Michelle Deng, Jimmy Nguyen and C. Jacob Payne were named QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship recipients. Only 767 students nationwide were awarded the scholarship this year.
Skyline High School’s Deng, Dobson High School’s Nguyen and Red Mountain High School’s Payne have received the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship. The program links high-achieving, low-income students with admission and full scholarships to QuestBridge partner colleges.
Match school: University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
Future plans: I plan on studying biological sciences. Because the University of Chicago has a core curriculum, I will be able to pursue interests outside of my major and maybe earn a double major. Right now, I am interested in double majoring in political science. After my undergraduate studies, I hope to further my education by attending medical school. Ever since I was a child, I have dreamed of becoming a pediatrician.
Advice to freshmen: Participate. As a timid, introverted freshman, the thought of engaging in extracurricular activities and even speaking with most of my classmates frightened me and prevented me from participating in all of the events that interested me. Over time, I started to engage more and because of it, I have met friends I would not have otherwise. Clubs have truly enriched my high school experience — I encourage everyone to join at least one club.
How Mesa Public Schools helped in her journey: Mesa Public Schools introduced me to the friends, teachers and counselors who would ultimately shape who I am today. Without it, I would not have met the teachers who inspire me to work hard and make me truly want to learn. The counselors and advisors made sure I was ready for college and provided all the helpful guidance I could wish for. Last but not least, I owe my sanity to my friends who have stuck with me through hectic finals weeks and late nights.
Match school: Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire
Future plans: I plan on studying economics and creative writing. Recently I’ve been looking more into economics, and it seems like I need to pursue more skills in mathematics if I want to go for my master’s and someday, a PhD. I’ll explore a wide variety of classes at Dartmouth, so we’ll see how I adjust my goals over time. Whatever I pursue, it’ll be a field that makes me happy. Hopefully, I’ll hold a job that’s writing-intensive and utilizes what I’ve learned in economics.
Advice to freshmen: First, surround yourself with people you admire and respect. This gives you a good idea what needs to be done to achieve your personal definition of success. Talk to upperclassmen. Make friends with them. These older students are just like you, only a year ahead in their experiences. Second, please stop being so intense about everything. You could have less stress and get the same amount of work completed. Of course, this is easier said than done. If you know you’re a good student, you’re going to make yourself earn that good grade no matter what happens because that’s just who you are. Finally, don’t care about what everyone thinks about you. That’ll slow down your progress. Sometimes you might feel uncomfortable. That’s OK, it’s just another learning experience that’ll help you become a better person.
How Mesa Public Schools helped in his journey: The teachers are super supportive. They put so much time into their students just so we can optimize our success. Without them, applying to college would’ve been difficult. For the past year, the QuestBridge application process has been a struggle. But because of their guidance, I was able to stay on top of everything and submit an awesome application.
C. Jacob Payne
Match school: Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
Future plans: I’ve narrowed my choices down to either architecture or environmental studies. Both of these fields have interested me for quite some time and I can’t wait to try them out next year. I might even end up having a double major if I can’t choose! After I obtain my bachelor’s degree, I plan on pursuing a master’s to further my education. With these degrees, I hope to become either an architect specializing in sustainability or a chief sustainability officer for a corporation. Regardless of the career path I choose, I want to leave a lasting positive impact on the environment.
Advice for freshmen: Challenge yourself and test your limits. Once you think you’ve almost hit your breaking point, push a little further. The only way to truly be prepared for the future is to surpass your supposed limitations. Finding that medium where you’re constantly engaged but never overwhelmed is essential to success.
How Mesa Public Schools helped in his journey: Having attended Mesa Public Schools since kindergarten, I owe all or at least a great portion of my success to that fact. This district has provided me with a seemingly endless string of amazing teachers who have helped me grow into the person I am today. It is their devotion to my education and personal investments into my life that pushed me to always try my best in everything I attempt. And for this, I will be forever indebted to them.
– Heidi Hurst is supervisor of district communications for Mesa Public Schools.