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Mia Koppen

5555

Bold Points

51x

Nominee

3x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

My name is Mia Koppen. I am very passionate about making art and playing video games. My siblings and I grew up playing video games together. I've been drawing since I was 8 years old. I would sit at my grandma's computer for hours on end, watching art videos and copying their drawings. I have since took up art as a hobby. I draw whenever I feel the urge to let my imagination run wild. Most people would describe me as a very imaginative young woman who can think of the wildest ideas. I am also very creative, and I love to create things. Whether it be art or literature; I enjoy all of it. I enjoy learning and that's what makes me a quick learner. For four years, I've had a growing interest in foreign language, as well as coding. I've been learning Chinese and Spanish for over two years, and have started learning the basics of Korean, Portuguese, and Norwegian. Not only do I love making friends, but I also love making friends with people around the world. I try to be open minded and accepting of other cultures. I have made close friends with people from China, South America, and Iran. I would love to visit them one day. I believe that ever since I started learning foreign languages, I have become a better and smarter person. My goal is to complete my Associates degree in Computer Science at Iowa Central, and then go on to get my bachelor's at a four-year school. I'd like to pursue a career as a game developer or as a software developer.

Education

Iowa Central Community College

Associate's degree program
2023 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Computer Science

Fairfield High School

High School
2018 - 2022

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Computer Science
    • Computer Programming
    • Computer Software and Media Applications
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Computer Software

    • Dream career goals:

      Software or Game Developer

      Public services

      • Volunteering

        The Well Thrift Store — I was put in the back of the store, and sorted clothes for 6 hours
        2022 – 2022
      • Volunteering

        YSS Impact After School Club — a student
        2015 – 2017

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Volunteering

      Entrepreneurship

      Chris Jackson Computer Science Education Scholarship
      Ever since I was little, I have held an interest in computers. I love learning about computers, and what goes on behind the screen. It is so incredible to me that every game I have played was made by programmers and designers; just people. At just 12 years old, I dreamed to become a video game tester or designer. While playing Minecraft, I discovered commands. Recently, I realized that the Minecraft command system I had so much fun learning to use, was a custom computer language. Within the last four years, foreign languages had piqued my interest. When I discovered that computers speak languages as well, I was mind blown. I started learning how to code a little under a year ago and realized how similar spoken languages were to computer languages. My journey started with C++ and has now progressed to Swift and C# as well. I am pursuing an associate degree in Computer Science at Iowa Central Community College, which I plan to use to become a Software Engineer and further down the road; a Game Developer. Once I obtain my associate's degree, I plan to go to Iowa State University to pursue my bachelor’s. While I pursue my bachelor's, I plan on getting an internship, joining clubs, and networking. I hope to join a small gaming company and work my way up from there. My dream job would be remote so that I can have time to work on my hobbies and interests as well. My goal is to make games like PlayDead’s Inside and Mojang’s Minecraft. I want to make games that allow players to tell a story and that allow people to express themselves. I believe that I deserve this scholarship because I am ambitious and full of creativity. I am a woman in STEM who wants to show other women that they can also pursue their dreams. I love learning, and this scholarship would help me to continue my education. As I am concerned about my financial situation, I hope to win this scholarship to lessen that concern.
      Educate the SWAG “Dare to Dream” STEAM Scholarship
      My name is Mia Koppen, and I am a senior at Fairfield High School. I plan on going to college for Game Art and Animation, and after I obtain a degree, I'd like to work as an artist for video games; creating characters, backgrounds, and props. I'd love to be the one to create those memorable characters in games that everyone loves. I would also take great pleasure in coding my own games. Ever since I was eight years old, I have been openly passionate about art. I would sit at my grandma's computer for hours on end, watching art videos and copying their drawings. I have since taken up art as a hobby. My whole life, I’ve been fascinated by technology and how it impacts the world. My siblings and I grew up playing video games together. We would play from early morning, until the sun went down. I guess this made me pretty good at using the computer. When I was younger, I thought I would work as a video game designer. Of course, I have always been interested in technology, but as I grew up, that interest has grown. Now, as a young adult, I would like to be an artist working on video games. I guess things have stayed the same. A few years back, I was looking for videos on YouTube that would teach me how to improve my art. As I was searching for a video, I stumbled across a YouTube channel that belonged to an artist working at a video game company. In his videos, he talked about his job where he created character concepts for video games. I thought it was so cool. My interest in video games led me to binge watch these videos. Not long after watching hundreds of YouTube videos on concept and video game art, I realized that it was something that I could do in the future. Ever since that discovery, I've been learning the fundamentals of art. I have bought books and sketchbooks to fill up with practice. Along with video game art, I have also started to learn more about computer science and coding. I thought it was so cool how coding could be used to create so many things. I decided I would start learning Java and C++. Surprisingly, playing games like Minecraft as a child, taught me a bit about the basics of coding. The biggest reason I am choosing to major in Game Art and Animation, is because it is a perfect mix of the two things I have always loved; technology and art. In order to make a quality video game, you must have a quality artist. Video games are simply a medium for artists to work with. Artists are responsible for the beautiful visuals you see in video games. The environments, characters, props, vehicles, colors, and even the lighting are created by artists. Game artists are also responsible for storylines and level concepts. Of course, there are other artists; The composers that create the soundtracks, the writers that write the stories and characters, and the programmers that create the choreography. The way artists and programmers work together to create video games from nothing is incredibly fascinating.
      Julia Elizabeth Legacy Scholarship
      Diversity means difference. It is the inclusion of all people from different ethnic and social backgrounds, as well as gender and sex. It brings people together, and is beneficial to everyone. It inspires creativity and innovation, both of which are extremely important in STEM. According to Steve Jobs, “If you are going to make connections that are innovative, you have to not have the same bag of experience as everyone else does.” He is saying that people from diverse backgrounds will have diverse experiences, and these experiences are needed to innovate. It is said that a more diverse team in STEM, will perform better than a team with less diversity. Usually, in STEM fields, it is not a singular person coming up with ideas. For the most part, in STEM, there are teams of people, with each person making their own contributions. Even when you need to solve a problem, it’s best to have people from different backgrounds, so you can see the problem from a variety of different angles. You need people that think differently. When you are working with a diverse group of people, you are likely to get new viewpoints. In a company, without diversity, you will have a limited understanding of potential customers, and stunt your company growth. If I want to purchase a video game where you can customize your character, I will most likely lean towards the game that gives me the most diverse options. Diversity is very important to me. As a black woman who is going into STEM, I would feel most comfortable if my peers were of different ethnicities. If there were more women in the workplace, I’d feel more comfortable sharing ideas. I’m sure many other women, especially black women, share the same feeling. I feel most comfortable when I am in a diverse environment. Diversity in companies would make me more inclined to buy from them. All star careers are dominated by white males. Women, racial, and ethnic minorities are severely underrepresented in the system. It is unlikely that white men are going to encourage students that are women or ethnic minorities, to pursue careers in the system. Not only is diversity important in the workplace, but it is also very important in schools. Being discriminated against can have a negative impact on a student, meaning they may perform poorly, and may doubt their academic abilities. I hope this changes soon, and I hope to be a part of that change.
      Bold Learning and Changing Scholarship
      I used to think language learning was a waste of time and utterly useless. I started learning as a side project for fun. I did not realize how much this would change my life and, the effect it would have on most of my opinions. Not only did this hobby teach me new language skills, it taught me a new way of seeing things. I see the world from a different perspective. I learned about how my friends in other countries were living, and what was real and what was not real. For people in the United States, most tend to have a narrow minded view of other countries. In fact, many North Americans have very bad opinions on people from other countries. Before making close friends with a girl from Iran. I had a negative view of Iran. After I started talking with her and learning about her culture, I now have a positive view on Iran’s people and culture, and a deep understanding of their government. A problem most North Americans have is separating the people from the government, or separating the country from its’ stereotypes. I was able to rid myself of that ignorant way of thinking.
      Bold Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
      Something that should have been done many years ago; teach students about mental health and illnesses in school. If more students were taught about the many different mental illnesses, they could see the signs of mental illness in themselves and they’d be able to tackle the issue head on. People would be able to identify the symptoms in friends and family, allowing them to have more sympathy and a willingness to listen. Teachers and students will be able to help a student that they see struggling with a mental illness or issues in general. If you are able to identify these issues yourself, you can prevent it from developing into something worse. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for people ages ten to twenty-four. Brain Forest, 2022. Ninety percent of those people had a mental illness. Students need to be taught the impact that their words have on other kids. Even though people are starting to talk more openly about mental health, there is still a large stigma around it. Being able to talk about their mental health to their teachers, will allow them to get out any emotions that they are not able to get out at home. Talking more openly about mental health in schools lets students know that it’s fine to ask for help when you need it; in fact, it’s encouraged. Teachers should teach students about all of the different ways to cope with any mental issues or general issues they face. I am a student, and I feel it would benefit my school greatly if the students in my school knew how to work through their issues.
      Black Students in STEM Scholarship
      Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by technology and how it impacts the world. I believe that my passion stems from that fascination. When I was younger, I was a big video game and computer lover. I enjoyed playing video games all day. Some days, I would wake up at 7am, and I would play video games up until 11pm. I was also not too bad at using and navigating the internet. I was very skilled at using the computer for my age. As I grew up, that passion has stayed with me. I have a growing interest in computer science and coding. I recently started learning Java and C++. Surprisingly, games like Minecraft, taught me a bit about the basics of coding. It’s said that, despite women making up more than 50% of the workforce in STEM fields, they are paid between 82 to 87% of what men in these fields earn. Black women and men in STEM make much less than white women in STEM. Being a black woman that is going into STEM, I hope that I can make other black women feel more comfortable going into a career in a male-dominated industry. According to a study done in 2019 on undergraduate students, 40% of black students left their STEM majors, compared to 29% of white students. This is something I’d like to change. It is more difficult for black students due to the harsh treatments in the workplace. Being the only black person in the room is common for not only high school and college students, but also for black workers in STEM. It’s very common for black workers in STEM to go through racial discrimination. Both women and black people in STEM undergo a lot of belittlement. It’s very important that we have more diversity in STEM, so that these scenarios are less common, and so that everyone can feel included. I desire to make games so impactful that they inspire other women to create. Women often push themselves away from STEM fields because of the pay gap as well as the treatment of women in the workplace. I've read hundreds of stories women in STEM have told about how they're treated in their work spaces, and how gaming is considered something that only men partake in. I hope to break gender norms by being a woman that loves to game. I want to help change that and make sure women can work comfortably in these spaces.
      Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship
      Persistence is the continuation of action despite difficulties. It is the act of pursuing. It makes a person tough and resilient. I take pride in being persistent. Despite any difficulties or frustration, I’ve been able to overcome and push through them. When I have a goal set in my mind, something that I’ve been wanting to do, I am able to do it with ease. In this way, I am stubborn, which can be seen as a weakness. My persistence has allowed me to grow, and learn many new things; without it, I wouldn’t have been able to constantly develop as a person. For example, persistence is something that every artist needs when working on a new piece; despite which type of art they are creating. Even when your piece does not look or sound the way you want it to, at least you were able to learn. Now you know what not to do with your next try. Right after failure, I think of quitting, but I’m too stubborn to stop trying. Even when I want to stop drawing, I pick up my pencil and keep going. As an artist, it makes me appreciate even the worst pieces I have created. This skill is the key to getting through life. Most successful people that you know are persistent, and until they get the results they desire, they never stop trying. “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” Colin Powell. They are able to get around any obstacles thrown at them. I always have a specific goal or vision in mind, which helps me to keep going. I have a big dream, and I am going to devote my life to making sure that it becomes my reality. I am constantly dreaming about it. It is the first thing I think about when I wake up, and before I go to bed. I want to be an artist in video games; that is my dream. My persistence is what will help me to work towards that dream. I will not be swayed by others’ opinions, I am stubborn in that way. I can adapt and adjust to circumstances, but I will never change. I am committed to learning new things. I feel that, even after going through hardships, this characteristic of mine will help me to keep going. I will always have the burning desire to keep going, even after failure.
      Bold Deep Thinking Scholarship
      Racism is a threat to global peace. This is the idea that people with different racial qualities are superior or inferior to others. It is inhumane and prevents equality, and gets in the way of human rights. It affects people everywhere. Racism is not only blatant; it can be shown as othering; it can be systematic, and it can be interpersonal. Blatant racism is the use of racial slurs towards others. Interpersonal racism is when a person acts discriminatory towards another person of a different race or ethnic background, and systematic racism is embedded in laws and regulations. The criminal justice system in the United States is an example of systematic racism. Those who are racial minorities in the United States are more likely to be pulled over by police. In the criminal justice system, being a racial minority will affect your sentence and how you are treated by the police. Immigrants also face a lot of racism immigrating from their home countries to another country. Stereotyping and mocking people’s accents; especially immigrants’ accents, happens too often. Racism and the genocide of indigenous groups have been an issue in numerous countries, and still happen. If we don’t fight to end racism, it will result in an increase in racial bias and xenophobia worldwide. We can work on fighting this problem by helping others to acknowledge the existence of the many different types of racism. People must recognize that it exists in order for us to take action. We must fight to get rid of discriminatory laws and regulations. Those who refuse to listen to those that have gone through racism, must start listening. Those who witness racism taking place should speak up. People can join movements that are currently fighting against racial inequality.
      Connie Konatsotis Scholarship
      I’m a senior at Fairfield High School. I am a hard worker, and will work hard to achieve my dreams. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved to make art and play video games all day. I used to sit at my grandma’s computer at 8 years old, and watch YouTube videos of people drawing. I would try to replicate their drawings. I've always considered art my hobby, but these past two years, it has evolved into a passion. I also have a passion for language learning and gaining knowledge on other cultures. I’ve been learning Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese for over two years, and am working towards fluency in them. A few years back, I was looking for videos on YouTube that would teach me how to draw figures. As I was searching for a video, I stumbled across a YouTube channel that belonged to an artist working at a video game company. In his videos, he talked about his job where he created character concepts for video games. I thought it was so cool. My interest in video games led me to binge watch these videos. Not long after watching hundreds of YouTube videos on concept and video game art, I realized that it was something that I could do in the future. Ever since that discovery, I've been learning the fundamentals of art. I have bought books and sketchbooks to fill up with practice. After two years of learning and researching, I've realized that I might learn more if I had someone to teach me. After I realized this, I zealously searched for art schools and spent hours on end researching their art programs. I looked through websites listing schools that have majors in game and concept art. This research led me to realize how expensive college is, and made me realize the importance of scholarships. I want to major in Game Art and Animation because it is a perfect mix of the two things I have always loved; technology and art. The way artists and programmers work together to create video games from nothing is incredibly fascinating to me. After I obtain a degree, I'd like to work as an artist for video games; creating characters, backgrounds, and props. I'd love to be the one to create those memorable characters in games that everyone loves. Being a woman in STEAM, I hope that I can make women feel more comfortable going into a career in a male-dominated industry. I desire to make games so impactful that they inspire other women to create. I want to make the workplace safer for women in STEAM. I've read hundreds of stories women in STEAM have told about how they're treated in their workplaces; how gaming is considered something that only men partake in. I hope to break gender norms by being a woman that loves to game. I want to help change that and make sure women can work comfortably in these spaces.