Melanie Newell

Hometown: Sallis, MS

high school: McAdams HS

college: Washington University-St. Louis

MAJOR: Neuroscience

When Melanie was younger, her father told her that she could one day go to Harvard, and that despite the odds, she could be successful in whatever field she desired.

Growing up in a rural community and conditionally poor home with five siblings and attending an under funded public school became more of a motivation for Melanie than an excuse. She used her surroundings as a constant reminder that she could and should be an example. Even after her father was diagnosed with a brain tumor, costing him his job and forcing her mother back into the workplace, Melanie stepped up in the household, taking on motherly responsibilities while still maintaining her academic and extracurricular involvements. She wanted to set the precedent for possibilities, and she was determined to show others that opportunities were available if the effort was put forth.

Melanie is well-known as an active force in her community, especially in the local Boys’ and Girls’ Club, where she has held the prestigious title of Youth of the Year for three consecutive years.; she also represented well in the state Youth of the Year competition, placing as 2nd Runner-Up State Youth of the Year 2009. As Youth of the Year, Melanie not only is the representative of the club and the motivation of the younger members; she also speaks throughout the community, promoting the mission of the club while gaining experience and exposure. At the BGC, Melanie is an avid volunteer, tutor, and member of several clubs and organizations; one such organization is the Keystone Club, the leading teen advice and community service group. A member of the BGC for nine years, since it opened in 2001, Melanie has used the club as a place to grow and build and is now also a mentor to youth in the club and community.

A National Merit Finalist and Scholar and member of the National Honor Society, Melanie has also excelled academically throughout her school years, beginning in elementary by earning a reputation as a straight-A student. She has yet to lose this reputation. Furthermore, Melanie is well involved in her school as a member of the Beta Club; Chess Team; High School Marching and Concert Band; Varsity softball, volleyball, and basketball teams; a tutor; and the “smart girl” of the school, nicknamed “Harvard” by her peers and voted “Most Likely to Succeed in the Medical Field” by her Medical Technology instructor.

Melanie is looking forward to attending Washington University in St. Louis in the fall to major in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) with a minor in Mathematics. She aspires to become a successful neurosurgeon, inspired by her father’s recent illness, and continue to be an active force in the community regardless to where her life’s journey takes her.

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