An Interview with Abby, SAP Bill McDermott Scholarship Recipient

We caught up with Abby E., a 12th grader from Indiana, and this year's $10,000 recipient for the SAP Bill McDermott Scholarship. In partnership with SAP, The SAP Bill McDermott Scholarship is offered to students in GENYOUth programs each year to provide funding for postsecondary education.

As part of her scholarship application, Abby shared how she overcame personal adversity when a close family member developed a disability that removed her ability to hear. Abby taught herself adaptive sign language to communicate and now helps to interpret at activities. Of this challenge, she wrote: “The challenge of trying to communicate with my sister who suddenly lost both crucial means of communication, pushed me emotionally, but has left me with more than I imagined. I have learned that the hard times give a new form of inspiration, and that inspiration mixed with hard work will allow me to accomplish anything. I have seen that our biggest fears may come true, but it’s not a reason to stop, it’s a reason to step up and face them. Our hard work may turn in to failures, but it’s not an excuse to give up, it’s fuel to work harder. Our peers may not understand what we are doing, but it is a motive to teach them.”

Abby is a member of GENYOUth's flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60, the largest in-school health and wellness program in the country.Abby is also a member of the Fuel Up to Play 60 Youth Council, a select group of top leaders in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program who are responsible for providing input on strategic programmatic decisions, being mentors for students across the country, and acting as national representatives for student voice on behalf of FUTP 60 throughout the year.

Student Interview: Abby

Why is this scholarship meaningful to you? This scholarship is meaningful to me not only because it is aiding me to reach my future goals, but because it is due to my involvement in programs that have inspired and prepared me to reach my goals. Without my involvement in GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60, I would have never developed into the student and person I am today. So to have a scholarship symbolizing my growth in these programs and my determination in my personal life is something very special to me.

What degree or general topics do you think you want to pursue and learn more about in college? I intend on pursing a degree in either health sciences or dietetics on the pre-med track to then go on to Medical School. I find the complexities of the human body intriguing and cannot wait to learn more about it. Learning about how the food we eat effects how our body works also intrigues me. Additionally in my studies, I hope to also learn more Spanish and American Sign Language through adding a minor and an additional certificate to my major. Learning these two languages has been important to me and I hope to expand on this knowledge in order to become a more inclusive doctor someday.

Has your involvement in GENYOUth’s programs (i.e. Fuel Up to Play 60) influenced your decision or helped you consider a different career choice/area of study for college than you may have before? While I have been pretty set on the medical track for a while, my involvement in GENYOUth’s program Fuel Up to Play 60 has helped me learn that a challenge is always worth it. Seeing the benefits of taking on challenges during my involvement with the program has inspired me to add on more to my studies besides just my major and besides pursuing only a degree aimed directly for my end goal. Similarly, Fuel Up to Play 60 has also taught me to think outside of the box, which I have been considering with my major. I have considered majoring in dietetics while remaining on the pre-med track, instead of majoring in the more obvious choice. In more ways than one, Fuel Up to Play 60 has inspired me to consider this. The way the program has taught me to explore the “crazier ideas” and my interactions and experiences with dairy councils and dietitians, has led me to considering this major.

What key things did you learn about yourself during your involvement with these programs? During my involvement with Fuel Up to Play 60, I have learned so much about myself as a person. I have learned that my voice matters and that by using it, I am capable of sparking real change. I have also learned that I love public speaking. Before getting involved, I was shyer and afraid to stand up in front of a crowd and share my experiences. Through the training and confidence I have obtained through this program, I have discovered a new passion of public speaking, which I intend to continue using to inspire and motivate others. Lastly, I have learned that I love working with others on a team. Before my involvement, I generally preferred to work alone and feared group work. Now, I have learned that I am capable of being a leader within a team, but a good listener and collaborator at the same time. All of these key things I have learned about myself have developed me as a person and I truly believe will be helpful as I move on from high school.

Congratulations to Abby, Lauryn and Joey, this year's three recipients of the SAP Bill McDermott Scholarship. Next year's applications for qualified juniors and seniors participating in GENYOUth programs will open in Fall 2018.