Over the past year, I have made a turnaround in my life. Uncertainty concerning my future after college contributed to a steady academic decline freshman through sophomore years at UCLA. But after a trip to Colombia to learn about my heritage and speak with relatives in medicine, it all turned around. It became clear to me that microbiology research was my calling. Since then, I have maintained high scores and committed to a research lab. I am set on majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and minoring in Spanish. My career goal is to attain a . in Microbiology or Virology. A challenge to these goals is paying for education. My parents and I have buried ourselves in bank and school loans that will keep us burdened well into the future. The Courage to Grow Scholarship would relieve some of this weight. I have committed to my community through several projects. I was involved in the club Invisible Children, which sought to raise awareness and fundraise to provide schools for children in war-torn Northern Uganda. I felt the need to give the children of Northern Uganda a stronger voice in America. I left this project to focus on improving my grades during sophomore year. Now that my life has stabilized, I will be joining a new project focused on tutoring children of inner Los Angeles schools. I believe that I should be awarded due to my academic improvement, clarity in academic goals, and commitment to my community.
A total of five finalists will be selected. The finalists will be brought to Dar es Salaam to receive their awards at a prize giving ceremony to be held during the Africa Leadership Forum Dinner Gala on July 28, 2016, which will be attended by former Heads of State and senior leaders from across Africa in the public sector, private sector and civil society. The overall winner will be invited to read the winning essay at the event. The essay will also be published on UONGOZI Institute’s blog and in one of the leading regional magazines in Africa.