Hadley W., 16 – Funded

Right now, Hadley W. has her sights set on Dartmouth College and Norwegian University of Science and Technology to pursue studies in neuroscience, psychology, and/or law. The junior at the Thaden School in Bentonville, Arkansas is interested in a career as a forensic psychologist or an attorney, but there are so many things she would love to learn about and do. Ultimately, this Girl on the Rise dreams of simply finding success in a career she enjoys.

What is something you are most proud of?

Last spring, I won second place in Conference and fifth place in State discus throw in track. I never thought of myself as an athlete, so it has been fun to try something out of my comfort zone, learn to enjoy it, practice, and then be rewarded with success.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

After moving to Alaska briefly, my parents divorced and my mom, brother, and I moved back to Arkansas but had no home and had to start over. I went to four different schools in four years and life felt chaotic and unpredictable. School became something that I could focus on where I could challenge myself to be successful no matter where I was or what else was going on. It has shown me that I cannot control everything, but that I can handle anything and invest in myself and my future.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

Reading the biographies of participants of Girls on the Rise on the website was inspiring. Seeing how other girls my age manage personal challenges along with the stress of school and planning for college helps me to feel I, too, can get through this and achieve my dreams.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

I was inspired by the prospect of receiving a scholarship that could help with many things, including ACT classes.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

I am spending the spring trimester this year at the Mountain School in Vermont. Since I will be in New England, I will use some of the funding to visit schools in the region that I would not otherwise be able to see in person. College is going to be an important and transformative life experience and I think it is important to visit campuses and talk to students and admissions at schools I am interested to find what will be the best match for me academically, personally, and financially. It is stressful to try to make choices about the future without having an idea of what a place is like so this will be a valuable tool in my journey.

So many college websites and descriptions start to look alike, and it is hard to get a feel for what is real. To be able to see and experience a place where I plan to spend four years feels important to me — especially if it is far from home.

What schools will you use the funding to visit, and why?

Dartmouth, Bowdoin, MIT, Boston College, and Middlebury.