I Have a Dream Scholarship Winners

We’re excited to announce the winners of the Unigo I Have a Dream Scholarship!

“We want to know … what do you dream about? Whether it’s some bizarre dream you had last week, or your hopes for the future, share your dreams with us for a chance to win $1,500 for college.”

For these lucky applicants, dreams of winning a scholarship just came true. Whether it be a deep slumber, carefree daze, or hope for the future, our I Have a Dream Scholarship allows students to let their dreams be their muse. See our past winners and their scholarship responses below.

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2023 Winner

Caylen L.

Bedias, TX.

Medicine is constantly changing and improving; I especially want to be a part of that as an African American female. Being the minority through my years in school, I was told that things would be a great challenge, but instead of choking, I swallowed motivation. By working in the medical field, my passion for helping others could be satiated, but I wasn’t going to allow that to be undermined by racial disadvantages. I want to advocate for aspiring young doctors and aspiring African American women who desire to fulfill a role in healthcare. I want to prove that I am just as adamant as my counterparts and determined to acquire success. Optimism is the root of achieving my goals and realizing how much resilience it would take encouraged me more. Healthcare workers are powerful when it comes to the ability to save the lives of others. My dream is to pursue a future in medicine and hope to increase African American women involvement. My dream is to be a leader, paving the way for future generations in the face of medicine.

2021 Winner

James D. | California Institute of Technology

Huntington Beach, CA

I never viewed technology as a replacement for the human experience. I viewed it as something that could liberate the human experience’ – Sal Khan. Similarly, I see computing and technology as powerful tools to enhance our lives; thus I plan on pursuing a STEM career that enables me to contribute to a better society. Researching topics including space law, nuclear energy, and autonomous weapons, I’ve realized the importance of considering the implications of technological developments when creating them. Two areas that interest me are responsible uses of Artificial Intelligence and social medias distribution of information.

As AI becomes more broadly utilized, society will inevitably change and we need to ensure life improves through its implementation. Autonomous cars can be beneficial as they can reduce traffic and accidents, but similar code can be used in autonomous weaponry, potentially posing an existential threat to humanity. Furthermore, we are witnessing the unintended effects of social media due to widespread misinformation. The consistent lies surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines are potentially hindering our ability to control the pandemic and save lives. Through targeted algorithms, it’s possible to impartially inhibit the spread of false and dangerous information while still allowing for free speech. Therefore, I will utilize a college education to develop the required skills for creating technological advancements while maintaining a broad contextual perspective. I plan on majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Caltech (where I’ve already been accepted), which will bolster my abilities to meet my academic, professional, and life dreams.

2020 Winner

Molly A. | University of Massachusetts Amherst

Centerville, MA

Plastic is found in the deepest parts of the ocean. Soda cans and fast food bags sit among blades of grass that are no longer green. Highways crowded with cars clog the horizon, tails of exhaust climb into the sky, tendrils of smog extend into the atmosphere. Forests are mercilessly stripped of their trees, left barren, made empty. Streams of poison course into rivers, the water no longer life giving, now suffocated, catching fire, toxic, life ending. Communities pushed aside to make way for the fossils under their ground, old bones that now promise profit. Sea level is creeping up, swallowing communities whole and pushing us back, back, back, but to where?

Hot, dry patches of desert expand and consume, water disappears, crops wither into the sand. And yet we dig, we drill, we refine, we extract, we take, we take, we take, we take. But for who? And for what? An economic system fixated on continually extracting more and more from the Earth is incompatible with the health and well being of the environment. A world where we take without giving, receive without thanks and pollute without care is a world that is destined to grow only hotter. I dream of a world where we wake up and realize: this is unacceptable. I dream of a world where balance is restored. I dream of regenerative and reciprocal relationships that seek to foster continual growth, not depletion, and remember that when we take, we must also give.

2019 Winner

Caden P.

Monroe, GA

My dream is to change the world. People attend college for all different reasons. Some people want to get a better paying career with a degree, some go for the “college” experience, and others go to learn. While I fit into all of these categories, I would describe my desire to go to college as the first step in changing the world. My family has been the victim of glioblastoma brain tumors for several years. This awful disease has taken the life of my grandpa, my cousin, my uncle, and my great grandmother. They all fought such tough battles, but glioblastoma brain tumors are very tough to beat with the current medical knowledge and treatment strategies, regardless of how tough a patient fights. That is why it is my goal to get a Bachelor’s degree in biology and then work my way into medical school from there. This seems like a daunting and unlikely task, but every single life changing breakthrough in human history started out in the exact same way, a daunting and unlikely task. It was James Allen who said, “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” My dream is to go to college and end glioblastoma tumors, and scholarships are a financial resource that I need to help me achieve my daunting and unlikely task.

2018 Winner

Jefferson C. | Downers Grove South High School

Westmont, IL

Mid-day summer. Heat is scorching. Buckets of Ivory blue. Brushes pressed against the walls. The men are statues moving the brush. The men fill the room with color. The men spend hours in the same position. Their knees start to crumble. Back starts to worsen. Hands start cracking from the oceans of color. Their lungs fill with carcinogenic particles. The flames arise from the machinery. The ingredients are set forth. Pressure is on. The men assemble the food like machines. Time is ticking. The men work for hours. Through days and nights. Through holidays and special events. The men endure the suffering of humiliation and despair. They endure the cruelty of harsh hours, intensified conditions and the humiliation of working at a low wage job. The men. They have a purpose and desire. They are enduring the pain for others. They are as brave as any soldier. They are as humble as MLK Jr. They are as loyal as any long life friend. They are capable of anything.

Those men are my father. My father’s dream is for my siblings and I to not endure the pain he has suffered. To go through college and achieve a high earning career. To provide like he has throughout all these years. My dream is to follow my father. To provide for those who can’t. To provide for those in need. To doing the right things in life.

2017 Winner

An W.

West Richland, WA

Wield beautifully sharp knives that sing in the air. Slice pork in translucent layers, gristle and fat transform into shimmery ephemeral sheets. Set pan a-sizzle. Savory scent wafts up, drop in rosemary, thyme, potato. Artfully arrange on blindingly white plate. Drizzle thick rich syrup over it all. Judge’s mouth is open, got a little bit of drool there, sir. Audience clamors, wants a closer look. He spears food with fork, brings it steaming to his mouth. Tastes it. Bliss spreads over face. Shouts “First prize, ladies and gents, I give you—”

Wake up. Grasp at that dream, futilely. Can’t remember anymore.

Muster the motivation, somehow, to stand up. Back to the grind, to college, to classes. Lose myself in exams, career-searching, stress. Stomach grumbles. Bite into cold dead sandwich. Memory flashes: exquisite herbs on the best-roasted cuts. Drop tasteless bread. Opt, instead, for lemon ricotta pancakes. Sunny-side eggs. Burn tongue countless times on hot clam chowder. Gather army equipped with spatulas. Make our mark with glorious midnight spaghetti, boiled in golden dim lighting. Custom ramen slurped down against a.m. hours, friends laugh and clutch warm bowls. Roast kale with honey, raisins, nuts — didn’t know green stuff could taste so good. Cocoa cookies. Happiness tastes crunchy, light, delectable. Spread it a little, knock on dorm doors. Watch butterscotch chips melt into smiles.

Fall asleep to minty fresh toothpaste tingles fading on tongue. Dream in flavor.

2016 Winner

Jarom D.

Terre Haute, IN

Hands were made for doing. The hands of a carpenter carve, the hands of a sculptor make beautiful things, the hands of a mother love, the hands of a father protect. Mine are the hands of a house painter. They are covered in wall paints of every hue. The hands of a painter can only do so much at one time, they are limited to the width of a brush. The hands of a painter are constrained to the abilities of the tools he is given, to the room he is placed in. My dream is to be no longer constrained to the room in which I paint. I want to study economics, and affect the lives of people far beyond the reach of my brush. I want to be able to rectify failing economies of rural villages of third world countries all over the world, and in doing so enable and educate others to be able to create self sustaining economies within their villages, and be able to help other villages do the same.

I learned a long time ago that where you are and what you are doing doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you are trying to do, and who you are willing to become. This painter wants to paint a bright future, as an economist, for thousands of lives who might then be able to use their hands to make something beautiful.

2015 Winner

Leann I.

Fort Worth, TX

Frustration, indignation, and infuriation crowd school hallways. Powerful and destructive words of discrimination, transgression, and separation flood every form of social media. It seems nearly impossible to escape this horrendous nightmare when almost every person has been hurt and scarred, to some degree, by degrading name-calling, racial prejudices, or malicious judgments. It’s even harder for me to wake up from this nightmare when I realize this nightmare is what we call reality.

My dream is to live in a world that completely overthrows that nightmare and conquers all bitterness, self-entitlement, pride, and hatred. My dream is to see all people interacting with one another with respect and kindness. I dream of a place where people are not defined by their appearances or their social or economical status. I dream of living in a society that no longer focuses on our differences, but rather, celebrates diversity and appreciates uniqueness so that one day we might all be able to contribute to bettering our world with our individual skills and talents.

Most importantly, I dream of being the change I want to see in the world. My dream is to continue bettering myself every single day. Sometimes, the road gets bumpy. I fail and don’t meet my goal, but then I remember the road less traveled will always be challenging. It will require a high level of self-discipline and patience. However, the reward of inspiring others and changing lives for the better will be worth it. I dream of making a difference.

2014 Winner

Jessica L.

Virginia Beach, VA

Lying down, my body melts deeper into the sheets, transcending reality. A gradual crescendo of the song “Dreamflower” by Tarika Blue seeps into my mental record player. I surrender to the slow, jazzy rhythm that is so smooth, so spiritually captivating that all brain chatter becomes silent. I suddenly hit a concrete sidewalk and experience a second awakening to the night time. I am mellowed by the blue-gray buildings that surround me. The air is humidly heavy of emotion; however no human seems to live here. Everything just seems to make sense, though. Everything just feels right. I pause to analyze the scene, but a giant being of 6 feet tall calmly appears and suggests to me “Hey dear, you’ve gotta keep the beat going.” Getting a better look at his features, I notice that the creature speaking to me is a string bass! He floats majestically, but masks his identity with sunglasses and a beret. I think to myself “He is so unique though, why does he want to blend in? Why doesn’t he want to be noticed?” Then I ask the same questions out loud. The string bass replies, “Well, my dear, this is the city of music! We all exist to blend together. Each element lifts the other higher, creating harmonies, creating peace. We all serve for a greater goal than to simply stand out -We all serve for the song. And that is why you must keep the rhythm going. You now serve a humbling duty.”

2013 Winner

Paige M.

North Port, FL

My uncle always told me to do things in spite of. In spite of others, in spite of circumstance, in spite of financial standing, and in spite of the nagging feeling of doubt that often fills you. My dream is to follow that advice. To be successful in spite of the statistic. The statistic that growing up in a low income family, with family members who’ve been incarcerated, involved in drugs, or torn apart by a nasty divorce, are likely to follow in those footsteps. My dream is to remember the discord I grew up in and learn from it. My dream is that, even though other than my father, no members in my family have attended college that I will. My dream is that even though, in my childhood, I never stayed in one place for long, that my children will have a stable home with parents they can depend on. My dream is that even though my mom never found her dream job that I will find a career that lights a passionate fire within me and puts food on the table. I dream that I will always have enough faith in myself to never turn to drugs or alcohol as a crutch. My dream is for people to look at me, and look at what I’ve accomplished and say, “Look at all she’s done, in spite of.”

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