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Makena Trentacoste


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Hello. My name is Makena Trentacoste. I am a current freshman in mechanical engineering with a concentration in horticulture at Louisiana State University. I am passionate about preserving the biodiversity of species within agriculture. With how our crops used to be wild, as we overly domesticated our crops they've become more susceptive to global warming since they cannot survive without human intervention. That is why it is vital to preserving seeds from these cultivars to ensure the preservation of biodiversity. Additionally, I am passionate about the reintegration and restoration of mangrove species along the coast. Coastal erosion is one of Louisiana's most pressing issues. Restoration of the Black mangroves along the Gulf is vital. One unique aspect of these trees is their ability to provide shelter with their roots to surrounding aquatic life as well as nesting for birds. In addition to that, they prevent erosion and absorb storm impacts during extreme weather events. I am a part of my University's horticulture club. Additionally, I am attempting to establish a chapter of Kesem at my University. Kesem is a 100% free sleepaway camp for kids who have/had parents with cancer. I used to be a camper. I have been in contact with Nationals in the past as well as Campus Life. I am in contact with Mississippi State's Chapter as of right now. In the future, I hope to integrate my major with my minor. I am interested in the realm of tissue culture or hydroponics as well as many others with how I choose to combine my paths.


Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • Mechanical Engineering
  • Minors:
    • Botany/Plant Biology

Dutchtown High School

High School
2021 - 2022

Ohio University-Main Campus

High School
2019 - 2020

Athens High School

High School
2018 - 2021


  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Applied Horticulture and Horticultural Business Services
    • Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mechanical or Industrial Engineering

    • Dream career goals:

      Combining my major with my concentration in horticulture. Interested in hydroponics as well as tissue culture.

    • POST Student Worker

      LSU Parking and Transportation Services
      2022 – Present2 years



    2021 – Present3 years


    • 1st place Woodlawn Dual Meet January 8th, 2022 123.5 weightclass
    • 1st place Dutchtown Invintational January 29th, 2022 114.5 weightclass


    • Applied Horticulture and Horticultural Business Services

      FFA — Constructing aeroponics system from scratch
      2022 – Present


    • LSU Tiger TPED (Theme Park Engineering & Design Club)

      Graphic Art
      2023 – Present
    • Ohio Valley Summer Theater

      Hunchback of Notre Dame
      2020 – 2020
    • Athens High School Drama Club

      Into The Woods
      2019 – 2020
    • Athens High School Drama Club

      One Acts
      2019 – 2020
    • Athens High School Drama Club

      25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
      2019 – 2020
    • Athens High School Drama Club

      Broadway Revue
      2018 – 2019
    • Athens High School Drama Club

      One Acts
      2018 – 2019
    • Athens High School Drama Club

      The Three Musketeers
      2018 – 2019
    • Athens High School Drama Club

      2017 – 2018
    • Athens High School Drama Council

      Vice President
      2020 – 2021

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Personal — Picking up trash since 03/11/2022 from the neighborhood pond
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Our Lady of The Lake Blood Drive — Donated a pint of blood
      2022 – 2022
    • Volunteering

      LSU Coastal Roots Program — Helped plant over 400 trees within two hours at BREC Doyle's Park with my horticulture class.
      2022 – 2022

    Future Interests



    Engineers of the Future Scholarship
    As an undergraduate student, I am sure my perspective is to change in the future as I gain more experience, but I find that the opportunity for me to create something more than myself is something to strive after. Growing up, I attended a summer camp called Camp Invention; it gave me my first taste of engineering before I reached middle school. I believe this camp set up my dominant learning style growing up; hands-on learning. I excel in creating. During high school, I was involved in various extracurriculars involving my learning style. Horticulture, small engines, woodworking, and AutoCAD to name a few. As I am progressing through my undergraduate career, I have found that despite some subjects being difficult, there are ways of overcoming them. For instance, during my first initial exam for trigonometry, I performed poorly; however, during my second, I had redone my homework assignments three times over. Some assignments had questions ranging from 30 to 50 in amount. I was able to score in the B range on my second exam for trigonometry through changing my study habits. My perseverance and current outlook on engineering as a whole makes me passionate about my future career. There will be obstacles. There will be bumps, but I have been reaching out consistently whenever I need it. I know where to seek out resources if need be. I am passionate about engineering because I can make the change.
    Bold Climate Changemakers Scholarship
    Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been growing produce hydroponically within my home. Hydroponics, in short, is the process by which plants are grown without soil. Instead, they're grown in nutrient-rich water. In comparison to traditional farming, hydroponics is far less environmentally impactful. Overall, agriculture contributes to over eleven percent of the U.S's total greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, traditional agriculture plays a significant role in soil degradation, resulting in the loss of fertile land. In contrast, with hydroponics, the same crops can be grown repeatedly within the systems all year without soil. On top of soil degradation, water wastage is an ongoing issue. That is why it is so significant to find a way to mitigate water usage. Though seemingly counterintuitive, hydroponics uses less water than traditional means of farming. Since the water circulates within the system, there's no water wasted in the process. Once I started hydroponics, I grew wild strawberries, zinnia, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers indoors. Everything within the environment is controlled, for example, the lighting, nutrients, and climate. Since everything is controlled, plants grow at an exponentially higher rate with a larger yield than with traditional means of agriculture. Through hydroponics, by growing produce sustainably, I leave a positive impact on the environment, which mitigates my influence on the climate concerning agriculture. With the direction current agriculture is going, the future of farming and our overall environment depends on systems like this. I try and advocate for the implementation of these systems on a larger scale in my daily life. It is something I am genuinely passionate about. I hope that I could someday be apart of that change.
    Richard Neumann Scholarship
    While not entirely original, I have been in the process of constructing an aeroponics system out of old PVC and parts. For a lot of the design, I have had to modify it. I am constantly on my feet with these redesigns. An example is a bin I chose to implement as the PVC sprinkler system's base; I had to recut a lot of the assembled PVC because it did not fit low enough so that the net cups would not touch. Additionally, I have found that I have had to modify some of the other measurements so that those pieces would fit as well. If I were to solve a single issue, I would strive toward solving the urban food crisis. In terms of a large-scale environmental impact, traditional agriculture contributes a lot; for example, deforestation, animal endangerment, water depletion, pesticide usage, & a lot more. In comparison, sustainable systems like the hydroponic, aeroponic, & aquaponic systems exist and leave a minimal environmental impact through plant cultivation using soilless growth. Due to the lack of soil, plants grow without pesticides and utilize less space and water. Considering plants are grown in a controlled environment, the worry of disease and climate is relatively nonexistent. Temperature, light, and nutrients can all be monitored through these systems, while, in comparison, traditional agriculture is not as easily accomplished. I would work on solving this issue by utilizing my knowledge of sustainable plant systems. I hope to expand on one of the already established ones for a more simplistic yet nuanced approach where it is not a hassle to assemble while being inexpensive. More specifically, the aeroponic system. In total, there are three systems; hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic. Out of the three, aquaponics is the most commercial; however, it is less feasible for households, considering that fish factor in the equation. Hydroponics is a water-solution-based system, which requires no fish to grow plants, and yet somehow, it yields smaller plants than aeroponics despite its overall approval. Aeroponics, similar to hydroponics, utilizes a water-solution-based system; however, the difference being aeroponics uses a misting system instead of roots suspended over water. Aeroponics, in general, produces larger yields than hydroponics. I would go about it utilizing my new 3D printer to prototype desk-top systems. To avoid an environmental impact, I would create a homemade filament extruder. The filament would be produced out of plastic donations. I wholeheartedly believe these systems could solve the urban food crisis, and if I had the resources and funds, I would be creating these systems. What I am hoping to achieve with this design is more accessibility to plant cultivation in an urban environment, even if minimal. I firmly believe these systems have the capability of bringing change; that is why creating a desktop-sized aeroponics system would be so beneficial. It would introduce the larger public to indoor plant cultivation, which, on a larger scale, could feed entire cities in less time with bigger yields. Additionally, jobs would come out of these established systems. People would have access to inexpensive grown fresh food, which they would have otherwise not had.
    Lillian's & Ruby's Way Scholarship
    Growing up, I was completely enamored with the purple dragon mascot of Epcot; Figment. I recall sitting on the slow-moving-track ride and getting excited to see him pop out of the little box in the sound studio. They were a big reason I got into the thought of becoming a Disney Imagineer. As I got older, I began to forget about this little niche dream. I suddenly remembered it when I initially moved to Louisiana. The State I used to live in, Ohio, made me miserable. I completely disregarded any hopes I had previously and focused on a mundane life because what else is there in Ohio? I came from a little town surrounded by the woods. I suddenly remembered this dream as soon as I arrived here. Since then, I have had a lot of involvement in new extracurriculars and various hobbies. For example, until a few weeks ago, I was involved in my school's varsity powerlifting team. As of right now, I only attend my Women in Stem Club. I am hoping that once I hit college I will join a lot of clubs. One of which I look forward to is my school's horticulture club. As someone who enjoys horticulture, I grow plants hydroponically and am enthusiastic about plant propagation. On top of that, I am in the process of constructing a homemade aeroponics system made out of old parts and PVC. Essentially these systems require no soil and grow plants in a controlled environment. Unrelated to plants, one of my all-time favorite books has to be The Imagineering Story by Kevin P. Rafferty. Throughout the book, the author, Rafferty, essentially discusses how he became an Imagineer for the Disney company. He got involved in the company initially as a dishwasher at Disneyland. By the time he was in the process of finishing his book, he was retiring after 42 years of being a part of the magic. He was behind a good portion of my favorite Disney attractions. This man has been a part of my childhood. I remember reading one section of his book and bawling my eyes out. He talks about how when he was a cast member, he saw a grandmother in a wheelchair being pushed by her grandaughter who had a Mickey-shaped balloon and giant lollipop in her hand. The granddaughter had asked the grandma how her day was and the grandma responded, "I had the best time of my life." This book inspired me in a lot of ways to continue pursuing my dream of entering the theme park industry and potentially becoming a Disney Imagineer. The parks played a significant influence on my life growing up. By my freshman year in high school, my mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Throughout her diagnosis, we relied on Disney as a backbone for our family. By pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, I will be able to potentially enter the theme park industry. Through the theme park industry, I want to create spaces for families similar to mine where diseases like cancer do not exist. As of right now, my mom has been cancer-free. However, if anything unexpected were to occur, I am unsure how I would pay for my schooling. I would benefit from any form of financial assistance.
    Bold Influence Scholarship
    I would stand for sustainability and accessible means of agriculture. As someone who grows plants hydroponically, I am passionate about horticulture. Despite majoring in mechanical engineering, I will have a minor in horticulture. More than likely, I will combine my two passions; expand on previously established systems (aquaponic, aeroponic, & hydroponic). Essentially, these are systems that are soilless growth. Growing food in a controlled environment can not only grow food larger but also faster. Additionally, since there is no soil, pesticides are not needed. On top of that, traditional agriculture is entirely outdated and harmful to the environment. Some examples include animal endangerment, deforestation, soil nutrient depletion, water wastage, etc. With how versatile these systems are, they can range in size anywhere from as small as fitting on a desktop to warehouses. I firmly believe these systems are the future for solving global hunger. However, with how cheap fast food is, I am certain big companies would not be entirely on board with produce becoming cheaper. When produce is expensive, these companies thrive since most people can not afford the luxury. Freshly grown food should be accessible and inexpensive. These systems will revolutionize life as we know it, so here's to the future!
    Bold Love Yourself Scholarship
    One of my favorite aspects of myself would be my driven nature and how outwardly passionate I am about what interests me. I speak faster and louder whenever I talk about something I enjoy. I feel fuzzy whenever someone has similar hobbies to me or whenever they discuss their passions. Before the pandemic, I had low self-esteem and, in general, was a very insecure person. One of my closest friends, who I genuinely would have taken a bullet for; once they got a boyfriend, I stopped hearing from them entirely. Having someone so close suddenly vanish genuinely hurt. She was my best friend of seven years. After reflection, I realized that they were not very considerate of my emotions at times. From that experience, though, I learned how to no longer be a doormat for those types of people. At that time, I was a huge people pleaser. What I love about myself is how far I have come. I have genuinely put in the effort to improve myself and not allow these people in my life. I love my smile. The way my cheeks scrunch up makes me happy. The little walk I do in the hallways makes me giggle. I walk on my tippy-toes and keep my shoulders pulled back to appear more confident, but I have had a person tell me it makes me look like the embodiment of joy. I love how hard I work. The way I keep trying despite initially failing. I love that I cry happy tears, that my hair is red, that I tend to wear mismatched socks. I will always have moments of insecurity, but I love that no matter what, I allow myself to feel while, at the same time, trying to appreciate those aspects of myself.
    Bold Optimist Scholarship
    Unwavering optimism is relatively unattainable. Life will throw curveballs no matter the circumstance. Not every moment will have a silver lining. While my mom was undergoing breast cancer treatment, these feelings resonated with me more than ever. I felt as if submerged in water. For someone unable to come up for air, optimism was not at the forefront of my thoughts. Initially, I closed off my emotions, relying on my small engines class as support. Through that class, I'd disassemble & reassemble engines. These tedious tasks kept my mind busy, avoiding thinking about my mom's cancer diagnosis. Due to a scheduling error, the removal of the class would occur from my schedule during my sophomore year of high school. I developed debilitating panic attacks from the sudden surge of emotions I felt after months of distraction. Everything came flooding toward me at once. On June 30th, 2019, I first stepped foot in Camp Kesem, a week-long sleepaway camp for kids who have/had parents with cancer. It was the first time I really opened up about my mom's diagnosis. I felt comforted knowing that I was not alone in my experiences, that I was around people who have gone through similar ordeals. That was my second family. Through the summer camp, I have learned the definition of found family as well as how to stay optimistic during tough times without suppressing my emotions. I have learned that I am not alone in my experiences; that I will always have a shoulder to lean on. Since attending the summer camp, I have become a more outspoken individual about my emotions and have developed healthier coping mechanisms while maintaining a sense of optimism. I am by no means perfect, but I strive to always be optimistic during tough times while addressing my emotions.
    Travel with a Purpose Scholarship
    Youssef University’s College Life Scholarship
    Knowing myself, if I were to receive $1,000, I'd most likely spend a significant amount of it on plants. As someone who enjoys horticulture, I grow a lot of plants; however, with the amount I currently have, I do not believe I will be satisfied for a while. Once I graduate, I hope to turn whatever I live in into a jungle. I'd have plants trailing from the ceiling and succulents at every windowsill. I'd most likely build another aeroponics system and try to live a self-sustaining life with the produce I'd be able to grow. I currently own a hydroponics system and currently building a homemade aeroponics system. Essentially, soilless growth. Other than plants, the rest of my money would go towards my degree. I hope to be in as little debt as possible. My parents plan on paying off my loans; however, as having a mom who's underwent treatment for cancer twice, I know how uncertain life can be. If my mom were to get re-diagnosed with cancer, I am unsure how I would be able to pay. As of the moment, I plan on majoring in mechanical engineering with a possible minor in horticulture. After college, I will most likely be entering the theme park industry. Using my degree in mechanical engineering, I hope to create a space where diseases like cancer do not exist for families similar to mine.
    Environmental Impact Scholarship
    Despite my interests predominantly lying in mechanical engineering, I plan on minoring in horticulture. As someone who enjoys horticulture, I am passionate about all things plant-related which includes solving urban food shortages. I will tackle this issue by implementing hydroponic systems within the urban environment. My inspiration stems from my previous knowledge of the subject. I have my system which I use to grow plants. Through the implementation of these systems, food scarcity would become less prominent in these urban areas. Hydroponics is essentially soilless growth. This form of agricultural technology is very much nuanced and versatile. Depending on the style of the system, the size could be anywhere from closet-portioned to large-scale operation. These systems yield more successful and bountiful harvests than traditional means of farming due to their controlled environment. They're able to control the heating, amount of nutrients, and other aspects that contribute to a plant's growth. Additionally, there are other systems similar to the hydroponic system; which are the aeroponic and aquaponic systems. Aeroponics suspends roots mid-air, and the plants get their nutrients from misting systems while aquaponics grows fish, as well as produce. The excrement serves as nutrients for the plants grown within the system. Traditional means of farming affect the surrounding environment negatively. From deforestation to the utilization of pesticides, agriculture is destroying the environment. However, this does not have to be the case. The future for agriculture is paved with systems like the hydroponic system. Soilless plant growth means no need for pesticides or water depletion. Within these systems, water can circulate with a filtration system, and reusing water eliminates the water wastage dilemma that traditional farming faces. Additionally, there is the issue of efficiency. The process of planting has been expedited greatly over time; however, harvesting is not as successful, bountiful, or fast-growing. Overall, traditional farming is nowhere as efficient in comparison to hydroponics. The biggest downside of having a controlled system like this is cost-efficiency; such systems can end up quite costly; however, in the long run, they're more bountiful in harvest and environmentally friendly than traditional agriculture. These systems can positively impact the urban area, especially considering the homeless population. A large portion of the people who live in these cities are impoverished and are unable to pay for healthy food. As someone who's grown plants hydroponically, I can say that the good outweighs the bad. I have yet to run into issues. I have had this system since April of 2021. I have grown wild strawberries, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, etc. From what I have seen, these systems have the potential to revolutionize the future of agriculture. Traditional farming is already on its way out, and it won't be long before hydroponics takes its place.
    Bold Dream Big Scholarship
    After college, I plan on utilizing my future degree in mechanical engineering to enter the theme park industry. The Disney parks were a backbone for our family while my mom was undergoing cancer treatment. I want to create a space for families similar to mine where diseases like cancer do not exist. My goal is to bring imagination to life, recreating the magic I was able to experience while I was at Disney with my family while my mom was undergoing cancer treatment. Once I achieve my career, I see myself owning a two-story house. I would have vining plants suspended from the ceiling, trailing down with a greenhouse attached to the first floor. I imagine myself living in a warm climate, preferably Louisiana or Florida, with a pet reptile. I'd grow my produce within my house using hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics. Once my finances are situated, I plan on potentially adopting, but as of the moment, I'm unsure. I'm excited about what the future entails, and I'm optimistic I will find the best outcome out of my circumstances, even if plans were to fall through. I am very versatile, so change does not scare me as much as it used to. Here's to the future!
    Stefanie Ann Cronin Make a Difference Scholarship
    I was involved in theatre at some point in my life. There's this one moment, though, with theatre that I can recall vividly. I remember this one day when my dad picked me up after school; he told me that my mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. By then, I was in my freshman year of high school. That was the moment in my life when everything changed. I am no longer involved in theatre now. I have since transferred schools. I moved towards the end of my junior year, specifically, from southeastern Ohio to the southern part of Louisiana. After moving, my mom was re-diagnosed with the same form of breast cancer after oncologists discovered that some of the previous cells had lingered over to her other breast. Thankfully, though, because of her medication, the cancer cells were not able to spread. Throughout both of my mom's cancer diagnoses, I have maintained my GPA. Additionally, since moving, I have been involved in sports. I am now a part of my school's varsity powerlifting team. I have been attending practice since the summer. I am currently training for regionals, and I hope to make it to State for powerlifting. Education-wise, I plan on majoring in mechanical engineering with a possible minor in horticulture. I hope to utilize my future education to enter the theme park industry. My goal is to impact families similar to mine through the industry. Before all of this happened, growing up, I would often go to Disney World with my family. For us, that was our annual family vacation. As a tradition, we'd go every year. Once my mom was diagnosed, we had to cancel our trip; by that point, the pandemic was ongoing, so regardless of diagnosis, we wouldn't have been able to go. In general, Disney gave our family a sense of normalcy. We'd talk about it almost every night. We'd watch movies and keep up to date with all the new attractions. Disney was our comfort. In the future, I hope my impact on the world will be through creating spaces where diseases like cancer do not exist for families similar to mine. I plan to achieve that through a degree in mechanical engineering. This scholarship would tremendously help with my education. If my mom were to get re-diagnosed, I'm not sure how I'd be able to pay for my schooling, so any sort of financial assistance would help.
    Connie Konatsotis Scholarship
    My name is Makena Trentacoste. I have had to watch my mom undergo cancer treatment throughout high school. Watching the person I look up to during difficult times go through all of that is indescribable. I was helpless. I could not help my mom. Over the four years, I have been in high school, I have had to learn how to become resilient. I had to learn grit. Life will not stop throwing curveballs. Life does not treat people fairly despite if they are good people. My mom is a good person. She did not deserve to get cancer. No one does, and yet it happens. I hope to utilize my future degree in mechanical engineering to bring imagination to life. During my mom’s cancer treatment, we relied heavily on Disney. It was a place where cancer does not exist. Where fantasy can become reality. That is what I hope to do with my degree. I want to potentially work for Disney and become an Imagineer for the parks. I want to give families a chance to experience what we had. To some, this might not seem feasible. Just because something might not seem feasible does not mean it is not worth trying. As for my possible minors, I am considering horticulture and robotics. I enjoy hydroponics and propagating plant cuttings at home. When interests me in STEAM is how hands-on it can be. During my first year in high school, I was able to take a class on AG power equipment. I learned how to disassemble and reassemble small engines, as well as how to conduct spring tune-ups. I later retook the class my junior year while attending a different school. Through that course, I learned how to problem-solve. Our teacher assigned us each an individual engine for our final. We were given a single workbook and tasked with determining what was wrong. My biggest takeaway from this class is how much I enjoy working with my hands and problem-solving. As of right now, I am currently building an aeroponics system from scratch. I plan on potentially entering it as an SAE for FFA. SAE stands for a supervised agricultural project. For us, they are our end-of-the-year projects for horticulture. I chose to build this as my project because I enjoy working with my hands. I even learned AutoCAD for this project. However, I have already run into issues. I am unable to fit all the parts because of how small the actual bin is. I have been in the process of revising the construction plans to fix this issue. From working hands-on to problem-solving, I enjoy STEM. By pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, I hope to give families similar to mine a chance to experience what we had. I want to create a sense of normalcy for these families, even if temporary, a moment where diseases like cancer do not exist. I want to be a part of the people who create these theme parks that played such a significant role in my life. I want to be there for those families like those theme parks were for mine.
    New Year, New Opportunity Scholarship
    Essentially, I am a human raccoon. I will eat anything that is edible. I am able to consume anything and everything. I wear heavy eyeliner that could easily mistake me for a raccoon. The only indicator that I am not one would be my red hair. Unfortunately, I was born ginger and not a raccoon. I dress as if I were a contestant on Total Drama Island. I've been described as having the attributes of a lion; more so personality wise, but I'm also assuming it could be because of my hair. In general, I'm a very outspoken individual. I strive to always improve upon myself. I'm not perfect, though.
    Hobbies Matter
    Perseverance, grit, and encouragement; all of these words embody what powerlifting means to me. Powerlifting, to me, means family. We're there for each other. We catch each other when we fall. Without the encouragement and guidance of my coach and teammates, I would not be in the same spot as I am currently. My mindset towards life has changed since being involved in the sport. I now see failure more as a chance to improve rather than an unattainable roadblock for myself. My teammates' presence empowers me to strive for bigger goals whenever I walk into the weight room. At competition, we scream each other's names. That encouraging atmosphere is something I doubt many other spaces have. I enjoy powerlifting because it's fun and you meet lots of cool people. For example, at my most recent meet that I helped out with, I met this girl competing for an opposite team, and we exchanged contacts, which is the case for a lot of people I meet through powerlifting. Another reason I love my sport is the cool stuff that can come out of it. Occasionally, at competitions, they sell t-shirts that people can buy. I have one from a recent invitational at Denim Springs. I wear it to sleep as a PJ shirt. By far, my favorite part of powerlifting has to be the training portion. As of right now, I'm currently training for regionals. My current goal with the sport is to make it to State. I plan on continuing powerlifting past high school. Once I reach college, I will most likely try out for a powerlifting team. I have already been accepted to Louisiana State University, and they happen to have one already, so I will more than likely try out with them. I'm excited about the future.
    Bold Nature Matters Scholarship
    Plants; their leaves extend towards light and their roots absorb the nutrients in the soil. The intake our carbon dioxide gives us the oxygen we breathe. Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been propagating house plants within my bedroom. They’re a significant part of my life. From Freddy Peacock Calatheas to Monstera Adansonnis, I’ve grown my fair share of species. In addition to the propagation and the purchase of plants, I’ve also been dabbling in hydroponics; essentially, soilless growth. So far, I’ve grown zinnia’s, wild strawberries, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes. I’m currently building a homemade aeroponics system. If I were to compile a top ten list for me, I’d rank plants up at potentially number three. In general, nature is very fascinating to me. I try to appreciate it through the opportunities I’m presented. For example, I recently had the opportunity to plant trees through my horticulture class. We went to BREC Park at LSU. We ended up planting over 400 trees within two hours. From propagating to planting trees, I have never found myself bored when it comes to plants. I genuinely love nature.
    Bold Persistence Scholarship
    “Your mom has stage three breast cancer,” the words that would change my life. Every word after that became a blur. All I remember was my dad sobbing and holding me. It was the first time I saw my dad cry. I watched as my mom would slowly phase out of my daily routine. She grew weaker and weaker as the treatment progressed. Unable to lift my little brother, who was just a baby at the time. My mom could die and there was nothing I could do. Like the sea against the land, it grated on me; slowly, parts of myself chipped away. Unable to fully process, my body took a toll. Panic attacks debilitated my ability to function. Classwork became increasingly difficult for me to comprehend. I was alone. My mother, my lighthouse, a shining beacon, and I, a boat on the ocean, unable to see within the storm without her. Waves crashed up underneath the jagged cliffside, impaling ongoing ships, tearing apart the wooden vessels, just like how cancer would. I submerged. July 1, 2019, stepping out of the car, I looked to my mother who came out of the passenger’s side. She wore a headscarf that covered her freshly shaved head. Despite still undergoing cancer treatment, my mom was a resilient woman; my lighthouse. By her side, my father; going to every chemotherapy and radiation appointment he could. Trailing behind, my sister; barely thirteen. When my mom was initially diagnosed, my little sister was still in elementary school. Erected out of the ground, a large cabin-like building with a banner strewn across reading; “Camp Kesem.” Camp Kesem; the air above the water; an island in a turbulent sea; the oasis in a desert; a sleepaway camp for kids who have/had parents with cancer. I surfaced.