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Sean Russell


Bold Points




I suppose it's a cliche to say, "I want to be great," so I'll refrain from saying that. Instead, I want to make the most of my opportunities in life and flourish as an individual. I also want to inspire those around me to create a flower that blossoms like the sun's radiant light. I'm passionate about writing, reading, running, the environment, using my voice, and more I'm very opportunistic and open to different openings that become available to me.


Academy At Westinghouse

High School
2018 - 2022


  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Majors of interest:

    • Biological/Biosystems Engineering
    • English Language and Literature, General
    • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Test scores:

    • 1410


    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:

      Creative director

    • World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Microcredentials Design Committee: We tested and gave reviews on web platforms that could be used by the program for earning Microcredentials.

      World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Microcredentials Design Committee
      2021 – 2021
    • Program Director: The focus is youth empowerment. I've set up meetings and spoken at an event to help initiate the full launch in 2022. There are other members aiding.

      Civic Stage
      2021 – Present3 years
    • I'm an ambassador so I completed training regarding the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship and my role is to be an outlet of info to my classmates for the transition out of high school

      Pittsburgh Promise
      2021 – Present3 years


    Track & Field

    2019 – Present5 years


    • Most improved award in 2019

    Cross-Country Running

    2019 – Present5 years


    • Cross Country Team MVP
    • 2020 regional champions


    • Information Science/Studies

      UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy — I conducted research with my mentor on a bike study (clinical project). I helped write an abstract and gave a presentation on the findings of the study.
      2021 – Present
    • environment

      EnvironMentors — Student researcher and current Student Liasion: I conducted research on air pollution in Pittsburgh. I ended up speaking at meetings, earning a $500 grant for my presentation, and hosting an event.
      2021 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Tree Pittsburgh — Tree planter: This includes helping table at an event to spread info on a tree planting event and eventually helping with two tree planting events.
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests





    Black Students in STEM Scholarship
    More than an athlete. Its prowess extended to the athlete’s posters on my wall. They were inspiring social justice warriors. Symbols of excellence. They caused me to look deep within myself. Self-reflection. Everything pointed toward an internal transformation. I aspired to be more than a runner... The earth spun a new year, and my guidance counselor suggested a program: EnvironMentors. It would pair me with a mentor to research an environmental topic of my choice. The moment to become more began. Three months later. I beamed as I exited the zoom meeting. I had done it! I wrapped up the bulk of my interviews in one day with three potential stakeholders. I was taking steps to solve air pollution and its role in environmental injustice in Pittsburgh. Yet, there was much more to unravel. I looked back to why, a few months prior, I had honed in on Air Pollution: As a runner, I felt the poor air could hinder my performance. As a community and family member, I felt the air could harm people I knew and didn’t know. I was driven to spread awareness and find actions. With this intent, I did countless research- delving over sources ranging from Lung Organization to YouTube. The interviews were a milestone during the fruitful process. Some influenced poems that depicted the stories of people who suffered from pollutants. Thus, these efforts brought me closer to the problem. My project culminated with an event on air pollution in Pittsburgh. People from various backgrounds were informed on the issue and how they could combat it. It wrapped up months of valuable research and enhanced my character. My work with activism would continue. My work with research was only just beginning. Up next: Hillman. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy paired me with a mentor to do research. My topic was centered around a clinical study. We looked at parental bike helmet usage and if there was a correlation between when a parent wore a helmet and when their children did. I was excited and spent hours working on the assignment. I was also introduced to others who worked in a stem-related field. “What inspired you to pursue this profession?” I was in awe of the work of an ambitious researcher. With the meeting’s conclusion, I was further appreciative of the program. A light sparked. What if I embarked on a similar journey? In mid-August, I centralized my experiences, and once more, reflected on the person I aspired to be. I had instilled a passion for research over the year and knew that I wanted a career that gave back to the world. Biomedical engineering became an interest from this connection. As a curious individual that spends time learning the ins and outs of information, this major would allow me to dive deeper into the issues that exist and can be solved through medical advances. Environmental engineering came about from its connection present in my identity. It bodes well with my intentions to be at the forefront of change and aiding people and the earth. Through majoring and minoring in these studies in college, I will pave the way for an impactful career. My passion for STEM was cultivated in two valuable extracurricular activities. The field will allow me to improve nature and human health. I will be able to continue being “more than.” I peer around, once more noticing the notable figures around my room. I earned my seat at the table, but, like season two of a TV series, the story continues. Up next: STEM.
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    Kobe Bryant has been a source of inspiration for me for some time. Though his quote that stuck with me has been used before, his restatement only further emphasized its importance. The wise words were, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” To me, that quote perfectly epitomizes my life’s story and I’ve made sure to always remember that. To start, In the past (and still at times today), I focused on getting to the result as quickly as possible. Though I was careful to be efficient, I didn’t fully enjoy what I did. For instance, during one of my hard-running workouts months ago, I did not feel thrilled to be out there. I wanted to clock in and clock out without much else in between. However, when I got my groove going and completed the workout, I felt superb. This led me to make the connection that rushing the sequence only made it feel longer and negatively affected me mentally (and physically). Soon enough, I applied the quote in my life, and since, the changes have been evident. Recently, I was on a 10-day bike trip from Boston to Pittsburgh. In the beginning, my body felt shocked and was unprepared for the grueling task up ahead. However, I stuck to the wise words and reminded myself that it wasn’t about getting to Boston- it was about improving my mental, biking to different states, and truly being free. The quote led me to immerse myself in the good and bad- something I’m proud of. Simply put, the words have been so significant because it is easy to get caught up in the end rather than being present. I’ve been able to use the phrase to grow as an individual, try new things, and live a life to be proud of.
    I Am Third Scholarship
    Life is not a straight path. It is full of turns, twists, and roadblocks. However, when one sticks with their craft and pushes forward, life can be rewarding. My goal in education and life is to make the most of my opportunities and push on through adversity. To start, I will not live forever. So, with the time I do have, I want to be efficient. I aspire to be the Valedictorian in my high school, graduate college, work in a career I love, start a family, and continue to live a life of excellence. I’ve taken steps to achieve this by having a 4.0 GPA every semester of my high school tenure thus far. I have developed some of the skills needed to flourish in college through an event on Air pollution in Pittsburgh that I hosted and other programs I have been involved in. The activities taught me learning and planning skills amongst other things. I am also actively searching for a career that fits my interests. I value education and well-roundedness, so I am always up for learning and trying new things. It is part of the reason I filled out an application for an immersive research program: Hillman Academy. Simply put, I have many goals in both my education and life and I am aiming to fulfill them. Importantly, I am driven to be successful for several reasons. My upbringing was far from perfect but it instilled the determination I have to succeed. I saw the struggle first-hand and I saw the hard work it takes to conquer a challenge. Plus, I understand that not everyone will receive the opportunities I get, so I must utilize my deck of cards. Also, as an African American, my ancestors have sacrificed themselves to push my race to this point. I do not want to let them down and I want to carry on their legacy. As a community member, I am driven to inspire others to unlock their potential. I feel the best way to do this is to lead by example (hence why I do this at cross country and track and field practice). Overall, my "why" is that I feel my potential boiling inside of me and I want to drain every drop of it. Without a doubt, I believe my vision can help make the world better. I will be able to set an example for my children to follow which will lead to them unleashing greatness on the world. I plan to get into a medical (or science) related career which will help me give back to the world, too. My vision can help inspire those around me to be better and create a positive pay-it-forward esque. Definitively, my persona will circulate actions that can improve the world To end, I want to live a meaningful life. It fuels me to focus on my abilities daily. With this attitude, I will be able to inspire others, improve the world, and leave behind something that lives when I die: legacy. By the time this scholarship is reviewed, I will be a senior in high school that is close to graduating. In the present, I will be a hungry seventeen-year-old that is driven to be great. “No time is better than the time we have now,”-unknown.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    Like everything in life, change takes time. It also takes methodical steps that truly make a difference. My community is far from perfect and the same could be said for the country and world. In time I want my community, country, and the world to have cleaner air to breathe and more people unified to solve problems. To start, the air issue in my community is not anything recent. Pittsburgh is notorious for how poor its air is. As a resident, it fills me with worry when I go on runs and am exposed to the toxins. I feel empathy for my family members and strangers that are innocent victims of the horrendous air. Sadly, the air complication is not just evident here but present throughout the country and world. It is a human right for us to have clean air, yet billions of us are subjugated to substandard breathing. In addition, I want my community, country, and the world to be unified. In the past, divisions were made based on religion, race, wealth, status, and more. Today, those same things still reign heavily in places around the world. I don’t think it is morally right and it also leads to inequality issues. By the world becoming more equal, a beneficial change could be implemented; this tactic could work towards fixing the air mess, too. Moreover, I have been acting locally to help make a difference. I joined an EnvironMentors program in early 2021. With this, I was given a platform, so I zoned in on air pollution in Pittsburgh. On April 15th, 2021, I presented at a Virtual Seeds of change conference to talk about Air Pollution in Pittsburgh and its role in environmental injustice. I did this in hopes of spreading awareness and I successfully achieved this goal. On May 29th, 2021, I hosted an event on air pollution in Pittsburgh to read poems that I had written and spread awareness and actions. This event was done because others needed to be empowered with knowledge and how they could step up in their own way. I also understood that they may not have known how poor the air was, so an understanding of that was significant too. On June 9th, I spoke at a virtual Town Hall meeting about air pollution in Pittsburgh. The focus of my short presentation was to read a poem on the Pittsburgh that I envision. Though it is still in the beginning stages, I have a tree planting event that is set for some time in October. I also have some more things happening behind the scenes that will take time to unfold. Overall, I think it is important for me to use my voice as a youth, hence why I will continue to in the hopes of making a difference that will last. To conclude, progress is a key measure in documenting change. By implementing patience, one can knock down each barrier one by one. Granted, it does take a while, but the more people that join the effort, the faster it feels and goes. Personally, I want to be a person remembered for leaving the world a better place, and I believe we all have the potential within us to make a difference.
    Next Young Leaders Program Scholarship
    Being a leader isn’t about receiving attention or accolades; it’s about enacting courage to lead whether there are implications tied into it or not. Of course, there are many ways one can lead. That includes by example, vocally, or accountability. As an environmentalist and a member of an EnvironMentors program at my school, I enacted this leadership countless times. My project in the program revolved around the air pollution issue in my city as I felt it was critical to address it. Moreover, my mentor and I led the way in hosting an event on Air Pollution on May 29th, 2021. This event was done for several reasons: to use my voice, read poetry, and raise both awareness and actions to combat air pollution in Pittsburgh. With this, I was able to fulfill my goal of uniting people. I didn’t have a blueprint to follow- it was made along the way-, but my leadership was pivotal in making the event happen. In addition, as alluded to earlier, to be a leader to me means to show up consistently. That means to stay grounded to one’s principles and not take on the role of an entity one is not. A leader is more so a version of a person that simply exemplifies their traits. In my own experience, there were times when I didn't have to put the pressure on myself, essentially downplaying the role. Each time this happened, it was important to ask me if I chose not to lead what would the outcome be? In answering this question, I often found that I played a significant role in settings whether I wanted to or not. With trying to run an event, it held me accountable for my actions. I even reached a point where I realized that there were different ways I could lead, and even if it wasn’t vocal, an example-led leadership could be just as impactful. A leader correctly evaluates the situation and necessary actions (of course one may not be right every time, but faith in one's abilities is important). Certainly, I will continue to define (and possibly redefine) my definition of being a leader beyond my high school tenure. I think it’s important to set a standard for others to be able to follow and go above and beyond. It’ll also be key for me to continue leading so I can assist people along their journey of life. Further, it will continue to benefit the sports I participate in and team success. In the long term, I want my children to see me as someone that they can look at for guidance, which is the epitome of what I feel a leader is. To end, there is a reason why leaders are so important. They help to change the world whether it be through inspiration or being the shoulder one can lean on; they are present in all facades of life. Rightfully so, these valuable characteristics will be a consistent part of my life and are, ultimately, what makes me up. The goal of being a trailblazer is to help other people lead themselves and set off a chain reaction of individuality. This happens through others using the direction to go on their own path or following the paved one if it fits their purpose. In a way, leading creates something that lasts forever. In conclusion, improving the world will take time and it just so happens that leaders are timeless.