Raymond High School senior Charity Moody's interest in biology began after her father's substance abuse-related death. His death inspired her to pursue a career in biology and neuroscience, so others wouldn't have to suffer the way that her family has. Now, thanks to her newly awarded Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship, she'll have the financial resources she needs to fulfill her dream.
Being selected as a Millennium Scholar out of the more than 20,000 students who applied is not only a great honor that recognizes Moody's high school achievements, but it will also give her the financial means to complete her undergraduate and graduate studies.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program was established in 1999 and initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. GMS is largest minority scholarship program in the U.S. and has funded more than 13,000 students since its founding. The scholarship financially supports its recipients throughout their undergraduate studies, and this support is continued if the scholars pursue graduate work in one of the GMS' target disciplines.
GMS' defining goal is to provide minority students with the financial resources to support the furtherance of their education, while simultaneously helping them to reach their highest potential.
Moody, 18, will use her scholarship to do her undergraduate work in the fall at Tougaloo College in Jackson. She will study biology, and after receiving her bachelor's, she hopes to pursue a doctorate in neuroscience.
"One of my Upward Bound teachers Mr. Castilla encouraged me to do it, my teacher Ms. Elton encouraged me, and also my great-grandmother encouraged me too, and she's 90," Moody says.
"They kept urging me and urging me to apply, so I listened and finally applied. I'm glad I did."
"It's been a pleasure working with Charity. She is a very committed and outgoing young lady. We felt she would be an excellent candidate because of her tenacity in the classroom. She is a good student," says Reginald Castilla, one of the teachers who worked with Charity during her involvement with Jackson State University's Upward Bound.
The scholarship is recognition for Moody's academic achievements; she will graduate from Raymond High School with a cumulative GPA of 3.6. GMS also acknowledges her extracurricular activities, which include the Raymond High School marching band and the Upward Bound program.
Moody currently lives in Ellis, and says she is excited about her award and her upcoming high school graduation.
Congratulations Ms. Moody. Your future looks bright. Stay focused and positive and the sky is the limit!!!!!!
- Renaldo Bryant
Congrats young lady. You picked a good school to get a good education. Tougaloo has a very good science program that will leave you prepared for the wider world and grounded in humanity and humility. Remember the less fortunate after you make good on your career goals.