Natalie Cunningham, 19 – FUNDED

Natalie Cunningham will be the first to admit she is pursuing a profession — law enforcement! — that is male-dominated. But, this 1,000 Dreams Fund Scholarship recipient knows women can be just as successful if they believe in themselves — and they can prove to others just how much they deserve to be there! Her plan is to attend Park University in the fall, eventually graduating with her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in criminal justice.

What is your professional dream?

My professional dream is to be a homicide detective in the FBI. Ever since I was little, I knew law enforcement was the profession I wanted to pursue. Each and every day, law enforcement faces new challenges and has the opportunity to help those who need it the most.

How will you use the 1,000 Dreams Scholarship?

I plan to use the scholarship for extra school expenses throughout the school year — things like my books and class materials.

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

This scholarship is helping alleviate the stress of expenses that many college students face in college. Without as much financial stress on my plate. I can focus more on my schoolwork and excel in my classes. And, excelling in classes and earning my degree early will help set me apart from other candidates in the law enforcement field, pushing me closer to my end goal.

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

As a woman wanting to pursue a career in a male-dominated field, I think my biggest piece of advice is to know your worth. While you may be the minority in your field, you can excel and succeed just as much — or more — as others.

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

I have not had any huge setbacks in my life so far. However, even with little bumps in the road, you have to keep moving forward. One thing I tell myself is that it will all be worth it when you finally achieve your dreams.

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

My next big goal is to graduate college with my bachelor’s degree. By doing so, I will be able to move forward in my career and begin gaining the experience I need to move up in the law enforcement field.