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Sydney Smith


Bold Points




As a second-year student at Howard University, I embody unyielding ambition, poised at the cusp of academic greatness. My journey has taken me from an Acting major to the realm of International Business and Finance as I will be changing majors second semester, driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge and an unwavering pursuit of excellence. A luminary on campus, I take on leadership roles as an Ambassador and Dorm Leader, fostering inclusivity and sparking inspiration among my peers. My passion for volunteering extends beyond the campus, transforming into a fervor that combats climate change and uplifts underrepresented communities. The intricate landscape of business, particularly the allure of Private Equity, captivates me with its convergence of investment and growth. I'm a seeker of wisdom, blending knowledge and experience to forge ambitions into unassailable achievements. Finding solace in historical narratives, I draw inspiration from Gilded Age giants like Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. At this pivotal juncture, my unwavering conviction and fiery aspirations drive my pursuit of scholarships as a testament to ceaseless excellence. My life's canvas, already adorned with accolades, eagerly awaits triumphant hues, etching a legacy of boundless ambition, unyielding resilience, and an unwavering commitment to global prosperity and equity.


Howard University

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Finance and Financial Management Services
  • GPA:

Bishop Mcguinness Catholic Hs

High School
2020 - 2022
  • GPA:


  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • International Business
    • Finance and Financial Management Services
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Venture Capital & Private Equity

    • Dream career goals:

      Venture Capitalist, CEO, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Mogul

    • Receptionist

      Dr Arletha L Anderson, M.D.
      2022 – 2022



    2022 – Present2 years


    2021 – Present3 years

    Track & Field

    2020 – 20222 years


    • Biological and Physical Sciences

      Howard University | Barcoding US Ants project at the DNA Learning Center - Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory — Researcher
      2022 – Present


    • Bishop Mcguinness High School

      anything goes, the drowsy chaperone, dracula in love, clue
      2019 – 2022

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Red Cross — Volunteer | Monitor | Greeter
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Capital Area Food Bank — Warehouse Box Packing Volunteer
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Breathe Deep DC - Lungevity — Greeter | Guide | Clean up
      2023 – 2023
    • Volunteering

      Howard University — Volunteer - Days of Service
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Dr Arletha L Anderson, M.D. — Receptionist
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Meals On Wheels — Driver | Delivery
      2016 – Present

    Future Interests






    Met Gala Masterpiece Scholarship
    The 2018 Met Gala, with its theme "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination," was a breathtaking collision of divine inspiration and avant-garde fashion. It beckoned attendees to explore the intersection of religious iconography and haute couture, resulting in a plethora of visually striking and conceptually rich ensembles. Among the myriad of stars who graced the red carpet that evening, two outfits stand out as particularly emblematic of the event's ethos: Rihanna's resplendent ensemble and Kim Kardashian's comparatively lackluster attire. Rihanna, often hailed as a fashion icon in her own right, seized the opportunity to channel the divine in a manner befitting the theme's grandiosity. Clad in a custom Maison Margiela gown meticulously crafted by the visionary designer John Galliano, Rihanna radiated celestial allure. The ensemble, featuring a sculptural silhouette adorned with intricate beading and embroidery, paid homage to the ornate vestments worn by Catholic clergy. The pièce de résistance of her look was undoubtedly the mitre-inspired papal tiara perched atop her head, a bold and audacious accessory that simultaneously challenged and embraced the solemnity of religious regalia. Complemented by a striking crucifix necklace and a billowing cloak reminiscent of sacred vestments, Rihanna's outfit transcended mere sartorial expression to become a profound statement of reverence and reinvention. ![Rihanna's Met Gala 2018 outfit]( In stark contrast, Kim Kardashian's interpretation of the theme fell short of capturing the imagination and ingenuity that defined the evening. Clad in a shimmering gold Versace gown, Kardashian certainly exuded glamour and opulence. However, her choice of attire felt disappointingly pedestrian in the context of the Met Gala's thematic exploration. The gown, while undeniably luxurious, lacked the symbolic depth and conceptual resonance that distinguished many other attendees' outfits. Instead of engaging with the theme's spiritual and artistic dimensions, Kardashian opted for a safe and conventional approach that veered dangerously close to self-indulgence. In a sea of visionary interpretations and daring reinventions, her ensemble failed to leave a lasting impression or spark meaningful discourse. Ultimately, Rihanna's Met Gala look epitomized the transformative power of fashion to transcend earthly bounds and evoke the divine. By seamlessly merging religious iconography with haute couture craftsmanship, she created a sartorial masterpiece that transcended the confines of the red carpet and ascended to the realm of art. In contrast, Kim Kardashian's ensemble, while undoubtedly glamorous, paled in comparison, failing to rise above the realm of mere spectacle. In a night dedicated to exploring the intersection of faith and fashion, Rihanna's bold and reverent interpretation of the theme emerged as a beacon of creativity and innovation, solidifying her status as a true icon of style and substance.
    Hearts on Sleeves, Minds in College Scholarship
    As a second-year student at Howard University, my journey towards embracing veganism has been deeply rooted in my upbringing on a seven-acre farm, where I nurtured 37 pet Kiko goats, 3 pigs, and 16 chickens. This upbringing instilled in me a profound compassion for animals and a keen understanding of the interconnectedness of all living beings. Beyond my personal connection to veganism, I firmly believe that this lifestyle choice holds the key to addressing environmental issues, fostering social equality, and shaping a brighter future for all. Growing up on the farm, I developed a unique bond with the animals I cared for. This connection was more than just an interaction between human and creature; it was a relationship based on empathy and mutual respect. My experiences tending to the goats, pigs, and chickens allowed me to witness their individual personalities, needs, and desires. This firsthand exposure solidified my belief in the inherent value of every life and reinforced my commitment to promoting compassion and justice for all species. Veganism, to me, is not just a dietary choice; it's a reflection of my values. It's a conscious decision to live in harmony with the environment and to show compassion to animals that share our planet. By eliminating animal products from my diet and lifestyle, I am actively participating in reducing the demand for mass farming practices that contribute to climate change and water pollution. The meat industry has been a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and the depletion of natural resources. Choosing a vegan lifestyle is a step towards mitigating these negative impacts and preserving the planet for future generations. My commitment to veganism is intricately linked to my academic pursuits. As a student at Howard University, an institution deeply rooted in promoting social justice and equality, I am driven to apply my education to create positive change. The scholarship for African American and Indigenous American students with aspirations for higher education is a testament to the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. I view this scholarship as a stepping stone towards fostering diversity and inclusivity in academia and beyond, ultimately contributing to a more equitable society. Looking ahead, I envision a world where veganism plays a pivotal role in addressing pressing global challenges. By advocating for sustainable food choices and encouraging others to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, I aspire to contribute to a future where the planet's resources are conserved, and animals are treated with the dignity they deserve. Moreover, my journey towards veganism is intricately linked to my commitment to promoting social justice and equality. By challenging the status quo of the meat industry, I hope to inspire a broader dialogue about ethical consumption and its potential to reshape the global landscape. In conclusion, my personal journey towards veganism has been deeply influenced by my upbringing on a farm and my experiences at Howard University. The compassion I developed for animals during my time on the farm has shaped my values and commitment to a vegan lifestyle. Through my education and advocacy, I am convinced that veganism holds the potential to address environmental concerns, create a more just and equal society, and pave the way for a more sustainable and compassionate future.
    Sola Family Scholarship
    As a second-year student at Howard University, I stand as a living testament to the profound impact a single mother can have on shaping the life and character of her child. My journey, guided by the remarkable virtues of strength, determination, and compassion instilled by my extraordinary parent, bears witness to the transformative power of a mother's influence. My mother's own journey emerged from a challenging background, born to a heroin addict and a father entangled in drug use. Yet, against all odds, she rose above her circumstances to become a successful surgeon. Her unwavering commitment to education and personal growth became a cornerstone of my upbringing, teaching me the invaluable lessons of resilience and the strength inherent in perseverance. Watching her transformative path, I absorbed the values of tenacity and determination that continue to guide my steps today. Growing up in an environment where ambition was nurtured and hard work celebrated, I was deeply inspired by my mother's dedication. The same resolve that propelled her towards excellence in her career fueled her commitment to providing me with every possible opportunity to succeed. Encouraging me to strive for greatness, my mother instilled in me the unwavering belief that no goal is beyond reach. This shared pursuit of excellence eventually led me to my passion for private equity. The competitiveness of this field resonates deeply with the drive that my mother exhibited throughout her life. Just as she pursued her dreams with unyielding determination, I find myself drawn to the complexities of finance, a realm where success thrives on a blend of strategic thinking and calculated risk-taking. Yet, beyond the pursuit of success, it was the lessons of resilience and unwavering spirit that I inherited from my mother that have profoundly shaped my perspective on adversity. Observing her perseverance through the challenges of divorce while she was still in residency, I learned firsthand the true essence of strength. Her commitment to shielding my sister and me from the pain she experienced demonstrated the extraordinary lengths a mother would go to safeguard her family's well-being. My mother's lessons were not limited to words; they were exemplified through actions. Rather than prioritizing material possessions, she encouraged a spirit of giving back to the community. Our annual tradition of dedicating holidays to community service, foregoing presents in favor of compassion, highlighted the profound significance of making a positive impact on others' lives. As I navigate my second year at Howard University, my journey is illuminated by the indomitable spirit of my mother. Guided by her virtues, I embody the essence of ambition, drive, and impact. My pursuit of excellence in the field of private equity is not just a personal endeavor; it is a manifestation of the resilience and determination I learned from my mother's journey. As I advance in my education and career, my driving force is the desire to create a positive influence on the financial landscape, all while upholding the values of resilience, determination, and compassion that my mother instilled within me. In closing, the experience of being raised by a single mother has indelibly shaped me into an individual characterized by remarkable strength and determination. My mother's journey from adversity to success, her unyielding pursuit of education, and her unwavering commitment to family have left an indelible mark on my life. Today, I stand as a tribute to her influence, driven to attain excellence, create meaningful impact, and carry forward the legacy of resilience in the face of adversity.
    Vincent U. Cornwall Legacy Scholarship
    Growing up in an environment where the importance of financial literacy was seldom emphasized, I have come to recognize the significant impact that education in this realm can have on breaking cycles of poverty and fostering generational wealth. As Sydney Smith, a second-year student at Howard University, I am committed to utilizing my career pursuits in private equity, my dedication to philanthropy and education within the Black community, and my personal experiences to educate and empower my community about financial literacy. When I reflect on the circumstances that perpetuate intergenerational poverty, I see the need for a comprehensive approach to financial education. This scholarship's mission resonates deeply with me, as I understand that financial literacy is a fundamental step towards dismantling barriers and creating opportunities for underrepresented individuals. As a future player in the private equity sector, I recognize that economic empowerment and ownership are keys to achieving financial stability, particularly within marginalized communities. My journey towards promoting financial literacy has already begun. Even now, I am sharing suggestions for finance and money management books with friends and acquaintances. This summer, I have dedicated myself to expanding my own financial knowledge, with my favorite book, "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, serving as a guide. Armed with this knowledge, I am determined to create a positive ripple effect by imparting this wisdom to others. While my career aspirations lie in the realm of private equity, I believe that influence and status should not be reserved for the future alone. As a student at Howard University, I recognize the impact I can make within my community even now. I intend to inspire and encourage financial education through various means. Leveraging my position, I aim to organize workshops, seminars, and discussions about financial literacy. By collaborating with existing community organizations, I can provide resources and guidance that will empower individuals to make informed financial decisions. Moreover, my commitment extends to philanthropy and education within the Black community. Understanding the historical disadvantages that this community has faced, I am determined to contribute to a positive change. By engaging in mentorship programs, I can help bridge the gap between financial knowledge and practical application. Through my personal experiences and the lessons I've gained, I aim to provide guidance on budgeting, investing, and planning for the future. By partnering with local schools and community centers, I can ensure that financial literacy becomes an integral part of education, equipping young individuals with skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Recognizing the specific challenges faced by underrepresented individuals, I am passionate about promoting ownership within the Black community. Through educational initiatives, I plan to emphasize the significance of entrepreneurship, real estate investment, and other avenues that can lead to financial independence. By fostering a culture of ownership, I hope to inspire individuals to take charge of their financial futures, ultimately contributing to the dismantling of systemic economic disparities. In conclusion, the mission to educate my community about financial literacy aligns seamlessly with my career pursuits, philanthropic endeavors, and personal experiences. By sharing my knowledge and insights, I aspire to break the cycles of poverty that persist within marginalized communities. As a second-year student at Howard University, I recognize the influence I can wield even now to inspire financial education and empowerment. Through workshops, mentorship programs, and collaborations, I intend to equip individuals with the tools they need to navigate the world of finance and create generational wealth. With passion and dedication, I aim to play a significant role in shaping a more financially educated and empowered community.
    Corrick Family First-Gen Scholarship
    As a second-year student at Howard University, my education journey has been marked by a commitment to expanding my horizons and advocating for communities that have been historically marginalized. My name is Sydney Smith, and my experiences in grade school, middle school, and high school have shaped my aspirations and drive to create positive change in the world. These formative years have propelled me toward my current path and equipped me with the tools to pursue my desired career while leaving a meaningful impact. Throughout my educational journey, I attended various schools that offered me the opportunity to connect with diverse communities. These experiences not only expanded my thinking but also ingrained in me a deep sense of allyship for those who are continuously misrepresented and underrepresented. From these encounters, I recognized the importance of amplifying voices that often go unheard, and I am driven to carry this awareness into my future career. The challenges faced by these communities have fueled my determination to become a catalyst for change, creating a more equitable and inclusive world. One thread that has consistently woven through my life is the desire to provide mentorship. Drawing from my experiences as an ally, I understand the value of guidance and support. My commitment to mentorship is evident in my engagement with extracurricular activities that amplify student concerns and provide a platform for diverse voices. In college, I have actively participated in councils that represent student bodies, enabling me to advocate for meaningful changes on campus. These experiences have honed my ability to understand and address the unique challenges faced by different communities, further reinforcing my passion for making a positive impact. Looking ahead, my career aspirations reflect a combination of my advocacy efforts, passion for mentorship, and interest in business. I am captivated by the world of private equity, specifically the realm of acquiring and expanding companies on a global scale. My goal is to operate at the intersection of business and social change, leveraging my skills and insights to drive impactful transformations. Through my career, I aim to create opportunities for those who have been systematically excluded, championing diversity and inclusivity within the business landscape. Moreover, I find immense fulfillment in the arts, particularly through my involvement with the Howard Players Club. Theater provides a unique avenue for storytelling and connecting with audiences on an emotional level. This creative outlet not only enriches my personal growth but also reinforces the significance of diverse narratives and perspectives. In my future endeavors, I plan to infuse these artistic values into my career, promoting authentic storytelling and cultural understanding as essential components of effective business strategies. In conclusion, my journey from grade school to Howard University has been characterized by an unwavering commitment to allyship, mentorship, and driving positive change. As a second-year student, I am motivated by the experiences that have shaped my perspective and prepared me for my future career aspirations. Through advocacy, extracurricular involvement, and an interest in business, I am driven to make a tangible impact on communities that deserve equitable representation. My goal is to transcend boundaries, amplify voices, and foster inclusivity, guided by the lessons learned from my diverse educational path. With ambition and dedication, I am resolute in my pursuit of creating a better, more inclusive world.
    Academic Liberty & Free Speech Scholarship
    My name is Sydney Smith and free speech stands as an unwavering pillar of democracy and equality, forming the very bedrock upon which the American higher education system was built. Its significance cannot be overstated—it's the cornerstone that enables open dialogue, intellectual diversity, and critical thinking to flourish within our academic institutions. As a second-year student at Howard University, I wholeheartedly believe in the power of free speech to shape the intellectual and personal development of American college students. My journey through grade school, middle school, and high school exposed me to a range of educational environments that expanded my horizons and honed my allyship with communities that have been historically misrepresented and underrepresented. These experiences deepened my understanding of the dire importance of ensuring that every voice, regardless of its background or perspective, is not only heard but celebrated. The preservation of free speech is paramount to achieving this, as it ensures that the multitude of perspectives can be expressed, debated, and learned from. My engagement in extracurricular activities demonstrates my commitment to amplifying diverse voices and fostering critical thinking. Serving on councils that represent college individuals has provided me with the opportunity to champion student concerns and ensure their opinions are voiced in campus decision-making processes. It is through these roles that I've witnessed the tangible impact of free speech, as it empowers students to advocate for change and challenge the status quo. This, in turn, contributes to the cultivation of a robust intellectual environment where ideas are explored from various angles, fostering deeper understanding and empathy. Looking ahead, my career aspirations encompass private equity—an arena where acquiring and expanding companies across different countries and continents will be my daily pursuit. In this sphere, the significance of diverse thought and critical analysis cannot be overstated. It is only through the active exchange of perspectives that business strategies can be refined, innovation cultivated, and global challenges navigated with acumen. My dedication to promoting intellectual diversity through my future endeavors aligns perfectly with the essence of free speech—encouraging an open dialogue that leads to better solutions and stronger communities. Furthermore, my involvement in the Howard Players Club, where I indulge in my passion for theater, is yet another testament to my commitment to embracing diversity of thought. Theater is a medium that thrives on diverse narratives and perspectives, showcasing the human experience in all its complexity. By participating in this creative outlet, I actively contribute to an environment where free expression and exploration are paramount, mirroring the ideals of free speech on a larger scale. In conclusion, as I reflect on my educational journey and look toward the future, I am resolute in my belief that free speech is the linchpin of intellectual and personal growth among American college students. My experiences, extracurricular involvements, and career aspirations all underscore my dedication to fostering a climate that welcomes diverse perspectives and nurtures critical thinking. Through my journey, I aim to contribute to the preservation and celebration of this fundamental right, ensuring that every student's voice is valued and heard. Just as free speech has been pivotal in my own development, I aspire to uphold and champion it as an indispensable element of a vibrant, inclusive, and transformative academic community.
    Mohamed Magdi Taha Memorial Scholarship
    The life of Mohamed Magdi Taha, though tragically cut short in August 2022, serves as a profound example of someone who not only stood up for what is right but also utilized his voice and compassion to drive meaningful change within his community. He embodied the qualities of bravery, compassion, and advocacy that the scholarship named in his honor seeks to recognize and support. As we reflect upon his legacy, we are reminded of the transformative power of both small acts and significant endeavors, inspiring us to become up-standers in our own communities. Much like Mohamed, whose diverse background as a native of California and Sudan, and his pursuit of a computer science degree at MIT symbolize his determination to bridge cultures and harness his skills for positive change, I too, Sydney Smith, am committed to making a positive impact within my community. Currently a second-year student majoring in acting at Howard University, I have actively engaged in community service activities both on campus and in my hometown of Michigan. My involvement in these activities reflects my dedication to using my talents and skills to create meaningful change and uplift those around me. In a manner akin to Mohamed's passion for various pursuits, I have discovered my own multifaceted approach to advocacy and community-building. I believe in the power of my voice, and this belief has led me to actively participate in class discussions and share my thoughts outside of the classroom. This echoes Mohamed's commitment to using one's voice as a tool for change. Moreover, I am driven to recognize and address privilege and bias whenever I encounter them, fostering awareness and promoting inclusivity in all aspects of my life. As I progress in my academic and professional journey, my commitment to community-building and advocacy remains steadfast. One of my primary goals is to offer mentorship to like-minded individuals, creating a supportive network that empowers others to stand up for their beliefs. Inspired by Mohamed's diverse interests and his dedication to his community, I aim to direct my philanthropic efforts towards causes that resonate deeply with me. The urgent need for collective action on climate change and the pressing issues faced by those living in less than ideal conditions in America are areas I am passionate about. By directing resources and awareness to these causes, I aspire to contribute to a fairer and more sustainable world. In addition to my community-focused efforts, I also aspire to become a representative for individuals in the fields of business and the arts, potentially as a US ambassador. This role would provide a platform to advocate for creative expression, cultural exchange, and economic empowerment globally. Just as Mohamed's participation in Model United Nations exemplified the value of diplomatic engagement, I am inspired to follow his lead in advocating for positive change on an international scale. In conclusion, the legacy of Mohamed Magdi Taha continues to inspire individuals like myself and serves as a reminder that our voices and compassion can be potent catalysts for change. His life highlights the transformative significance of both small acts and significant endeavors, urging us to become active up-standers within our own communities. As I pursue my career in the arts and beyond, I am committed to fostering a supportive network, advocating for important causes, and using my voice to create positive change. In doing so, I aim to follow in Mohamed's footsteps as a dedicated and passionate advocate for justice and equality, working towards a brighter future for all.
    Mind, Body, & Soul Scholarship
    Cultivating Connections and Nurturing Well-Being: Balancing College I am Sydney Smith, a student at Howard University, and college life excites me! The vibrant community, the exceptional individuals, and the potential for collaborative growth are the aspects of college that truly captivate my ambition and drive. However, I also understand the importance of maintaining a healthy mind, body, and soul amidst the inevitable challenges of academia. This recognition has further fueled my desire to cultivate healthy habits and achieve holistic well-being during my college journey. What excites me the most about college is the opportunity to connect with a diverse array of individuals and build lasting relationships that transcend the boundaries of the classroom. College life provides a melting pot of brilliant minds, passionate individuals, and change-makers who are driven to make a positive impact on the world. The prospect of engaging in thought-provoking discussions, collaborating on projects, and learning from the unique perspectives of my peers is incredibly inspiring. I am excited to be part of a community that fosters growth, encourages exploration, and fuels my ambition to build a better future in collaboration with others. While the excitement of college is undeniable, I recognize the challenges that accompany this transformative period of life. To maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul amidst the demands of academia, I have adopted strategies that prioritize self-care and well-being. In my mind, I emphasize time management and effective study techniques. By creating a structured schedule, setting realistic goals, and utilizing productivity tools, I ensure that I allocate time for rest, reflection, and rejuvenation. Engaging in mindfulness practices, such as meditation and journaling, helps me maintain mental clarity and resilience in the face of academic pressure. To care for my body, I prioritize regular exercise and a balanced diet. Physical activity not only keeps me physically fit but also serves as a powerful stress reliever. I engage in activities such as yoga, dance, and jogging, which not only strengthen my body but also uplift my spirits. Additionally, I make conscious food choices, nourishing myself with nutritious meals that fuel my energy and promote overall well-being. Nurturing my soul involves engaging in activities that bring me joy and fulfillment. Through my passion for acting, I find solace in the creative process and the power of storytelling. Attending theater productions, participating in acting workshops, and collaborating with fellow artists serve as outlets for self-expression and contribute to my spiritual growth. Furthermore, I seek meaningful connections within the college community by engaging in clubs, organizations, and community service initiatives. These connections provide a sense of belonging, support, and inspiration that nurtures my soul. In conclusion, the most exciting aspect of college for me is the prospect of connecting with a diverse community of individuals who possess immense potential to collaborate and create a better future together. However, I am keenly aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy mind, body, and soul amidst the challenges of academic life. By prioritizing self-care, time management, and fostering meaningful connections, I am confident in my ability to navigate the ups and downs of college while nurturing my holistic well-being. As I embark on this transformative journey, I am driven by ambition, a desire for personal growth, and a commitment to maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
    Healthy Eating Scholarship
    Importance of Healthy Eating Habits My name is Sydney Smith and as a student at Howard University who places a strong emphasis on physical well-being, . With regular exercise and a foundation of healthy eating habits from home, I have come to understand the impact that nourishing our bodies can have on our overall health and well-being. Recognizing the significance of healthy eating, I have chosen to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. However, I understand the challenges that college students face in maintaining proper nutrition, especially due to financial constraints. That is why I am grateful for the opportunity provided by the Healthy Eating scholarship, which aims to support students in affording wholesome foods and ingredients, thereby promoting healthier eating habits. With a strong sense of ambition, I strive to inspire my peers and future generations to prioritize their health by making conscious choices about their diet. It is essential to address the concerning healthcare statistics related to poor diets among college students. According to a study published by the Journal of American College Health, it was found that only 6% of college students meet the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, the prevalence of unhealthy eating habits in this demographic has contributed to an increase in obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and mental health issues. Before adopting a plant-based diet, I experienced bouts of lethargy and a lack of mental clarity, particularly when I relied on the limited options available in my school cafeteria. However, by making the conscious decision to prioritize my nutrition and embrace a plant-based lifestyle, I have witnessed a remarkable transformation in both my physical and mental health. Physically, I have noticed increased energy levels, improved digestion, and enhanced athletic performance. Regular exercise, combined with a plant-based diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, has provided me with the necessary nutrients to fuel my body and optimize my physical performance. Mentally, I have experienced a heightened sense of well-being, reduced brain fog, and improved concentration. Scientific research supports the positive impact of a healthy diet on mental health. Studies have shown that consuming nutrient-dense foods can help reduce the risk of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety while enhancing cognitive function. With the assistance of the Healthy Eating scholarship, I aim to utilize my platform as a Howard University student to promote and encourage healthy eating habits among my peers. I believe that education and awareness play crucial roles in influencing dietary choices. By organizing workshops, seminars, and interactive sessions, I intend to share my knowledge and personal experiences to inspire others to make informed decisions about their nutrition. Furthermore, I will collaborate with campus dining services to advocate for healthier, more affordable options in cafeterias and dining halls. By engaging in discussions with nutritionists, chefs, and administrators, I will work towards creating a dining environment that prioritizes the well-being of students, ensuring access to nutritious and delicious meals. In conclusion, healthy eating habits are crucial for maintaining physical and mental well-being. As a dedicated student at Howard University, I understand the challenges that college students face when it comes to affording nutritious foods. The Healthy Eating scholarship provides an invaluable opportunity to improve students' access to wholesome meals and ingredients. With my personal experience, ambition, and the support of this scholarship, I aim to foster a culture of healthy eating among college students by promoting awareness, advocating for change, and encouraging my peers to prioritize their health. By investing in healthier diets, we can transform not only our own lives but also positively impact the overall well-being of the student community.
    Linda Hicks Memorial Scholarship
    Overcoming Adversity and Empowering African American Women As a Howard University, my name is Sydney Smith, and I have faced numerous challenges in my life that have shaped my ambitions and fueled my determination to make a meaningful difference. Growing up in an environment marred by domestic violence and substance abuse, I have personally experienced the profound impact they have on individuals and families. These experiences, combined with my passion for acting and higher education, have inspired me to address the pressing issues surrounding care, coordination, and communication for African American women who are affected by these pervasive problems. Despite the difficulties I have faced, I have always possessed an unwavering ambition to rise above my circumstances and create a better future for myself and others. The adversities I have endured have ignited a deep sense of empathy and a burning desire to help those who have faced similar challenges. To fulfill this ambition, I recognize the importance of obtaining a higher education that will equip me with the knowledge and skills needed to enact meaningful change. Growing up, regular physical discipline cast a dark shadow over my childhood. I vividly remember being under a desk, as the sting of a belt lashed against my skin. Ripping his shirt trying to get away, and hiding on the side of the house. Having bruises going to school and even at one point a split lip. These painful memories still cause me to flinch at the touch of a stranger, serving as a constant reminder of the urgency to address the underlying causes and consequences of domestic violence and substance abuse. At Howard University, pursuing an education in acting, recognizing the transformative power of storytelling as a means of conveying important messages. I believe that art can inspire, heal, and incite change. Through higher education, I aim to cultivate a platform that raises awareness, challenges societal norms, and empowers African American women who have been impacted by domestic violence and substance abuse. With my education as a catalyst, I plan to utilize the skills I acquire at Howard University to improve the care, coordination, and communication available to African American women affected by these issues. Firstly, I aim to collaborate with organizations that provide support services to survivors of domestic violence and substance abuse. By utilizing my acting abilities to convey their stories and experiences, I will amplify their voices and inspire empathy in others. Secondly, I plan to engage in community outreach programs, leveraging the power of the arts to educate and inform marginalized communities about the available resources and strategies to combat domestic violence and substance abuse. By breaking the silence and removing the stigma surrounding these issues, I hope to create a supportive environment that encourages individuals to seek help and support. I intend to work toward policy changes by utilizing my education to advocate for legislative reforms that prioritize the safety and well-being of African American women impacted by these issues. Through collaboration with local and national policymakers, I will strive to create systemic changes that provide better access to healthcare, counseling, and legal protections. In conclusion, my personal experiences with domestic violence and substance abuse, combined with my ambition and dedication to acting and higher education, have fueled my desire to make a tangible impact on the lives of African American women facing these challenges. I aspire to improve the care, coordination, and communication available to survivors through storytelling, community engagement, and advocacy, I am committed to effecting lasting change that empowers and uplifts African American women, transforming their outcomes and ensuring a brighter future for all.
    CEW IV Foundation Scholarship Program
    Dear CEW IV Foundation Scholarship Committee, My name is Sydney Smith, and I am a second-year student at Howard University. I am writing to apply for the scholarship opportunity provided by your esteemed foundation, which aims to support minority students who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. I firmly believe that this scholarship will play a pivotal role in enabling me to pursue higher education and overcome the barriers that minority students often face. As a BIPOC student, I have personally experienced and witnessed the challenges and inequalities that persist in our society. Despite advancements in civil rights and equal opportunities, minority students continue to encounter barriers when it comes to accessing higher education. These obstacles contribute to a degree attainment gap, underrepresentation in advanced fields, and a wealth gap that perpetuates intergenerational disadvantages. In order to create a more equitable society, it is imperative that we change our way of responding to the problems faced by the disadvantaged. Education is a powerful tool that can break the cycle of inequality and provide opportunities for upward mobility. However, many capable and motivated minority students are unable to pursue higher education due to financial constraints. By prioritizing the support of underrepresented students through scholarships like the one offered by the CEW IV Foundation, we can dismantle the systemic barriers that hinder the educational and professional advancement of marginalized communities. This change in response is necessary to foster a society that values diversity, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all. During my time at Howard University, I have had the opportunity to engage with diverse communities and gain a deeper understanding of the need for societal change. Through my coursework, discussions, and involvement in student organizations, I have witnessed the transformative power of education and the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities. However, I have also seen the struggles that talented and deserving students face due to financial limitations. Receiving this scholarship would not only alleviate the financial burden on my shoulders but also fuel my ambition to contribute to the change our society desperately needs. It would enable me to focus on my studies, engage in extracurricular activities, and actively participate in initiatives aimed at addressing systemic inequalities. With your support, I aspire to use my education and experiences to advocate for policy changes, raise awareness about the barriers faced by underrepresented communities, and actively work towards building a more equitable society. I believe that every individual, regardless of their background, should have access to the resources and opportunities needed to thrive. In conclusion, I wholeheartedly believe that it is necessary for society to change its way of responding to the problems faced by the disadvantaged. By providing support to minority students who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need, we can bridge the educational divide, uplift underrepresented communities, and create a brighter future for all. I am grateful for the opportunity to apply for the CEW IV Foundation Scholarship, and I am confident that, with your support, I can continue to pursue my ambitions and contribute to positive change. Thank you for considering my application. Sincerely, Sydney Smith
    Szilak Family Honorary Scholarship
    A Journey of Fear, Hope, and Resilience: My Indirect Experience with Cancer It was a day like any other when my sister called me, her voice trembling with fear and uncertainty. She confided in me, sharing the news that she had discovered a lump in her breast and was awaiting the results of the tests. At that moment, a wave of fear washed over me, and I realized the potential gravity of the situation. Little did I know that this experience would shape my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations as a producer, filmmaker, entrepreneur, and director. Fear and Uncertainty: As my sister's words sank in, my mind raced with thoughts of worst-case scenarios. The fear of losing her to the insidious grip of cancer consumed me. The mere thought of a life without her vibrant presence seemed unbearable. I struggled to find solace, desperately seeking information and support to understand the situation better. The Struggle and the Founder's Message: The founder's message of the Szilak Family Honorary Scholarship resonated deeply with me during this challenging period. Cancer, a widespread and devastating disease, had become a prominent part of our lives. The statistics spoke volumes - countless individuals had experienced its impact. Despite the slight decrease in cancer-related deaths, the issue remained unsolved. However, the founder's words of hope and survival offered a glimmer of light amid darkness. Belief Transformation: My indirect experience with cancer reshaped my beliefs. It made me realize the fragility and impermanence of life, compelling me to appreciate the moments I had with loved ones. I became more empathetic, understanding the importance of supporting those battling this formidable foe. Witnessing my sister's resilience in the face of uncertainty instilled in me an unyielding belief in the power of the human spirit. Strengthened Relationships: Through this journey, my relationship with my sister deepened. We became each other's pillars of strength, offering unwavering support and love. Our bond transcended the surface-level interactions, fostering a profound connection. Additionally, I sought to foster relationships with survivors and individuals affected by cancer. Their stories of triumph and perseverance inspired me, and I cherished the opportunity to learn from their experiences. Career Aspirations: As a producer, filmmaker, entrepreneur, and director, my experience with cancer has significantly influenced my career aspirations. I yearn to use the power of storytelling to shed light on the realities of cancer and its impact on individuals and families. I aim to create films and projects that raise awareness, foster empathy, and inspire action. Cancer is not merely a medical battle; it encompasses the emotional, psychological, and societal dimensions that demand attention. My sister's call that day was a wake-up call, shattering the complacency of my life and igniting a fire within me. While we await the results of her tests, we remain hopeful. Cancer has shaped my beliefs, relationships, and career aspirations, propelling me to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by this relentless disease. The Szilak Family Honorary Scholarship embodies the resilience and courage of survivors and fighters, and I aspire to honor their journeys by dedicating myself to creating impactful narratives that drive change.
    Our Destiny Our Future Scholarship
    Compassion, selflessness, and community service are not just words to me; they are the guiding principles that shape my actions and define my purpose in life. Greetings scholarship committee I am Sydney Smith, a first-year theatre arts acting major at Howard University! As an aspiring actor, producer, screenwriter, and director dedicated to increasing the diversity of parts offered to people of color, I believe that my journey is not just about personal success but about making a positive impact on the world and empowering young black men and women to envision themselves in all periods, in a positive light, and as diverse main characters in fictional and fantasy stories. To further my dedication to giving back to others and continuing my education, the funds provided by this scholarship would be a critical stepping stone in my journey. Education is not just a means to achieve personal goals; it is also an avenue for personal growth, enlightenment, and the acquisition of skills that will enable me to make a greater impact. With the scholarship funds, I will be able to invest in my education, pursue specialized training programs, and gain the knowledge and expertise necessary to excel in my craft. In my quest to create diverse and inclusive narratives, I am driven by the belief that representation matters. By offering people of color a wider range of roles and characters, I aim to break down stereotypes, challenge societal norms, and inspire young individuals to dream beyond the limitations imposed by traditional narratives. Through my work as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and director, I will strive to create stories that celebrate the beauty of diversity, showcase the talents of underrepresented communities, and foster a sense of pride and empowerment among marginalized individuals. However, my commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond the realm of entertainment. I firmly believe in the power of community service and the transformative effect it can have on individuals and society as a whole. I have actively engaged in various volunteer activities that allow me to give back and uplift others. I regularly volunteer at the Capital Area Food Bank, providing essential support to those in need. By participating in events like the LUNGevity Walk, I raise awareness and funds for lung cancer research, a cause that is close to my heart. Additionally, my involvement in Howard University's Alternative Spring Break program has allowed me to connect with high school students, inspiring them to pursue higher education and break through the barriers that may hold them back. Working with students from Anacostia High School and participating in service projects such as city farm work and park cleanups in the Southeast quadrant of DC has given me a profound sense of fulfillment and a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by underserved communities. Communities who will one day be inspired by my work and seek greater heights and opportunities with which they are now presented. In conclusion, I am deeply committed to embodying compassion, selflessness, and community service in all aspects of my life. With the scholarship funds, I will continue my education and further my dedication to giving back to others. Through my career as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and director, I will tirelessly work towards increasing the diversity of parts offered to people of color, allowing young black men and women to imagine themselves in all periods in a positive light, and ensuring that fictional and fantasy stories involve diverse main characters. Together, we can transform the entertainment industry and create a world where everyone's story is heard, celebrated, and valued. Sydney Elise Smith
    Jean Antoine Joas Scholarship
    In the face of adversity, true character is revealed through perseverance and dedication. Life has a way of throwing unexpected challenges our way, testing our resolve and commitment to our dreams. I am Sydney Smith, a theatre arts: acting major at Howard University and I stand before the scholarship committee today, not only as a passionate individual dedicated to making a positive impact on the world through my career as an actor, director, screenwriter, and producer but also as a testament to the power of perseverance and the unwavering strength of the human spirit. My journey has been marked by both triumphs and tribulations, and it was during one of the most difficult moments that I truly discovered the depth of my dedication. The loss of my beloved aunt Missy to a sudden heart attack shook my world and left me devastated. She was more than just a family member; she was a pillar of support, a source of encouragement, and a fierce believer in my dreams. Her unwavering faith in me fueled my aspirations and gave me the strength to pursue my career goals with unwavering determination. In the aftermath of her passing, grief threatened to consume me, and it would have been so easy to surrender to despair and abandon my dreams. However, I made a conscious choice to honor her memory and carry her spirit with me on this journey. I realized that throughout my life my dreams had become her dreams, and her unwavering support had instilled in me the courage to push forward, even in the face of adversity. With renewed resolve, I channeled my emotions into my work, using storytelling as a means of healing and self-expression. I delved deeper into my craft, pushing the boundaries of my abilities and seeking opportunities to showcase my talent. Each setback and rejection only fueled my determination to succeed, knowing that every step forward was a tribute to my Aunt Missy and the love she had for her family. As I forge ahead in my career, my dedication lies not only in my success but in making a positive impact on the world. I am committed to using my platform to amplify underrepresented voices and increase the diversity of characters in major cinematic storylines. Through authentic storytelling and inclusive narratives, I aim to challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and inspire a new generation of diverse storytellers. Moreover, I understand the power of representation and its ability to shape societal perceptions. By showcasing characters from all walks of life, I hope to foster empathy, understanding, and unity among audiences. Through my work as an actor, director, screenwriter, and producer, I aspire to create a more inclusive and equitable entertainment landscape where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued. In conclusion, my journey has been marked by loss, grief, and the unwavering spirit of dedication. The passing of my aunt Missy only served to strengthen my resolve and fuel my commitment to my dreams, though I miss her dearly I know she would be honored as my inspiration. I stand before the scholarship committee today as a testament to the power of perseverance and the transformative impact of unwavering dedication. With each step forward in my career, I strive to make a positive impact on the world, using storytelling as a means to inspire, unite, and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our shared humanity.
    Scholarship for Golfers
    Greetings I am Sydney Smith, a freshman biology major at Howard University and I started my golf journey over quarantine. Unlike Tiger Woods who started his golf journey at the young age of six months, I showed little to no interest when my father took my sister and me out to the driving range in grade school. I just knew I could hit far and it impressed him. So when my mother, bored in quarantine and desperate for some air, took up lessons and joined a local women's league my interest was finally piqued. I just wanted to drive the cart, but I got something more. My mother insisted that my sister and I join her and that's when I discovered the sport I found tedious was fun if you are surrounded by good conversation and are playing the best ball (to save my sister and me from embarrassment) thus my golf journey began. I have no interest in continuing my golf journey into the professional sector or even considering joining a league, however, “deals are made on the green'' and so I intend to better my swing with my three wood seven iron and maybe learn to avoid a few sandtraps so I do not embarrass myself as I golf with potential partners, friends, and business allies of the future. I particularly enjoy the silent moments of the game one experiences at a driving range, and while playing nine holes by myself. However, I believe the importance I place on golf comes from the human interaction, and the comradery I experience while enjoying a game with peers and family members. For me, golf is time spent laughing, cracking jokes, hopelessly trying to perfect my sister’s swing, and time spent learning who my mother is as a person outside of a parental figure; gaining an understanding of who she is as a person and understanding her humor. There is so much fun in making bets on the number of strokes it takes to finish a hole only to be thwarted by a simple putt that it becomes a game in itself. Golf unites my family and cures division, it reconnects us, it makes us look forward to the sunny days and the not-so-sunny days when my mother insists we are trailblazers and we can play regardless. I remember taking a lesson and having a coach tell me, golf was a great thing to pick up to have some stress relief in college and now as a college student grabbing my driver and swinging hard against the ball and sending it flying gives me time to think, reminisce, and even smile when I feel disconnected. It grounds me in the memories of my family and our joys on the green. Golf keeps me grounded even thousands of miles away from home and for that, I am glad it came into my life.
    Share Your Poetry Scholarship
    Greetings I am Sydney Smith, I am a freshman biology major, and chemistry minor at Howard University and this is a work of mine addressing the melting of ice in the artic and its effects on wildlife specifically walruses found in those areas. Titled, Walruses Can't Fly. Walruses Can't Fly It may seem far fetched I assure you But what I tell you today just may kill you Let's set the scene and teleport you there Because by the end of this, I will make you care. 250 walruses trek up rocky slopes And I don’t say this to raise your hopes The edge is near and their ambitions are clear To them, the beach below seems so near. Now it's important to note walruses have poor vision Which should shed some light on the future decision Now some of you may guess that this story ends in tragedy But I assure you this is our reality. Unfamiliar with the concept of gravity The walrus has come to a tragic reality Peering over the tall cliff The first steps off without so much as a sniff. He falls 260 feet. And the other walruses cry “me next” as a fleet Now it may seem the fault of depth perception But that I believe is a false conception The out-of-place walrus was in search of ice And had to settle for something not quite as nice Now they plummet hundreds of feet Cartwheeling and bouncing on the beat. I will not plague your ears to let you know their ultimate fate But I must tell you it’s not so great I assure you it isn’t your fault though Though we have been conditioned to believe so That thought is frankly disreputable As the walruses fate was inevitable Corporations are at fault I feel no shame to say But I will not let them get away with it another day They are the primary cause and I will never forgive that They are the reason for the previously stated fact I apologize, for dampening the mood But this is just my attitude And I won’t lie and say walruses aren’t completely screwed But even you can't deny, Walruses can't exactly fly.
    Freddie L Brown Sr. Scholarship
    Walruses Can't Fly It may seem far fetched I assure you But what I tell you today just may kill you Let's set the scene and teleport you there Because by the end of this, I will make you care. 250 walruses trek up rocky slopes And I don’t say this to raise your hopes The edge is near and their ambitions are clear To them, the beach below seems so near. Now it's important to note walruses have poor vision Which should shed some light on the future decision Now some of you may guess that this story ends in tragedy But I assure you this is our reality. Unfamiliar with the concept of gravity The walrus has come to a tragic reality Peering over the tall cliff The first steps off without so much as a sniff. He falls 260 feet. And the other walruses cry “me next” as a fleet Now it may seem the fault of depth perception But that I believe is a false conception The out-of-place walrus was in search of ice And had to settle for something not quite as nice Now they plummet hundreds of feet Cartwheeling and bouncing on the beat. I will not plague your ears to let you know their ultimate fate But I must tell you it’s not so great I assure you it isn’t your fault though Though we have been conditioned to believe so That thought is frankly disreputable As the walruses fate was inevitable Corporations are at fault I feel no shame to say But I will not let them get away with it another day They are the primary cause and I will never forgive that They are the reason for the previously stated fact I apologize, for dampening the mood But this is just my attitude And I won’t lie and say walruses aren’t completely screwed But even you can't deny, Walruses can't exactly fly.
    Olivia Woods Memorial Scholarship
    Greetings Scholarship committee, I am Sydney Smith a freshman biology major at Howard University and a book that ultimately changed who I am as a person is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. From the surface, this book is a love story, a story of a woman who elevates herself through marriage and follows her heart. But, this story is so much more than seven men. It's a story of one woman who through it all was always in control, she understood herself, her place, and her power, she understood being quick and intelligent was the key to her success and throughout the novel, she taught me some of the greatest lessons. Evelyn Hugo herself, who I believe at times was one of the rawest characters I have fallen in love with is utterly truthful and as a girl who used to prefer the fantastical and the sugarcoated, I was originally hesitant to enjoy the character Evelyn but the truth in her words and ultimately the words of the author ripped through every illusion of life I had created for myself. Evelyn painted life as unfair, and heartbreaking, but ultimately worth living for the love because there were ultimately highs and lows but if a person is discerning and clever they will succeed. As a student who frankly had no clue what she wanted to do with her life, but knew she was going to do something big but was entirely too focused on fitting in and becoming ultimately vain. The quote “ taking pride in your beauty is a damning act. Because you allow yourself to believe that the only thing notable about yourself is something with a very short shelf life.” After this quote, I began to realize I had other underlying positive and beautiful qualities and the thought of how others perceive me became less important. Being called ‘pretty’ lost its meaning. What is beauty but a construct of society, there is beauty in everything there are unseen pieces to everyone that build them like a puzzle. I no longer believe what I originally perceived of others. There are too many dark but also beautiful parts that I simply cannot see. Like Evelyn said “Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box.” And now I make a conscious effort not to do that to others or even to myself. But I believe the most important thing this book transformed me into was a go-getter. There are so many lost dreams and lost chances because people are never ready to seize their moment either due to fear or a lack of preparedness. Evelyn was willing to do anything to get to the top and she did and that courage fuels me. This jarring quote from her called me to action “Do you understand what I’m telling you? When you’re allowed to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that.” Quite honestly that was the most important point I received from the character Evelyn; stars are not simply placed they are made from seizing the opportunity. So in life I now seize every opportunity, I am more aware of chance and my ultimate pursuits because that next opportunity could be my ticket to a new and exciting life.
    Harry & Mary Sheaffer Scholarship
    Throughout high school, my passion has been to study biology. I have found mentorship within the Detroit Medical Society as my relationship with the many physicians provided extensive opportunities within various hospitals to serve and observe procedural care in recent weeks. I continuously find myself drawn to medicine. I intend to attain higher-level education in the biological sciences from Howard University and move to an accredited medical school, confident in the skills I have acquired. "May I request a black doctor" were the first words out of my eighty-year-old grandmother's mouth post-stroke as she prepared to be visited by the next available vascular neurologist. Like many members of the black community, my grandmother was not focused on her serious ailment but rather, on the color of her doctor; a trivial aspect to some but, to many persons of color, the determinant of their received quality of care. Simply put, WE ARE FAILING PATIENTS OF COLOR! As a physician, I will defend patients in a system that continuously disregards individuals of color and provides medical consideration based on one's skin rather than their need for care. As a medical student, I will advocate for the equal treatment of persons of color in the hospital setting, as nearly forty percent of white medical students in a 2012 study believed persons of color possessed thicker skin due to a lack of exposure. Exposure I will have the ability to provide combating the statistics presented by an AAME article reporting, half of the white medical professionals interviewed still believe black patients feel pain differently than white patients. Therefore black patients are systematically twenty-two percent less likely to receive a suitable and appropriate dosage of medication and 10% less likely to be admitted to a hospital. With the support of fellow medical and pre-med students, I will create outreach groups to spread awareness about racial biases in medicine, actively working to end stigmas surrounding the black community and medicine by increasing exposure to ethical medical practice. Thereby, educating medical professionals from non-diverse backgrounds on racial bias in medical procedures. I will disassemble the black community's aversion to vaccines and visits to the physician by combatting the generational traumas brought on by the past failures of health care. Trauma encompassed within the Tuskegee experiments and the theft of Henrietta Lacks's stem cells by offering ethical, open, and affordable treatment, so grandmothers like mine no longer have to fear for the quality of their care. It's time to address how we fail patients of color, and through advocacy and outreach, I will ensure the return of dignity and restoration of trust in the future of medicine. Securing the safety of future patients treated by any medical specialist regardless of color or creed through advocacy and outreach, eliminating unjust differences in care, and protecting all communities.
    Lotus Scholarship
    Greetings Scholarship Committee, I am Sydney Smith a first-year biology major at Howard University. In the third grade, my parents were not so amicably divorced, leaving me in the care of a single father with no access to my mother. On my birthday, around one year later my father made an impromptu decision, packed our life into a black Cadillac and drove my sister and me to our Grandmother’s house in North Carolina. A decision that ultimately changed my life as my father left my sister and me for three years in the care of our seventy-year-old grandmother. A period when I would memorably see my mother only twice, both times in a courtroom, and see my father only on major holidays. My seventy-year-old grandmother became a single parent and my time with her was characterized by long discussions on the porch, Sunday dinner, running home when the streetlights came on, grandma’s raspy call for a Diet Coke, nights laughing on the couch, and the blaring of a fire alarm when grandma made bacon. My three years at Grandma’s house showed me joy in difficult times and taught me to look beyond my past to see a future of joy while treasuring every pleasant moment. My Grandmother, a hardworking woman, and a staunch supporter of education emphasized to me the power of a degree. My grandmother, married straight out of high school and raised five children alone, in 2 bedroom home with only a General Motors salary and one of her greatest regrets was not getting an education. My Grandmother was never given the chance to chase a dream career which in her words was to become “a big-time CEO”, but as she told me it was, a “different time”. My Grandmother ensured that school was my priority, as I was consistently on the ‘A’ honor roll; every night I was sitting at the dining room table doing homework, running flashcards, and practicing spelling words. Grandma emphasized the ‘time was now’ for me and I was a ‘genius born to be a leader’. I was taught to always put my education above all else to ultimately reach back and help those who are less fortunate than I am and to serve my community at all times. My grandmother heavily fostered my love for science as I expressed to her that I wanted to become a black female neurosurgeon after she experienced a stroke and was unable to find a black neurosurgeon in Gastonia, North Carolina. As a neurosurgeon I will work to spread awareness about racial biases in medicine and actively work to end stigmas surrounding the black community, finding various solutions to create change. Offering affordable treatment so grandmothers like mine no longer have to fear for the quality of their care. My time at Grandma’s taught me joy in service, and the prosperity found in contributing to the community. I find immense joy volunteering as a seasonal volunteer for Meals on Wheels, a tradition my Grandmother began while also volunteering as a senior pole worker, meeting community members and educating the uninformed about various candidates, something I joined in as well. I find immense joy in educating the youth as a Young People Travel Global Edge seminar leader, broadening the horizons of children while introducing new cultures, as my Grandmother believed experience and worldliness were one of the most important characteristics a young woman could possess. I plan to continue to give of myself to my education and community to better the present and the future, making my grandmother, Maxine Smith proud.
    The Heart of the Game Scholarship
    The curtains open, the stage is set, and the spotlight points centerstage creating a circle of light I yearn to step in. Watching from the wings, I see my mother and father in the front row, my inner circle, cheering me, believing in me and my ability to perform. The lead actor makes their move delivering their first line while stepping into that circle of light. As they finish, the light goes out, taking the circle with it. I release a breath and, the light returns, not the spotlight but the warm glow of central stage lights. I walk out, all eyes on me, and after delivering one of my five lines I return to the wings. My heart pounds, my hands tremble, five lines is not enough, I want more, I need more. I knew then, that one day I would need to be in the sacred circle of light. My first performance becomes a distant memory and five years later with no way to channel my passion, I lose interest up to sophomore year when I transfer schools and find the declining theater department piques my interest. The first day I walk into a theater class, I meet Hope Barker, the new theater director, a young woman struggling to keep the department afloat. She looks at me and, I believe she sees something I do not see in myself. She later tells me, "Sydney you, are an unfinished canvas and, I believe I can paint you into an actor". The class begins slow focusing on the basics of theater and the stage, moving to improv and method acting. During this time, Ms. B announces the fall play and, a classmate assures me that she will be getting the lead role. This crushes me as I have yet to master crying on cue, this reminds me of my inexperience and, I doubt myself. I do not give up though, and on the day of the auditions, I ask myself, "What are you going to do Sydney". The truth is I have no plan, but I have practiced. Crying on cue was the only hurdle keeping me from the fall play and I would leap over it. I thought of failure, I thought of not being able to even step on a stage again watching only from the wings, tears fall I sob falling to the floor adding dramatic effect. Ms. Barker was the first to clap, she too has tears in her eyes. When I finally present my monologue I put my whole self into it, adding an accent and gesturing wildly, I become my character. Needless to say, I was content with the cast list. On opening night we were not allowed to perform on stage, cast members quit the performance for that fact and, the school had cut funding thinking the performance, a failure. We perform in the library, I stand in costume behind a double door preparing to make my entrance. There are no wings now, and I hear the count, the first lines are said and the library goes black the doors burst open, and in the spotlight, I stand ready to deliver one of my one-hundred and twenty-two lines while an audience of three hundred and forty-one watches on. We are a success and, thanks to Ms. Barker's recommendation I, will continue my education in theater at a local theater company to one day expand my skills at university.