$10k Scholarship Finalist

On May 10, 2017, I was carjacked. A man approached my vehicle and said the five words that haunted me for years, “Hey man, I’m getting in.” He opened the door, sat down, asked what year it was, and punched me square in the face. The colors disappeared and all I saw were vertically suspended static waves. The doctors later diagnosed me with my first concussion. At the time, the man directed me to drive because “venomous spiders” were chasing him. He believed these spiders infected everyone. A psychiatric center just released this man who suffered from severe mental illness. So much so that when the police instructed him to cooperate, he assaulted the officer. As a result of this battery, I now suffer from systemic concussions. Over five years, I suffered from eight distinct concussions that have left me legally disabled. For many people in similar cases, this might have been the end of their story. The stress, hopelessness, and symptoms are so severe, some would have simply given up. I was ready to do just that and accept my life as it was: a long symptomatic road chasing a recovery that was not guaranteed. Instead, I used this incident and its fallout as a motivator to become a lawyer and help others who suffer from mental and physical disabilities.

While I have a newfound respect for and desire to help people with disabilities, I continue to cherish another enormous motivator of mine—my love of nature. I grew up outdoors waterskiing, hiking, and snowboarding. Although I may no longer be capable of doing these activities due to my physical limitations, I still love nature and am grateful for its finite resources. I want to ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to connect with our beautiful world. With pollutants destroying our planet and natural resources, I fear that those opportunities may become unattainable. We have already begun to see the effects contaminated drinking water can have on society. Consumers of unsafe drinking water are vulnerable to major health effects and subsequent disabilities: various cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and behavioral issues. These are precisely the consequences I want to stop—negligent contamination and avoidable disabilities.

Ultimately, I hope to use my motivators and law degree in unison to change the world. Whether it be contaminated water, air pollution, or toxic chemicals—I will fight for our Earth and its people. I will tirelessly aim to remove as many of society’s barriers as I possibly can for those with disabilities, while simultaneously defending the planet from preventable harm. The One Lawyer Can Change the World Scholarship would supplement my tuition costs and change my post-graduate world substantially. Allowing me to be more financially secure so I may start in the public interest job I truly crave. As hurt and distraught as I have been due to my own disability, I will try every day to utilize the perspective and compassion it afforded me to continue to empower myself and others.

I plan to build a career in the environmental law practice area. I want to utilize my experience and love of nature to fight for this planet and its inhabitants. My main goal is to eliminate consumption of the harmful pollutants that cause birth defects, behavioral issues, and avoidable disabilities. No living being should be subject to such horrific, preventable circumstances. I will use my degree and passion to find solutions to these treatable problems.

I chose Texas A&M University School of Law because of their noticeable dedication to the success of their students. They offer an extensive number of opportunities, while maintaining genuine relationships with their students. Between their academics and community, I am confident that they will provide me with every tool I need to reach my goal of becoming a lawyer who can change the world.

I would like to thank my support system for all the advice and encouragement they gave me. Throughout this difficult journey, I could always count on them for some wise words, a laugh, or a hug. I would also like to thank my medical providers for all the time they spent trying to fix me, my professors for all the guidance and assistance that led me here, and everyone else who has gracefully helped me along the way.

This scholarship would not only help me financially, but it would also confirm that I am ready to take on this next chapter of my life. The self-doubt my symptoms bring on fades with every accomplishment. While there are some things that I may not be able to do again, I will be able to complete law school and build my dream career. Winning this award would bring me one step closer to overcoming this lingering doubt and free me financially so that I may exclusively focus on my studies and goals.

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