Tamara (Sociology, Cornell University)

For Tamara, Wings Academy in the South Bronx is an island in a stormy sea. On the streets around the school, she wrote in her essay, “Substance abuse, high crime rates and gun violence are a normal part of our lives.” Within that school, one of her teachers wrote, Tamara “stands out as the school’s most involved and driven student,” whose “greatest strength is her ability to advocate for herself and her community.” In that school community, in which she is vice president of her class, her impact will reach beyond her own class. She has successfully advocated for the school to fund SAT preparatory sessions, after she had already taken the exam herself. In a turbulent life, Tamara’s mother, who works as a security guard, has been a constant support. Tamara’s goal is to be a lawyer, to “work actively to fix the injustices within the criminal justice system and advocate for people who come from communities like mine.” Tamara was admitted early to Cornell, and she has a clear view of her path ahead. “Cornell,” she wrote, “allows me to explore an array of subjects that will prepare me to become a lawyer and an advocate for those who do not have a voice.”