Amplify Scholars: Where Are They Now?

This month we caught up with three Amplify Scholarship recipients from previous years about what they learned, what plans they have for the near future, and their advice for this year’s applicants. The Amplify Scholarship was established by KIPP and iMentor in 2018 to support KIPP graduating high school seniors across the country who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and achievement.

The program supports leaders of tomorrow, amplifying the voices of students who embody the values of leadership, excellence, civic-mindedness, and the power of relationships. Read below, in their own words, the impact the program has had in their lives.

Aaliyah Allen – Cohort 1, Washington University – KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools Alumnus 

Aaliyah Allen


Being a part of the Amplify program I’ve gained an even larger support network and access to resources and opportunities I never would have considered or pursued without Amplify. I can’t imagine how much more difficult my college experience might have been without Amplify.

I’m applying to a research fellowship this semester with the support of my mentor and hopefully in the future I’ll be at grad school getting my Ph.D. in Psychology.

One piece of advice I have for this year’s applicants’ is don’t tell the story you think people want to hear, tell your story.

Armando Castro – Cohort 1, Wesleyan University –  KIPP Texas Public Schools Alumni

Armando Castro

Being a part of the Amplify program I’ve learned that it is important to communicate and that relationships with people takes time. I’ve learned this from bonding with my mentor or also when the cohort meets up for zoom hangouts. This is so important because building relationships skills is always needed. It relates to prospective applicants, because I feel like a big part of having a good college experience is building relationships, whether that means making friends or networking with students and professors.  

Next semester I will continue to take biology classes for my major while also completing pre med-requirements. Related to medical school, I will start to apply for medical related internships to get some experience of what it is like in a real world medical setting. I hope to be back on campus, if things start to look better, and return to being in clubs, like my K-pop dance team! 

It sounds cliché but one piece of advice I have for this year’s applicants’ is be yourself. Show iMentor your story, your plans and your dreams of what you want to do in college and beyond. Never think that your “life is boring” or that you don’t have a story. Everyone goes through something in their life that changes their way of thinking or their mindset on life. I think it is important to ask yourself: what your goals are and what made you want them, what specifically caused them, is the best way to show who you are. 

De’Jah Donahue –  Cohort 1, Bradley University – KIPP Chicago  Alumnus

De'Jah Donahue

Through being a member of the Amplify Scholars Program, I have truly learned the importance of ethnic awareness and appreciation. There are so many different cultures and ethnicities to learn about and explore. It is imperative that we educate ourselves on all of them as minorities are becoming majorities. 

Next semester, I will be focusing on my research project. I will also be focusing heavily on implementing French into my everyday conversations. In general, the future holds a myriad of different learning experiences and opportunities for growth as a woman. 

One piece of advice for this year’s applicants is Be unique. Be unapologetically you. Do not try to paint the picture that you think people want to see. Be real and be authentic. 

 Applications for the 2021 class of Amplify Scholars are now open for graduating high school seniors. The deadline to apply is Monday, February 8th. Click here to apply. 



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