I remember the pure moment of exhilaration when I was chosen to become a Bezos Scholar. In my small, East Texas town, I had never heard of on opportunity of this magnitude. Remarkable students from across the United States and Africa would join together to listen to speakers sharing their passions with the world. We as students were to become the next wave of leaders, thinkers, and innovators changing the way we see our world.
And why was I a part of that?
I asked myself this so many times. I haven’t done anything too special. I haven’t done anything that would mark me different as a person. I only have a couple of good grades, one or two examples of leadership, and an ability to write a few essays. Why me? Statistically, out of all the juniors that could have applied, there was a 0.0003% chance of my name being chosen.
The Bezos Scholars Program and Family showed me why. They showed me who I am.
In collaboration with the wonderful educators and leadership mentors, I was able to let my passions inspire me— mine being STEM education in elementary school. With BSP, I realized that the best way to ignite passion is to provide opportunities that they would not have had. Along with my Educator Scholar, Cody Mitchell, and the generous assistance from BSP, we were able to build hovercrafts for students to ride and discussed laws of rocketry in enjoyable presentations. I personally was able to showcase how different salts make different flame colors, and another volunteer taught basic circuitry and computer programming skills. Science was never a huge part of my little neck of the woods, but after our Local Ideas Festival, teachers were excited and wanted to make it an annual event.
Two weeks before I left for the Aspen Ideas Festival, I was in an accident while volunteering that would result in amputation of my finger. BSP still welcomed me with open arms. After I had undergone surgery, I felt as though I lost what made me, me. I didn’t think I could play instruments anymore or even use my hand correctly, but through the process of our LIF, I realized that to change the world, we must keep moving forward. I am currently enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin studying Honors Biomedical Engineering to develop better prostheses for amputees and have already designed one for myself and am in the process of designing the next one.
BSP helped me find what I’m passionate about. They equipped me with the skills I needed to make a difference and to inspire others to make a difference.