Vanessa Marsh
winners 2011 Vanessa Marsh attended the University of Pennsylvania. Her work with an internationally recognized team of scientists at the UPENN Center for AIDS Research will prepare her for a career working as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. As Chemistry major, Vanessa also managed to maintain an impressive resume of activities including serving as the Public Relations Chair of the UPENN Caribbean American Student Association and New Student Orientation Leader. Vanessa says, “Part of my faith in God morally obligates me to give to others, which I believe is an essential part of humanity and crucial to giving the opportunity of “The American Dream” to others.” She played a significant role in service to others, including annually collecting and donating clothes and school supplies for children in Jamaica, volunteering at a local assisted living, and taking on leadership roles in school fundraisers. In her American Dream essay, Vanessa illustrated her thoughts on the American Dream: “As the child of immigrants and a person of color, I have encountered many people who did not expect me to achieve much in life. On the contrary, I have exceeded their expectations, a feat that I knew was attainable through “The American Dream.” This dream is universal because it does not discriminate. Anything is possible no matter where one is from or what their background is. “The American Dream” is also about the ability to achieve success without compromising one’s moral fiber. In fact, it is a person’s moral convictions that allow them to persevere and achieve success. There is an adage that says, “you reap what you sow.” I have sown my seeds, and through trusting my instincts, faith in God, and strong community ties, I know that one day I will sow and eat the fruit of my labor, all while embodying “The American Dream.”