Meet the 2021 Scholars

Get to know the hopes, dreams, and talents of this year's winners.

Mikayla P.

Undergraduate Recipient

"Living through a global pandemic with a chronic illness, what is one piece of inspirational advice that you would give to other students with CF who are in the same or similar position?"

Much of my childhood was spent in isolation to prevent illness, watching other children experience make memories from my window. Because of this experience, I understand the difficulty of long-term isolation children face amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. With the closure of my dance studio, I had significantly more time on my hands; thus, I formed a goal to use my time to make a difference. After weeks of research, I learned of the Covid NineTEEN Project on Good Morning America. The project is a non-profit organization founded and run by teens with a mission of supporting elementary school students, both academically and emotionally, during this time of isolation. Without hesitation, I applied to be a volunteer and was ecstatic, only imagining how improved my childhood would have been if I had access to such a program. Within days, my application was approved, allowing me to begin tutoring and leading activities for children around the world via Zoom. Since August 2020, I’ve had the privilege of tutoring and leading activities such as Hip Hop Dance, Creative Writing, and Craft Corner. So far, I have mentored hundreds of hours and accepted promotions to the Tutoring Administration Team and Management Board: Volunteer Management Division, where I oversee the project’s 329 teen mentors. The compassion I have for children who experience social isolation strongly drives my goal to make a difference. In the end, I received so much back and would advise anyone in a similar isolated situation to set a meaningful goal.

Mikayla P.'s Artwork

Mikayla P.'s Achievements

  • Competitive Dance, 2012-2020
  • The Covid NineTEEN Project’s Management Board: Volunteer Management Division, 2021
  • Modern Dance Company, Dancer & Choreographer, 2019-2021
  • National Honor Society, 2020-2021
  • Tri-M Music & Dance Honor Society, 2019-2021
  • Dance Show & Musical, Dancer & Choreographer, 2017-2021
  • Volunteer Elementary and Middle School Tutor, 2020-2021
  • United Nations Association: Community Service Ambassador, 2020-2021
  • Bartender at Valleywood Golf Course, 2021
  • Accepted into University of St. Thomas’ Aquinas Scholars Honors Program, 2021