One of Pamela’s teachers described her as “a light for others and a pillar of constant progress and true community.” At Urban Assembly Maker Academy, the teacher wrote, “Pam has been critical to selflessly building and maintaining a schoolwide sense of community.” Her grades are solid, and her averages have risen significantly from year to year. Pamela has overcome challenges, including the death of a beloved uncle who was a father figure, and stepping up to take the lead in caring for her siblings when her mother came down with Covid.

Pamela’s achievements have grown from a foundation of finding her own identity. In grade school, one of two Black children in her class, “I never really thought about who was alike and who wasn’t,” she wrote in her essay, “but as I grew older I began to be more aware of our differences.” She deliberately sought out a diverse high school. “It was the first time I felt like I belonged in a place where I was continuously surrounded by people of color. My new friends challenged the stereotype of how black people are portrayed by mainstream culture. We are students who have pride in our academic achievement, and we are friends with our loud moments and challenging times. All of these traits show that blackness is not one thing: not ghetto if loud or white when proper. This has enabled me to feel secure about the experiences that have informed the way I carry myself, regardless of who I’m around. I’m not ‘supposed’ to act like anyone other than myself.”

Pamela speaks passionately about diversity and identity, and hopes to choose a college that celebrates her identity. There she expects to major in health science, with a clear goal: “I want to be – I will be – a general surgeon.”

Many thanks to Alexander Marson for supporting Pamela through her college journey.