Michele, 18 – FUNDED

As a first-generation college student, Michele Lin knows a thing or two about working hard and blazing her own trail. And, that’s just what this inspiring 1,000 Dreams Fund Scholarship recipient plans to keep doing at Barnard College of Columbia University as a prospective chemistry and computer science major. She wants to emerge as a strong female leader in the male-dominated STEM fields while encouraging other women to do the same.

What is your professional dream?

My dream is to pursue a career in STEM and emerge as a strong female leader in a field that’s traditionally been dominated by men.

How will you use the 1,000 Dreams Scholarship?

For a full-time chemistry and computer science student, it’s difficult to earn extra money while devoting most of my time to academics and research opportunities. This scholarship will provide me relief and allow me to have more control about where I’m focusing my energy. The funds will reduce the cost of expensive textbooks, which are crucial to the educational experience because they are used in almost every course and provide windows to knowledge for a well-rounded education. If I have more access to textbooks and other education-related materials, I can utilize them to develop the skills necessary to achieve my dream of inspiring future girls who are pursuing STEM.

How is this scholarship helping you get closer to your dream?

This generous scholarship will help me further my education as a prospective chemistry and computer science major. My dream to educate, encourage, and empower future girls interested in the STEM field would not be possible without support from 1,000 Dreams Fund.

What advice do you have for other young women who are wanting to pursue their dreams?

As a first-generation college student, I know how intimidating it might be to create your own path. In order to succeed as a young woman, you first must have faith in yourself. When you truly believe that you are perfectly capable of accomplishing anything you set your mind to, you will overcome adversity. Remember that dreams are not accomplished immediately, but if you put in the work, dedication, and time, everything will be worth it. Trust your personal timeline because your journey is unique to you, and only you. When new opportunities come knocking, be bold. Open the doors and crush your goals, but remember to uplift other women while you pursue your dreams.

​Have you had any setbacks? How did you move past them?

Growing up in a small, rural community that lacks diversity and opportunities, I overcame challenges and created my own opportunities. I had four jobs my junior year of high school, which negatively impacted my grades. By taking the time to sit down, reorganize, and manage my schedule, I figured it out. Eventually, with a lot of hard work, I persevered and became the valedictorian.

While I juggled school and work, I also applied to a high school research program located an hour away from my hometown. I had the honor of being one of the students accepted. In this new setting there was little room for error, especially with limited time and samples for experiments. Throughout the challenging program, I made many mistakes. Instead of giving up, I was reminded that even in an advanced setting, I have a strong and reliable chemistry foundation to fall back on. Although I did not have as many STEM opportunities that my peers from city schools did, I am passionate about research and diligent about my work.

What’s next for you? What is your next goal?

I want to devote myself to all that an undergraduate college experience can offer. I want to surround myself with diverse people, cultures, and ideas. I want to challenge my ability to excel academically and participate in activities that promote collaboration. Overall, I want to learn, grow, and reach my full potential while pursuing a higher level of education.