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APEX assoDivyaciate, Divya Yerramilli, was recently awarded the George Washington Carver Scholarship to Iowa State University. It is a full-tuition scholarship awarded to one-hundred individuals who exhibit potential to be catalysts for change within the nation.

We asked Divya about the scholarship process & requirements. She said, “The GWC scholarship’s process was to write an essay, and there’s nothing else in the world that I enjoy more than writing, so I decided to give it a chance. Receiving the award has been unreal, and I hope to hold myself accountable for it throughout my next six years at ISU pursuing my Masters in Business Analytics and the rest of my life going forward.”

When asked about the writing process, Divya opened up about her struggles and overcoming obstacles. “Growing up Indian-American, it was always hard to add the hyphen in the words differentiating the nationalities because sometimes it felt like it was all squished up into a confusing knot. I wrapped up every bitter experience and placed it into a little mental box as a child, shutting it out of my mind. I called it the Divya Box. Pulling it back out for this essay to make sure my voice was heard inside the 500 word limit was difficult, as some things are so much easier to forget than to forgive. However, the experiences that inspired me to compete for this scholarship are not unusual; every woman of color in my life has had similar experiences.”

She also explained her APEX experience and how it impacted her.

“I took APEX as a junior and a senior in high school, and the memories I made there are countless. The program had pushed me out of my little comfort bubble and granted me countless opportunities that resulted in paid internships, networking, and marvelous friends. The merging of Waukee and Northwest in APEX allowed me to see my best friend, Saranya, so much more often, as the entire second half of our day was spent together. She continues to push me to be a better person and the APEX program allowed me to have a semester with friends that would have gone to a different school otherwise.”