Past Scholarship Recipients

2022

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Angela Heath Scholarship

Larissa Forbes

My name is Larissa Donae’ Forbes. I am a rising Senior Honors Psychology student with a minor in Marketing at the Illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. I’m deeply involved with my campus community as a member of student organizations like Not Just A Smile, A.S.C.E.N.D, The Black Bus, and on the Social Injustice Committee of the National Council of Negro Women. I love being a part of these organizations because they create opportunities for me to pour into my community on a more personal level, and directly contribute to initiatives that are important to me. During the 2022-2023 school year, I’ve been given the opportunity to serve as Miss Greensboro Youth Community Leaders, Internal Affairs Officer for The Grace Initiative, and as a University Honors Ambassador. 

Following my graduation in May 2023, I plan to attend graduate school to pursue my Phd. in Clinical Psychology. During my time in graduate school, I intend to build on the basis of my undergraduate research with Dr. George Robinson Ph.D using the N-400 to research the Black Identity.

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Byron + Lolita Scholarship

Morgan Skinner

Morgan Skinner is a graduating senior Political Science major with a Strategic Communications minor at Howard University. Morgan is quite involved on campus and currently serves as an upperclassman Resident Assistant. Additionally, she is the 2nd Vice President of the Howard University Pre-Law Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International. Off-campus, as a passionate advocate for equitable healthcare, Morgan aims to represent those in marginalized communities who were silenced due to inadequate healthcare practices. To best advocate for others, she strives to combine her passions for medicine and law through a future career as a medical malpractice attorney. Additionally, she was a contributing author to a Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and Queer digital publication, Chaos + Comrades, where she wrote about pertinent social issues pertaining to race, gender, and healthcare. Ultimately, she plans to carry these passions and experiences with her as she applies to law school this fall.

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Dereje Haile Scholarship

Essence Thomas

Essence Thomas, 23, born in Hollywood, Florida, is a dancer, choreographer, poet, writer, mental health advocate , foster care advocate, and youth mentor. Essence is a first-generation undergraduate student currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a minor in Florida Teaching at The University of Florida.  As a former foster and unaccompanied youth, she strives to use her identity, art, lived experiences, and past transgressions as fuel for healing and impactful change.Essence is very passionate about dance and its ability to empower and educate an audience. Through Free-Form, improvisational, and experimental contemporary movement styles, she incorporates storytelling in her work as a catalyst for authentic meaning making. Vulnerability, authenticity, and highly emotional states are at the forefront of Essence’s work. Through raw, unfiltered, and unapologetic expression, she hopes to symbolize the unapologetic nature of storytelling and authenticity. Through her creative practice, she hopes to inspire and motivate others to use their personal stories to promote resilience, shift paradigms, find purpose, and form testimonial breakthroughs through the gift of movement.

In the future, Essence wants to become a dance educator, advocate, and teaching artist serving at-risk and marginalized youth in predominantly black communities.

2021

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Angela Heath Scholarship

Udochi Okorie

Udochi Okorie is a Senior at Kalamazoo College where she is completing a major in Biology and Psychology. These two majors reflect her interest in the relationship between cognitive and biological processes in the brain. Motivated by advocacy for black women and hopes to have a greater impact in her community, she started a support group for Black women on her college campus. The events that she experienced developing and working with these women allowed her to better advocate for mental health resources for her community. Udochi aspires to enroll in a MD graduate program and study psychiatry. She hopes to continue to advocate for black women in STEM while performing ballet and playing the clarinet.

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Byron + Lolita Scholarship

Amber Wynne

Amber Wynne (she/her/hers) is a senior health science policy administration major, criminal justice minor, attending the illustrious Hampton University in Hampton, VA. As a health science student, Amber’s passion for activism extends into the healthcare and social organizing fields. Amber has the privilege of serving as the President of Hampton University Generation Action (HUGA), where she strives to organize, advocate and educate through a reproductive justice lens. Her advocacy work includes voter education, LGBTQ+ advocacy, Black-centered health education, as well as founding “The Period Project'' which aims to distribute free menstrual products to students at Hampton University. As an organizer on a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campus, she currently manages the Emergency Reproductive Hotline. Through this hotline Amber distributes free emergency

contraception, pregnancy tests, barrier methods, education resources, and menstrual products to students in need in the Hampton Roads

area and nationwide.

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Dereje Haile Scholarship

Vontarya McBride

Vontarya McBride is a South Carolina native with a passion for writing, digital media, and the art medium overall. She is a senior majoring in Mass Communication at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU). She currently serves as the social media manager for The Artist Bloc, a venue that serves the local arts community in Greensboro, NC. Vontarya also serves as an executive board member for the Campus Life Marketing Committee at WSSU. In addition to being a scholar, Vontarya has taken the necessary steps to contribute to her professional development and growth through internships, film festivals, and workshops throughout her college career. She also creates short films and fun relatable content that covers everything from college readiness to lifestyle vlogs to share on her YouTube channel. Vontarya’s overall goal is to use her platform to share innovative ideas and amplify the voices of people who may not have a chance to share their stories otherwise. 

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Coco Changemaker Scholarship

Makayla Dawkins

Makayla Dawkins is a junior from the inner city of New Haven, CT. She is double majoring in

Human Development and Family Sciences and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a

minor in Psychology and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut. When she isn't

studying, she is serving with USG Student Services as a Sexual Health and Education

Advocacy Coordinator where she has implemented a menstrual care package program and created legislation in solidarity of UConn’s queer community. She can also be found fulfilling her role as an RA in the Arts learning communities or working with LGBTQ folks at Rainbow Center. She hopes to become a Healthcare Administrator overseeing a health facility and researchingHIV and sexual behavior. She also hopes to serve families impacted by incarceration. In her free time, Makayla serves as an intern of Free All My Suns Inc., a nonprofit that connects families to the imprisoned and oversees their various programs. Additionally, she destigmatizes mental illness as an intern with the Holistic Huskies, a mental health podcast where she advocates for suicide prevention and mental health in communities of color.

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Coco Changemaker Scholarship

Sierra Holmes

Sierra Holmes is an Orlando,Florida native that attends the University of Central Florida (UCF). She is the founder of a college preparation, volunteer based, and cultural club called Black Leaders of Tomorrow at her former high school. She is now involved in SGA and Black Student Union as a freshman at UCF. As a recipient of the Princeton Prize of Race Relations Certificate, she continues to aim for educational equity and increase global and cultural awareness. In addition to this, social justice and advocacy are something she is dedicated to and passionate about. Sierra hopes to create change in her future career field as a lawyer, and later as a politician.

2020

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Angela Heath Scholarship

Shemayah Clemons

My bio: Shemayah Clemons also known as the ancient artery is an Inglewood native healing enthusiast with a passion for all things regarding wellness. Specializing in holistic living, she works closely with her community—via the platforms she’s developed—to stress the importance of approaching health from a wholeness perspective. Acting as a conduit of vital information that is often overlooked, she focuses on cleansing with ancient herbs, restoring with alkaline foods, and essentially developing practices that can be incorporated into everyday life. 

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Byron + Lolita Scholarship

Eno Oduok

Eno is a first-generation Nigerian American and a Houston native. She is a senior at the University of Houston with a major in public relations and a minor in marketing. She is the communications writer for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute and the digital coordinator for @blackgirlsgraduate. At school, she is the public relations chair for the African Student Union, webmaster chair for the Nigerian Students Association, and a member of PRSSA.

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Dereje Haile Scholarship

Sierra Hill

Sierra Hill is a creative curator and the producer of Media Platform: Creative Process. While growing up in Louisville, KY, she quickly gained an interest in Chicago’s music, culture, and creative scene. Now a Music Business major at Columbia College Chicago, she began Creative Process in March of 2017 with the hopes of making an honest space designed to deliver access to creative culture, study and highlight up and coming artists of color, and provide opportunities for artistic growth in communities that need it. Once she has graduated, Sierra intends to continue expanding the platform through collaborations and partnerships with other Chicago creatives and brands.