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Nzna Nguyen

5525

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

7x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I'm an aspiring neurosurgeon and I'm hoping to help out my community more! I've skipped two grades (once in middle school, once in high school) and am now a Boston University student! I'm from a low-income background and am a first-generation college student! A few things I like doing: - Playing Freerice a lot. - Exercising for charity (via Charity Miles). - Clicking through The Hunger Site.

Education

High School Of Commerce

High School
2019 - 2022
  • GPA:
    4

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Neuroscience

    • Dream career goals:

      Neurosurgeon

    • Tutoring and Proofreader

      2018 – Present6 years

    Sports

    Dancing

    Intramural
    2016 – 20171 year

    Awards

    • Over The Top Dance Finalist

    Research

    • AP Research

      Student
      2021 – 2022

    Arts

    • Drawing
      2011 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Tutoring — Tutor
      2019 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      Cleaning Up Litter Locally
      2022 – 2022
    • Public Service (Politics)

      Local Campaign for City Council — Volunteer for the campaign.
      2021 – 2021

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Your Dream Music Scholarship
    "19" by Stray Kids is a song that deals with the coming-of-age experience. The lyrics describe how time seems to fly by too fast for comfort, and how the excitement of growing up can quickly morph into worry. The limbo of being a teenager that'll soon become an adult is a nearly universal experience, but the alienation that it brings makes those who go through this limbo feel like they're all alone. The song both articulates the feelings of those experiencing this limbo and brings solace to the listeners going through this experience. It's especially important since the coming-of-age experience is a journey that all college-bound students and beginning college students have. The coming-of-age experience can be a hard thing to process because it's not just a change in how old you are - it's a change in the stage of life you're in and how you participate in the world at large.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    Mental wellness is the greatest indicator of overall wellbeing. While you can be physically healthy but overall unwell, being mentally unwell but well overall is unheard of. It's imperative for your overall wellbeing to be mentally well. Unfortunately, it's much harder to access mental health resources and thus preserve maintain one's mental wellbeing than it should be. As it stands, the United States' mental healthcare system is broken, with many who need help unable to receive help when needed. This leaves many people needlessly suffering because they are unable to afford or access the care they need and deserve. Being 16 and in university is a very unique situation, to say the least. I often feel alienated from my fellow classmates due to the omnipresent age gap and it's difficult to act as an adult when you're legally not considered one. This situation's induced a sense of isolation that I haven't experienced to this degree before. This sense of isolation has only worsened with my courseload. University academic workload is a different beast from the high school academic workload. In high school, academics are structured for you. In university, you have to structure your academics for yourself. I've maintained my mental wellness by drawing. While my university workload has made it almost impossible for me to do digital art nowadays, I've maintained my habit of drawing traditionally every day I can do so. It's a great way to destress for me because I can spend as little or as much time as I want or can on it. Another way I've maintained my mental wellness is making friend connections with people who aren't my classmates or professors. I've found an expansive social group that I connected with the day I moved in. While some of them go to my university, most of them don't. Ever since the day I've moved in, I've done advocacy for issues such as labor and reproductive rights alongside them. They've been immensely supportive of me in my endeavors at my university and beyond. I'm eternally grateful to them. Mental wellbeing is a matter of progress, not perfection. You simply have to keep at it in order for it to get better. You have to keep caring for yourself, balancing your world as best as you can, and making sure the people you care about keep supporting through as you walk your path. I advocate for a better future because a better world will mean that people's mental wellbeings will improve, including my own.
    Learner Math Lover Scholarship
    Math keeps the world running, love it or hate it. Without math, society would cease to function or even exist. The ability to do math is an essential skill, one where not everyone is as proficient in utilizing the skill as they should be. Beyond just passing math classes in school, we need math to do our daily tasks. It's a skill and a subject that has always come easily for the most part, but it doesn't come as easily to some others as it does to me. I've tutored various peers in math especially, specifically algebra. I love teaching things to people, so math tutoring marries two things that I'm interested in together into a service that I can provide to people who need it. There are also various tricks when it comes to doing math that one can utilize to their advantage. For example, instead of doing 399 times 4 conventionally, you can simply do 400 times 4 and subtract 4 to get the same result. While shortcuts aren't ideal in all situations, they certainly have their place in math. I'm going to use math every day for the rest of my life, something that comes easily to me and is something that I can teach to others. I don't see anything wrong with that.
    Your Health Journey Scholarship
    Ever since I've moved into Boston University, I've been trying to get more exercise into my day-to-day routine. Throughout my academic life, physical education was my weakest subject. After all, you can't quite study for physical education the same way you do for math, English, and the sciences. I don't take any physical education classes as a university student but staying physically active and fit is vital in order for me to properly function. The campus I live on is vast and requires me to walk around often in order to reach my classes, my professors' office hours, dining halls, and more. Furthermore, physical health often affects mental health. A big lifestyle change for me is that I walk up and down the stairs in and out of my residence hall instead of taking the elevators. This is very intensive, as my dorm room is on the 12th floor, meaning I have to walk up and down several flights of stairs in order to enter and exit my dorm room for the day's activities. While this does take more effort from me, it's a workout that serves as an investment in my physical health. It also serves as a solid alternative to utilizing the elevators in my residence hall, as the elevators often have winding lines and long wait times. I've also been consuming less meat nowadays. Vegetarian alternatives at the locations on campus are often healthier than their meat counterparts. I want to not only have a better impact on myself, but the environment. At the dining halls I eat at, there are also icons indicated for various dishes displayed on the menu monitors. I prioritize eating dishes with a red heart (meaning that it's a healthy dish) and a green globe (meaning that it's a climate-friendly dish). Outside of dining halls, I try to be mindful of what I order. I want to order no more than I can reasonably eat and only order food that I know will not be extremely detrimental to my health. Health journeys are not journeys marked by perfection, but by progress. We all need to start somewhere and as long as we're working towards better health, we're doing great. It's always a good day to take care of your physical health, because it means you'll take care of your mental health, which means you'll overall feel better and be better as a person.
    Lifelong Learning Scholarship
    Learning is the evolution of the mind. We can't evolve as a society if we can't evolve mentally. We learn every day when we go through the motions of life: new names, new faces, new tasks, new obligations, new events, and more. Beyond our day-to-day lives, society requires its members to learn constantly in order to stay afloat. Right now, our society's struggling to stay afloat. In some areas, it may not look like that's the case. However, people are suffering and dying from a myriad of issues that aren't getting the proper care and attention they deserve while others are profiting off of this inhumane situation. The housing crisis, the increasing hatred and harm towards minorities, and the economic situation at this time are just a few examples of problems we're suffering through. We haven't learned from our mistakes of the past, it seems. Instead of showing those in need the love in care they need and deserve, we abandon them or even outright harm them. We say we can't afford to properly care for everyone, only to have people suffering pay the price for their lack of care. We put profits over people, even when those profits aren't that beneficial in the long run. The stigmas and stereotypes that pervade society prevent its members from helping those in need. Learning is the antidote to stigmas and stereotypes. Stigmas and stereotypes are rooted in the distortion of information that's blanketed onto entire swaths of people. In order to break the stigmas and stereotypes, people must learn that they're wrong to begin with and be armed with facts instead. Learning doesn't just happen inside the classroom. It's an activity you keep practicing throughout your lifetime. As a first-year university student, I'm trying my best to learn how to not only be a great student, but a great member of society. This means being mindful of the impact I leave on others. I distribute food to those in need when I can. I reuse the disposable plastic cups I drink from instead of simply chucking them into the recycling bin. I make sure to inform people about harmful groups to avoid whenever possible. However, I'm still a work in progress. Learning is practicing for me, and I'll keep practicing throughout my life - how to be kind, how to be the change I seek to make, and how to make sure others tread the same track I do.
    Living Well Scholarship
    Clean living not only enables people to live better lives. Clean living sustains better societies by supporting more ethical products and services. Reduce, reuse, and recycle are the three R's we hear frequently. However, I often find there's so much emphasis on recycling that reusing and reducing are not highlighted the way they should be. There are many intricacies in recycling that are not touched on in popular knowledge, such as how different numbers within the recycling triangle indicate how recyclable it actually is. For some recyclable plastics, they're only recyclable if you drop them off at specific locations. Not only is proper recycling much more complex than simply chucking materials with a triangle on them into a blue bin, reducing and reusing can bring unique and more immediate benefits than recycling items. I've made it a habit of reusing plastic cups instead of simply recycling them after first use. Plastic cups are useful for more than holding beverages - they're great for storing items in general. I store extra food in sealed plastic cups in order to keep food fresh. Reusing plastic cups is free portable storage for me. Not only that, reusing plastic cups reduces the amount of waste I produce because instead of constantly obtaining and discarding new plastic cups, I can simply reuse cups. Reusing cups for food storage has also doubled as a way for me to reduce the amount of food I waste. Many go hungry because they cannot afford food, while others waste food simply because it's not profitable to store and/or give away. Instead of allowing food to go to waste, I store food in reused plastic cups and take them with me wherever I go. If I run into someone in need, I can supply them with food. I may not be able to spare money oftentimes, but I'd like to be able to give what I can to those in need regardless. Not only does this make life easier for the person receiving the food, but the amount of food waste also generated is significantly minimized. While clean living may often be more expensive, it's well-worth the price tag for anyone and everyone who can afford it. Unclean living costs society more than we think. We should not only make clean living more achievable for everyone, but also make cleaner and sustainable societies. Clean living is a necessity if we want sustainable societies.
    Femi Chebaís Scholarship
    My dream is to break the preconception of too radical being bad. My very existence is radical and so will be the path I pave not only for myself, but for those who will walk after me.
    Healthy Eating Scholarship
    I need to have healthy eating habits. Everyone needs to have healthy eating habits. Despite being a necessity, healthy eating habits are not as ubiquitous as they should be. There's a clear dissonance between the messaging and the follow-through for healthy eating habits. We know that we should eat healthy because it's significantly better for us, but it's not always doable because of reasons such as cost and/or accessibility. The main reason people don't practice healthy eating habits more isn't because people won't, it's often because people can't. I'm a first-year student at Boston University. Between attending classes, developing hobbies such as drawing, and pushing for social change outside of the classroom, I often find myself exhausted. When I practice unhealthy eating habits, I find that I'm more easily worn down by my obligations both physically and mentally. I can't put out quality work when I'm not consistently eating quality food. When I eat junk food, my mind is more of a dumpster fire than otherwise. Healthy eating habits enable me to do all the things I need and want. Not only that, but when I practice healthy eating habits, I'm more able to help others whenever needed. The practice of eating healthy has cascade effects on the productivity of society. The importance of healthy eating habits is exacerbated by how socioeconomic inequalities also show up in the quality of food and habits for various demographics. Junk food, while much worse for one's health, is much easier on one's wallet. People who are better off financially not only can afford to eat healthier but are also able to do more of the activities they love. While there's a price tag to be paid at a later date for unhealthy eating, the alternative of eating healthily is too pricey upfront. This leads to people being unable to afford being healthy, which should be absolutely unacceptable. I need to practice healthy eating habits more. While my eating habits aren't ideal, I'm making progress. The improvement in my eating habits will correspond to improvement in my wellbeing. Being healthy means you are able to complete your daily tasks more easily. Being healthy means you'll feel better. Being healthy means you are able to function better. When it comes to healthy food, the price tag is too high for too many people. Something that's so important shouldn't have to be skipped over due to its cost.
    No You Did Not Win An Emi, But You Did Win This Scholarship
    My first name is difficult for people to say or spell properly upon first exposure. On the other hand, my last name is the most common Vietnamese name. There are stories behind both my first and last name, but what makes these names truly significant to me is my context. I'm a freshman at Boston University at the age of 16, pushing for greater justice and equality with the help of many likeminded people. My last name is immensely common. For me, that's a sign of how I am able to find a common cause or banner that we can all unite under, despite our differences. I know that many of the people who push for greater justice and equality beside me come from wildly different backgrounds. However, the differences in our backgrounds and the arbitrary barriers placed between us by an unjust system do not stop us from uniting and continuing to fight for a better future. As opposed to my last name, my first name is exceedingly rare. I don't know a single person in my hometown, let alone on this Earth who has the same first name as me. I know the story behind my first name, but my first name symbolizes something very different to me. It's a symbol of my uniqueness. I might not always know or see it, but I bring something to the table that no one else can - I fill a niche that would otherwise go unfilled. Everyone has a seat at this table, but each seat is unique in nature. I share many things in common with others who wish to create a better future: goals, likes, and desires. Those similarities are there whether I know of them or not. Yet, I am uniquely me, with a skillset that only I can bring to the table. My name's a symbol of how unity and individuality are not contradictory. You can show solidarity with those not like you but have the same goals as you, yet still retain what makes you unique. Not everyone is interested in celebrating the diversity of people like me, which only makes solidarity between others who share my goals of a better, diverse future imperative. Unity is not something that requires conformity, only solidarity. What my first and last name mean to me may seem contradictory at first, but those meanings aren't contradictory - they're perfectly harmonious.
    Cariloop’s Caregiver Scholarship
    As a first-generation, low-income Boston University student, I am a caretaker for my immediate family. The language barriers I must overcome for others in order to get the resources needed made me realize how prominent inequality and injustice are in our systems. Abuse and neglect are prominent in nursing homes, yet go largely unntold by and to the masses. The culture of fear around such systemic abuse is abhorrent and only serves to protect the abuse occurring. Seeing such abuse come to light disheartened me immensely, as oftentimes repercussions and justice come too little, too late. I am only able to do so much when the system is not meant to let me be the best caretaker I can be. My negative experiences with a system centered around profits rather than people motivated me to push for better change. I'm not alone in these negative experiences, nor is this limited to just caretaking. As someone who ardently supports workers rights, I was angered by how Starbucks management fired a mother of two newborns just as she returned from maternity leave. The reason for this firing was an availability rule that had unnecessarily difficult requirements. Right now, we are seeing an immense spark of activism and calls for greater justice for those who have been mistreated. From pushback against discrimination to minorities to unprecedented unionization efforts within companies that have gotten away with working their employees to injury and death for too long, people are realizing how much they can accomplish when they come together. Unity is only achieved when a coalition of individuals show unwavering solidarity. I realized how much I wanted to be a part of a larger movement that sought justice and greater equality for those who have never experienced that. Justice and visibility are long overdue, and I wish to be part of the movement that finally gives said justice and visibility. Ever since I've moved into my university dorm, I've been supporting calls to action - from speaking out against abuses in the workplace to donating to the unhoused. Throughout my time in university and after graduation, I hope to push for a better future - whether it be through volunteering, advocacy, or something else. I plan to become a neurosurgeon who cares for people who otherwise will go without the care they need. Proper care is not a privilege, but a human right that should be guaranteed for all.
    #Back2SchoolBold Scholarship
    Go to sleep a little earlier than you need to! You don't always fall asleep instantly - - especially when you're utilizing electronics right before bedtime. You don't want to wake up late and/or with not enough sleep. Sleeping early serves as a reliable and easy safeguard from mistakes and lateness!
    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
    Graduating two years early is my greatest achievement to date. It's a rarity to skip one, let alone two grades in education. It's not solely the academic acceleration aspect of graduating at 16 that makes this my greatest achievement, but what I've learned along the way. The shortening of such a formative experience highlights the opportunities within the experience more. COVID-19 was a catastrophe that shook the world. Social distancing was our primary way of preventing the spread (as we had no vaccine at the time). Mask wearing, lockdowns, and remote learning became commonplace. The isolation in the efforts to prevent the spread were necessary but the seclusion of it all was highly demoralizing. Within the isolation, however, I realized my main avenue of finding inspiration - and began to fully appreciate just how fully ubiquitous it is. Music is everywhere, and listening to it is just a matter of choosing what song you want on a streaming platform. During the era of remote learning, my emotional solace and inspiration came primarily in the form of the music I enjoyed. In particular, I'm extremely fond of K-pop. Songs like "My Pace" by Stray Kids and "LION" by (G)I-DLE helped me through the turmoil of isolation. The messaging of songs like these not only served as emotional support, but as a stimulus for making my own art. Rather than feeling lost, I felt guided and empowered by the music I listened to. This empowerment stuck with me as remote learning was phased out. Volunteer work is an activity that I haven't been able to do as much as I'd like. Between skipping a grade in high school and the COVID-19 pandemic, my options to do so were few and far between. As we phased in aspects of "normalcy" in our society, I wanted to do more for my community. The inspiration on how to do so came in the form of a K-pop song known as "MAISON" by DreamCatcher. "MAISON" is a song about climate change, warning its listeners about the consequences of letting the damage wrought on by anthropogenic activities and calling on its listeners to save the Earth before it's too late. While I did take an interest in helping to combat climate change, hearing the song motivated me to do more to do so. I began participating in cleanup events in my community and spent some of my free time cleaning up litter around my school and nearby gym. The experience of graduating at 16 taught me while that I may have to deal with a short timeframe and less-than-ideal setting, I can do a lot despite those obstacles. In the future, I hope to achieve greater change - change that will not only improve the wellbeing of those in my community but the wellbeing of those far and wide.
    Taking Up Space Scholarship
    "Taking up space" is a phrase that sounds worse than it actually means. Taking up space does not mean wasting space, it means utilizing space. Debating is a way for people to take up a lot of space - ideas take up space in people's minds and people take up space by speaking their minds. Debate is both an art form and a powerful form of communication. We see people of all creeds, stances, and backgrounds do so. Some are enthusiastic to debate, others reluctant to do so at all. Debate is a modality to experience a world that is ever-evolving, offering perspectives to those who are both a spectator and a participant. This modality encompasses all facets of life, whether it's embraced or met with disdain. Unfortunately, many people are socioeconomically disadvantaged. From discrimination to erasure, the injustices minorities face are unacceptable. Yet, we still have many who find that minorities more or less "take up space" - as in, being a waste of space. Socioeconomic minorities are not a waste of space, they are utilizers of space. They utilize space in unique ways, showcasing their differences as something to celebrate rather than something to denigrate. Diversity is not a glitch, it is a sign of beauty in society. Those who are detractors of this try to push minorities out of sight and out of mind by any means necessary, leading to reprehensible results. In order to fight back, minorities and their allies can and do debate. Debate is an unfortunate necessity in the fight for equality. Equality is something that should be guaranteed to all, but isn't. We have been making strides to a more equal world, but those strides don't come easily. Minorities and their allies fight for these strides in any way they can. Debate opens up the possibility to scrutinizing other people's beliefs and justifications. Hate and ignorance fall apart easily under scrutiny, which makes debate a vital modality for those who want a better world. People like us do this not because we want to, but because we have to. Knowing how to take up space - utilizing space - is vital for us. It is not only why we've been able to come so far, it will be the reason why we'll get so far in the future. We all need to fight for a better future if we want a better future.
    Dr. Rajesh Aggarwal Scholarship for Scientific Studies
    Disease is an unfortunate, yet common part of our ever-burgeoning society. We weren’t always equipped with the technology to prevent and treat disease the way we are able to in this rapidly evolving age of medicine. Back when smallpox was omnipresent, its mortality rate was approximately 30 percent before a vaccine was developed. While a Buddhist nun had pioneered smallpox inoculation through variolation, the mortality rate from variolation was 3%. Variolation’s death rate was significantly lower than smallpox’s mortality rate, but significantly high enough where massive improvements could be made in terms of effective and safe inoculation of patients. Edward Jenner purportedly once heard a milkmaid say, “I will never have smallpox, as I have had cowpox.” Cowpox was a viral relative of smallpox that’s much less virulent than its more known relative. This information gave Jenner an idea to inoculate humans from smallpox by administering a vaccine that utilizes cowpox. Not only was this breakthrough effective at conferring immunity to those who received the vaccine, this breakthrough led to the eradication of smallpox from the face of the earth. The unprecedented accomplishment was announced as such on December 9th, 1979 by a group of scientists. The creation of a smallpox vaccine and its immense success had repercussions far beyond the eradication of smallpox. The fact that immunization of masses of people could be easily done in an effective and safe manner led to vaccines being developed in response to other diseases, such as polio, the flu, HPV, and now COVID-19. Nowadays, contracting polio is unheard of. We have yearly flu shots to inoculate us from the most prominent strains at the time. We’ve prevented countless children from developing certain forms of cancer with the administration of HPV vaccines. Now, we’re immunizing people from a relatively new virus that is both nearly omnipresent and lethal. The development of an mRNA vaccine (the first of its kind) with respect to COVID-19 will be instrumental for future generations, as mRNA vaccines are safer and easier to create than the conventional vaccines (which are already safe, but can be difficult to make). The innovation around vaccines will help us fight the everyday problem of disease. Disease is not only an everyday problem in society, society sometimes needs to reshape its normal in order to hinder the spread. It should be recognized as such and there should be appreciation around the medical innovation that helps us combat it.
    Bold Financial Freedom Scholarship
    The best thing to do with money is saving. I always marveled at various items I couldn’t afford when I was younger - I come from a low-income background. As I grew up, I realized that I didn’t know as much about financial matters as I should - I didn’t want to end up being clueless about money when I’m older and busy with work. So, I turned to family members to see if I could learn some of the basics regarding financial matters. In particular, my mother advised me to save as much money as I could when she gave me money for field trips. I followed her advice when I received 15 dollars for the whale watch trip. The trip itself was covered for by the school, but not food and drinks. To avoid wasting money on food, I instead ate an order of nachos and cheese a friend of mine on the boat bought and did not want (the chips were too stiff and the cheese was salty for her). Not only was this cost-effective, this minimized food waste! I kept minimizing food waste, appeasing my appetite, and saving my money both on the whale watch and the bus drive back to the school. I managed to save all 15 dollars and return it to my mother after the trip. While it could’ve felt fun and empowering to spend all the money I could, I also felt accomplished saving money - even if it was just 15 dollars, and I reduced food waste in the process.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    Mental health isn’t your fault, but simply something you’re responsible for. My experiences with mental health during all of the pandemic’s repercussions on both a global and personal level. When COVID-19 caused everyone to isolate, this negatively affected my emotional well-being. Instead of being situated in a building with teachers and peers physically present to help support me, I was situated in a volatile home environment for what seemed like eternity. Going through the motions felt more like I was sleepwalking than actually being awake. I wanted to complete my academic work as best I could, but my ability to do so was riddled with interruptions and confusion. One day, I realized that being like this was unsustainable. I could not succeed, let alone excel in my academics (as I had prior to the pandemic) if I continued this way. Whether I liked it or not, I had to make the best of what I could. This situation was not my fault, but I needed to take action to make sure I could make it through however long remote learning and COVID-19 isolation lasted. I did so. We conflate fault and responsibility because of the vast overlap between the two aspects of events, including regarding mental health struggles. It is not your fault for whatever issue you possess with your mental health, simply your responsibility to resolve your mental health issues with the proper resources - whether that be medication, therapy, self-care, or a combination of the previously stated resources and more.
    Bold Future of Education Scholarship
    If I could cease the privatization of education with the snap of my figures, I would do so in a heartbeat. I find that the push for privatizing education has eroded educational opportunities rather than fostered success in education, especially for the most socioeconomically disadvantaged. Privatization inherently places profits over people. Education should place people over profits. Privatization is inherently contradictory to what should be the objectives of education: to teach and serve people, not to capitalize on youth for the sake of profit. The fact that privatized education is not viewed by society as large as a denigration of service for students but rather a normalized option is abhorrent. The current state of education is not one that serves students but profiteers in the sector. Instead of education being treated as a necessity for students, education is treated as a sign of prestige in its privatized form by the wealthy due to the attached price tag. In order to push for the further privatization of education, regressive movements have emerged to stoke fear and panic around school curriculums for teaching history in a non-sanitized manner surrounding the history of racism in America’s institutions (including, interestingly enough, education) and showing proper representation and treatment of LGBTQ+ people. This shows that with every push made towards the privatization of education, socioeconomic minorities - especially children who are of those demographics - bear the brunt of the consequences. If we place a price tag on a quality education, we are implicitly okay with the prospect that some people may not be able to afford that. Everyone deserves a quality education, but not everyone can access or afford such an education. We can and need to change that, not just for ourselves but for the generations that will come after us. Education is not for profit, it is for students.
    Bold Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    Mental healthcare is costly and inaccessible for many, which is a shame considering we are currently in the midst of a mental health crisis. Not only do we have people in dire need of proper mental healthcare, we have a system that is not inclined to truly assist the needs of those who require the help until exorbitant costs are paid. There are more well-known tactics to use while one struggles with mental health: meditate, seek emotional support from friends and family, and enact self-care to the best degree possible. However, there’s a suggestion that’s not given enough: raise awareness. We do raise awareness surrounding mental health, but whatever awareness there is around the subject is often limited to lip service. The subject deserves more than lip service - the crisis of mental health deserves action. That action starts with us. When we face issues regarding our mental health, we should open up about them for those who’ll listen and encourage systemic action to support all who require mental health resources. Political action starts with the people and with positive political action can lead to a significant increase in the quality of life, in a sector of life that is too often neglected and stigmatized by society at large. We need to see mental health not through the lens of stigmas but through the lens of understanding that people require help that should be given to them. High-quality mental healthcare should be something that any person in need can receive, care that isn’t and shouldn’t be tethered by either inaccessibility or cost.
    Youssef University’s College Life Scholarship
    If I were given a thousand dollars right now, I would distribute it to those most in need: homeless people. Homeless people are known to lack a critical necessity - shelter. Lacking shelter makes it difficult, if not outright impossible, for homeless people to obtain other necessities such as food and clean water, along with a job that would enable them to purchase those necessities. The thousand dollars can purchase an extremely cheap travel trailer with some money to spare or help fund some form of shelter for the homeless. While that’s not ideal in terms of living space, it can serve as temporary shelter for those most in need. Any money left over could fund gas, food, clean water, proper hygiene, and future improvements in quality of life. While this is far from ideal (and would benefit from having much more funding than a thousand dollars), this would be leaps and bounds better than no shelter of any sort and uncertainty about even the most basic necessities. Unfortunately, we treat homeless people more as pests than as people in need, leading us to criminalize the manifestations of homelessness (such as panhandling) rather than give proper help to them. A thousand dollars could go a long way in making a shift towards treating the homeless like people rather than pests.
    Lo Easton's “Wrong Answers Only” Scholarship
    1. Wait, I deserve this scholarship? Aw, I have to re-serve it then! 2. My career goal is to do crime. The guys in the movie seem to make an absolute killing doing this, I have to get in on that! 3. There was this deeply troubling obstacle I had to see once. It was dark, both the obstacle itself and the experience I had overcoming it. While it did take some time, I did overcome it. It was a speed bump. I was sitting in the back of the car, but I got over the speed bump!
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    "All stereotypes must be crushed. The stereotype that you're too young to do something. The stereotype that limits female idols. Music has no gender." This is a quote from K-pop idol, (G)I-DLE group leader, and producer Jeon Soyeon said regarding music production. I found this quote to resonate with me especially considering I'm planning to study for and enter a notoriously male-dominated field - STEM. I'm going to attend university with an neuroscience major at 16, in fact. This is due to the fact that I've excelled in STEM-related courses for as long as I can remember and I have skipped two grades (once in middle school and once in high school). I mainly saw older men represent the STEM field, rather than people that resembled me more demographically. Wisdom is not defined by age but by experience. Jeon Soyeon's certainly young in her field (K-pop music production and performance), but she certainly has what makes this quote so wise - her own experiences. Life is made up of a string of experiences. These are experiences that we learn messages from and can tell those messages to others, whether that be your friends, family, or your audiences far and wide.
    Shawn’s Mental Health Resources Scholarship
    Music has been an amazing solace mentally for me. I’ve listened to music as long as I can remember. In particular, I am fond of K-pop. While I do not understand or am fluent in Korean, I find that the comfort I find in K-pop songs transcend language barriers. The most prime example of a K-pop song that serves as an emotional solace is “Sunshine” by Stray Kids. Stray Kids tend to have a more energetic sound, but “Sunshine” is the opposite of what one usually hears from the group. The track sounds like something you’d listen to while you’re lounging in a hammock on a pleasant day. It has this soothing effect that can’t help but put me at ease every time I listen to the track. In fact, the sole lyricist for “Sunshine,” Han Jisung of Stray Kids, said that he wrote and produced this song to help listeners with their anxiety. Beyond listening to music, I also find cleaning up litter helps to clear my mind. I participate in various clean-up events in my community, but I also take time out of my own day to pick up a few pieces of trash. It’s an easy task where I can also listen to music while performing said task. Not only is it easy, it’s great for the environment. The fact that cleaning up litter means that there’s less trash out and about in my local community comforts me. When I’m confined to the indoors, I also find that writing clears my mind to an impressive extent. While buying a book to read costs money, writing is free - the only cost attached to write is time. You can write on paper or digitally, write fiction or nonfiction, and talk about whatever subject you want, whether it be the frustrations with the world’s current unjustness or about more joyful aspects of life. Writing is just about limitless - the only limits that exist in writing are the ones you set on yourself. Not only that, you can draw inspiration for writing from anywhere - music, current events, family, friends, or whatever’s in your YouTube recommendations. This is an activity that not only frees the mind, but channels whatever negative emotions it possesses into a beacon of productivity. Writing is both an emotional outlet and a vessel for creativity, which is an amazing combination to help clear one’s mind.
    Healthy Living Scholarship
    A healthy lifestyle is something that should be ubiquitously practiced, yet is a rarity in our current society. Not only do we not encourage people to live their best lives, the current systems in place are holding down the most socioeconomically disadvantaged from living better lives. Instead of empowering people, we denigrate people who are socioeconomic minorities. Our healthcare system is centered on profits over people, leaving those who cannot afford treatment behind. This is not only unjust but also takes a toll on their health. I’m a soon-to-be first-generation college student and an aspiring neurosurgeon. A healthy lifestyle is not only desirable, but necessary. We should actively empower people to live their best lives instead of holding them back. When I’m a neurosurgeon in the future, I want to be able to treat everyone who requires my care, not just those who can afford an exorbitant price to do so.
    Learner Education Women in Mathematics Scholarship
    As long as I can remember, I’ve been great at math. It’s been my best subject in school since my elementary years. I grasped the shortcuts regarding math so I could more easily calculate results in my head. The subject is easy for me to wrap my head around and it has clear uses in our real world. We use math to sum up our expenses, analyze the stock market, and arrange our schedules to be as time-efficient as possible. Math is not just usable for everyday life, however. We can and do use it to depict, quantify, and analyze society’s current issues. For example, women are underrepresented in STEM. This underrepresentation of women in STEM exacerbates the gender pay gap of 23% in that field. The statistic points to a greater issue in our society - disparities amongst minorities. While positive representation of LGBTQ+ people is becoming more prevalent in our world, so have hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people. With our current (and incomplete) data, hate crimes toward LGBTQ+ people make up over 16% of all hate crimes. Socioeconomic discrimination is not only unjust, it is addressable. If we encourage more positive representation and better treatment of minorities (both socially and economically), we can alleviate these unjust and horrific disparities. Not only can we use math to illustrate the depth of society’s current problems, we can use math to depict how effective solutions to those problems can be. By alleviating the gender pay gap, we can reduce or even eliminate the statistic of women being paid 23% less than their male counterparts in STEM. Math is a potent tool that allows us to paint pictures for people to comprehend not only everyday information, but also issues with the current state of the world. This world isn’t perfect, far from it. In fact, its systems are slowly eroding under the weight of disparities amongst the socioeconomically disadvantaged. The utilization of math not only illustrates issues with our current state of society, but allows us to see the effectiveness of possible solutions. Math is not desirable, but necessary for people to comprehend this world and all the issues that come with it. We also need math to empower people to not only solve problems, but to depict the progress we’ve made with the implementation of solutions. Math is not only the bedrock of our past and present but the tool we use to pave a better future for everyone in this world.
    Leon M. Braswell III Book Scholarship
    Bold Financial Literacy Scholarship
    “You don’t need to buy content that you can enjoy for free.” This is a highly important lesson for me, as someone who enjoys the spectacle of entertainment throughout my day. In particular, I’m someone who enjoys K-pop. K-pop content can have some hefty price tags for exclusivity purposes. As much as I’m a fan of the groups I follow (such as Stray Kids and (G)I-DLE), I cannot pay to view the exclusive content. Even if I could, I would not. There’s more than enough K-pop content I can view at no cost to me. I shouldn’t pay for types of content that I can enjoy just fine without paying a single cent. I may not have the money to financially support the groups I love through buying tickets to their concert, I can settle for viewing free content of those groups online and streaming their music in order to support them at no cost to me.
    Bold Science Matters Scholarship
    The scientific discovery behind the creation of an mRNA vaccine is my favorite scientific discovery - not only has it helped prevent further destruction stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also fascinating as a premise. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mRNA vaccines weren’t just unheard of - they were nonexistent. Conventional vaccines do not utilize mRNA, but rather the full pathogens that are either weakened or killed prior to administration in order to confer immunity to those receiving the vaccine. Not only do mRNA vaccines possess no possibility for infection (compared to a vaccine with weakened pathogens), they’re far easier to make and mass-produce. In fact, Moderna designed their mRNA vaccine in only two days! The quicker vaccines can be created, the faster scientists can conduct studies on them, and the faster vaccines can be approved for immunizing people and preventing serious illness or death for countless amounts of people. As we reacclimatize to “normal” and move past the COVID-19 pandemic, we can use the development of mRNA vaccines to better combat and possibly prevent future pandemics.
    Bold Mentor Scholarship
    “You can and will make it.” This is the message I want to send to those I mentor. This world has placed an excruciating and unjust burden on young people, me included. This burden has weighed down too many young minds, causing them to function at levels much lower than what they’re truly capable of in a society that seeks to denigrate rather than care for them. Our current systems are breaking under the strain of the needs of our youth rather than being properly equipped to allow youth to be the best they can be. I hope that my mentorship gives the people I mentor not only a model to emulate, but an example of someone who’s gone through similar struggles and made it out on the other side. Mentorship is not only fuel for protégés to succeed, but as a sign of solace in a flawed and unjust world.
    Bold Optimist Scholarship
    Hardships can be isolating, and they’ve certainly been so for me. The necessary isolation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with a rather tense home life led me to feel rather lonely and mentally drained. Music’s been a hallmark of my life - I’ve enjoyed it as long as I can remember. In particular, I take a liking to K-pop. During difficult times, I’ve found K-pop to be both a place of solace and a way to cheer myself up. Songs like “My Pace” by Stray Kids and “Turbulence” by ATEEZ are comforting not only for how enjoyable the songs are but the fact that the messages behind said songs resonate with me so well. Meanwhile, other songs such as “Jelly” by Jeon Soyeon and “Hi High” by LOONA always put a smile on my face, no matter the circumstances I’m listening to those songs in. The usage of K-pop to emotionally support me in hard times has taught me that even if I feel alone, I am not truly alone in this struggle and that I will make it through to better days.
    Bold Creativity Scholarship
    Writing fiction is an amazing creative outlet for me - the only limits in writing fiction is what you’re able to write. You can write anything from superhero mysteries to sci-fi dystopias. You can convey anything from glee to frustration through the words you use to write fiction. Not only that, inspiration for writing can come from just about anywhere. For me, I’m an ardent fan of K-pop. Not only do I find the music highly enjoyable, the stages are well-done and fascinating. From Hyolyn’s “So What” cover for Queendom 2 to (G)I-DLE’s “LION” performance for the Queendom finale to Stray Kids’ “Victory Song” performance for the MAMA 2020 Awards, K-pop stages can depict mesmerizing storylines that spark inspiration for me. I’m also a harsh critic of society’s current issues, from the inaccessibility and cost of healthcare to the marginalization of minorities. I use writing both as a way of obtaining catharsis in a cruel world and a manner of critique of our current events. Whether as a path to catharsis, an opportunity for critique, or the vessel for inspiration obtained from K-pop, writing’s my main expression of creativity.
    Bold Climate Changemakers Scholarship
    I’ve found the lack of accessibility for climate action to be the most frustrating aspect of combating climate change. On a broad scale, voting for climate action in America is more “vote for who’ll help damage the climate less” rather than “vote for who’ll do the most to combat climate change,” protests are rare and not always easy to attend, and efforts to combat climate change are too often age-gated. In America, the minimum voting age is 18. Teens like me that are unable to vote will bear the brunt of a climate crisis that was fueled by those richer and much older than us. Aside from cleaning up trash in my community as much as possible, I’ve also utilized online resources to help combat climate change. Using Ecosia (a search engine that helps plant trees), Tab For A Cause (a browser extension that helps raise money for reforestation projects and other good causes), and AtlasGO (an app that helps plant trees when users exercise) all empower me to do the most I can to combat climate change. While online resources may not be the first thing people think of to combat climate change in their everyday lives, they can empower people like me to fuel significant climate action.
    Bold Community Activist Scholarship
    Trash is omnipresent in the outdoors, and my community is no exception. Litter’s visible on just about every street near my school. Not only is it a sore sight for the residents, it’s actively harmful for the environment and its animal inhabitants. I participate in local cleanup events when possible, but the events don’t pop up frequently enough to adequately combat the issue of litter in my community. Instead of lying in wait for the next cleanup event, I take time out of my day to remove trash from the streets and properly disposing of the litter. Most of the time, I clean up the areas surrounding my school and nearby gym, but I do branch out with my cleanup efforts as well. Not only do I find the removal of trash and the result of visibly cleaner streets therapeutic, every piece of trash I remove is one less possible item a small animal may mistake for food and ingest.
    Bold Study Strategies Scholarship
    Study frequently, get ahead, and be sure to take breaks - that’s my study strategy in a nutshell. Science has proven that you’re more likely to remember information that’s given out over a long period of time with several sessions, rather than crammed into a short period of time. Thus, I opt to study throughout the week. This is much easier when I get ahead academically. There’s no cost but time for being early, but there’s major consequences for grades in studying late. Effective studying is time-consuming and can be draining. Taking breaks are important, both for morale and memory reasons. To stay upbeat and motivated between study sessions, I enjoy music. Recently, I’ve been watching Hyolyn’s “So What” performance on Queendom. The happier and more motivated I am, the better I am able to study. Studying’s not always fun, but it’s good to have some fun in between study sessions.
    Bold Great Minds Scholarship
    Someone I admire from history was an abolitionist figure. William Lloyd Garrison was an early abolitionist who came to fame for his advocacy, which was considered radical for his time. He advocated for the full abolition of slavery, finding the American government corrupt and tyrannical for its legalization of slavery. With his newspaper known as The Liberator, he ardently advocated for slavery to be abolished in an instant (instead of gradual emancipation, which was the more popular proposal for emancipation at the time). In The Liberator's first issue, he declares in his open letter, "I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD." His rhetoric in The Liberator was harsh, but justified in the face of slavery's unjustness. While the subscribership to The Liberator was small, the newspaper itself was widely distributed. Garrison's blunt delivery in his writings resonated with many, arguing effectively for slavery's immediate abolition. This effective argumentation was not without its detractors - those in favor of slavery at the time retaliated against the distribution of Garrison's writings. Detractors not only tried to restrict the reach of The Liberator but actively went after Garrison himself. For example, North Carolina's state legislature indicted him for his anti-slavery advocacy. Despite this fervent resistance, Garrison refused to relent, only ending the publishing of The Liberator when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. While Garrison did not come without major flaws of his own (namely, antisemitism), he possessed undeniably admirable traits. He was unflinchingly radical in his positions, outspoken in his advocacy, and philosophically tethered by no one but himself.
    Bold Persistence Scholarship
    The COVID-19 pandemic affected many, me included. Instead of being situated in an organized, tranquil place to work, I was isolated in a volatile work environment where my primary connection with others was through a Zoom call. The new workplace for school was both mentally draining. However, I didn't want to nor could I afford to falter academically. In order to work my way through the isolated months of school, I started utilizing a scheduler to keep track of everything I needed to do and fell back on music to emotionally support me. Not only did songs such as "My Pace" by Stray Kids comfort me, they had messages that resonated with me as I worked through my school assignments and dealt with distractions. Persistence, by its design, is something that is not a one-and-done thing. It's something that you must utilize on a consistent basis for it to be what it is. This persistence I had throughout my school months in isolation carried over to when I finally returned physically to my school for my final school year. Re-adjusting back to "normal" was a feat of its own, but the strategies I used to carry myself through the isolated school months persisted, and so did I.
    Bold Nature Matters Scholarship
    Nature is humanity's muse, whether we acknowledge that minimally or not. It serves as a common, accessible source of marvel for many. I also sometimes use it as inspiration for some of the drawings I make. Nature is also essential if humanity wants to keep functioning and thriving. Unfortunately, nature's been slowly chipped away at. From pollution to deforestation, the sight of untouched nature is an exception rather than a norm nowadays. In order to be able to enjoy nature, we need to care for nature. This is the main way I show my appreciation for nature - by taking care of it. I focus on trying to do everyday things in order to preserve and care for it. For example, I use the search engine Ecosia and browser extension Tab for a Cause in order to fund reforestation projects around the globe. I also occasionally pick up trash in my community in order to make the local environment cleaner. In order to be able to enjoy the breathtaking visuals of nature, we need to take actions to care for it. It's absolutely doable, we just need to actually do it, from cleaning up litter to utilizing resources that can help fund the fight to bring nature back.
    Bold Bravery Scholarship
    If you were to give me a pool of adjectives to choose from, I would absolutely not choose "brave" as an apt, first-choice descriptor for me. It wouldn't be my second choice. Or my third, for that matter. It's a word that always feels meant for describing others rather than yourself. For me, debate would be an activity where bravery is not simply desirable, but necessary. I love engaging with ideas from others in real time, but I do enter debate spaces in my school at a disadvantage. In terms of age, I'm about two years younger than the vast majority of people who I debate with. Peer pressure can be insanely powerful, doubly so in a debate space. I also tend to be much more radical for both what I argue for and the rhetoric I utilize in debate. So while I'm more of the odd one out at the debate table, I try to engage with every opportunity possible at said table. Boldness isn't defined by success, but by the effort behind those attempts at success. I'm not always successful at winning debates, but I never back down from trying to argue for my points. The odds don't matter. The fact that I'll scrutinize whatever's said at the debate table, wherever the others at the table are favorable towards me or not, is enough. That's what matters.
    Bold Generosity Matters Scholarship
    Generosity is defined by the value of what you're willing to give to others. Value, not in terms of just a price tag, but in terms of value to people - both for the receivers and givers. For me, it doesn't have to be directly gifted to people in order to be generous. As long as it's effort used for good that wasn't required of you, I find it an act of generosity. In my case, I participate in cleaning up in my community every once in a while, particularly near my school. There's nothing grand in this, nor is it a direct gift to my schoolmates or other passerbys. However, it does give a cleaner environment for everybody inhabiting the area - both for humans and other animals. Cleaning up litter around my school isn't an activity I always see the benefits of. Sure, I get to see a cleaner environment, but I'll never see the possible animals that will enjoy the lack of obstruction for their habitats or the people who'll smile at the new cleanliness of their city. That's okay, I don't have to see that in order for me cleaning up to be a show of generosity. I find it fulfilling regardless of how large or small my impact is - just the fact that it makes a positive difference is enough.
    Bold Goals Scholarship
    I’m planning to become a neurosurgeon. I’ve been fascinated with medicine and the brain for as long as I can remember, which led to my current plans to be a neurosurgeon. However, I want to do more than just neurosurgery. I love writing of all types, but I particularly love commentary. I have an affinity for challenging a plethora of preexisting ideas and explaining to others regarding what’s going on in the world. In the future, I want to be able to do political commentary in order to advocate for the most disadvantaged in society. I believe everyone should be guaranteed necessities such as food, water, shelter, and medicine. Right now, the healthcare system in America is centered around profits rather than people. Instead of everyone being able to have the (possibly lifesaving) care they need, there’s a prospect of bankruptcy or death for those who require care. That should never be a prospect under any circumstances, never mind being such a norm that people consider not seeking care due to possible expenses. I don’t want to not be able to treat my patients because they can’t afford the cost, because medical care should be a right - not a privilege. I want a future where I am a neurosurgeon who can treat everyone who needs my care, rather than only people who can afford the exorbitant expenses.
    Bold Art Matters Scholarship
    My favorite piece of art is the music video to "Thunderous" by Stray Kids. Many people don't often think of music videos as art, but music videos integrate mediums that would be seen as art on their own. The music video opens with pristine animation. Animation's one of the most stigmatized art forms. This is due to the misguided belief that animation's primarily for kids, when in fact animation is for all that are interested in the art form. Throughout the video, animation is seamlessly woven into the rest of the music video, enhancing the mythical aspect of the music video's storyline. Meanwhile, the music and choreography both showcase aspects of traditional Korean music and dance intertwined with Stray Kids' experimental style. Stray Kids' trademark sound is credited as a new subgenre in K-pop known as mala tang. The combination of tradition and experimentation forms a music video whose cinematography and music send a core message: We'll hold our own and show the world who we are. All of the aspects of the music video - the choreography, the animation, and the music - come together to make a fascinating and meaningful work of art.
    Bold Great Books Scholarship
    A good friend of mine insisted I read the Battle Royale novel by Koushun Takami. After some nudging, I caved. When I started reading, I quickly became entranced with the premise of a fascist Japanese regime sentencing a class of high school students to fight for their lives. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of Battle Royale as a movie or stories like it, such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. However, I find the novel is a wonder of its own, not only for its premise but for the richness of its execution. The novel begins with a classroom of students riding a bus on the pretense of a field trip. The students are, for the most part, unsuspecting of what’s next. After being incapacitated en masse by the government, they wake up in a school building to find metal collars around their necks. Government officials announce to them that they have won the draw for being the participants in this year’s battle royale program. Some students try to object to this, only to have their dissent crushed by the government officials. With the commencement of the battle royale, Takami depicts the wrath of such a situation, from the fact that one of the students in the battle royale had been in this program before - and won, to the depravity of those enforcing such a program. In fact, government officials bet on which student will survive the program for the year in the book. The book depicts a premise that would be an unrealistic nightmare in today’s society, but embodies aspects of the injustices in our society. Takami’s ability to depict the oppression by the state and the desperation of those oppressed by it is what makes this book my favorite.
    Bold Caring for Seniors Scholarship
    Something that I do to improve the lives of elderly people in my community is encourage exercise. This is as exercise is proven to improve the quality of life and lifespan of people, especially the elderly. Specifically, I got my dad to download Charity Miles on his phone in order to motivate him to walk and bike more. With every mile he bikes or walks, he generates money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Not only does he reap the benefits of daily exercise, so do the good causes he exercises for with the app. Elderly people deserve to be able to live not only long lives, but lives filled with happiness and health. Motivating them to exercise improves their livelihoods, and if there’s an app that generates money for various good causes with every mile walked, ran, or biked, then it’s not just good for the elderly, it’s good for all of us.
    Kenyada Me'Chon Thomas Legacy Scholarship
    If I could, I would change the societal perception of the homelessness crisis. Right now, people look at homeless people as the problem, rather than people suffering firsthand from a problem no one should be dealing with in the first place. Instead of giving them proper housing and a chance to truly live life, we push them out of societal view at their expense. It's as if we believe that if we don't see homeless people, we think that homelessness isn't truly a problem. Homeless people are not pests, but people in need of help. If I had the money to do so, I'd make sure every homeless person received housing of some sort, whether this would be in a homeless shelter or a more permanent residence. Shelter would not only significantly improve their quality of life, but would also empower those now no longer unhoused to further improve their living conditions. With a more permanent address, they can obtain jobs. If we teach them cost-effective skills such as gardening so they are able to grow their own food, not only would they no longer have to worry about where their next meal is coming from but could save money that could then be spent on other necessities and improvements in life. Enabling the unhoused to live better and more productive lives is not only beneficial for them, but for everyone else as well. The more people we have living better lives in our communities, the more objectives we as a society are able to accomplish. Housing is the first step to a prosperous life for those in need of shelter. We look at homelessness too often as an issue of people's character, rather than an issue of people missing necessities. We think that criminalizing homelessness in all its manifestations will stop this crisis, but it hasn't. Instead, the criminalization of homelessness has only inflicted more suffering onto the unhoused. Those who have to deal with this crisis firsthand are stretched beyond any ethical limit, dealing with the inability to possess the most basic human needs compounded by the illegality of their very existences. However, solving the crisis of homelessness is not only doable, but plausible. In order to solve the crisis, however, we need to look at the matter from a lens that depicts homeless people as people desperately in need, rather than pests to shoo away. That shift in societal attitudes will enable us to empower the unhoused and improve their lives.
    Abby's First-Generation College Student Scholarship
    The pandemic affected many people, including me. The pandemic caused my primary workspace to shift from a school building to a more volatile environment at home. The shift hindered my ability to do schoolwork and more importantly, my ability to maintain my mental health. While I never was diagnosed officially, I did have difficulties maintaining emotional well-being. The hours I was able to sleep dwindled as I stressed over various problems, both at school and at home. However, I did find solace in listening to music. Specifically, K-pop. Despite the fact that I didn't speak or understand Korean, I found that the messages within songs such as "My Pace" by Stray Kids and "LION" by (G)I-DLE resonated with me extremely well. The track "My Pace" by Stray Kids depicted the struggles that come with the inclination to compare yourself to others and resolves this by staying in your own lane, meaning that you should simply work on yourself instead of comparing yourself to others. Meanwhile, "LION" by (G)I-DLE was a song conveying female empowerment. Songs like these served as a place of comfort while I was physically and emotionally isolated from others and enabled me to persevere through the school months spent online, finishing them strong. Now that we are reemerging from the pandemic and accordingly establishing a new normal as much as possible, I still find music to be a source of emotional support and use it as such. The messages and comfort music brings transcends language barriers, from "HWAA" by (G)I-DLE to "Sunshine" by Stray Kids to "Alldaylong" by DreamCatcher. Music is a sign that you're not truly alone, even when you're isolated. It comforts those regardless of creed or background, while enabling listeners to be their best selves in all facets of life. It only requires you to listen, and that's what makes it so powerful and beautiful.
    Bold Learning and Changing Scholarship
    I learned that the messages of music transcend language barriers. This lesson was thanks to an exploration of K-pop, an ever-changing and expanding genre. Although I don't know Korean, the more I listened to K-pop, the more it resonated with me. Not only did the songs sonically resonate with me, the messages behind those songs were something I could easily connect to. I think the best example I have for this is "My Pace" by Stray Kids, a song about the pains of comparing yourself to others. The song advocates for staying in your own lane, meaning focusing on bettering yourself than trying to compete with others, by taking your time. It's a song with a language not many may understand, but possesses a message that resonates with vast groups of people. That's what I find beautiful about this song and music in general - you may not understand it, but you resonate with it all the same.
    Learner.com Algebra Scholarship
    Math is important because it is the backbone of how we process society. The usage of math isn't just something we want, we need math in our lives. We add up the prices of items to pay for the cost in full, we solve for variables in everyday life to account for third-party factors, and we use it to solve logistical problems, not to mention the plethora of other uses we have for math. I love learning math because not only is math vital for a burgeoning society to function and thrive, it's what will enable humanity to expand into new frontiers. Decades ago, we thought landing on the moon was a fever dream of an initiative. However, with the determination of scientists wielding the power of mathematics, we landed people on the moon. Now, we are taking the push for human settlement on other planets and cosmic entities more and more seriously. This is a revolutionary shift, brought on by the ability for those in the scientific field to utilize math to make extraterrestrial exploration not only doable, but plausible. We used math to make the moon landings possible, we used math to take the first possible pictures of black holes, and now we'll use math to explore places in space that people would've never even heard of just years ago. However, math is also useful for people back on Earth, especially for those attending school. Math is a core requirement for those in all grades at school, and not all are proficient in the subject. I love tutoring, I love math, and I love tutoring people on the subject of math. Those I tutor may struggle with math, but I don't, so I find it fulfilling to assist those I tutor to pass and excel in math classes. Not only do I help them with solving algebraic equations and geometric problems, I also teach them math tricks to help them calculate answers faster (such as solving 19 x 7 by solving 20 x 7 and then subtracting 7 from the result). These math tricks are not only useful inside the classroom, but outside the classroom when it comes to activities like calculating the cost of ordering food for the family. Learning math isn't just great for me, it's great for the people who I tutor. Math is a necessary tool to utilize in our society, a tool I've learned to master easily and help others master. Math enables people to do more, and who doesn't love that?
    Learner Calculus Scholarship
    Calculus is one of the most notorious branches of math, but also one of the most important. It's the branch of math that connects the concrete to the theoretical the most. Math serves as a venue for scientists to quantify science, and the existence of calculus enables them to do so in even the most inaccessible contexts. Not only do we use calculus in order to predict and analyze scientific findings made by us and others on Earth, we use calculus to ascertain aspects of our universe far beyond our reach. In a time where expanding human settlement beyond Earth is becoming more and more contemplated, calculus is not desirable in accomplishing the logistics of those proposals - it's necessary in order to make those proposals feasible. In particular, we need to land on the moon and Mars in order to begin settling in those places permanently. In order to launch spaceships to reach those places at the right time, calculus is utilized to predict when the destination aligns the best so we can launch in the correct timeframe with minimal issues. Beyond extraterrestrial settlement for humanity, we also require the usage of calculus to ascertain the utilization of other objects and presences in space, such as black holes. By using calculus, scientists from all over the world were able to take the first picture of a black hole (or more accurately, the event horizon of a black hole). Not only that, we're able to utilize the calculus behind the existence of black holes in order to brainstorm ways to utilize black holes as potent sources of fuel. The prospect of that is revolutionary for space exploration, not to mention the potency of that prospect coming to life. Were it to be established, space exploration far beyond this solar system would be not just doable, but plausible. The STEM field is one that is ever-expanding and essential to the functioning and advancement of humanity. Calculus serves to extend the reach of STEM as far as possible so that the field is able to thrive and revolutionize humanity in the process. Calculus is not an easy branch of math to master, no one said otherwise. However, calculus is so difficult precisely because of what it is meant to accomplish - it is the key to a greater understanding of science, both on Earth and beyond. It is the enabler for a better future, especially in the field of STEM.
    Bold Deep Thinking Scholarship
    Winner
    The biggest problem facing the world right now is absolutely climate change. We're acknowledging the issue, but we're not doing enough about it - and that's costing us. From longer heat waves that are lethal to the flooding of coastal communities, we're reaping the effects of a global yet somewhat cryptic problem. We know how to solve the problems in general: reduce CO2 emissions and find ways to absorb CO2 already emitted. However, we often think of solving this as a solely electoral issue, as if we'll solve the problem just by voting in the right people. This solution does encapsulate objectives that can be accomplished only on a legislative level (such as banning new fossil fuel projects and subsidizing renewables), but it's a solution that's incomplete, rife with disconnections between legislators and voters. Instead of solely empowering legislators that only might combat climate change, we need to empower the people and thus energize a grassroots movements for a better future, free from the ravages of climate change. We can do this with local initiatives, such as cultivating gardens (doable in schools and has the added benefit of teaching youth about climate change and its related science). In gyms, we can install bikes that generate renewable electricity (which can also encourage individual health). These initiatives can increase local engagement and help everyday people have a personal connection with solving a broader problem. Local initiatives provide added benefits for communities, including cleaner air and more walkable space. With the momentum at the local level, people can then incentivize electoral engagement at all levels of government, from the cities to the federal government. This empowers voters to choose candidates who will implement policies that will combat climate change. We can combat climate change when we start with us.
    Bold Confidence Matters Scholarship
    Confidence is simply a matter of being sure for me. I'm not always sure about the limits of my abilities, but I always remember that I am my greatest hype man. That means I'm only able to accomplish what I can because I'm confident enough in myself to get things done. Am I perfect? Of course not. Can I do the tasks put in front of me? Absolutely. When I'm not sure of myself, I tend to fall back on music. My taste in music is centered around K-pop, a genre whose primary language I'm not fluent in - far from it. However, it conveys a sense of limitlessness to me, not just with the music but with the stories behind the music. The leader of one of my favorite K-pop groups, Jeon Soyeon of (G)I-DLE, exemplifies this limitlessness. She's not tethered by gender stereotypes, public opinion, or genre. She simply makes music limited by nothing but her own self - and it shows, from "Uh-Oh" to "HWAA." I don't need to understand Korean to translate that into being confident in myself, because that message isn't held back by language barriers. Nor is it held back by gender stereotypes or public opinion, and neither should I. I'm not always confident in myself, but I'm sure in what I can do - and that's enough confidence to get things done.
    Bold Fuel Your Life Scholarship
    Music is one of the world's most prolific and underrecognized motivators of humanity. It's present in just about every corner of society, and for a good reason - because there's something for almost everyone, especially for listeners who need a dose of joy and motivation in hard times. I've always had music as a major facet in my life, but the pandemic made my use of music skyrocket. What motivates me regarding music isn't just the sounds itself, but the story behind those sounds. I'm a K-pop fan. Particularly, I'm a big fan of (G)I-DLE, a self-producing girl group led by Jeon Soyeon. One of her quotes regarding her involvement in music production's stuck with me throughout the years: "All stereotypes must be crushed. The stereotype that you're too young to do something. The stereotype that limits female idols. Music has no gender." Soyeon's determination to destroy stereotypes with her work shows through her group's music. The music that (G)I-DLE's put out may be mostly in a language I don't understand, but I understand its message all the same. I understand what (G)I-DLE's "Uh-Oh" and "HWAA" convey, because determination, inspiration, and joy know no language barriers. I enjoy (G)I-DLE's music not just as a fan, but as someone who shares the goals of breaking stereotypes. That's what motivates me - not just the music, but the backstories that make the music so meaningful.