MCF Scholar Profile: Sierra B.
Thanks to generous donors who believe in the impact that higher education can have on our communities, the Manatee Community Foundation has the pleasure of awarding scholarships to local students. Since 1998, we have been able to award over $50 million in scholarships and grants.
We enjoy following our scholars through their educational journey and we will periodically highlight these exceptional students.
Sierra B. – Braden High School Graduate
High School: Braden River High School
College: University of Florida
Major: Microbiology and Cell Science
Minors: Spanish and Japanese Studies
Medical School: University of Florida College of Medicine
Medical School Graduation Date (Month, Year): May 2023
Next Steps: Pediatric Residency at the University of Chicago
Why did you choose your major?
It was a decision based on both what was practical and what I was personally interested in. I knew from the start that I wanted to go to medical school and wanted to choose a major that covered most of the required classes for medical school admission. From my high school science classes, I knew that I most enjoyed learning about different diseases, how bacteria cause infections, and how our bodies react to those infections. So, I figured microbiology would be a good fit for me. I chose my minors based on what I thought would be interesting and because I like learning foreign languages.
Favorite thing about Manatee County
I think my favorite thing about Manatee County is the variety of activities available. From going to the beach to shopping at Ellenton outlets to getting brunch in downtown Lakewood Ranch to walking the trails of Myakka, it’s hard to be bored in Manatee County. Plus, the warm weather makes these activities enjoyable year-round. I’ll miss the mild winters while in Chicago.
How have MCF scholarships helped you?
Going to college is stressful. Going to college while worrying for money is even more stressful! Although I still had to take out some loans, it was such a relief to know that even part of my education was covered and wouldn’t have to be paid back in the future. Additionally, it provided a lot of motivation to continue doing well in classes and participate in extracurriculars so that I wouldn’t let down the people who were supporting me.
Your mentor(s) and why?
My most recent mentor is one of my anatomy professors at UF. He is so incredibly passionate about medical education and meeting the students where they are while still leaving room for growth. I really admire his dedication and hope to provide the same supportive environment that he created for me to my own students some day.
What piece of advice would you give to high school seniors?
It’s okay not to know what you want to do right now. Even though I went into college thinking that I would be doctor, I definitely had moments where I doubted if it was the right choice for me. I even had a few of these moments while in medical school! It’s scary trying to plan out your whole future while you’re still so young. Go into college with an open mind and be honest with yourself about what you enjoy and where your strengths lie. Mostly, just make sure you enjoy your last year of high school!
What would you like to share with scholarship donors?
Thank you so much for donating to this program. While I know I probably would have still been able to go to college without this scholarship, it would have been much more difficult and medical school would have been a much bigger question. Thanks to your donations, I will be able to be a pediatrician and make a difference in the lives of so many kids!
Any final thoughts?
To anyone reading this who thinks that, while it would be nice to get a scholarship, you don’t have good enough grades or enough extracurriculars or aren’t good enough at writing or whatever, please still apply! You may be surprised at the results.
Best of luck to you, Sierra!
Our general scholarship application cycle opens in December. We take rolling applications for those going to vocational programs at either Manatee Technical, State College of Florida, or University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
If you’d like to support access to education for well-deserving students in our area, you can send a check to Manatee Community Foundation, 2820 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, Florida 34205, with MCF General Scholarship Fund in the memo line or call Alicia Chalmers at 941-747-7765 to discuss.