Written by Zoe Engels, Blog Contributor
During the virtual Award Ceremony on July 26, 2022, we recognized this year’s recipients of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Organ and Tissue Donation Advocacy Scholarship, Student Advocacy Scholarship, and Laurie Smith Memorial Scholarship. The five HBCU Organ and Tissue Donation Advocacy Scholars are Hope Bryant (Howard University), Jessica Cody (Hampton University), Fatou Mbaye (North Carolina A&T), Tykia Swint (Florida A&M University), and Kennedy Thompson (Lincoln University). The five Student Advocacy Scholars are Loralee Bergdall (University of California, Berkeley), Brianne Dollar (Georgia Southern University), Audrey Dwyer (DePaul University), Laken Kincaid (John Carroll University), and Joshua Reynolds (Northern Virginia Community College). The Laurie Smith Memorial Scholar is Armin Muzafirovic (Iowa State University).
To learn more about SODA’s 2022 scholarships and the organizations that sponsored them, Hearts for Russ and Second Chance Fundraising, check out this blog.
The evening began with an introduction from Nicole Nidea, SODA’s Program Director, who shared that SODA chapters have educated more than 40,000 people about organ donation and registered over 2,900 to date. Through their current accomplishments and future work, the winners will help add to these life-saving numbers. In addition to a $1,000 scholarship, they will host an advocacy event on their respective college campuses this fall. SODA will provide support for the event through mentorship, funding, supplies, how-to resources, and more.
Left to right, top to bottom: Hope Bryant, Jessica Cody, Fatou Mbaye, Tykia Swint, and Kennedy Thompson, Loralee Bergdall, Brianne Dollar, Audrey Dwyer, Laken Kincaid , and Joshua Reynolds, Armin Muzafirovic
Beth Riley, Hearts for Russ Secretary, introduced the organization and HBCU Organ and Tissue Donation Advocacy Scholarship. This scholarship celebrates students at HBCUs who are passionate about organ donation education and encouraging their peers, family, and community members to register as organ and tissue donors. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 29 percent of the transplant waiting list is composed of African Americans while only 13 percent of organ donors are African American. The students are working to decrease this gap and change the statistics through their organ donation advocacy and education efforts.
Later, Craig Smith, Executive Director of Second Chance Fundraising, introduced the organization and the Student Advocacy and Laurie Smith Memorial Scholarships. The Student Advocacy Scholarship celebrates students’ work in educating others about the life-saving cause that is organ donation, and the Laurie Smith Memorial Scholarship celebrates the impressive advocacy efforts and accomplishments of an organ recipient.
Throughout the Award Ceremony, each winner had the opportunity to share an excerpt from the essay they submitted with their application and share their personal connection to organ donation. It was great to hear them read aloud from their essays and express their passion for organ donation advocacy.
Congratulations to all of the award recipients!