Mikyla W., 17 – Funded

Spelman, Vassar, Howard, and Hampton are all at the top of the college wish list for Mikyla W., a senior at Tamalpais High School in California. After going to a four-year college, this Girl on the Rise always planned on keeping the learning going at grad school, pursuing a subject she’s passionate about. For now, her interests lie in studying social justice, environmental justice, and some language courses.

What is something you are most proud of?

I am proud to be alive, healthy, and mentally stable (for the most part). I am also proud of myself for sticking to my path and keeping up with my grades in school — and always having the drive to take the things I know I deserve.

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

To protect my mental health, I’ve just kind of grown to deal with my family issues; I have to ignore them and focus on all the things that will help my future.

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

This is a very big thing for me. In the past, I’ve had a lot of disappointment — especially in myself — so getting this scholarship has been really good for my self-esteem. With this grant, I am also saving a lot of money, and I am now able to invest more into my future.

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

My Big Sister (from Big Brothers Big Sisters Bay Area) reminded me that the program wasn’t just something for those of us coming from low-income backgrounds. It would also prepare me for the next few scholarships that I have to apply for!

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?

In my AVID class, we learned that once people get into college, sometimes they don’t stay. And a lot of the reasons behind that simply boil down to the college not being a fit for them. By going on college tours, I can get a really good, personal feel for the schools — and it will help me decide which is best for me.

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

The schools I want to visit are Spelman College, Hampton University, Howard University, Xavier College, Smith College, Hamilton University, and Vassar College. With most of these schools being HBCUs, I am really taking into account my environment. For most of my life, I have been around white people and I think a change of scenery will do me some good. I also like the idea of a smaller liberal arts schools — mostly in urban areas — that appreciate underrepresented students.