The handwriting is neat and legible, the tone modest but confident. The message is of an ambitious high school senior intent on becoming a doctor, who knows she must persuade someone to help pay the considerable college expenses that such a goal will require.

Kendrick Essay PicBy the standards of handwriting analysis alone, Sabrina Kendrick’s 1981 application for a scholarship from the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation would probably have been approved. Everything communicated in the essay—her high school accomplishments, her organizational skills, her ability to list achievements without seeming boastful, her bold ambition—is reflected in the person she is today, a veteran infectious disease specialist at Stroger Hospital (a public, urban teaching hospital in Chicago) and an assistant professor of medicine at Rush Medical College.

(Click on the essay to view a larger version.) (more…)

Pullman Scholar Alumna Bethsaida Arroyo Forges Her Own Path.

All things considered, it would have been easy for Bethsaida Arroyo not to attend college. Her grandparents didn’t make it through grade school, and her mom earned her GED only after Betsy was in 6th grade.

“She got pregnant at an early age and had to drop out of high school to raise us,” said Arroyo. “But she understood the importance of education and pushed us all to go to school. College was ingrained into my head in grade school.”

That was Andersen Elementary, the neighborhood school at Honore and Division streets which is now LaSalle II, a magnet school.

“In 8th grade, I was reading at the college level,” she said. “Not a lot of my high school friends went to college, but all of my grade school friends did.”

And once at Wells, the neighborhood high school, she hardly broke a sweat. “I wasn’t a test-taker,” she said. “I didn’t try to study. I’d wing it. High school was a breeze for me.” (more…)