Jenine Whitter

Hometown: Sylmar, CA

high school: Cleveland

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Neurobiology

“One day we’ll see your name between Maya Angelou and Walt Whitman.” These were the words expressed by television personality Fritz Coleman as he acknowledged Jenine’s selected poetry as an endearing commendable work at Cleveland’s Earth Day celebration. If anyone captures the true essence of Langston Hughes’ “A Dream Deferred,” it would be Jenine Whitter. She has encountered a myriad of adversities that have truly tested her character, perseverance, resilience, tenacity and will.

Jenine exemplifies her dedication to achievement as a student of Cleveland High’s School for Advanced Studies Program. Completing ten advanced placement courses by the conclusion of her high school career, Jenine has earned the AP scholar with Honor award, as well as recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s National Achievement Scholarship Program. Attaining a perfect score in mathematics on the California High School Exit Exam, ranking 8 in her class of 736 students with a cumulative G.P.A. of 4.244 and attaining a 4.571 UC G.P.A, while surmounting hurdles, Jenine’s growth has catapulted her towards success.

Making a forty-mile round trip on three buses to school every day, Jenine truly grasps the concept of determination. From prevailing over the MTA bus strike, traveling far and wide to friends’ houses to complete computer assignments, to witnessing the detrimental neurological effects her grandmother endured in a series of strokes, Jenine strove to on course, exceed her peers, and shatter the insufficient expectations they had for her. As a sophomore, Jenine was selected as UC Berkeley’s Pre-Collegiate Academy (PCA) Scholar. The following summer she participated in a rigorous six-week residential program at UC Berkeley, participating in English and math classes, community service and leadership seminars. Jenine participated in service events including preserving the Peralta Hacienda site, volunteering at the San Francisco Food Bank, and urban planning in downtown Berkeley. She returned the following summer as a mentor to the next group of scholars.

Leadership diffuses through Jenine’s veins. Through her innumerable commitments on campus, Jenine is dedicated to providing service to her community and hoping to provide the prosperous opportunities that PCA provided her. Jenine aspires to be a neurosurgeon in memory of her grandmother. Already embarking on her path towards that field in high school, she had completed a psychology course. A part of UC’s Early Academic Outreach Program, she was a Ventures Scholar, Renaissance Scholar, and member of the California Scholarship Federation and the National Honor Society.

Jenine earned a bachelors in neurobiology from Harvard University in 2010. She's currently a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Through it all Jenine has endured hindrances because she strives to be a role model to those who feel engulfed by overpowering odds. She hopes that through her success she will epitomize the possibility of transcending socioeconomic limitations and excelling. Jenine truly embodies the quintessential rationale of why we must not let impediments defer our dreams. Maybe one day we’ll see her face carved between Jefferson and Lincoln in the beautiful Black Hills.

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