2023-2024 Abacus Life Scholarship Winner

Angela Renzello is 20 years old and from Pocatello, Idaho. She has a love for the outdoors and enjoys activities such as running, skiing, pickleball, hiking, and traveling. Angela is also actively engaged in volunteering and helping others in her community. She finds fulfillment in making a positive impact on the lives of others.

Angela is a pre-med student at Brigham Young University-Idaho, studying Public Health with a strong passion for working with children. Her ultimate goal is to become a Pediatric Doctor and positively impact young patients’ lives.

Angela hopes that her video inspires others to never give up on their goals and to push through setbacks.

Check out her inspiring story below: 

2022-2023 Abacus Scholarship Winner

Sarah Secrist is a fourth-year student at the University of Georgia in Athens. She is currently studying music therapy and gerontology, with a goal to one day provide music therapy services to older adults in assisted living or hospice care.

Sarah was inspired to pursue geriatric music therapy by her grandmother who suffered from dementia. She remained connected with her family through music until her passing in 2020. Sarah hopes to help others connect with their loved ones through music therapy.

She is returning as a drum major for the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band as well as the Band Captain for the season. The band traveled with the football team in January for the National Championship, and she received the special opportunity to conduct the band as they pulled ahead in the fourth quarter. This is a memory she will never forget.

She is also the President of Sigma Alpha Iota- Iota Zeta, the international music fraternity chapter at UGA. She acts as an Ambassador for the Hugh Hodgson School of Music and is the Secretary for the Music Therapy Student Association. On top of being a conductor for the band, she plays trumpet and studies voice. She is part of UGA’s Musical Theatre Certificate program and loves performing on stage whenever she can. She is honing her guitar and piano skills for her major and loves learning new instruments.

Sarah hopes her story inspires others to set goals and stick with them. Anyone can dream, but it takes hard work, perseverance, and kindness to make them come true!

Check out her heartwarming story below: 

2021-2022 Abacus Scholarship Winner

Ashley Lunford’s journey began years ago, in her early 20s, when she began taking courses in Montana. As life progressed, she wound up in Oregon, and continued her studies, while raising a family. Her family shrunk when her husband passed away in 2021. His death only kept the fire burning underneath her as she began her junior year at Oregon State University.

Her passion for learning and progressing in life seeps through all aspects, keeping her on her toes for the completion of her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her goal is to move onto a master’s program in acupuncture, in order to complete her education in the healing arts.

“I honestly believe through hard work and a good dream, anything is possible!” – Ashley Lunsford

You can view her scholarship video submission below:

2020-2021 Abacus Scholarship Winner

Abacus scholarship

18-year-old Hope De Jesus is a graduate of Pocono Mountain West High School, and a current undergraduate student at New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is immensely excited and honored to be this year’s winner of the Abacus Life Scholarship. When not preparing for exams and finishing assignments to earn her degree in computer science, she spends her time as NJIT’s jazz vibraphonist and a percussionist. She is a weekly volunteer with SoulDeevas’s Junior Girl Drumline, teaching young girls how to play the drums, and frequently volunteers at her church’s food pantry.

After graduating in 2024, she hopes to find a career that utilizes creativity and coding and continue to participate and lead music-related youth community activities. Hope has big dreams for the future and is grateful for the support and belief the Abacus team has for her.

“I am honored and grateful to be the recipient of this scholarship. The support of the Abacus team will help me graduate by 2024 and find a career that utilizes my passion for community and coding. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity the Abacus team has given me. It is extraordinarily enlightening to know that the Abacus team knows the potential impact music has on the community, and I am motivated now more than ever to prove the power music has to build long-lasting unity, even if it is across a screen.” – Hope De Jesus.

You can watch her submission below: