Steven Messiah, one of North Raleigh Christian Academy’s seniors, was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Princeton University through the QuestBridge program. The QuestBridge program began in 1994 in Palo Alto, California. It is a nonprofit organization that connects gifted low-income students with colleges and allows them opportunities they might not experience otherwise.
Messiah read the acceptance email in Mrs. Deim’s room after AP Calculus class. “I’d gotten the email during class, and then I opened the decision with Mrs. Deim, and I just bawled out crying. It was a very joyful and exciting moment. I was definitely not expecting it,” Messiah said.
Acceptance into Princeton is difficult as the highly competitive Ivy League university has an acceptance rate of 4%. Being accepted on a full-ride scholarship is a notable accomplishment. “The scholarship includes tuition and housing, but it also includes an additional stipend each year for food, personal expenses, books, and travel,” said Messiah.
Messiah shared that he was introduced to QuestBridge when one of the people he volunteered with at a mock trial organization won a full-ride QuestBridge scholarship to Vanderbilt University. He encouraged all rising seniors who qualify to consider applying for scholarships through QuestBridge. “You apply through the scholarship, and you rank a list of schools that you’d like to get the scholarship for. And the top school on your list that chooses to accept you is the school that you’re matched with, with a full-ride scholarship. So it’s a great opportunity that a lot of people should apply to,” Messiah explained.
A blockbuster movie inspired Messiah’s choice of Princeton. “I was actually interested in Princeton from over the summer after watching Oppenheimer and seeing Oppenheimer and Einstein working on the atomic bomb,” said Messiah. “They have a lot of great lab opportunities and research, and that’s definitely what got me interested in Princeton.” He plans to major in molecular biology with a pre-med track.
Messiah has been at NRCA for four years. He said that his biggest role model here at NRCA is “Señora Stephens because she’s always very fun and energetic but also very good at teaching. She’s led me to start tutoring and do a lot of extracurriculars and be interested in Spanish.” Messiah’s extracurriculars include tutoring (English, Spanish, science, and math), running track and cross country, participating in Speech and Debate for three years and winning many local awards, serving as executive graphic designer and marketer for an international mock-trial nonprofit called the Law Association for Crimes Across History, assisting in summer research with a university professor hypothesizing the use of bacteriophage therapy to treat intestinal cancer, refereeing for flag football and basketball, and co-founding Photo Club.
By: Finley Huneycutt, Shield Editor