Students United sponsors $1,000 scholarship

Students United partners with to launch an essay competition with the reward of a $1,000 scholarship. Students from 8-11th grade are applicable and the process is a 650-word essay explaining their passion for STEM or medicine.
Students United partners with to launch an essay competition with the reward of a $1,000 scholarship. Students from 8-11th grade are applicable and the process is a 650-word essay explaining their passion for STEM or medicine.
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Students United, a community organization that facilitates the spread of STEM and medical career related resources, has recently partnered with to launch a $1,000 STEM essay contest.

The founder and president of the organization, senior Caitlin Garrett, was inspired to start the club after living in Dubai for two years as an expat. Garrett was enthralled by the peculiar wealth inequality whilst comparing Emiratis, the extremely affluent natives of U.A.E., to the poverty around them.

“I became fascinated by how governments in different countries create trends where educational inequality is highly prevalent,” Garrett said. “I looked at the United States and I was very interested in rural communities specifically.”

Every year, Students United visits schools in Fall County, TX, an extremely rural town, to help students dive deeper into STEM. In this county’s schools, as well as other elementary schools, the organization occasionally stops by to set up various learning stations focusing on one subject, for example a Java or Python station.

“It’s extremely fulfilling because they have no specialized careers – not even to the extent of female representation,” Garrett said. “So, we come in and show them that if you’re a girl, [for example], you don’t need to be confined to this small view of the opportunities that are provided to you.”

In addition to in-person teaching, Students United also created a workbook on orthopedic surgery and sent it to students in Bee County, TX, another rural community. The field of orthopedic surgeons is only about six percent female and this statistic is seemingly remaining stagnant, so the club deemed it vital to incorporate this deficiency into their lessons.

“We’re trying to get these students to realize that there is a huge gap and that they have the power to fill it,” Garrett said. “So we want to keep on making workbooks for different careers and opportunities that people didn’t know existed.”

When Garrett heard of the possibility to become a donor through, a website with an immense array of scholarships available for all students, she and a group of others immediately got to work to earn this special opportunity.

“We spent the whole summer tutoring,” Garrett said. “It was a lot of work, but eventually we acquired $1,000, which we donated to the scholarship.”

Students United donated this $1,000 to a scholarship to a worthy student. The scholarship is open to 8-11th grade students with a passion for STEM or medicine and the application process is simply writing a 650-word essay that conveys their interest in this field.

“We want to diverge from applications that [are] oriented around GPA and scores,” Garrett said. “We have zero GPA requirements, the main criteria is how well they communicate their passion for STEM, how energized they are, and how much they want to use their excitement to catalyze viable change in the world.”

So far, Students United has already received around an astonishing 2,000 applicants and the deadline to apply is Nov. 26.

“I already started reviewing some of the essays and I was near tears,” Garrett said. “The essays are beautiful; how do I choose just one? I really wish we had more money because then I could give [the scholarship] to more people.”

Students United may not be able to award the scholarship to multiple people, but they continue to ensure that they are impacting a wide range of students in many other ways. The officers have ambitious plans for the future of their club.

“I’d like to build on Caitlin’s idea of sending packages to schools, formulating a lesson plan, and visiting more rural schools so that we can inform them of STEM pathways,” secretary and junior Maria Kondrouf said.

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About the Contributor
Aisha Rashid
Aisha Rashid, Editor
Aisha Rashid is a junior, elated to be Feature Editor this year on the Voice. She is the president of the ConnectHER club, secretary of Muslim Culture Club, secretary of NEHS and treasurer of MYNA Austin. In her free time, Aisha loves spending time with family and friends, baking, volunteering and traveling.

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