We are very pleased to introduce the winner of the 2017 Focus on Your Future Scholarship Essay contest. Isabel is a student at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. Like many patients with ADHD, she was diagnosed in grade school, but it wasn’t until high school when she started to really struggle with the academic demands.
In high school she was frustrated that many of her peers were performing better and grasped the concepts much easier than she. After falling behind in most of her classes, she took charge of both her educational and medical well-being. She obtained a 504 education plan to help her manage some of her barriers to learning. She also started treating her ADHD with medication and using organizational techniques that in her words, “enabled me to utilize the knowledge I possessed all along, but up until that point, struggled to organize and apply.” She even improved her diet and sleep habits and began to exercise more regularly.
Once she was able to focus on her classes, Isabel says, “It was not a matter of not being smart enough, but instead, a matter of unscrambling the jumbled thoughts in my head.” Now that she had that focus she also realized her love for mathematics and even made the Varsity Math Team her senior year, which moved on to win the State Championships! That same year Isabel also started volunteering as a teacher’s assistant for students with learning disabilities. With over 150 volunteer hours serving the youth in Charleston, it’s no surprise that she is now pursuing a career in education, with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Now on her way earn her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with minors in Computer Science and Women and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston, she is a member of the Bonner Leader Program, which is a four year civic leadership and development program for student advocates for social justice and change. She is also a volunteer with Girls Rock Charleston, a grassroots nonprofit that uses music as a vehicle for social change and builds power among girls in Charleston, South Carolina. After finishing her bachelor’s degree she plans on attending graduate school for a Master’s Degree in Education.
Focus-MD is honored to award Isabel $1,000 towards her tuition to help her reach her dreams of becoming a Math Teacher. Her desire to help other students that face similar learning struggles is a testament to her character and hard work. It is clear that her focus is not only on her future, but the future of her community.