Meet Our Scholars

years awarded




Scholar Quote: "I want to use my skills with art to make the world a better place. To inspire good and allow people with similar experiences to rise beyond their circumstances."

Being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during a global pandemic was very difficult. Cancer took away my summer even more than COVID did and amplified the isolation caused by the pandemic. It also was very challenging to keep up with my high school courses, and rendered me unable to participate in community service and extracurricular activities.

Despite these difficult moments, my diagnosis also had some surprisingly positive impacts. I became friends with the hospital staff, who always helped me push forward, and I took advantage of fantastic child life programs. Furthermore, my extended stays at the hospital helped me become more mindful and empathic. I dealt with the negatives by focusing on the positives. I started to dive deeper into some of my passions and the things I liked to do, such as writing, drawing, building, animation, and playing video games. Video games and animation can deliver memorable characters, inspiring stories, and countless worlds to explore. Throughout my treatment, these worlds, characters, and stories became critical for me to persevere. I was inspired to go beyond my limits, take control of my situation, and earn a sense of freedom, thanks to the adventures I would experience.

I was also determined to keep up with school even though the villain cancer struck back in November of 2020. As a result, the treatment was more intense than before. To use my time wisely, I decided to further immerse myself in animation. I sought out an animation class during junior year. I also chose an invaluable experience with the amazing artists of Pixar through the Make-A-Wish foundation. Thanks to these experiences, the animations I watched, and the stories in the video games I played, I gained a new perspective on life. I gained more appreciation for the skill these artists show and the little details they leave for us to delight in discovering. They helped me reanimate my life and made me think, “I want to use my skills with art to make the world a better place. To inspire good and allow people with similar experiences to rise beyond their circumstances.”

The realization that art can have a positive impact pushed me even further. It made me more serious about making my art. It fueled my desire to learn more. My passions – video game creation and animation – were no longer things I wanted to do; they became something I had to do. I also began writing my own stories. Thanks to the empathy I gained from my treatments, it became easier to write from different perspectives. One of the child life programs that I participated in, Visible Ink, also helped develop my writing skills. I refused to be limited by my cancer and continued to achieve high honors in school.

I have come far by surviving cancer twice. Such an experience would make anyone realize the value of taking hold of your dreams and pursuing them as vigorously as possible. I intend to satisfy my hunger for more knowledge about the video game and animation industries by pursuing a degree in Games and Emerging Media at Marist College. Through my studies, I plan to improve my artistic skills to make stories that help people the way stories helped me. I would feel very fulfilled if could help others get through life’s difficulties in this way.