As the deadline for our scholarship draws near, I decided to reach out to winners from previous years to check in with them and see what advice they had to offer for this year’s applicants. For more information on our scholarship and how to apply, head here.
Kayla Klurman (Our 2021 Top Winner)
Check out our 2021 post on Kayla and her Design a Better Future project, Kayla’s Care Bags. Not only did she win the $10,000 scholarship, but she was awarded an additional $5,000 to continue her project.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to this year’s applicants, what would it be?
A: If I could give one piece of advice it would be to always stay true to yourself. Be genuine. It is so much easier to talk about yourself and the things you love when you are passionate about them and they hold a special place in your heart. This will radiate off of you and without a doubt, people will love you and your story!
Q: What has been the best thing to come from your scholarship project?
A: I have been able to continue my project in North Carolina while also being active in Miami.
Q: A quick update on you! What are you up to? Are you still actively involved in your project?
A: Yes! I make care bags in Miami and in North Carolina. I come home for the summer very soon so I am excited to have the opportunity to do some further work this summer!
Are you beginning to notice a pattern? The most common consensus between our past winners can be boiled down to one word: passion. If you start a project that you really believe in, it is very apparent in your scholarship submission. Not only that, you are much more likely to follow through with the project if you have a genuine interest in it. For more information on exactly what we look for in a scholarship submission, I highly recommend this post.
Today’s Feature Friday post is a little different. We will be interviewing our past scholarship winner, Austin Fitzgerald. Austin won our scholarship in 2018 when she put together the Mindstrings Violin tutoring program. You can see her original video she submitted here.
Austin has been at the University of Chicago for two years now. She has kept in contact with MindStrings and has been working on a way to become qualified for the program to accept donations.
Since then, she has also become involved with a program on her campus called South Side Free Music Program. Her role is a violin teacher offering free lessons to the youth on the south side of Chicago. She is using this resource to hopefully have MindStrings expand to Chicago where she is located, however, COVID-19 threw off her plan. While Zoom and other online video call platforms may be an option, the majority of the students she would teach do not have this accessibility in their homes. This is something she is still working on.
Another way Austin has found to serve with her music ability while at school is by playing the violin to cancer patients at UChicago’s hospital. This is part of her MindStrings outreach program and she is working on recruiting others to do this with her.
Austin is double majoring in Pre-Medical and Anthropology with a biology minor, she has been busy in her studying! She is the current Co-President of the African and Caribbean Student Association at the University of Chicago. On top of this, she has been exploring her interests in childhood development and social mobility through her job as a research assistant at the Thirty Million Words Center for Early Learning + Public Health. Way to go Austin!
We are extremely proud of Austin and all of her accomplishments at college, especially during this difficult time where the pandemic has halted some of her plans.
If you would like to learn more about our scholarship and see how you can apply, check out our scholarship webpage.