awareness Education Scholarship
      Throughout high school and college, I have had the opportunity to work on several projects that I was passionate about. One of the most exciting projects I have worked on was a mobile app designed to help students track their academic progress and plan for their future. The app itself was designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, allowing students to input information about their grades, classes, and extracurricular activities. The app would then generate personalized recommendations for courses and activities that would help the student achieve their academic and career goals. What inspired me to take on this project was my own experience navigating the complex world of high school and college academics. I realized that many students struggle to keep track of their grades and plan for their future, and I wanted to create a tool that could help make this process easier and more accessible. Working in technology played a crucial role in this project. I utilized a wide range of tools and technologies, from programming languages like Java and Swift to design software like Adobe Illustrator. By leveraging these technologies, I was able to create a robust and scalable platform that could help students all over the world. What was most inspiring about this project was the potential impact it could have on students' lives. By empowering students to take control of their academic progress and plan for their future, the app could help them achieve their goals and realize their full potential. This project also inspired me to explore the field of technology further. I was fascinated by the power of technology to solve real-world problems and make a positive impact on people's lives. I began to explore different areas of technology, from web development to artificial intelligence, and I discovered a passion for this field that I never knew existed. I deeply desire to use technology in the future to improve the lives of those around me, whether that be in the areas of life enrichment and entertainment or using technology to save lives. In conclusion, working on the academic progress tracking app was a transformative experience that inspired me to explore the field of technology further. By harnessing the power of technology, I was able to create a tool that could help students achieve their academic and career goals. I am excited to continue exploring the many possibilities of technology and to use my skills to make a positive impact on the world.
      Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
      Mental health is a complex issue that can have a profound impact on an individual's beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. As someone who has struggled with OCD, I have experienced firsthand how these challenges can shape one's perspective and trajectory in life. My experience with mental health and OCD has influenced my beliefs in several ways. Firstly, it has taught me to approach mental health issues with compassion and empathy. OCD is a condition that is often misunderstood and stigmatized, and I believe that it is important to challenge these misconceptions and promote greater understanding. I also believe that mental health challenges are not a sign of weakness and that seeking help is a brave and necessary step toward recovery. Furthermore, my experience with OCD has led me to question the conventional definitions of "normal" and "abnormal" behavior. I believe that everyone has unique quirks and idiosyncrasies and that these differences should be celebrated rather than stigmatized. Rather than trying to conform to a narrow definition of "normal," I believe that it is important to embrace our individuality and pursue our passions without fear of judgment. My experience with mental health and OCD has also impacted my relationships. I have learned to communicate more openly and honestly with those around me, particularly when it comes to discussing mental health challenges. This has allowed me to build deeper and more meaningful connections with others, as well as to provide support and understanding to those who may be struggling with similar issues. I have also learned how to better communicate with my peers and friends around me. I used to ask a lot of questions, and people would often get annoyed or not want to communicate with me. Thankfully I learned to decrease this habit, to the point now that I hardly do it at all. Aside from the occasional light-hearted joke! Finally, my experience with OCD has influenced my career aspirations. It has led me to pursue a career in mental health advocacy and counseling, with the goal of helping others who may be struggling with mental health challenges. I am particularly interested in working with individuals who have OCD, as I believe that this condition is often overlooked and misunderstood by society at large. My goal would be to bring more knowledge and awareness to people on the topic of OCD, so that they may be better equipped to help their loved ones that may have it. My experience with mental health and OCD has had a significant impact on my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. It has taught me to approach mental health issues with empathy and understanding, to embrace my individuality, to communicate openly and honestly with those around me, and to pursue a career in mental health advocacy and counseling. While these challenges have not always been easy to navigate, I am grateful for the lessons they have taught me, and I am committed to using my experiences to make a positive impact on the world around me.
      Lieba’s Legacy Scholarship
      Gifted children often have unique needs that require specialized attention and support to reach their full potential. In order to foster the social-emotional well-being of gifted children, it is important for educators to create an environment that is supportive and challenging, where students can develop a sense of belonging and feel valued for their abilities. One way to foster social-emotional well-being is by providing opportunities for gifted students to interact with their intellectual peers. This can be achieved through programs such as gifted classes or clubs, where students can engage in challenging academic work while also forming connections with like-minded individuals. In addition, educators can also provide support to gifted students by addressing their social-emotional needs. For example, providing a safe and supportive environment where students can express their emotions and discuss their feelings can help them develop important social-emotional skills. To meet the intellectual needs of gifted children, educators need to provide a curriculum that is appropriately challenging and tailored to their abilities. This can be achieved through a variety of strategies, such as differentiated instruction, project-based learning, and independent study. Differentiated instruction involves adapting the curriculum to meet the needs of individual students, allowing gifted students to work at their own pace and level. Project-based learning allows students to engage in real-world problem-solving, which can help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Independent study provides gifted students with the opportunity to explore areas of interest in-depth, allowing them to delve deeper into subjects that they are passionate about. Finally, educators can also use technology to support the intellectual needs of gifted students. For example, online courses or virtual learning environments can provide access to advanced coursework that may not be available in traditional classrooms. This is something I am particularly interested in. I would love to combine my passions to create online courses and curricula that better fit the needs of gifted children, as I feel there simply aren't enough available as it is today. We've come so far as a society, yet we still haven't found practical ways of addressing these members of our population. It's irritating, and I won't stand for it any longer. In conclusion, fostering social-emotional well-being and meeting the intellectual needs of gifted children requires a comprehensive approach that is tailored to the unique needs of each student. Educators must provide a challenging and supportive environment that allows gifted students to thrive academically and emotionally, while also providing opportunities for growth and development in all areas of their lives.
      Major La-Goge W. Graham Memorial Scholarship
      The armed forces have always been at the forefront of technological innovation, from the development of radar and sonar to the creation of GPS and satellite communication systems. Today, technology continues to play a vital role in the armed forces, providing soldiers with the tools and resources they need to succeed on the battlefield. However, technology can also be used to make a positive impact on the world beyond the battlefield. One way that I could make a positive impact through my career in the armed forces using technology is by working to develop new and innovative solutions to the challenges faced by soldiers on the battlefield. I could focus on developing new technologies to improve communication and situational awareness for soldiers, making it easier for them to work together and respond quickly to changing circumstances. Another way technology could be used to make a positive impact is by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations. Advanced simulations and modeling tools could be used to better predict the outcomes of military operations and optimize the use of resources. Technology could also be used to improve the lives of soldiers themselves. For example, wearable health monitoring devices could be used to track soldiers' vital signs and alert medical personnel to potential health issues before they become serious. In addition, I could make a positive impact by leveraging technology to support humanitarian efforts. The armed forces often play a key role in assisting in disaster areas or conflict zones, and technology can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these efforts. A possible development might be drones equipped with advanced sensors and cameras, which could be used to survey disaster areas and identify areas in need of assistance. Machine learning algorithms could be used to analyze data from these sensors and provide real-time insights to aid workers on the ground. Ultimately, making a positive impact on the world through a career in the armed forces will require a commitment to using technology in creative and innovative ways, a commitment that I’ve always had and held dear. By leveraging the latest advancements in technology, I could not only help soldiers achieve their mission objectives but also make a positive impact on the world and help those in need. Technology is the future, one way or another, and using my skills in the military would be a great use of technology's potential.
      Chadwick D. McNab Memorial Scholarship
      Throughout high school and college, I have had the opportunity to work on several projects that I was passionate about. One of the most exciting projects I have worked on was a mobile app designed to help students track their academic progress and plan for their future. The app itself was designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, allowing students to input information about their grades, classes, and extracurricular activities. The app would then generate personalized recommendations for courses and activities that would help the student achieve their academic and career goals. What inspired me to take on this project was my own experience navigating the complex world of high school and college academics. I realized that many students struggle to keep track of their grades and plan for their future, and I wanted to create a tool that could help make this process easier and more accessible. Working in technology played a crucial role in this project. I utilized a wide range of tools and technologies, from programming languages like Java and Swift to design software like Adobe Illustrator. By leveraging these technologies, I was able to create a robust and scalable platform that could help students all over the world. What was most inspiring about this project was the potential impact it could have on students' lives. By empowering students to take control of their academic progress and plan for their future, the app could help them achieve their goals and realize their full potential. This project also inspired me to explore the field of technology further. I was fascinated by the power of technology to solve real-world problems and make a positive impact on people's lives. I began to explore different areas of technology, from web development to artificial intelligence, and I discovered a passion for this field that I never knew existed. I deeply desire to use technology in the future to improve the lives of those around me, whether that be in the areas of life enrichment and entertainment or using technology to save lives. In conclusion, working on the academic progress tracking app was a transformative experience that inspired me to explore the field of technology further. By harnessing the power of technology, I was able to create a tool that could help students achieve their academic and career goals. I am excited to continue exploring the many possibilities of technology and to use my skills to make a positive impact on the world.
      I Can and I Will Scholarship
      Mental health is a complex issue that can have a profound impact on an individual's beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. As someone who has struggled with OCD, I have experienced firsthand how these challenges can shape one's perspective and trajectory in life. My experience with mental health and OCD has influenced my beliefs in several ways. Firstly, it has taught me to approach mental health issues with compassion and empathy. OCD is a condition that is often misunderstood and stigmatized, and I believe that it is important to challenge these misconceptions and promote greater understanding. I also believe that mental health challenges are not a sign of weakness and that seeking help is a brave and necessary step toward recovery. Furthermore, my experience with OCD has led me to question the conventional definitions of "normal" and "abnormal" behavior. I believe that everyone has unique quirks and idiosyncrasies and that these differences should be celebrated rather than stigmatized. Rather than trying to conform to a narrow definition of "normal," I believe that it is important to embrace our individuality and pursue our passions without fear of judgment. My experience with mental health and OCD has also impacted my relationships. I have learned to communicate more openly and honestly with those around me, particularly when it comes to discussing mental health challenges. This has allowed me to build deeper and more meaningful connections with others, as well as to provide support and understanding to those who may be struggling with similar issues. Finally, my experience with OCD has influenced my career aspirations. It has led me to pursue a career in mental health advocacy and counseling, with the goal of helping others who may be struggling with mental health challenges. I am particularly interested in working with individuals who have OCD, as I believe that this condition is often overlooked and misunderstood by society at large. My experience with mental health and OCD has had a significant impact on my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. It has taught me to approach mental health issues with empathy and understanding, to embrace my individuality, to communicate openly and honestly with those around me, and to pursue a career in mental health advocacy and counseling. While these challenges have not always been easy to navigate, I am grateful for the lessons they have taught me, and I am committed to using my experiences to make a positive impact on the world around me.
      Book Lovers Scholarship
      If I could have everyone in the world read just one book, it would be "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. This novel, published in 1960, is a classic piece of literature that has been widely celebrated for its powerful message on racial injustice and the importance of empathy and compassion. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is set in the deep south of the United States during the 1930s and follows the story of a young girl named Scout Finch and her family. Scout's father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of rape in a deeply racist society. The novel explores themes of discrimination, prejudice, and the struggle for justice in a society that is rife with inequality. The reason why I would choose this book is that it addresses issues that are still relevant in today's society. The struggle for racial equality is ongoing, and the novel provides a powerful commentary on the effects of prejudice and discrimination on individuals and society as a whole. The book's central message is one of empathy and understanding. It encourages readers to step into the shoes of others and to see the world from their perspective. This message is especially important in a world that is increasingly divided and polarized. Moreover, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a beautifully written novel that has captivated readers for generations. It is a timeless work of literature that has won numerous awards and has been adapted into films and plays. The book also has educational value, making it an excellent choice for students of all ages. It teaches important lessons about history, social justice, and the power of storytelling to create change. In conclusion, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a powerful, thought-provoking novel that addresses issues that are still relevant today. It promotes empathy, understanding, and the importance of fighting against discrimination and prejudice. If everyone in the world could read this book, it would be a significant step toward building a more just and equitable society.
      Francis E. Moore Prime Time Ministries Scholarship
      As a black student, my educational goals have always been to obtain a high-quality education and eventually achieve a successful career. However, I have faced several obstacles along the way that have made achieving these goals more challenging. One of the most significant obstacles that I have experienced is the lack of representation and inclusion in my educational experiences. Growing up, the majority of my teachers and administrators were white, which made it challenging for me to see people who looked like me in positions of authority and influence. This lack of representation made it difficult for me to connect with my teachers and made me feel like an outsider in my education. Additionally, I have also faced discrimination and prejudice from some of my peers and even teachers. I have been called racial slurs, subjected to microaggressions, and stereotyped based on my race. This has made me feel unwelcome and unsupported in my academic environment and has damaged my self-esteem and motivation. I was even further pushed away from my community in college when I tried to join a black fraternity on campus. They refused to give me a chance, saying that their reason was my "not being black enough". This was a hard pill to swallow for some time, but I understood that deep down these were just a group of young black men that were afraid to oppose societal norms and standards that had been expected of us for so long in our lives and histories. Me speaking in a more formal way or dressing in a style that wasn't the same as theirs didn't make me "less black", it made me different and more of a threat to the world because I was willing to oppose their views. This was something that the fraternity was simply not ready for, and thus I had to seek consolation and community elsewhere. Despite these obstacles, I have worked hard to overcome them and continue to pursue my educational goals. I have found support from like-minded peers, mentors, and community organizations that have helped me to navigate the challenges of being a black student. However, these obstacles may potentially affect my progress in the future. The lack of representation and discrimination that I have experienced can lead to feelings of isolation, disengagement, and a lack of motivation to continue pursuing my goals. It can also impact my mental health and well-being, which can further hinder my academic progress. To overcome these potential obstacles, I will continue to seek out supportive communities and mentors who can provide guidance and encouragement. I will also work to develop my self-confidence and resilience, knowing that my success is not defined by the opinions of others but by my hard work and dedication. Overall, my educational goals remain unchanged despite the obstacles I have experienced. I will continue to work hard, seek support, and persevere to achieve my dreams and make a positive impact in this world.
      Mark A. Jefferson Teaching Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color, this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock, I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” This message will not go unspoken any longer. In my career as an educator, I may want to teach something in STEM or educate on how to be financially independent. But most importantly, along with my message about defying the weights of this world, I would teach students how to grow. Life is made to be enjoyed, but we can’t enjoy life without freedom. Who doesn’t want to have control over their lives and the ability to make choices for themselves; still, freedom comes in many forms. One of the most important aspects of freedom is freedom of mind. Our entire early lives, as we go through our mandatory educational institutions, we are taught not how to learn and grow, but how to follow directions. We are taught to be another number in a never-ending cycle, a system that does not allow us to truly free our minds and let our imaginations run wild. We are not encouraged to express ourselves and create what our dreams move us to create; we aren’t urged on to become one of the greats and make the next Facebook or TikTok. When I step into the classroom, students of all minorities will know that they can break their societally oppressive chains to achieve greatness.
      Jerome D. Carr Memorial Scholarship for Overcoming Adversity
      My experience with mental health has been a journey of self-discovery, growth, and resilience. From a young age, I struggled with anxiety and depression, and these struggles greatly influenced my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations. Growing up, my mental health struggles were often accompanied by feelings of isolation and self-doubt. These negative thoughts and emotions made it difficult for me to form meaningful connections with others and to see the beauty and potential in life. I often felt overwhelmed and powerless, and these feelings contributed to a belief that I was not good enough or worthy of happiness. However, as I grew older, I began to understand the importance of seeking help and support. I sought therapy and medication, which helped me to better manage my symptoms and gain a deeper understanding of my emotions and thoughts. Through therapy, I learned about the mind-body connection and the impact of my thoughts and emotions on my physical and mental well-being. I also learned about the importance of self-care and self-compassion, and how to develop a more positive and resilient mindset. My experience with therapy also taught me the value of open communication and vulnerability in relationships. I began to share my struggles and emotions with my loved ones, which helped to build deeper and more meaningful connections with them. I also learned how to set boundaries and take care of myself in relationships, which improved my overall well-being. I believe that being open and honest with others about my mental health journey has helped me to build stronger and more authentic relationships. My experience with mental health has also greatly influenced my career aspirations. I have always been drawn to the field of psychology and mental health, and as a result, I am now pursuing a career as a therapist. I am passionate about helping others to navigate their mental health journeys and to build resilience, self-compassion, and self-care. I believe that mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being and that with the right support, we can all learn to thrive. In conclusion, my experience with mental health has been a challenging and transformative journey. Through therapy, medication, and open communication, I have been able to manage my symptoms and build a more positive and resilient mindset. My experience has also helped me to form deeper connections with others and has greatly influenced my career aspirations. I believe that mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being and that with the right support, we can all learn to thrive. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help to break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage others to seek help and support.
      Paige's Promise Scholarship
      Substance use disorder, also known as addiction, is a serious issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It not only causes harm to the individual suffering from the disorder, but also to their families, friends, and communities. As someone who has personally been impacted by addiction, I have made it my mission to educate others about substance use disorder and help people recover. When I was young my father suffered from substance misuse, and it caused him to act against my mother and I. When my mother and I went on a trip to Europe to visit family, he wasn’t loyal overseas. I did not get the full story until I grew older, but I came to understand that it was not just this new woman in his life that made him act differently. This new woman and his misuse of substances were directly correlated, as she was a primary reason he got involved with drugs in the first place. As things got worse over time after my parents’ separation, I was eventually not able to see him any longer until he passed away when I was nine years old. Substance abuse took my family away from me, and it broke me to feel helpless at the hands of something that wasn’t even alive. I don’t ever want someone to face that in this world. I have always been passionate about education and helping others. I believe that knowledge is power, and by educating others about the causes, effects, and recovery options for substance use disorder, I can make a positive impact on the world. I have already begun this journey by earning my Bachelor's degree in Psychology and currently pursuing my Master's degree in Social Work, with the goal of becoming a licensed therapist and certified addiction counselor. I plan to make a positive impact on the world through education on substance use disorder by utilizing my education and training to work with individuals, families, and communities affected by addiction. I see myself working in a variety of settings, such as inpatient and outpatient treatment centers, community health clinics, schools, and non-profit organizations. I will also strive to create educational resources and programming that will help people understand the causes of addiction, the warning signs of substance use disorder, and the importance of seeking help for recovery. In addition to educating others about substance use disorder, I also plan to help people recover by providing counseling and therapy services to individuals and families affected by addiction. I believe that by utilizing a holistic and evidence-based approach, I can help people overcome their addiction and improve their overall well-being. This approach includes cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed care. I will also strive to build a supportive and non-judgmental environment that allows clients to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. In conclusion, I am passionate about making a positive impact on the world through education on substance use disorder. By utilizing my education and training, I plan to educate others about the causes and effects of addiction and help people recover through counseling and therapy services. I believe that by working together, we can break the stigma surrounding addiction and help people achieve a better quality of life.
      Jacques Borges Memorial Scholarship
      I am passionate about becoming a civil engineer because I believe it is a field that can make a tangible and positive impact on the world. Civil engineering is the backbone of modern society and is responsible for creating and maintaining the infrastructure that we rely on every day. From the roads we drive on, to the bridges we cross, to the buildings we live and work in, civil engineers play a critical role in designing and constructing the structures and systems that make our lives possible. I took many opportunities in high school to learn what I could about civil engineering in classes and clubs. These helped me build my knowledge and skills to influence the future of our society’s structures(pun intended). One of the problems that I would like to address in my community is the issue of aging infrastructure. Many of the roads, bridges, and buildings in our community were built decades ago and are in need of repair and modernization. As a civil engineer, I would like to work on projects that address these issues and help to ensure that the infrastructure in my community is safe, efficient, and sustainable. Another problem that I would like to address in my community is the lack of affordable housing. Many people in my community struggle to find affordable housing, and I believe that as a civil engineer, I can help to create solutions that address this issue. This could include designing and building affordable housing developments, or working on projects that make existing housing more affordable through energy-efficient upgrades. In addition to addressing these specific issues, I believe that I can contribute to the solution of these issues by bringing a fresh perspective and innovative approach to the field of civil engineering. I am eager to learn about new technologies and techniques that can be used to improve the efficiency and sustainability of infrastructure projects. I also believe that it is important to consider the social and environmental impact of engineering projects, and I am committed to incorporating these considerations into my work. In conclusion, I am passionate about becoming a civil engineer because I believe it is a field that has the ability to make a tangible and positive impact on the world. I am eager to work on projects that address the issues of aging infrastructure and affordable housing in my community, and I am committed to bringing a fresh perspective and innovative approach to the field of civil engineering.
      Marilyn J. Palmer Memorial
      Being an American means many things to me. It’s important to understand that being an American is very different for every person, and many different factors play into that. Race is one of the key factors, especially in today’s society. But if I were to write from a general American perspective, or from the perspective of someone coming to America seeking a better life, I would say being American means “having the freedom to live your life the way you choose”(within the bounds of the law of course). This freedom includes freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of overall choice. “Choice” means that I have the opportunity to pursue my dreams and goals, no matter what they may be. Being an American means that I am part of a diverse and multicultural society. I am able to learn and grow from the experiences and perspectives of people from all walks of life, which is part of what forms an American identity. This diversity has shaped America into the country it is today and continues to enrich our society, even with the limits that stand in its way. Additionally, being an American means that I have a responsibility to actively participate in our democracy. This includes the right to vote and to have my voice heard on the issues that matter to me. As citizens and non-citizens who call America home, we have a responsibility to respect the rights and beliefs of others, even if we don’t agree with them. This is how we fix our issues and grow even further as a society, and this is the only way to make major changes for the better. Finally, being an American means being part of a nation with a rich history and a bright future. From the founding of our country to the present day, even though this nation has made mistakes and done some rather cruel things, America has overall been a beacon of hope and a symbol of freedom for people around the world. As an American, I am not so proud to be a part of this current legacy as I am honored and obligated to contribute to the future redemption, restoration and reclamation of our nation. So while being an American hasn’t always meant having the freedom to live my life as I choose, being part of a diverse and multicultural society, or even participating in our democracy, I am confident that with the help of our new generations, America will be able to evolve into what it was truly meant to be.
      Curtis Holloway Memorial Scholarship
      Throughout my educational journey, I have been fortunate to have the support of many people who have helped me to reach my goals. However, if I had to choose one person who has supported me the most, it would be my mother. My mother has always been a constant source of encouragement and motivation for me. She instilled in me a love of learning from a young age and encouraged me to always strive for excellence in my studies. She regularly checked in with me to see how my classes were going and helped me to stay organized and on top of my assignments. One of the most significant ways that my mother supported me was by being a role model. She was an immigrant during the Bosnian Civil War, and eventually found refuge in Memphis, Tennessee. She learned English quickly and got through all of high school, paying her own college tuition and fees while working multiple jobs, and carried herself through medical school despite her circumstances setting her up for an easy excuse for failure or giving up. Hence, she always emphasized the importance of education and worked hard to set a good example for me. Her life serves as an example that with hard work and dedication, it is possible to achieve anything that I set my mind to. Throughout my academic career, my mother has also been my biggest supporter emotionally. She has always been there to hear my concerns, offer guidance and advice, or provide a listening ear when I needed to vent about school-related stress. Whenever I struggled with a subject or felt overwhelmed with schoolwork, she would sit down with me and help me work through the material. She never made me feel like I was a burden or that my questions were foolish. Instead, she always made me feel supported and valued. In addition to providing emotional support, my mother also offered practical assistance. She was always there to help me with any challenges that I faced and made sacrifices to allow me to focus on my studies. She worked tirelessly to pay for my education and extracurricular activities. From new textbooks and supplies to sports and even fun events with my friends, she made sure I had all the resources I needed to succeed. My mother's constant unwavering support and encouragement have had a profound impact on my educational journey. It has given me the confidence and motivation to pursue my dreams and strive for academic excellence. I am incredibly grateful to have such a supportive and loving mother, and I know that I would not be where I am today without her guidance.
      Financial Hygiene Scholarship
      Financial literacy is an essential skill that everyone should strive to possess. It enables individuals to make informed financial decisions and plan for their financial future. As such, it is important to educate oneself and others on financial literacy to ensure that we are able to effectively manage our finances and make sound financial choices. There are several steps that I plan on taking to educate myself and others on financial literacy. One of the first steps I plan on taking is continuing to educate myself on financial concepts and best practices. This can be done through reading books, taking online courses, and attending seminars or workshops. I believe that the more knowledge and understanding I have about personal finance, the better equipped I will be to help others. Second, I plan on sharing this knowledge with others. This could include hosting workshops or seminars on financial literacy or simply sharing financial tips and resources with friends and family. I believe that financial literacy is something that should be taught at a young age, and I will strive to educate children and young adults on the importance of financial literacy and how to manage their finances effectively. Another way I plan on educating myself and others to become financially literate is by participating in community events and volunteering my time to organizations that focus on financial education. This can be a great way to not only give back to the community but also to learn from others who are also passionate about financial literacy. Finally, I plan on setting a good example for others by being financially responsible and disciplined in my personal finances. By demonstrating good financial habits and making smart financial decisions, I hope to inspire others to do the same. For example, I plan to start an investment portfolio in the next two weeks to practice some of what I have learned about the economy and more useful ways to store my finances and make my money work for me. Overall, becoming financially literate is a continuous process that requires ongoing education and effort and financial literacy is an essential skill that everyone should strive to possess. By seeking out educational resources, practicing good financial habits, staying up to date on financial trends, taking an active role in my own financial education and helping others to do the same by sharing my findings, I believe that I can make a positive impact on the financial well-being of myself and those around me to ensure that we can effectively manage our finances and make sound financial decisions.
      Yvela Michele Memorial Scholarship for Resilient Single Parents
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color, this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I attempted to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock, I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you to, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM companies have made huge advancements to better our day-to-day lives; I want to use my abilities in CS to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together despite their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games and entertainment for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement, and show the world that regardless of our social class separation and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Scholar Dudes in Computer Science Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM companies have made huge advancements to better our day to day lives; I want to use my abilities in CS to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games and entertainment for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement, and show the world that regardless of our social class separation and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Tim Watabe Doing Hard Things Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom as a student and in the real world from my family and peers. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. And while caring what others think could have negatively affected my relationships, it actually did the opposite. When I didn’t care what people thought and refused to change for them since it didn’t matter to me, I started to see that only people who accepted me for me and wanted every part of me were sticking around. More genuine relationships. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe.” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council bluntly stated “You just aren’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, a fear of the unknown. A fear that the reciprocity of safety and acceptance they got from fulfilling their “designated role” in society would quickly be snatched away. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else.
      Westport Big & Tall Scholarship
      I myself am not the biggest or tallest person around for sure. I weigh around 180 pounds and sit at just under 5’9”. Though I have had some rather tall friends, and making jokes with them would always bring a lot of joy to everyone in our friend groups. My friend Cole, who is ridiculously tall(I don’t know his exact height) has often been put in the position to make our short friends feel just how short they were. Angelo is one of our friends who is very, very short. On one occasion, Cole, Angelo and a few other friends were sitting around talking during halftime of a football game that none of us actually cared about. It was the social aspect that mattered, of course. Angelo made a note that short people actually have it pretty rough. They go through a lot for their height, physically and socially, and they should be more respected and commended. A lot of our friends agreed, mainly the short ones, and no one said anything to oppose him. Not even Cole, the tallest out of our group. As a matter of fact, Cole actually agreed with Angelo. He chimed in “You know what, you’re totally right Angelo.” A shocked Angelo replied “I- I am?!” Again, Cole expressed his approval. “Yea, man. You’re totally right. Short people get a lot of crap just for having the genetics they have.” Angelo, with an appalled look on his face, managed a sheepish “Oh. Well, uh, thank you!” Cole continued: “I’ll be honest, as someone who was fortunate to have tall genes, I really gotta hand it to short people…” We all waited to see what the next meaningful words out of his mouth would be. He finished his thought after some consideration: “because they usually just can’t reach it anyway!” We all burst into laughter. That is, all of us over 5’6”. Those of our friends who were too short to get on the ride were a bit salty with Cole, and with the rest of us for laughing. Cole should’ve known his victory would be short lived, but we all failed to notice that Marcus was there. Not because he was too short, or anything…. Marcus stood less than 5’3”, but he was one of our greatest friends and he came with a lot of respect. He was smart, witty, and always snappy with his comebacks. As soon as he started to speak, Cole’s laugh and smile vanished almost instantly when he saw who Marcus’s attention was pointed at. “Now now, that's all good and well,” Marcus started, “but God only lets things grow until they’re near perfect and can’t grow anymore. Some of us didn’t take as long as others!” The entire room erupted with a resounding “OOOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!!!!” Even the tall people, who had been attacked this time, found joy in the strike back at tall people. Talk about looking out for the little guy!
      Abhi Khune Underrepresented Minorities Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I wouldn't be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM companies have made huge advancements to better our day to day lives; I want to use my abilities in CS to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games and entertainment for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement, and show the world that regardless of our social class separation and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Share Your Poetry Scholarship
      So often we take for granted the seemingly simple things in life Take water, for example And how simple it may appear at first sight But a deeper glance, if you dare take a look Will reveal so much more than we knew our actions took From a species, schools, shoals of fish and creatures That can only hope and pray we would not use our trash to defile their aquatic features We do not realize yet, and perhaps never will The sad truth that the life cycle and water cycle are affected by the same wills, Those of you and I… As children we loved to spend hot summers in pools and creeks with our friends And today many of us still cherish these memories to no end But on the contrary, the source of these memories does indeed have an end. Why do we look on as our water is wasted and condescend We act as though “we didn’t do it” Or contribute As if we have no obligation to help get through it LET IT BE… someone else’s problem, For we live in another world, on another planet, We are not concerned with issues from the deep blue bottom. And so we continue to let run our faucets Contributing to our fellow humanity’s losses Under the same sun as New Jersey, Texas, and Delaware Continue our prodigal tendencies without a SINGLE care Where is our humanity? If not for sea creatures and other beautiful life, Do it for our own sanity Knowing that we would plead for others to take care of their actions for our children But we, ourselves, do not bother to think of how our actions build in To the same struggle they go through elsewhere, no We waste our water without care. And if you’ll pause for a moment, to think The water we drink Is the same as that which flows from our faceted sinks, Only to sink deeper into the ground when we run it for too long It is wasted… How simple to turn off the faucet and prolong The flowing aquatic song That we, by our own hands and in our own works Cannot merely lengthen, better yet, reproduce or rehearse It is in our minds where this battle starts, on land we fight it and in sea we triumph So why would we celebrate our victory in the same place we call our trash dump? The great state of california is in a drought And still we look on and let our resources go to waste thinking they’ll do just fine without The liquid that some of us are blessed in abundance with each day But imagine if for just a single droplet, you could only hope and pray Furthermore, there are hardships that at times seem to crash down on us like waves They swirl us around and twirl us upside down And tangle us in a whirlpool of chains Our brothers and sisters across the nations Are fighting to keep their heads above the watery basins And on account of this we cannot see that These shackles that bind our minds and our hearts Are the same for all of us, yet ironically manage to keep us apart And at the same time still, they somehow manage to provide A shelter, a feeling of safety, ignorance is bliss The water has what it takes to rust away our chains But it does not have what it takes to bring about the proper change It’s up to you.
      Theresa Lord Future Leader Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” This message will not go unspoken any longer. In my career as an educator, I may want to teach something in STEM or educate on how to be financially independent. But most importantly, along with my message about defying the weights of this world, I would teach students how to grow. Life is made to be enjoyed, but we can’t enjoy life without freedom. Who doesn’t want to have control over their lives and the ability to make choices for themselves; still, freedom comes in many forms. One of the most important aspects of freedom is freedom of mind. Our entire early lives, as we go through our mandatory educational institutions, we are taught not how to learn and grow, but how to follow directions. We are taught to be another number in a never ending cycle, a system that does not allow us to truly free our minds and let our imaginations run wild. We are not encouraged to express ourselves and create what our dreams move us to create; we aren’t urged on to become one of the greats and make the next Facebook or TikTok. When I step into the classroom, students of all minorities will know that they can break their societally oppressive chains to achieve greatness.
      John J Costonis Scholarship
      The future is an interesting concept; we can’t see what it holds, yet we are the only ones with the power to change it. Our futures are entirely up to us and what we choose to make of them. Though there are walls we have to climb and different goals we have to accomplish on a person-to-person basis, they can be very different. I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. Recently, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” And I will BE black while I am BEING successful to show the world that my race will not be a hindrance to me or anyone else. I desire to improve the world and the lives of the people I share it with. Several individuals and STEM based companies have already made huge advancements in our day to day lives that make them easier; I want to use my abilities in STEM to make life more entertaining! I love people, and I believe that human interaction is one of the greatest parts of living. I seek to reach a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, in a way that brings them together in spite of their differences. I would love to be an animator or software designer, to create the next wave of shows, games and entertainment as a whole for this world to enjoy together. With the Metaverse and 5G becoming all too relevant, it won’t be long before nerve-gear technology or something of the sort is implemented into our tech lives. I want to be one of the leaders in this movement, and show the world that regardless of our financial situations and immediate differences, we can all enjoy the beauties that this world has to offer in the form of technology.
      Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact Scholarship
      From the perspective of a gamer, I know that video games and animation can have a lot of positive effects on an individual in the way they live. They are fun and entertaining, a great leisure activity on which to spend your well earned relaxation time. They offer an escape from reality, where you can do whatever, be whatever and live whatever life you want. Furthermore, and among many other things, they provide a way to connect to others in reality. These benefits are not as often discussed as the detriments, as we tend to notice the bad over the good. But that is not what I am writing to divulge. I would like to draw attention to the above quote, "The phenomenon of people within online gaming forums discarding the common accepted social norms of civil discourse and actions and its effect on real-life social interaction". It has become common culture for people in public video game chats to be blatantly disrespectful and overly aggressive towards other players for no apparent reason. At times, players even tend to lash out at their own teammates in certain games, namely popular first person shooters like Call of Duty. Players can sometimes “rage”, which can include multiple different sets of actions. In this case, raging may denote yelling at other players on microphones while saying slurs and insulting lines. It is also common to encounter someone “ear-raping” other players, which is simply the act of making loud, obnoxious or uncomfortable noises for other players to hear on mics. One may think that this isn’t a very big deal, and players could avoid it simply by not using a microphone. However, in some games it is easier to turn off players’ mic output than others. To respond to this, one might say that “you could just change that in your settings so that you can’t hear other players”. And while this may be true, by the time someone comes to this conclusion they will already have endured a long lasting stream of insults and offenses that are extremely detrimental to our mental health. Additionally, some members of the gaming community will be so petty or “toxic” as to go out of their way and send a rude or derogatory message to players that aren’t using mics when they do something that irritates them or don’t perform to their standard. This is called “grieving”, and several studies have shown that “people diagnosed with Internet gaming disorder are more likely to be aggressive, depressed, and anxious,” as pointed out by Game Quitters in their article titled “Video Games and Mental Health: How Gaming Affects Your Mental Health”. One of the best bits of advice I can offer from personal experience is to avoid playing these types of games. Video games are meant to be fun and happy, so you should play them with people that make you happy in the real world. You also must learn to separate real life from your gaming life, and don’t rely on video games as an escape. They should be used as a method of enjoyment for all of us, and with a little courtesy and consideration, this is more than possible.
      Samuel L. Goodman Educational Scholarship
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” This message will not go unspoken any longer. In my career as an educator, I may want to teach something in STEM or educate on how to be financially independent. But most importantly, along with my message about defying the weights of this world, I would teach students how to grow. Life is made to be enjoyed, but we can’t enjoy life without freedom. Who doesn’t want to have control over their lives and the ability to make choices for themselves; still, freedom comes in many forms. One of the most important aspects of freedom is freedom of mind. Our entire early lives, as we go through our mandatory educational institutions, we are taught not how to learn and grow, but how to follow directions. We are taught to be another number in a never ending cycle, a system that does not allow us to truly free our minds and let our imaginations run wild. We are not encouraged to express ourselves and create what our dreams move us to create; we aren’t urged on to become one of the greats and make the next Facebook or TikTok. When I step into the classroom, students of all minorities will know that they can break their societally oppressive chains to achieve greatness.
      Growing with Gabby Scholarship
      Life has many wonders and challenges that can distract us from taking care of ourselves. I have spent the past year at San Diego State University and I am highly anticipating my return in a few short days. While in high school and my early life living at home with my parents, I had to make some changes with social media, eating and exercise habits and other aspects of my life that helped me be more healthy. Looking back on this past year, I realize that many of my old strategies and ways of life had to be thrown out of the window so I could adjust to my new environment. And at times, like so many other students, I neglected my personal health in pursuit of academic and social success. While pursuing one's goals and education towards their career in college, sometimes it can be easy to forget that none of that matters if you aren’t enjoying the life you live and taking the opportunities it has to offer. We shouldn’t slave away for the first and, quite frankly, better half of our lives just to live the later and shorter end of it in luxury. We have to take care of ourselves, making sure we are healthy mentally, physically and spiritually, as well as ensuring that we know when to give ourselves breaks to let loose and have fun! There are many paths to living an enjoyable life today and paving the path to a fulfilling tomorrow, but for those seeking college as part of their journey, I’ve made a few changes in my journey to taking care of my health before anything else. First off, I address what it means to be mentally healthy for me; contrary to some beliefs, mental health is not a definitive term and it is not the same for everyone. It varies from person to person; I achieve mental health when I feel that I have done my best to achieve my goals. When every task or assignment is not complete, and due dates are fast approaching, times can get stressful. But knowing that I have put in my full, honest effort during an ample period of time helps me alleviate this stress and take time to relax and enjoy the things I like to do. I go to cool places with friends, have meals in beautiful campus locations outdoors and even treat myself with some leisure screen time to de-stress and get away from the lines of code and essays! I also like to replace my relieved stress with enriched spiritual health. This is definitely different for everyone, but I take time to appreciate the things God has given me and marvel at how beautiful the world is. Our reality is so fragile and unlikely to have everything fall into place so perfectly as it has, and that is absolutely astonishing to consider. Still, a healthy mind and soul are not all that matter in regards to self health. We can never neglect our body, as the other two mean nothing if we don’t have a means to achieve them! The most important things regarding physical health are diet and exercise. Maintaining healthy habits isn’t actually difficult, but rather some of our minds aren’t disciplined enough to hold us accountable. The same is true for going to the gym or getting out to work your muscles. As long as we remember that it is okay to have cheat days and treat ourselves, overall personal health will be more than achievable for everyone.
      Ms. Susy’s Disney Character Scholarship
      There are oh so many wonderful Disney characters to choose from, especially with the recent addition of the Marvel Universe into the fray. But I like to keep things classic when answering this question, maintaining Marvel and Disney as two separate entities. This being said, after a strenuous selection process between multiple valid candidates, I have come to realize that my favorite Disney character has to be Genie from Aladdin. Genie is one of the most, if not THE most, powerful characters in the entire Disney Universe. With his ability to grant any wish as we have seen time and time again throughout the movies, there are very few things he cannot do. Additionally, with Aladdin freeing him from his lamp of captivity, he is now able to grant his own wishes and do as he pleases in life. But his powers aren’t the only amazing thing about the one-and-only Genie. He also comes fresh out of the bottle with a one-of-a-kind personality! The classic “Friend Like Me” gave us our first wonderful taste of how truly happy the Genie was to be alive and how much freedom meant to him. This spark was only reignited with the recent live action adaptation of Aladdin released in May of 2019. Will Smith’s portrayal of our giant blue friend made for an even more exciting and engaging character, with new punchlines and even newer dance moves. The idea of freedom was actually brought out even more with Will Smith, an African American actor, playing the role of the Genie. To some, they merely saw one of their favorite actors portraying one of their favorite characters. But from a socio-cultural, racial and/or historic lens, one can see a correlation between the long lived binding of black people and their social struggle in America and the Genie’s eternity of imprisonment, with his only glimpses of freedom being caught when he is doing work for others against his will. This modern character set a new foundation for Disney movies, one that works to rectify Disney’s racially discriminatory past in a direct way. This isn’t the only reason that Genie is the BEST Disney character, but it definitely sets him apart as a marvel of the Disney world.
      Mark A. Jefferson Teaching Scholarship
      Winner
      I’ve learned a lot in my life so far, both in the classroom and in the real world. When I was young, my parents taught me that people in this world wouldn’t always like me or accept me for who I was, and for people of color this can be true from multiple directions. I stopped caring what people thought of me in middle school, a relatively young age for such an accomplishment. I knew all that mattered was that I was myself and continuing to strive for growth and greatness, caring only about the positive people in my life and the things they said to build me up, including constructive criticism from anyone. This helped immensely in my life journey, as I was able to persevere through several instances in high school that others struggled much more with. Recently though, just this past year, I made an attempt to join a black fraternity at my college, San Diego State University. Though I’ve been rejected by my own kind before, it hurt to be directly told that I wouldn’t be considered to join the fraternity because I “didn’t exactly walk like us, ya know? You just got a little different vibe. ” When I further inquired for clarification, one of the members of the fraternity council directly told me that I “just wasn’t black enough”. This was definitely hard to hear, but after a short period of initial shock I quickly remembered that what they thought of me didn’t matter. They weren’t trying to be hateful, they simply didn’t understand me because I was defying the same norms and stereotypes that they were afraid to break with their mannerisms. This instilled a subtle fear in them, fear of the unknown. And this was something I had decided early on that I would not be a victim of or allow those I care about to be a victim of. Being black doesn’t mean talking or acting a certain way, you don’t have to wear your hair or clothes the way the world expects you too, and you don’t have to be involved in all of the good or bad things that society expects us to be. In the wise words of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “being black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it's what I am.” This message will not go unspoken any longer. In my career as an educator, I may want to teach something in STEM or educate on how to be financially independent. But most importantly, along with my message about defying the weights of this world, I would teach students how to grow. Life is made to be enjoyed, but we can’t enjoy life without freedom. Who doesn’t want to have control over their lives and the ability to make choices for themselves; still, freedom comes in many forms. One of the most important aspects of freedom is freedom of mind. Our entire early lives, as we go through our mandatory educational institutions, we are taught not how to learn and grow, but how to follow directions. We are taught to be another number in a never ending cycle, a system that does not allow us to truly free our minds and let our imaginations run wild. We are not encouraged to express ourselves and create what our dreams move us to create; we aren’t urged on to become one of the greats and make the next Facebook or TikTok. When I step into the classroom, students of all minorities will know that they can break their societally oppressive chains to achieve greatness.
      Learner Higher Education Scholarship
      There are several people in this world that have made a huge success out of themselves without college. Still, true as this is, counting these people and performing a few calculations doesn’t yield a high percentage of the total number of successful individuals in the world. Higher education yields success, which is why I am committed to earning my college degree. Just look at some of our best examples: Bill Gates, with a net worth of approximately $81 billion, attended Harvard University. While it is true that he dropped out of college and founded Microsoft, he admits the importance of education and has worked extensively to help students make the right college decisions. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon with a $67 billion net worth, attended Princeton University, NJ. Another fine example of educational success is Oprah Winfrey, with a net worth of approximately $2.5 billion. She attended Tennessee State University, an HBCU, in 1971. She left in 1975 to pursue her job and career, but later returned to finish her degree in Speech Communications and Performing Arts in 1987, understanding the importance of a well sought after education. Even though she didn’t have to return, she got her spring into life while attending an accredited university. Additionally, APLU has expressed that bachelor's degree holders are half as likely to be unemployed as their peers who only have a high school degree and they make $1 million in additional earnings on average over their lifetime. Life is made to be enjoyed, but we can’t enjoy life without freedom. Freedom is a part of success for me, and it should be for all of us. Who doesn’t want to have control over their lives and the ability to make choices for themselves; still, freedom comes in many forms. One of the most important aspects of freedom is freedom of mind. Our entire early lives, as we go through our mandatory educational institutions, we are taught not how to learn and grow, but how to follow directions. We are taught to be another number in a never ending cycle, a system that does not allow us to truly free our minds and let our imaginations run wild. We are not encouraged to open up in expression and create what our dreams move us to create, what we know we can be. But this changes, moderately, when we get to college. Sure, we still have to follow directions and take classes to graduate, but we are allowed for the first time ever to choose for ourselves which direction we will go. We are surrounded by like minded students and instructors that are just waiting to make something amazing of themselves and see us break through our ceilings to achieve outstanding greatness, respectively. College isn’t just about furthering your education, it's about furthering your ability to grow. From experiences on campus to those you finally have the freedom to take part in outside of the classroom, you will at last learn how to spread your wings and soar to new heights. So no matter what success means for each individual, college is well worth it on the road to achieving the bright future we all deserve.
      Learner Statistics Scholarship
      Mathematics has always come naturally to me. Since I was in elementary school, my parents and I have noticed that I would take seemingly simple concepts in mathematics and understand all of the intricacies and complexities that go into them. It’s proven a useful tool, especially today in my second year of college! The smallest details can make the biggest difference when dealing with mathematics, and seeing as how attention to detail was something I was blessed with, it made sense that I took such a liking to crunching numbers and mastering how to use them to my advantage. But this isn’t the only reason I wish to pursue a career in mathematics and STEM overall. Mathematics, specifically in the realm of statistics, will help me achieve financial freedom. While pursuing one's goals and education towards their career in college, sometimes it can be easy to forget that none of that matters if you aren’t enjoying the life you live and taking the opportunities it has to offer. We shouldn’t slave away for the first and, quite frankly, better half of our lives just to live the later and shorter end of it in luxury. We have to take care of ourselves, making sure we are healthy as well as ensuring that we give ourselves breaks to let loose and have fun! There are many obstacles in life that hinder our progress to enjoy this existence, but the top contenders are societal views and pressures, specifically emphasizing the importance of money. Finance and economics both incorporate mathematics and statistics quite a lot, and I would love to use my gifts to be more involved with the stock market. The number one rule of financial security is to pay yourself first, whether that be through growing your knowledge or using that knowledge to literally pay your future self, like through investing. Investing in the various markets across the world allows you to grow your wealth while supporting our global economy, a win-win situation. When one has a lot of investments in a lot of different markets, that person has what is known as a diversified portfolio. Having a diversified portfolio allows your money to be well protected for the long haul and gives you a wide scope of benefits. Some investments give out dividends on different periodical bases, while some support their investors by giving them even more stocks. Regardless of how the money is earned, being well versed in mathematics and economy will allow me to be much more financially independent in life. This means I can truly pursue my passions and even other careers in life, all without having to worry about how much money I will make doing what I love to reach more people in the world. I can enjoy what this beautiful earth has to offer, and give the same opportunities to those that otherwise wouldn’t have them. Living a happy life where your money works for you, now that math makes statistical sense.
      Learner Geometry Scholarship
      Mathematics has always come naturally to me. Since I was in elementary school, my parents and I have noticed that I would take seemingly simple concepts in mathematics and understand all of the intricacies and complexities that go into them. It’s proven a useful tool, especially today in my second year of college! The smallest details can make the biggest difference when dealing with mathematics, and seeing as how attention to detail was something I was blessed with, it made sense that I took such a liking to crunching numbers and mastering how to use them to my advantage. But this isn’t the only reason I wish to pursue a career in mathematics and STEM overall. Mathematics, specifically in the realm of statistics, will help me achieve financial freedom. While pursuing one's goals and education towards their career in college, sometimes it can be easy to forget that none of that matters if you aren’t enjoying the life you live and taking the opportunities it has to offer. We shouldn’t slave away for the first and, quite frankly, better half of our lives just to live the later and shorter end of it in luxury. We have to take care of ourselves, making sure we are healthy as well as ensuring that we give ourselves breaks to let loose and have fun! There are many obstacles in life that hinder our progress to enjoy this existence, but the top contenders are societal views and pressures, specifically emphasizing the importance of money. Finance and economics both incorporate mathematics and statistics quite a lot, and I would love to use my gifts to be more involved with the stock market. The number one rule of financial security is to pay yourself first, whether that be through growing your knowledge or using that knowledge to literally pay your future self, like through investing. Investing in the various markets across the world allows you to grow your wealth while supporting our global economy, a win-win situation. When one has a lot of investments in a lot of different markets, that person has what is known as a diversified portfolio. Having a diversified portfolio allows your money to be well protected for the long haul and gives you a wide scope of benefits. Some investments give out dividends on different periodical bases, while some support their investors by giving them even more stocks. Regardless of how the money is earned, being well versed in mathematics and economy will allow me to be much more financially independent in life. This means I can truly pursue my passions and even other careers in life, all while not having to worry about how much money I will make doing what I love to reach more people in the world. I can enjoy what this beautiful earth has to offer, and give the same opportunities to those that otherwise wouldn’t have them. Living a happy life where your money works for you, now that math makes statistical sense.
      Your Health Journey Scholarship
      Life has many wonders and challenges that can distract us from taking care of ourselves. I have spent the past year at San Diego State University and I am highly anticipating my return in a few short days. While in high school and my early life living at home with my parents, I had to make some changes with social media, eating and exercise habits and other aspects of my life that helped me be more healthy. Looking back on this past year, I realize that many of my old strategies and ways of life had to be thrown out of the window so I could adjust to my new environment. And at times, like so many other students, I neglected my personal health in pursuit of academic and social success. While pursuing one's goals and education towards their career in college, sometimes it can be easy to forget that none of that matters if you aren’t enjoying the life you live and taking the opportunities it has to offer. We shouldn’t slave away for the first and, quite frankly, better half of our lives just to live the later and shorter end of it in luxury. We have to take care of ourselves, making sure we are healthy mentally, physically and spiritually, as well as ensuring that we know when to give ourselves breaks to let loose and have fun! There are many paths to living an enjoyable life today and paving the path to a fulfilling tomorrow, but for those seeking college as part of their journey, I’ve made a few changes in my journey to taking care of my health before anything else. First off, I address what it means to be mentally healthy for me; contrary to some beliefs, mental health is not a definitive term and it is not the same for everyone. It varies from person to person; I achieve mental health when I feel that I have done my best to achieve my goals. When every task or assignment is not complete, and due dates are fast approaching, times can get stressful. But knowing that I have put in my full, honest effort during an ample period of time helps me alleviate this stress and take time to relax and enjoy the things I like to do. I go to cool places with friends, have meals in beautiful campus locations outdoors and even treat myself with some leisure screen time to de-stress and get away from the lines of code and essays! I also like to replace my relieved stress with enriched spiritual health. This is definitely different for everyone, but I take time to appreciate the things God has given me and marvel at how beautiful the world is. Our reality is so fragile and unlikely to have everything fall into place so perfectly as it has, and that is absolutely astonishing to consider. Still, a healthy mind and soul are not all that matter in regards to self health. We can never neglect our body, as the other two mean nothing if we don’t have a means to achieve them! The most important things regarding physical health are diet and exercise. Maintaining healthy habits isn’t actually difficult, but rather some of our minds aren’t disciplined enough to hold us accountable. The same is true for going to the gym or getting out to work your muscles. As long as we remember that it is okay to have cheat days and treat ourselves, overall personal health will be more than achievable for everyone.
      Mind, Body, & Soul Scholarship
      I have spent a year at San Diego State University, and now more than ever I am filled with joy awaiting my return in a few short days. Summer has been absolutely amazing, especially since I’ve been able to spend it with the family I love. That being said, what on earth could possibly cause someone to look forward to returning to college? There are many answers, and one key highlight for me is getting to see my friends again. Still, college has much more to offer than making new friends. Along with the opportunity to grow as an independent adult, I look forward to the knowledge I will gain outside of the classroom, in the real world, that will allow me to reach more people and change lives for the better in this world. While pursuing one's goals and education towards their career in college, sometimes it can be easy to forget that none of that matters if you aren’t enjoying the life you live and taking the opportunities at what it has to offer. We shouldn’t slave away for the first and, quite frankly, better or prime half of our lives just to live the later and shorter end of it in luxury. We have to take care of ourselves, making sure we are healthy mentally, physically and spiritually, as well as ensuring that we know when to give ourselves breaks to let loose and have fun! There are many paths to living an enjoyable life today and paving the path to a fulfilling tomorrow, but for those seeking college as part of their journey, I have a few musts in my guide to taking care of my health before anything else. First off, I address what it means to be mentally healthy for me; contrary to some beliefs, mental health is not a definitive term and it is not the same for everyone. It varies from person to person; I achieve mental health when I feel that I have done my best to achieve my goals. When every task or assignment is not complete, and due dates are fast approaching, times can get stressful. But knowing that I have put in my full, honest effort during an ample period of time helps me alleviate this stress and take time to relax and enjoy the things I like to do. I go to cool places with friends, have meals in beautiful campus locations outdoors and even treat myself with some leisure screen time to de-stress and get away from the lines of code and essays! I also like to replace my relieved stress with enriched spiritual health. This is definitely different for everyone, but I take time to appreciate the things God has given me and marvel at how beautiful the world is. Our reality is so fragile and unlikely to have everything fall into place so perfectly as it has, and that is absolutely astonishing to consider. Still, a healthy mind and soul are not all that matter in regards to self health. We can never neglect our body, as the other two mean nothing if we don’t have a means to achieve them! The most important things regarding physical health are diet and exercise. Maintaining healthy habits in college isn’t actually difficult, but rather our minds make it hard to discipline ourselves. The same is true for going to the gym or getting out to work your muscles. As long as we remember that it is okay to have cheat days and treat ourselves, overall personal health in college will be more than achievable for everyone.
      Act Locally Scholarship
      You probably don’t realize the immense power you have at your immediate disposal, do you? The power to light a spark of emotion that will lead to revolutions, to draw out kings and queens and force them to take action or atone for their mistakes, to break down the barriers and chains that hold a people in captivity, starvation, isolation and hopelessness. This power I write to you about is not from a monster or dark spell, not from space or mythical gods or heroes, no. This power, which I am employing on you at this very moment, only requires time and effort to utilize. The power I refer to, which I truly believe can change the world, is the power of writing. This world is in desperate need of better and more explicit communication. And ironically, thankfully, the biggest changes brought about by writing originate from one’s mind, in the form of a simple wish. "Just because you grew up in a racist home, does that make you a little bit racist yourself?" "Of course, I'd like to come out to my parents. But, if they aren't prepared for that, then I know I'm not ready for that." "I'm actually the only person in my family who doesn't speak Spanish anymore, and that's actually kind of a big deal." These are the voices of so many individuals all around the world, in our cities and schools, in our neighborhoods and even in our own houses, drowning and gasping for air; and all because they do not have a medium to express what they are going through. A young man, with initials T.M., had a similar experience and found a solution. He had written, near the conclusion of his sixth grade year, a short letter to each of his parents delineating remarks he didn’t have the courage to say at the time, better yet face to face. He kept these letters in a safe place until he graduated high school. Over his senior summer he reflected on how his parents had changed, then referred back to his letters to see what was still relevant. While a lot had changed, the contrary was still true. One particular topic in his father’s letter always seemed to resurface: their relationship itself. As more problems and challenges presented themselves to T.M. over time, his relationship with his father deteriorated further and further. It infected his life as a plague does a populace. This virus would have continued to grow, if not for the letter he had given his father the day he went off to college. Only after reading this letter did things finally begin to convalesce. It outlined how T.M. was sorry for all he had done that resulted in the poor state of their relationship, and every bit of sadness, frustration, resentment and disappointment he had caused his father through his actions. As it turned out, his father had written a letter to him as well. Rather than blame each other for their flaws, their missives merely highlighted their individual faults and things he never got to say. And to think, they would have remained unsaid and unbeknownst to them, if not for some form of writing. After hearing my friend’s story, I realized more than ever the importance of writing in our world. I began to present it with passion to my peers in classes and to friends and family I interacted with. Over time, more and more people in my school began to approach me and ask for guidance, advice, or simply seeking conversation on the topic of writing’s true potential. What began as a small seed, an idea, had now blossomed to life as the masses congregated to share how more and more of their issues came to surface and were finally resolved. If high school students are able to look at each other and themselves and ask the difficult questions: "When was the first time you felt alone because of a particular aspect of your identity?" “What makes it so hard for us to make a change in the living conditions of others?” “Why do we witness things we are absolutely positive are wrong, but still stand idly by?” If they can answer these questions, and can hold each other accountable for their actions and to their stories, then why can't our superiors today do the same? Luckily, the answer is clear. They can, and they must. This can span much further than the confines of a household, classroom, or my little neighborhood in Bakersfield, California. Our ambassadors and leaders have more than what it takes to spark the necessary change that will result from their communication, not their silence. And if not with spoken words or physical gestures, let writing be their medium. There is a common southern saying, “A closed mouth don’t get fed.” But still, without voicing or expressing our wills, we expect a change. If we really want to invoke a change in our culture and society, and we don’t know the right words to say or the proper course of action to take, we need look no further for a solution than a pencil and piece of paper to reach out to those who do.
      Christian ‘Myles’ Pratt Foundation Fine Arts Scholarship
      I have had many amazing people come into my life, and many that I am sad to say I cannot see anymore. This is the way of life after all, and we can only be so grateful when we have something right in front of us. However, I do not forget those I no longer have or can no longer see in life, for the things I have learned and gained from them will remain with me forever. My grandmother has been one of the most influential people in my life, both directly and indirectly. And I would not be the person I am today without her. My grandmother, Mrs. McBee as she was known, had an immense impact on the way my mother viewed the world. As an immigrant during the Bosnian Civil War, my mother eventually found refuge in Memphis, Tennessee. When she met my father, she was also met with open arms by my grandmother into a southern-hospitality country-compassion household. My mother was Muslim at the time, and eventually converted to Christianity due to the love and lifestyle Mrs. McBee demonstrated with every waking moment. This allowed me to grow up knowing God, and having confidence in who I was regardless of what the world said about me. My voice, mannerism, the color of my skin, my ideals, none of these could stop me from living my life happily and spreading that same compassion to all those I interact with. Mrs. McBee also taught me to “make A’s, not E’s. E’s, ironically, aren’t as Exceptional or beneficial.” What she meant by this was to make allies and acquaintances, not enemies, because there is no need. It’s much easier to be nice and love others for no reason than it is to be rude and hold a grudge for no reason. I have too many friends to count today, and no enemies that I can so much as begin to imagine. And that is thanks to my grandmother. Given what Mrs. McBee has taught me and all the life takeaways I have obtained through my time with her, I am able to use my gifts and abilities freely to express myself and encourage others to do the same. Freely is the word of focus here; it is extremely important, as my grandmother taught me, that we pursue our dreams and artistic desires with bliss and glee, or whatever emotions may be present. But we must pursue them without hindrance or external influence. My artistic gift is not so much in writing or drawing, though I am very fond of the work I do. I find that I am able to use my emotion for art in a variety of different ways. One such application of my ability is reaching a wide audience of people through discussion or interaction. I also find that with my high sense of emotional intelligence and perception, I can relate to people and nature scenes much more in depth than others, and communicate to them the emotion that is present in a way that they understand. I hope to use my gift to unite people with compassion and appreciation for the world we inhabit, and all those we share it with.
      Bold Deep Thinking Scholarship
      Amidst a global pandemic, it can sometimes be difficult for us to remove ourselves from the hardships of one situation to examine the bigger picture. Many would consider Covid-19 the top issue facing the world today, and I agree that it’s a weight that drags most of us down like a perilous anchor in our lives. But if we think back to the greatest issue we faced before the masks and restrictions, before the shutdowns and supply shortages and storewide rushes for toilet paper, we can recall that people weren’t drowning in governmentally enforced confinement, but in an ocean of racial oppression and injustice. This issue existed before the pandemic, and although it isn’t the focus of our daily news or social media feeds, it is still a persistent issue today, in the midst of our ailing atmosphere. “Michigan Man Indicted for Hate Crimes After Attacking African-American Teenagers”, February 11, 2021. “Indiana Man Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime for Racially Motivated Threats Towards Black Neighbor”, February 12, 2021. “Four Indicted for Hate Crimes and False Statements After Racially Motivated Assault in Lynnwood, Washington”, December 18, 2020. “Federal Jury Convicts Illinois Man for Bombing the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center”, December 9, 2020. And of course, “‘I can’t breathe’: Black US man dies after officer pins him down”, May 25, 2020. These headlines indicate acts of racial injustice, and they all have one thing in common: the decade. For any who thought this issue was not as major or important today as it used to be before covid, rest assured we are still fighting this social plague. Need I say more? The only way to fix this is to come together as one and educate our youth and our leaders, to set a pretense today for a more equitable and inclusive tomorrow.
      Education Matters Scholarship
      I feel that the beautiful things in life, all the moments and glories to behold, are only as valuable as those you share them with. Our connections fuel the joy we experience, which has inspired me to understand the positives, and negatives of the way our minds work. I developed a passion to study Psychology partly due to my experience with cyberbullying and discrimination. I wouldn’t consider myself a victim, and many of us in the world like to believe the same; that we are in control and have power over our circumstances. We do not generally look inward and see someone who has been done wrong or bullied in some sense, especially when the occurrence was not physical or in person. According to Justin Patchin, Ph.D, 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 had been bullied online in the year 2019. 30% have had it happen more than once. If these numbers sound intense initially, imagine the rise in cyberbullying occurrences since the Covid-19 pandemic with everyone being trapped at home and left with nothing better to do than use the technology at their fingertips. During my junior year at Centennial High School in Bakersfield, CA, I decided to run for senior co-president. The previous year I had been an honorary member, which was a difficult situation in and of itself; I was one of about 30 African American students throughout my entire school of over 800 people, and I was the ONLY African American student on student council junior and senior year. Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb. During the campaign process, we were allowed several methods of promoting ourselves to get the position we were running for. However, posting negative or suggestively derogatory comments about other candidates was not one of them. My longtime friend, A.J., was running for the same position against me. We had known eachother since middle school, but when it came time to show our true colors in competition, he resorted to having his other friends post memes and sarcastic comments all over their media pages to discredit my campaign. Many of these comments were directly targeted at black people. One post brought to my attention, which I remember in detail, said “There’s a reason we don’t have a lot of black people in places of power, why should we trust them within our student council?” I can only assume these were intended to get a rash response out of me, to get me to prove the things they said about me. But regardless of their actions, I would not lose myself in the way A.J. did. I stayed true to my nature and who I knew I was all the while, and in my own way, I did win that election. This is a true testament to the power and influence our words have on others, and the impact actions can have on those we care for. Still, even after prevailing over my circumstances, the students’ attempted insurrection against my privacy lingered in my mind. The situation caused me to ponder a bit deeper what the driving force might have been for my rivals to act in the way they did; was it simply to win a position on the school board, or was there something more? More generally, what makes us decide to take the courses of action we take? I could not find an answer then, and for this reason I have decided to pursue a career that will help me understand and answer this question in the future.
      Brandon Zylstra Road Less Traveled Scholarship
      I feel that the beautiful things in life, all the moments and glories to behold, are only as valuable as those you share them with. Our connections fuel the joy we experience, which has inspired me to understand the positives, and negatives of the way our minds work. I developed a passion to study Psychology partly due to my experience with cyberbullying and discrimination. I wouldn’t consider myself a victim, and many of us in the world like to believe the same; that we are in control and have power over our circumstances. We do not generally look inward and see someone who has been done wrong or bullied in some sense, especially when the occurrence was not physical or in person. According to Justin Patchin, Ph.D, 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 had been bullied online in the year 2019. 30% have had it happen more than once. If these numbers sound intense initially, imagine the rise in cyberbullying occurrences since the Covid-19 pandemic with everyone being trapped at home and left with nothing better to do than use the technology at their fingertips. During my junior year at Centennial High School in Bakersfield, CA, I decided to run for senior co-president. The previous year I had been an honorary member, which was a difficult situation in and of itself; I was one of about 30 African American students throughout my entire school of over 800 people, and I was the ONLY African American student on student council junior and senior year. Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb. During the campaign process, we were allowed several methods of promoting ourselves to get the position we were running for. However, posting negative or suggestively derogatory comments about other candidates was not one of them. My longtime friend, A.J., was running for the same position against me. We had known eachother since middle school, but when it came time to show our true colors in competition, he resorted to having his other friends post memes and sarcastic comments all over their media pages to discredit my campaign. Many of these comments were directly targeted at black people. One post brought to my attention, which I remember in detail, said “There’s a reason we don’t have a lot of black people in places of power, why should we trust them within our student council?” I can only assume these were intended to get a rash response out of me, to get me to prove the things they said about me. But regardless of their actions, I would not lose myself in the way A.J. did. I stayed true to my nature and who I knew I was all the while, and in my own way, I did win that election. This is a true testament to the power and influence our words have on others, and the impact actions can have on those we care for. Still, even after prevailing over my circumstances, the students’ attempted insurrection against my privacy lingered in my mind. The situation caused me to ponder a bit deeper what the driving force might have been for my rivals to act in the way they did; was it simply to win a position on the school board, or was there something more? More generally, what makes us decide to take the courses of action we take? I could not find an answer then, and for this reason I have decided to pursue a career that will help me understand and answer this question in the future.
      Mirajur Rahman Self Expression Scholarship
      Christian ‘Myles’ Pratt Foundation Fine Arts Scholarship
      I have had many amazing people come into my life, and many that I am sad to say I cannot see anymore. This is the way of life after all, and we can only be so grateful when we have something right in front of us. However, I do not forget those I no longer have or can no longer see in life, for the things I have learned and gained from them will remain with me forever. My grandmother has been one of the most influential people in my life, both directly and indirectly. And I would not be the person I am today without her. My grandmother, Mrs. McBee as she was known, had an immense impact on the way my mother viewed the world. As an immigrant during the Bosnian Civil War, my mother eventually found refuge in Memphis, Tennessee. When she met my father, she was also met with open arms by my grandmother into a southern-hospitality country-compassion household. My mother was Muslim at the time, and eventually converted to Christianity due to the love and lifestyle Mrs. McBee demonstrated with every waking moment. This allowed me to grow up knowing God, and having confidence in who I was regardless of what the world said about me. My voice, mannerism, the color of my skin, my ideals, none of these could stop me from living my life happily and spreading that same compassion to all those I interact with. Mrs. McBee also taught me to “make A’s, not E’s. E’s, ironically, aren’t as Exceptional or beneficial.” What she meant by this was to make allies and acquaintances, not enemies. Because there is no need and it is much easier to be nice and love someone for no reason than it is to be rude and hold a grudge for no reason. I have too many friends to count today, and no enemies that I can so much as begin to imagine. And that is thanks to my grandmother. Given what Mrs. McBee has taught me and all the life takeaways I have obtained through my time with her, I am able to use my gifts and abilities freely to express myself and encourage others to do the same. Freely is the word of focus here; it is extremely important, as my grandmother taught me, that we pursue our dreams and artistic desires with bliss and glee, or whatever emotions may be present. But we must pursue them without hindrance or external influence. My artistic gift is not so much in writing or drawing, though I am very fond of the work I do. I find that I am able to use my emotion for art in a variety of different ways. One such application of my ability is reaching a wide audience of people through discussion or interaction. I also find that with my high sense of emotional intelligence and perception, I can relate to people and nature scenes much more in depth than others, and communicate to them the emotion that is present in a way that they understand. I hope to use my gift to unite people with compassion and appreciation for the world we inhabit, and all those we share it with.
      Noah Wilson "Loaded Spinach" Arts & Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
      I developed a passion to study Psychology due to my experience with cyberbullying. I wouldn’t consider myself a victim, and many of us in the world like to believe the same; that we are in control and have power over our circumstances. We do not generally look inward and see someone who has been done wrong or bullied in some sense, especially when the occurrence was not physical or in person. According to Justin Patchin, Ph.D, 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 had been bullied online in the year 2019. 30% have had it happen more than once. If these numbers sound intense initially, imagine the rise in cyberbullying occurrences since the Covid-19 pandemic with everyone being trapped at home and with nothing better to do than use the technology at their fingertips. I too have been a victim of cyberbullying, but it was my close friends’ circumstances that impacted me the most. One friend of mine in particular, initials N.H., had a terrible situation with online harassment just this past year. She experienced a very rough break up with her boyfriend in early 2020, and it devastated her and him alike beyond words’ expression. Her ex moved on in a reasonably quick time frame, and she would have too if it hadn’t been for his cruel actions on social media. N.H.’s ex began to put up terrible posts about her on every social media platform he had. He disclosed information about her, secrets she held dear, things she would never tell anyone she didn’t trust. But now, the whole school, neighborhood, and the entire world had the information at their disposal to do with whatever they saw fit. Additionally, he thought it would be funny to send certain images of and other files out to his friends and peers. Not only that, N.H.’s ex also directly contacted her in random conversations on media or through text to complain to her about what she had done wrong and why every negative thing in his nature and mannerisms was a result of her actions. Needless to say, N.H. was heartbroken, embarrassed, frustrated, and depressed more than she had ever been before. Had it been a random person, maybe it wouldn’t have hurt as much or gotten as out of hand. But this is a true testament to the power and influence our words have on others, as well as a testament to the impact actions can have on those we love or care about. With the help of me and her other friends, N.H. finally mustered up the courage to speak up. She told her parents what she had been going through for the past three weeks, and confronted her ex face to face. He faced retribution for his actions shortly after, and she has not heard from him since that day. Still, even with her ex paying his time for what he did to her, the effects of his insurrection against her privacy linger in her mind and will for some time. N.H.'s situation caused me to ponder a bit deeper what the driving force might have been for her ex; furthermore, what makes us decide to take the courses of action we take? I could not find and answer then, and for this reason I have decided to pursue a career that will help me understand and answer this question in the future. Psychology is a fine arts study for good reason, and I will use my knowledge to understand the human mind better and stop crime before it occurs in the first place.
      Jameela Jamil x I Weigh Scholarship
      I wouldn’t consider myself a victim, and many of us in the world like to believe the same; that we are in control and have power over our circumstances. We do not generally look inward and see someone who has been done wrong or bullied in some sense, especially when the occurrence was not physical or in person. According to Justin Patchin, Ph.D, 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 had been bullied online in the year 2019. 30% have had it happen more than once. If these numbers sound intense initially, imagine the rise in cyberbullying occurrences since the Covid-19 pandemic. I too have been a victim of cyberbullying, but it was my close friends’ circumstances that impacted me the most. One friend of mine in particular, initials N.H., had a terrible situation with online harassment just this past year. She experienced a very rough break up with her boyfriend in early 2020, and it devastated her and him alike beyond words’ expression. Her ex moved on in a reasonably quick time frame, and she would have too if it hadn’t been for his cruel actions on social media. N.H.’s ex began to put up terrible posts about her on every social media platform he had. He disclosed information about her, secrets she held dear, things she would never tell anyone she didn’t trust. But now, the whole school, neighborhood, and the entire world had the information at their disposal to do with whatever they saw fit. Additionally, he thought it would be funny to send certain images of and other files out to his friends and peers. Not only that, N.H.’s ex also directly contacted her in random conversations on media or through text to complain to her about what she had done wrong and why every negative thing in his nature and mannerisms was a result of her actions. Needless to say, N.H. was heartbroken, embarrassed, frustrated, and depressed more than she had ever been before. Had it been a random person, maybe it wouldn’t have hurt as much or gotten as out of hand. But this is a true testament to the power and influence our words have on others, as well as a testament to the impact actions can have on those we love or care about. With the help of me and her other friends, N.H. finally mustered up the courage to speak up. And I, being a friend who cares about her so much, deemed it unacceptable not to confront him myself as well. She told her parents what she had been going through for the past three weeks, and confronted her ex face to face with me. He faced retribution for his actions shortly after, and she has not heard from him since that day. Still, even with her ex paying his time for what he did to her, the effects of his insurrection against her privacy linger in her mind and will for some time. For this reason, we must all work to end cyberbullying before it occurs in the first place. Consider this: how can we make allies and form meaningful life long bonds if we are too busy fighting those that should be our companions?
      Act Locally Scholarship
      You probably don’t realize the immense power you have at your immediate disposal, do you? The power to light a spark of emotion that will lead to revolutions, to draw out kings and queens and force them to take action or atone for their mistakes, to break down the barriers and chains that hold a people in captivity, starvation, isolation and hopelessness. This power I write to you about is not from a monster or dark spell, not from space or mythical gods or heroes, no. This power, which I am employing on you at this very moment, only requires time and effort to utilize. The power I refer to, which I truly believe can change the world, is the power of writing. This world is in desperate need of better and more explicit communication. And ironically, thankfully, the biggest changes brought about by writing originate from one’s mind, in the form of a simple wish. "Just because you grew up in a racist home, does that make you a little bit racist yourself?" "Of course, I'd like to come out to my parents. But, if they aren't prepared for that, then I know I'm not ready for that." "I'm actually the only person in my family who doesn't speak Spanish anymore, and that's actually kind of a big deal." These are the voices of so many individuals all around the world, in our cities and schools, in our neighborhoods and even in our own houses, drowning and gasping for air; and all because they do not have a medium to express what they are going through. A young man, with initials T.M., had a similar experience and found a solution. He had written, near the conclusion of his sixth grade year, a short letter to each of his parents delineating remarks he didn’t have the courage to say at the time, better yet face to face. He kept these letters in a safe place until he graduated high school. Over his senior summer he reflected on how his parents had changed, then referred back to his letters to see what was still relevant. While a lot had changed, the contrary was still true. One particular topic in his father’s letter always seemed to resurface: their relationship itself. As more problems and challenges presented themselves to T.M. over time, his relationship with his father deteriorated further and further. It infected his life as a plague does a populace. This virus would have continued to grow, if not for the letter he had given his father the day he went off to college. Only after reading this letter did things finally begin to convalesce. It outlined how T.M. was sorry for all he had done that resulted in the poor state of their relationship, and every bit of sadness, frustration, resentment and disappointment he had caused his father through his actions. As it turned out, his father had written a letter to him as well. Rather than blame each other for their flaws, their missives merely highlighted their individual faults and things he never got to say. And to think, they would have remained unsaid and unbeknownst to them, if not for some form of writing. After hearing my friend’s story, I realized more than ever the importance of writing in our world. I began to present it with passion to my peers in classes and to friends and family I interacted with. Over time, more and more people in my school began to approach me and ask for guidance, advice, or simply seeking conversation on the topic of writing’s true potential. What began as a small seed, an idea, had now blossomed to life as the masses congregated to share how more and more of their issues came to surface and were finally resolved. If high school students are able to look at each other and themselves and ask the difficult questions: "When was the first time you felt alone because of a particular aspect of your identity?" “What makes it so hard for us to make a change in the living conditions of others?” “Why do we witness things we are absolutely positive are wrong, but still stand idly by?” If they can answer these questions, and can hold each other accountable for their actions and to their stories, then why can't our superiors today do the same? Luckily, the answer is clear. They can, and they must. This can span much further than the confines of a household, classroom, or my little neighborhood in Bakersfield, California. Our ambassadors and leaders have more than what it takes to spark the necessary change that will result from their communication, not their silence. And if not with spoken words or physical gestures, let writing be their medium. There is a common southern saying, “A closed mouth don’t get fed.” But still, without voicing or expressing our wills, we expect a change. If we really want to invoke a change in our culture and society, and we don’t know the right words to say or the proper course of action to take, we need look no further for a solution than a pencil and piece of paper to reach out to those who do.