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Shayla Mai


Bold Points




I am a prospective college student who will be starting in the fall of 2024. My passion lies in art and I am eager to learn more about psychology and business. Currently, I am in my last semester of an art program called the Kent Bellows Mentoring Program. My hobbies include weightlifting, reading, and creating art.


Abraham Lincoln High School

High School
2020 - 2024


  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other
    • Fine and Studio Arts
    • Psychology, General
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:


      • Kent Bellows Mentoring Program

        Visual Arts
        2023 – 2024

      Future Interests




      Adam Montes Pride Scholarship
      Occasionally, I feel like I am the epitome of a Vietnamese family taboo, a paradoxical combination of identities. As a to-be first-generation college student, a lesbian, and an artist, I stand at the crossroads of my family's expectations. My parents were raised in the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, my parents have a hard time understanding and accepting my sexuality. Once I was able to comprehend my sexuality, I realized how scary it was to come out to those that are close to me. It can be extremely overwhelming and anxiety-inducing to come out, even to those that you know love and care about you because you never know how they will react. My dad understands that my sexual orientation does not define me but he is still learning what it means to have a daughter that identifies as a lesbian. My mom, on the other hand, does not accept me and although it hurts, being authentic to my true self is relevant to me. Over the years, I have learned to let go of my expectations for others which became easier for me to accept that some people just won’t accept the LGBTQ+ community. We can’t change people and it takes time for those around us to understand the news after someone has come out. It can be frustrating for me to have been raised in a different cultural environment with varying moral and belief systems compared to my parents, who were raised in Vietnam. However, I have learned to accept this fact since it is not something within my control. Over time, I have also learned to exercise patience and comprehension towards my parents. Apart from my sexual orientation and how I interact with my parents about it, my parents grew up with a survival mindset as they came from Vietnam to America with barely anything to survive with. Currently, they believe that pursuing a career in creativity and art is not practical. According to them, it is better to find a more pragmatic career. However, for me, it is not that simple to just wake up, work, eat, and sleep. I want to experience things that I have always wanted to and have fun doing them. I want to spread my creativity to those around me and connect with other human beings. Even though I appreciate that my parents just want what they believe is the best for me, it is up to me to decide what is best for me. I won't let their beliefs and mindset stop me from living my life the way I want to. This scholarship would be my first scholarship that applies to my LGBTQ+ identity and as a first-generation-to-be college student. Not only would this scholarship give me financial support but affirm that my goals to be in the creative field are valid and attainable. My goal is to make an impact on the community around me as well as the lgbtq+ community that relates to me. This scholarship would push me to keep on doing my passion for creating art that serves as an outlet of expression for me but also allows me to connect with others on a profoundly emotional level. Making it in the creative field would prove my parents wrong that life isn’t just survival, it’s about having fun and if you put your mind to it, you could do anything you want. Ultimately, winning this scholarship means embarking on a journey to not just achieve personal success but also to contribute to the richness and diversity of my creative and lgbtq+ community.