Gates Millennium Scholarship Makes Theology Majors UD Education Possible

Gates Millennium Scholarship Makes Theology Majors UD Education Possible

 

Amanda Jewett, BA '15, plays both the ukulele and guitar and recently performed at a Cap House with her roommate.

"It's a form of procrastination," she laughed. But she agreed that it's also a good stress reliever: "I always feel calmer after I play the guitar. I do love it."

Jewett, who is a 2011 Gates Millennium Scholar, has not often been able to succumb to procrastination. The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, awards full scholarships to 1,000 recipients yearly at the college or university of the student's choice.

Jewett applied when she was a senior at her all-girls' Catholic high school in El Paso; the application process is rigorous, requiring students to write eight essays.

"They look at academics, extracurricular activities and awards," Jewett said. "You have to provide recommendations from two people: one who knows your academic strengths, like a teacher, and one who knows you outside of school."

The GMS Program seeks to promote academic excellence and provide opportunities for minority students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need. In Jewett's case, her mother is Native American; Jewett was born on an Oglala Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota.

"In my mother's tribe, there's a lot of poverty," Jewett said. "Lots of kids apply for this scholarship because it's the only way they'll be able to go to college."

One of Jewett's older sisters was also a Gates Millennium Scholar. Jewett, however, was reminded of the scholarship at her largely Hispanic high school in El Paso, where the students are strongly encouraged to apply.

"I feel so grateful for this scholarship because if I hadn't gotten it, I wouldn't be at UD. My mother is very against taking out loans," Jewett said. "My younger brother just finished the application process. I really hope he gets it and can come to UD next year."

Jewett, a theology major, is discerning for a religious vocation. If she doesn't end up going that route, she wants to work with or for the Catholic Church in some way. She has been working with Catholic Charities this school year through Faith in Public Life and had an internship with the Diocese of El Paso last summer. In her spare time, besides playing the guitar and ukulele, she volunteers with Campus Ministry and also enjoys reading.

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