AUM’s Wallace gets $10,000 scholarship for students coping with bereavement
Destiny Wallace, a student at Auburn University in Montgomery, has won a $10,000 scholarship that encourages young people to continue their education despite the heartbreak they experience in life.
The psychology major persevered in school after losing her mother to domestic violence. Wallace was 14 at the time. Wallace has a younger brother and his father is in jail, she said.
She won the scholarship in an essay contest organized by Bold.org, a leading independent scholarship provider committed to eliminating student debt and democratizing philanthropy.
MMA fighter Cat Zingano created the scholarship following the suicide of her husband, who was also her trainer.
Wallace said the money will help her pay the bills while she pursues her passion. “My career goal is to further my education here at Auburn University in Montgomery to get my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “From then on, I could take the AUM graduate program to specialize in clinical counseling in hopes of furthering my education to become a psychiatrist.”
Wallace, from Birmingham, wrote a deeply moving essay when applying for the award. She revealed the trauma she and her younger brother faced when they lost their mother. Wallace could either be a role model for his brother or allow tragedy to set her on the path to anger. “My goal from this traumatic situation is to create my legacy to the world and other people like me that your life doesn’t end there,” she wrote in the essay.
Zingano created the scholarship for brave students, just like Wallace. The scholarship was inspired by Zingano’s personal experience battling loss and grief, including the death of her mother from cancer while Zingano was in college and the death of her husband in 2014. Although Zingano has had to face serious difficulties, she continues to fight on and off the mat.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to have met Destiny and to be able to help support her on her journey. She is a bright and driven young woman pursuing a future of helping people, drawing inspiration from all hard times she’s been through. Her strength is remarkable and I believe she will do great things,” Zingano said.
Wallace said the money helped her pay for tuition and fees for the upcoming fall semester. “Winning this scholarship is a dream come true. I am grateful and honored to know that my voice counts. I stand firm in the saying that “the challenges you’ve fought or might go through don’t define who you are or where you will end up being.” It was a great experience meeting Cat Zingano and sharing our stories with each other – stories that have led us to both help others and educate others facing similar challenges,” Wallace said. .
Zingano is one of a strong list of public figures who are keen to support education on Bold.org.
Previous sponsors of the Bold.org Scholarship include professional tennis player Sloane Stephens, producer and DJ 3LAU, actor Terry Crews, NFL players JuJu Smith-Schuster and Brandon Zylstra, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, Grammy-winning band Imagine Dragons, singer-songwriter Clairo, actress Jameela Jamil and others.
Wallace discovered the scholarship opportunity while researching college funding sources online. Wallace said psychology has always been something that has fascinated and challenged his mind, wanting to know why people do the things they do.
She said the nature of her mother’s passing helps keep her mind focused on her goals. “It gives me strength and leadership to be there for others because I am not the only person who has dealt with loss and few people get the support they need, may feel lonely or may even just giving up on life or feeling like they have no reason to continue,” she said. “However, I am here to show others that I am that inspiration and that hope. You have a purpose with many blessings to pour out into the world because what happens to you does not define your life, your character, your spirit and your self.
Founded in November 2019, Bold.org works to reduce student debt. Bold.org provides a platform for any person or business to create custom scholarships, fellowships, or grants.