The 2021 There’s Space for Everyone
From an aspiring school counselor to a future optometrist, the winners of the 2021 There’s Space for Everyone Scholarship are poised to make lasting impacts on the world. Learn more about the winners and how they plan to use their awards to further their educations.
Less than 30 percent of the professionals in STEM careers are women — and that’s not acceptable, says scholarship winner Vivian Wang. Her winning essay explained how she plans to challenge the status quo by pursuing a computer science major at Stanford University this fall.
“Oftentimes, women, including myself, feel we aren’t seen in the vast field of technology,” she wrote. “In college, I’ll continue to strive towards breaking gender barriers [and] leveraging technology for educational reform [and] accessibility.”
And she’s just not talking about it: The ambitious incoming college freshman plans to use her education to “provide equitable STEM opportunities to young girls — hopefully either during or after college.”
While it’s summer for many students, Vivian is keeping busy by participating in the Bank of America Student Leaders Program and is continuing her work with Linens N Love, a non-profit organization she founded that provides resources to people experiencing homelessness and living in shelters. In her small amount of free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and dancing.
“I am also hoping to brush up on my ukulele playing skills,” she revealed. “I also love learning new languages and am hoping to add a fourth language under my belt – maybe French!”
After Stanford, Vivian dreams of becoming either a Disney Imagineer or a Product Manager for Google or Apple. We’re confident that she’ll reach those goals — and way beyond.
While studying economics and environmental policy at Boston University, scholarship winner Abby Enevoldsen recognized an unsettling commonality among mainstream environmental organizations.
According to Abby, these organizations “repeatedly focus on wildlife and natural habitats, yet they neglect minority communities that are unequivocally burdened by the effects of climate change,” she wrote in her winning essay.
“The intersection of environmental issues and racism cannot be ignored, especially in countries like the United States where socioeconomic and racial disparities splinter communities,” she added. “To address the global warming catastrophe, we must accept the idea that all people are entitled to equal protection of environmental laws.”
Abby plans to tackle those disparities in her future career. The driven college sophomore has battled a chronic health condition for several years but managed to graduate high school at the top of her class.
“I’m proud that I’m able to achieve my goals despite this adversity,” she said.
We have no doubt she’ll continue to smash her goals and be successful at leaving her mark on not only her community and the world.
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions
Nursing was once the dream career of scholarship winner Savanna Johnson, but that changed when “I realized I hated blood.”
But the graduate student will undoubtedly impact the lives of many when she embarks on her career as a school counselor in an elementary or middle school.
“My degree in school counseling was chosen specifically so I could better reach minority populations whether those minorities are based on race, sexual orientation, religion, or countless others,” she wrote in her winning essay.
Savanna realized her career goals after seeing racial inequality while working at a Title 1 elementary school. Many of her students experienced homelessness or lived below the poverty line.
“It was astounding to see the disparity between these at-risk students and their classmates who came from more fortunate backgrounds. Their grades were not the only things suffering, but also their emotional regulation, physical health, and mental well-being,” she added.
The teachers worked hard to give an education to all students, but Savanna said the school counselors, social workers, and psychologists that worked in her school were the most inspirational to her. “These helpers worked long hours to make sure students felt safe at school and home and were an absolute necessity to keep this school running,” she added.
As a school counselor, Savanna is excited to connect her students with resources to further their education.
“Education is the great equalizer in our world today,” she wrote. “My education now is helping me to find all of the resources that these students need to overcome any barriers in their lives keeping them from achieving their dreams. I want to play a part in making that journey easier for them.”
We’re excited to see the difference Savanna makes in the futures of her students, the leaders of tomorrow.
University of California – Santa Cruz
Growing up in the melting pot of Los Angeles, California, gave scholarship winner Gabriella Rios an appreciation for all the positives of diversity. But she’s also seen how challenges can impact people of varying backgrounds in a negative way, including discrimination based on race and sexual identity, poverty, and homelessness.
“As someone who has witnessed the impact these challenges have on one’s mental health and their community, I know it is important these issues get addressed to provide better equity and inclusion to special groups in need,” she wrote.
Gabriella is already doing her part to help make her community a better place by serving as a peer mentor for incoming college freshman and transfer and international students at the University of California – Santa Cruz. She also works with the school’s Student Health Advocacy Committee to help provide affordable insurance plans to students.
Her goal to help her community won’t stop when she graduates from college. She has been accepted to the optometry program at the University of California – Berkeley and plans to become an optometrist.
Her goal is to provide free and discounted eye exams to those in need in her community. “Vision is one of the most important senses, and everyone deserves to be able to see regardless of their income,” she said. “Healthcare in the US is astronomically expensive, and those struggling should not have to choose between food on the table, health, and living under a roof.”
We completely agree — and we can’t wait to see how Gabriella’s drive and determination will make an impact on the people who need it most.
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