Marjada Tucker

Hometown: Starkville, MS

high school: The Mississippi School for Math and Science

college: Rice University

MAJOR: Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Born Marjada Faith Tucker to Toni and Henry Tucker of Starkville, Mississippi, it is no surprise that Marjada has been propelled by her faith to achieve against all odds. Doctors had told Marjada's mother that she would never bear children, but Mrs. Tucker believed that Marjada's birth was a manifestation of her faith. However, despite the miracle of her birth, Marjada was no stranger to misfortune. Traumatized by the separation of her parents at age five, she soon learned the difficulties of being reared in a single-parent home. Nonetheless, her family's lack of financial resources, as well as their enduring spirits and faith, has been the source of her motivation.

Marjada was an exceptional member of the Oktibbeha County School District from grades K-10, serving in numerous positions of leadership and setting an example for her peers. The State of Mississippi labeled East Oktibbeha County High School as "failing," but Marjada had faith that she could prevail. She made the decision to leave home and attend Mississippi's most rigorous high school, The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

At MSMS, Marjada is an Emissary, a class officer, and a member of the Student Development Committee. She also participates in Mu Alpha Theta and serves as an Ambassador for the National Society for High School Scholars. In addition to her service at MSMS, Marjada is committed to the greater Starkville community, where she has volunteered with the Mayor's Youth Council, Girl Scouts Heart of the South, Relay for Life, and the Summer Library Program. The latter commitment also demonstrated Marjada's diligence as a member of Blackjack Missionary Baptist Church where she has initiated College Admissions Workshops as well as ACT courses and peer tutoring.

Marjada plans to major in chemistry and minor in Spanish; after college, she plans to attend pharmacy school. As a pharmacist, she wants to use her Spanish skills to better serve the Hispanic community. Furthermore, Marjada wants to look into the faces of her patients and be able to assure each of them that no matter how difficult their burdens, she is someone who will find ways for them to attain needed medications. Marjada also plans to establish a foundation for children with emphasis on early literary and training in mathematics and science as a mechanism for change in her rural community, Blackjack. Marjada agrees that touching the lives of deserving children will foster the growth, development, and potential to transform the world.

Marjada will graduate from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science having maintained a 4.0 GPA for her entire school career despite growing up in poverty in the poorest state in America. "Poverty" is a state of mind that Marjada is unwilling to accept, and "low-income" is a state of being that she is destined to overcome. In essence, she says, "My arduous beginnings and my commitment to service have made me a young woman of virtue, ambition, and zeal−distinguished by a sense of faith and fearlessness that has allowed me to conquer adversities."

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