EmPOWERED Scholars 

Financial aid for the next generation of health equity and social justice leaders to get a higher education

Introducing the 2021 EmPOWERED to Serve Scholars

Congratulations to the American Heart Association’s 2021 EmPOWERED to Serve Scholars! Six undergraduate college students each received $5,000 scholarships to be change agents to improve health equity in their communities. Through EmPOWERED to Serve, the AHA works to improve health outcomes and reduce the gap in health disparities among historically excluded and under-resourced communities.

Akshara Molleti

Akshara Molleti
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Major: Biomedical Engineering

Catriona Greene

Caitriona Greene
University of Rochester
Major: Health, Behavior, & Society

Lesley Lopez

Lesley Lopez
University of Houston Clear Lake
Major: Biology

Madison Tate

Madison Tate
Howard University
Major: Biology 
Charlotte Mann Family Grant Recipient 

Melina Rodriguez

Melina Rodriguez
California State University, Los Angeles
Major: Public Health

Michaela Greenlee

Michaela Greenlee
New York University
Major: Global Public Health

What is the EmPOWERED Scholars Program?

What is the EmPOWERED Scholars Program?

Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives, and we want your help as the next generation of social change leaders. That's why the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED to Serve™ offers college scholarships to students who are passionate about public health and health equity, with a focus on those in communities with fewer resources to help students manage financial aid and debt.

Through the EmPOWERED Scholars Program, 16 students have received a total of $109,000 since 2018. This year, five students will be awarded $5,000 EmPOWERED scholarships and one additional student will receive a $5,000 scholarship in honor of Charlotte L. Mann, an advocate and educator, funded by her children.

Each of these six students will continue their education while working to achieve health equity in their communities.

Learn more about the scholarship program.

The 2021 application cycle is now closed.

Three empowered scholars

We're proud of our previous EmPOWERED Scholars, including:

Ngoc Vuong

Ngoc Vuong (2020 Scholar): Created Healing Kansas, a grassroots initiative addressing health equity issues through art, storytelling and civic engagement. The group produced Not Only You, a short film on the impact of addiction on families. Ngoc has been recognized by the Kansas Senate and was invited by the Kansas Prevention Collaborative to create a statewide, student-led health coalition.

Presley LeGrande

Presley LeGrande (2020 Scholar): Founded Team Gemini, the first competitive cheerleading team for athletes who are differently abled in the South Bay area. The team provides an outlet for kids who often lack access to youth sports. Routines are adapted for the different abilities of the team’s 16 athletes, who practice twice a week and participate in conditioning classes to improve their strength and coordination.

Sierra Williams-Mcleod

Sierra Williams-Mcleod (2020 Scholar): Co-found Hampton University’s Pirate Pantry, a student-led effort providing free food and hygiene products to students in need. Now, Sierra is partnering with the Virginia Food Bank to create a food pantry. HU Pirate Pantry improves the health of the community by reducing food waste, relieving hunger and promoting good nutrition.

2018 Scholars
American Heart Association Recognizes Students for Helping Improve Community Health

Inaugural 2018 competition awards $1,500 scholarships to six students

DALLAS, March 12, 2018 — The American Heart Association has awarded scholarships to six students for working to improve what are known as social determinants of health — the conditions in which people live and work that shape their health.


EmPOWERED to Serve Health Justice Roundtable

Join our EmPOWERED and Historically Black Colleges and Universities Scholars as they have a candid conversation on addressing racial and health justice, and share how you can be a changemaker in your community.