Foundation For Your Future Scholarship

Congratulations to our Scholarship Winners!

Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, is proud to support college-bound students intent on bettering themselves and making a difference in their communities – and perhaps the world. We hope that the scholarship money we offer is a building block towards each deserving student’s future, and we wish them all success in life!

Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP would like to thank all who applied. Please check our blog and Facebook page for announcements and other scholarship opportunities.

 

2020 Winning Entry

"Receiving an education is key to reaching my goal – ensuring that families impacted by incarceration receive the support needed to thrive."

- Alyssa T., 2020 Scholarship Winner

"This life has been a whirlwind of academic, professional, emotional, and spiritual growth. However, I couldn’t be more fulfilled."
- Alyssa T.

The first college graduation I ever attended was inside of San Quentin Prison. It was for incarcerated men, and my dad was the valedictorian. In his speech, he said, “What makes students like us stand different from others is our strength to endure in the face of adversity.” It’s a line that has stuck with me – it connects to my own education and commitment to my community. Receiving an education is key to reaching my goal – ensuring that families impacted by incarceration receive the support needed to thrive. I would be honored to receive the support of the Foundation For Your Future Scholarship.

My dad left when I was 9-years-old. During his absence, I suffered emotional, physical, and sexual abuse because of my mother’s alcoholism. This was exacerbated when I turned 15 and my mother kicked me out of our home, resulting in my homelessness. At 16, I became pregnant from a sexual assault. When my life drastically changed with my pregnancy, I dropped out of high school. However, I never gave up on my dreams; I obtained a GED and developed a plan to attend college.

"Listening to his speech and watching him hold his diploma while he was incarcerated showed me that anything is possible."
- Alyssa T.

Before UCSC, I attended community college while working full time and raising my son as a single mom. I also independently managed a household. Truthfully, it was challenging, yet I developed critical skills and have pushed myself to keep pursuing my education. Lately, I have been reflecting on this journey and the impact that my father’s incarceration and education has had on me.

My experiences have helped me develop a passion for improving the lives of system-impacted families. My plan is to earn a law degree and use my firsthand knowledge of the effects of the criminal justice system to promote change. I am part of the community impacted by incarceration and my community matters to me. They are what drives me to be successful in my career and my personal life, simply because I desire to make a difference.

Now, I’m volunteering in prisons and jails and working with others impacted by incarceration, raising awareness of how incarceration shatters families. I’ve listened to heart-wrenching stories of forceful separation by the police and long bus rides only to learn visits were canceled. I’ve heard from those who were absent when children were born or, even more tragically, when children died. I’ve listened to hopes for reunification. People impacted by incarceration yearn for an opportunity to discuss this impact as well as find solutions for healing. I’ve started to tackle this issue with Walls to Bridges.

The project is focused on fostering family communication during and after incarceration through confidential dialogues using restorative justice principles and practices. The project seeks to mitigate the isolation and stigma created by familial incarceration. Though this project is difficult, I am committed to it. It matters to me. I have been working on it since February 2019. In this time, I have secured some funding, hired volunteers, developed the curriculum and policies for the program, and started recruitment for participants. I’m breaking boundaries and am motivated now more than ever.

At UCSC, I’m pursuing a double major in Legal Studies and Philosophy. I’m hungry to learn and expand my capacity to think critically and serve others. I’m seeking opportunities to develop the intellectual and policy framework I need to truly make a difference. Support from the Foundation For Your Future Scholarship will assist me in completing my undergraduate education and applying to law school.

This life has been a whirlwind of academic, professional, emotional, and spiritual growth. However, I couldn’t be more fulfilled. I’m the first in my family to attend a traditional four-year institution. My dad spent seven years obtaining an associate degree from the Prison University Project. He modeled for me the true meaning of perseverance. Numerous times, he was unexpectedly transferred to another prison, losing all of a semester’s credits and having to start over. Yet he remained dedicated to accomplishing his goals, just as I have been. When I attended his graduation, I had yet to start community college. Listening to his speech and watching him hold his diploma while he was incarcerated showed me that anything is possible.

Not only is my dad my biggest role model, but his statement from his valedictorian speech continues to motivate me. By demonstrating that I can excel in college and remain active in my community despite numerous obstacles present in my life, I’ve proven that I too have the strength to endure in the face of adversity. I’ve proven that I care about others who face incredible challenges and that I am determined to effectively serve them. I’m excited to pursue a legal education and I would be honored to receive support from the Foundation For Your Future Scholarship. The second college graduation I will attend will be my own. Now that my dad is home, it will be his turn to watch me walk across the stage.

The second college graduation I will attend will be my own. Now that my dad is home, it will be his turn to watch me walk across the stage. Thank you for your consideration.

- Alyssa T.


2019 Winning Entry

"I look up to Kathrine Johnson because of her unceasing determination to create her own future and to not be intimidated by prejudices, racial, and gender barriers."

- Jordan T., 2019 Scholarship Winner

"Whenever I tell someone that I want to be an engineer, they look at me with surprise. No one expects a teenage girl to be interested in STEM."
- Jordan T.

Not many people have heard of Kathrine Johnson. In fact, I didn’t even know who she was until I watched Hidden Figures, the story of three women who worked for NASA and helped propel Americans into space. As I watched the movie, I was amazed by Kathrine’s determination, perseverance, and intelligence. As I did more research, I became more and more inspired by this woman. I look up to Kathrine Johnson because of her unceasing determination to create her own future and to not be intimidated by prejudices, racial, and gender barriers.

I am a young woman interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), especially engineering, and because of this I am faced with negative stereotypes of girls. Many people see girls as unable to be engineers, and culturally, engineering and math are seen as a “boy thing.” Whenever I tell someone that I want to be an engineer, they look at me with surprise. No one expects a teenage girl to be interested in STEM. I am consistently one of the only three girls in my engineering classes. This bias is reflected in everyday situations, and I am reminded of it every time I pass by the toy aisle at the store. The “girl” aisle is filled with dolls, stuffed animals, and anything pink and frilly. The “boy” aisle is filled with building blocks, toy cars, and pretend tool sets. From a young age, girls are being told, directly and indirectly, that they should play with dolls and their brothers can play with building sets. This bias towards boys being builders is directly seen in the workforce today. There are consistently fewer women than men in STEM fields. In engineering, only 20 percent of the workforce are women, the lowest percentage in STEM fields. Minority women have even lower statistics. The obvious cultural bias towards boys being engineers is causing many girls to turn from engineering fields.

"Katherine Johnson serves as my inspiration to continue doing what I love, even when the world says I can’t."
- Jordan T.

Kathrine Johnson was no stranger to being different. She started attending high school classes at the age of 10. She graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and French at age 18. Then Katherine enrolled in graduate school, becoming the first African American woman to do so, and one of the first three African American students selected to attend the previously all-white school. Her desire to learn inspired her to take risks and go against the norm, breaking racial boundaries. She had the courage to step outside the box and demand for herself the future she desired. This courage to be different and passion to learn are some of the reasons why I look up to Kathrine Johnson.

Kathrine Johnson encountered prejudices because of her race and because she was a woman in STEM. She wasn’t the typical physicist and mathematician of the day and age. She broke gender and racial stereotypes by demanding that she be treated as any other employee. Kathrine asked to be included in editorial meetings, which are what NASA called the planning meetings. No other woman had been included in these meetings, but Katherine demanded her place, saying that she did the work to belong there. The racial and gender barriers were always there, but she did her best to break them and to continue on doing the work that she loved. Her contributions to the space agency are numerous, including trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s May 1961 mission Freedom 7, checking the calculations of computers for John Glenn’s orbital mission, and helping sync Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module. She was an essential part of the space program, and in her success, has paved the way for other girls aspiring to work in STEM.

When asked to name important people in the space program, names like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin come to most people’s minds. However, we can’t forget the people that worked in the background. Stories like Kathrine Johnson’s may not be the most well-known, but they can serve as an inspiration just as well. Her determination to succeed in her job and her courage to stand up against prejudice makes her an inspiration to all minorities in STEM. I look up to Katherine Johnson because she was determined to do what she loved, no matter what the world told her. She was relentless in pursuing her education, even when faced with challenges. She broke gender and racial prejudices that she faced in pursuing the work that she loved. Katherine Johnson serves as my inspiration to continue doing what I love, even when the world says I can’t.

- Jordan T.


2018 Winning Entry

"I always wanted to be able to reach out to different people in the community and have the opportunity to help others."

- Grace D., 2018 Scholarship Winner

Introduction

"I hope to go into pediatric nursing. Knowing that these kids are hurting and sick will break me every day, but having the ability to reach out to them the way the nurses did to me can make a difference in the world."
- Grace D.

This scholarship sparked my interest because I love being able to help my community out and I know this scholarship would give me the opportunity to do that. If I get this scholarship, I plan to put it towards my education. My dream is to be able to attend Robert Morris University. Robert Morris University offers the best opportunities for me. Growing up, I have always dreamed of being able to attend Robert Morris because my dad attended that school and I feel like it would make him extremely proud of me. When they opened their nursing program, I knew instantly that it was calling my name. I hope to be able to attend Robert Morris in order to get the most out of my nursing degree and education, and to help others throughout the community while making my parents proud and keeping Robert Morris University in the family even longer. This scholarship would help me accomplish these things.

Short Essay

Robert Morris University has been my dream ever since I was a little girl. Growing up, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life other than going to Robert Morris University. Multiple people in my family have attended Robert Morris University, including my father. I feel it would be a great honor to be able to attend the same school he did, and I hope it would make him very proud to keep the Robert Morris tradition in the family. Robert Morris University is mainly known for being a business college, yet I never really envisioned myself as a business major. I always wanted to be able to reach out to different people in the community and have the opportunity to help others, even something as small as making them laugh or smile for a few minutes.

"Growing up, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life other than going to Robert Morris University."
- Grace D.

When I suffered a minor health problem and was forced to go to the hospital, I was able to get an inside look at what goes on, and from that moment on, I had my sights set on becoming a nurse. The nurses at Children's Hospital made my stay more enjoyable by checking on me, making sure I was okay, and that I understood everything that was going on. By attending Robert Morris University, I will be able to achieve not only one but two of my goals: going to college, and becoming a nurse. Robert Morris University provides me with the opportunity of having a great nursing experience. I would have the opportunity to do clinicals and intern at some of the top hospitals in the United States, making my nursing career more beneficial in the long run. Having the opportunity to work at some of these amazing hospitals will give me the opportunity to leave a mark on the world.

I hope to go into pediatric nursing. Knowing that these kids are hurting and sick will break me every day, but having the ability to reach out to them the way the nurses did to me can make a difference in the world. Being able to get a slight smile out of one kid who is going to be hurting for the rest of the day will make the world a happier place and make me feel like I am making a difference. A college education will help educate me to the best of my ability and get me ready for the day I can be an actual nurse and help people, and hopefully be able to bring a little bit of joy back into being a child. I hope to be able to attend Robert Morris University next year to major in nursing. Being able to become a pediatric nurse would help me make a difference in each child's life as the nurses did for me. I hope to be able to reach these goals one day and make a difference in my community. This scholarship would help to start me on the right path of going to college. I hope to make a difference in the community no matter how little or big - it all starts somewhere, and I hope Robert Morris University can be that place for me.

- Grace D.