$5,000 Citizens Bank Graduate Scholarship

Citizens Bank

2019 Citizens Bank Undergraduate Scholarship was closed as of August 01, 2019. We're excited to announce the winners!


Winners and their entries:


Nathaniel Woodard l University of Maryland

Water is the most essential element of life. Water deprivation can lead to dizziness, fatigue, kidney problems, life-threatening hypovolemic shock, and a slew of other health problems. Proper hydration not only helps to prevent these issues, but adequate water consumption has also been shown to improve brain functionality, reduce the risk of obesity, and fluoridated water in particular has been shown to help prevent tooth decay. Though drinking water provides countless benefits, there are over 100 schools in Baltimore, Maryland struggling to provide water to their students due to lead contamination. As children are rapidly developing, they are especially at risk for developmental delays if exposed to high concentrations of lead, however not drinking water puts them at greater risk for the many health issues mentioned above. If I had 100,000 dollars, I would contribute it to address the lead contaminated water in Baltimore schools.

Most Baltimore schools cannot afford to completely replace their plumbing, but there is research being conducted on more affordable solutions. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has certified filtration options for lead contaminated drinking water that are more affordable than reworking plumbing. With $100,000, I could provide as many as 250 NSF certified filtration units connected to water faucets, or 2,000 NSF certified filtered water pitchers to be distributed to classrooms, affecting upwards of 50,000 Baltimore students. Children spend a lot of waking hours in schools and they should not have to choose between contaminated water or thirst and dehydration as they learn.


Saaliha Khan l Carnegie Mellon University

Imagine a vibrant, pluralistic, and peaceful society in which each citizen is contributing constructively to the future of our shared humanity.

As a Muslim American bridge-builder, I aspire to turn that vision into a reality – through bringing people of different backgrounds together for the sake of our greater good. I would use the $100,000 to impact my community by building bridges of mutual respect and understanding.

In light of rising hate crimes nationwide, I seek to build justice and peace by fostering hope over fear. To build a culture of lasting positive change, I would partner with academic, civic, and grassroots organizations to examine and implement best practices that eliminate hate speech, hate crimes, and discriminatory practices. This funding would help cultivate the conditions, institutions, and relationships that aim to reduce the rate at which violent hate crimes are committed.

Funding would be granted for research and programming, including initiatives that facilitate interfaith dialogue and community building. Schools & universities, faith-based organizations, and community-based organizations would be funded to build a curriculum and offer opportunities to advance diversity-related research, interfaith partnerships, and joint service action programs. This would bridge the gap of misperception by facilitating understanding – changing hearts and minds – through providing opportunities for individuals to get to know one another on an interpersonal level, while also building change on an institutional level.

By cultivating a sense of mutual respect among people of different backgrounds, we would forge a more resilient, pluralistic, and just future for generations to come.





Kendrell Harrison l West Chester University

Communities operate in a manner similar to that of a garden. They are empty blocks of soil that provide the starting grounds for all life. Each garden contains a set of seeds that will one day flourish and bloom into beautiful flowers. This growth however, can only be achieved if these seeds are provided with proper resources. If the flowers are not given adequate care, they face stunted growth, being consumed by weeds, or death. Children are our freshly planted flower seeds. Without love, guidance, and an adequate set of resources, they may fail to bloom. Knowing this, I find it imperative that we give back to the community. For my community, I would place a large emphasis on improving the school system, specifically by increasing funding and donating resources to the schools. This allows us to make an impact on some of the most vulnerable people in the community. When I was in grade school I remember using textbooks that were terribly outdated, and the only time I got new books was when I decided to take AP classes in high school. A school cannot facilitate the educational growth of its students if they are not supplied with learning materials that are both updated and abundant in nature. Money alone cannot solve every challenge that the school systems are presented with. But I firmly believe that increasing funding and providing schools with more resources is a crucial step in ensuring that these students receive a fair and proper education.


Alisha Jimenez-Thompson l Case Western Reserve University School

As a future dental public health professional, I would use the $100,000 to implement an HIV screening program in local dental offices. The mouth is often the first part of the body to show signs of infection with HIV. For people who are unaware of their HIV status, certain HIV-associated oral malignancies, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, can be signs of infection. By recognizing these symptoms, dentists can use oral HIV tests to diagnose infection within 20 minutes. Dentists could then to refer HIV-positive patients to medical care so that they may begin antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible. Patients that have already been diagnosed with HIV that are on antiretroviral therapy and have undetectable viral loads cannot spread the virus. On the other hand, people who are unaware of their HIV positive status are said to contribute to one-third of ongoing transmissions of the virus in the United States. Each oral HIV test would cost approximately $8 per patient, compared to approximately $20 thousand per patient in antiretroviral therapy that would be averted annually by preventing the spread of HIV through early diagnosis. Providing HIV testing in dental offices would play a critical role in HIV prevention efforts by reaching a broader population than current testing methods. In the state of Ohio, nearly 1,000 new HIV infections are recorded each year. I have worked closely with over 600 low-income people with HIV in my community, and have witnessed the socioeconomic and emotional impact of the virus firsthand.


2 Awards


August 01, 2019