2017 - 2018 Wyzant College Scholarship Winners

Essay topic: What do you want to be when you grow up?

First Place Winner

Alexa from Daytona Beach, FL

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Reaching for the Stars

Ever since I was a young girl, space has always been something I was so curious about. I love the idea of having an entire universe composed of galaxies beyond our own that we know so little about. Seeking knowledge and adventure beyond the Earth’s atmosphere is something I strive to do. For these reasons, I have pursued a Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering, with a double minor in Geographic Information Systems and Applied Mathematics. Not only do I want to design spacecraft going into deep space, I want to eventually have enough credibility to become an astronaut. Innovation within technology is so fascinating to me. How far we, as a species, have come in terms of technological advancements is astronomical (no pun intended). In the future, I want to see the knowledge we obtain from space travel grow further and further. But most importantly, I want to play a significant part in those discoveries. It’s not for the fame, and it’s certainly not for the fortune, but it’s for those with a passion in STEM-related fields like my own, to see that anyone, even women, can play a vital role in space-related discoveries. This is a rarity in the Aerospace Engineering field in particular, since approximately 80% of all Aerospace Engineers are men. I want to serve as an example that if you work hard and push yourself to be the best version of yourself, then you will most definitely accomplish out of this world achievements (pun intended). All in all, I would like to be an Aerospace Engineer in the future and then eventually an Astronaut, but most importantly I want to serve as an example of innovation at its finest for the next generation of STEM majors.

Second Place Winner

Davis from Worthington, MA

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Putting Out Roots

Vertical farming. Urban greening. Rooftop gardens. These all involve growing crops and other plants in places where they usually don't. The last places you'd expect to find a farm would be the boroughs of New York, Chicago, or Detroit. However, anyone familiar with the concept of food deserts--locations with little-to-no access of fresh, healthy food--knows that these areas are just a few of the places where farms are needed the most. I want to be an urban farmer. The advancements in hydroponics, vertical farming, and associated technology are getting us closer and closer to making massive urban farms a reality. Imagine a New York high rise, a skyscraper devoted to producing fresh produce for several thousand people. Not only would such a building help reduce the environmental impacts (toxic runoff, habitat destruction, greenhouse gas production), but the impact on the local communities would be tremendous. These farms would have to operate without the use of heavy machinery like combine harvesters because, let's face it, you really can't get a tractor to move up and down ten or twenty or forty floors. People in the low-income areas that need the fresh food the most would be able to find work at these institutions. With any luck, urban farms will revitalize areas both in the economic and culinary sense. Currently, I am double-majoring. The first major is Sustainable Food and Farming, the second one of my own design called Urban Sustainability Systems. By incorporating business, farming, and a variety of other courses, my second major will give me what I need to apply the first to the urban environment. And then? Who knows. Maybe picking fresh fruit will be as easy as walking just around the block.

Third Place Winner

Brie from Fort Lauderdale, FL

West Broward High School, Hollywood, FL

Moment of Clarity

As I was knuckle deep in a dog's anus, it became clear that becoming a veterinarian was something I would always be committed to. Throughout high school, I have actively participated in my school’s Veterinary Assistant Program, in addition to working at an animal hospital. Last year, in class we were learning how to express anal glands. Unfortunately, my first attempt ended in failure as I was unable to complete the task. I was somewhat disappointed in myself, but knew that I would not give up. A few weeks later, another opportunity arose and I was ready to try again. I put my gloves on and prepared for my redemption. I apologized to the patient for "hurting his feelings" and went in. Recalling the tips that the technician had given me, I successfully expressed both anal glands! I was overcome with a strong sense of pride, as if I had just won the Nobel Peace Prize or came in first place for a marathon; I had finally reached my goal and, at that very moment, I became that much closer to becoming a veterinarian. To you this might seem minuscule, but to me, I had reached a turning point in my educational career. Today, I look back, see how far I have come, and still get a kick out of my sincere thrill at successfully adding “expressing anal glands” to my repertoire. More recently, I became a Certified Veterinary Assistant by passing the certification exam with a 97% and by working over 200 hours under a licensed veterinarian. These achievements are what drive my success and allow me to work even harder to reach my end goal, becoming a veterinarian!