In April, Beyoncé launched the Formation Scholarship program to mark the one-year anniversary of her Peabody Award-winning album "Lemonade." The scholarship provides $25,000 to four female students studying creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies.
Yesterday, she announced the four winners of this much-sought-after prize, and they are just as impressive as you might imagine.
Each is a star student with a GPA at or above 3.5, and the group possesses a wide range of passions, from music therapy to graphic design. They embody the "bold, creative, conscious and confident" characteristics that the scholarship was established to reward.
To apply for the scholarship, each student submitted an essay about how "Lemonade" inspired their academic and professional pursuits. Winners were then selected by a committee from each of the four participating schools, Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman College.
Check out the four winners:
Sadiya Ramos began dancing at the age of six. She has studied under some of the most esteemed dance instructors in the world, including Arthur Mitchel from the Dance Theater of Harlem and François Perron from the French Academie of Ballet. Today, Ramos is a sophomore studying dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. This summer she is training with Alonzo King's Lines Ballet in San Francisco.
Cathy Young, executive director of Boston Conservatory at Berklee said of Ramos, "Sadiya's energy and talent know no limits, and I know she will continue to excel as a dancer and artist as a student, and in the future."
Following her graduation from Stanford University with a dual degree in Linguistics and Comparative Studies, Avery Youngsblood chose to continue her education at the Parsons School of Design. Her academic pursuits center on the study of social interaction in multicultural societies.
This summer, Youngsblood is working as a design intern for Major League Baseball.
After suffering a traumatic brain injury in 2013, songwriter and vocalist Maya Rogers found music therapy to be a key to her recovery. Rogers' experience inspired her to pursue a graduate degree from Howard University in Musical Therapy so that she can further spread her belief "in the power that music has to heal, connect us with one another and help us understand ourselves more deeply."
Howard University President, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, describes Rogers as the quintessential Howard University student: "She has a stellar academic record and is using her talents to empower others."
Bria Paige is a Junior at Spelman College studying English with a focus on black feminist thought. She says her research is often inspired by Beyoncé's work.
"Beyoncé Knowles-Carter's support of women who are 'unafraid to think out of the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident,' is critical at a time when those qualities are required to address some of the world's most pressing challenges," says Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell.
"Bria Paige exemplifies the female scholar this award intends to bolster, as she has excelled not only in the classroom but also as a leader among her peers."
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