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Ray of Light


  • Clinton DaCosta

Kaliyah Johnson

2023 Anthony and Marcia Baker Scholarship Awardee

Growing up in South Florida, I have had the opportunity to observe many disparities within my community. One of the disparities I have seen is the quality of care given to the people in the community. Many of the people in my community have a lack of trust in healthcare

professionals due to past experiences. I have also witnessed many students who have the potential to be successful academically, and go on to be successful professionally, fall victim to their environment.

I believe that if more academic resources were invested into the youth, and if

more African Americans become health professionals, it will bridge the gap between patient care and patient trust while preserving the culture. It is because of this belief that I want to impact the next generation by pushing the importance of academic success. To do this, I decided to pursue a career as a Pediatrician, by majoring in Biology Pre-med.

It is very important to me to not only be successful in my life, but to give back to

underrepresented communities. Most minority students struggle in science and other areas that may not be presented to them in a way they can understand it. My parents knew that this may have been the same for me due to my environment, so they pushed the importance of science. I grew up doing exciting science projects at home that kept me interested in learning more about science. Majoring in Biology while taking a Pre-med track is the first step in bridging the health and educational gaps in my community. I want people to feel comfortable while receiving the care they need because they see someone that looks like them caring for them. I want students of any age to know that it is okay to indulge in areas outside of their normal box, such as subjects like science, math, and even reading. As a Pediatrician I will be able to encourage learning while gaining the trust of the children I care for. The children that will be our future.

My dream of becoming a doctor is linked to my dreams of helping others aspire to being the best version of themselves possible. I would love to not only expose children in my office to living a healthier life, but I want to help encourage them to not limit themselves because of the environments they grew up in or situations they were exposed to. I want to take their focus off material things and push the importance of improving their quality of life through academic excellence. I believe they can be whatever they want to be, no matter how unbelievable it may seem. To assist them on their own personal journey, I plan on providing new educational experiences for the youth through programs that help them build knowledge in areas they would struggle in. I also want to offer scholarships that will give them the opportunity to go to college

and not be burdened by the cost. All these opportunities will be provided through my non-profit mentoring organization, which I plan to start in the future.

I am not a perfect student, but I am imperfectly the perfect version of myself. I learned through my personal experiences to NEVER give up. Through all the obstacles I have faced in finding who I really am, I learned that failures can fuel success (if you learn from them).

Everyone’s journey through life is different. Many of us are heading to the same destination, but we must take a different path to get there. This scholarship will assist me in achieving my dreams of becoming a Pediatrician by helping me pay for college. I know that in college, I may experience obstacles and situations that I have not seen before, but I am determined to give it my

all. I am determined to impact the next generation by linking academic success to healing our communities.

The next generation will have the potential to change the world, and I plan to be an investor in their success.


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