Christin Aucapina of the Ross School is one of 1,000 talented students from across the country who have received good-through-graduation full scholarships to use at any college or university of their choice, courtesy of Bill and Melinda Gates’s Gates Millennium Scholars Program.
Almost 24,000 applications were received by the program this year, and Christin, who had gone through a rigorous application process last year and was already accepted to Brown University, had all but forgotten about it.
“When I received the news about the scholarship, it was really unexpected,” Christin said. “I had just gone home to pick up something I needed for yearbook club, and then I was going to go to school. At first I did not know how to react and the news felt surreal, but after I processed what had just happened I was ecstatic to know something that seemed like a miracle became a reality. I immediately called my mom.”
More than a simple scholarship, the Gates Millennium program provides personal and professional development assistance along with academic support for its winners.
Christin was recognized not only for her academic achievements but for her commitment to community service. An East Hampton resident, she has spent the past five years working with the East Hampton Food Pantry and now holds a seat on its board. She also works with a local branch of the Ronald McDonald House, which raises money for the families of children with cancer to stay near them when the hospital is far from home. She also volunteers with the East Hampton Library.
While at Ross, Christin has traveled to Morocco and Nicaragua, working there with underprivileged schools and orphanages. She has also worked with the yearbook club and the Interact Club, and has participated in soccer and cheerleading.
“It feels great to know that all my dedication to academics and extracurricular activities has helped me achieve something that I consider to be a miracle,” she said. “I also feel that most of the activities that I have taken part in were all things that I wanted to do. It doesn’t really feel like work, but more like a fun and active lifestyle.”
Christin has also received a Congressional Award, which recognizes initiative and achievement in young people. She plans to pursue a career in public health, and is enthusiastic about living in Providence.
“While I visited Brown, I got the sense of a community that felt like a second home, although I had only been there for a couple of days. I really look forward to meeting other students that share similar interests of mine, as well as students that I can learn from,” she said. “I loved the learning atmosphere and vibe that I got from the students while I visited.”