Tinson HOPE scholarship 11-2013 1My mother was very protective of my twin brother and I. To not be so, would have been reckless in South Central Los Angeles.

Growing up in my neighborhood came with familiar stereotypes: drug addicts on the street, gang graffiti on every surface and fights over insignificant things. My mother made sure we were so busy being nurtured at school and church or serving in the community that getting into the trouble that seemed unavoidable for so many of my friends was impossible for us.

At the age of 16, my older brother was killed in a drive-by-shooting. At that point, I could no longer ignore or pretend away the social problems of my community. It was then, that I decided that I would be and do more.

I applied and was accepted to Dillard University. Dillard has helped me understand black culture in a way that makes me proud of my heritage and confident in my ability to make good on my promise to improve help change the circumstances that plagued my neighborhood.

At Dillard, I have begun my journey to make social change as a student leader in the roles of Senior and Junior Class president and president of the Dillard University NAACP chapter. In these positions I have organized community service events for Hurricane Sandy, a series of city-wide community discussions on a range of topics including the 2012 presidential election, a discussion on the use of the “N word,” and events to help students improve their professionalism.

I am also Dillard’s financial learning ambassador where my responsibility and goal is to teach students and the New Orleans community about personal finance. I held the honor of being the keynote speaker for the 21st Annual Take Back the Night in New Orleans event which focused on domestic violence. I also organized a World’s AIDS day event, a topic that is critical to the African-American and African Diaspora communities.

Dr. Cornell West said, “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people”.

I’m committed to improving the socioeconomic circumstances and sociological perspective of African-Americans in the United States as well as other under-served communities through policy change. I believe the way to inspire and create hope for others is through action founded in love.

Thank you to The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Initiative for contributing to my education and inspiring me to continue to seize every opportunity presented to me.

Nicole Tinson
Dillard University
2013 HOPE Scholarship Winner