Be Inspired by our 2013 winners

We are thrilled to announce this year’s VISINE® STUDENTS WITH VISION Scholarship Program winners and
share their unique visions, strong ambition and determination to bring their dreams to life. These visionaries
excel academically, demonstrate leadership in community service and extracurricular activities, and are making
huge strides toward their goals.

  • Saidzhan Abdullaev

    Twin Falls, ID

    University of Pennsylvania, 2015

    Major: International Affairs

    Saidzhan founded the non-profit Youth for Peace in 2000 to inspire youth from minority backgrounds to participate in international peace-building projects. He has coordinated more than 30 youth projects, raised funds for social services in 20 countries and has been recognized by the United Nations Youth Assembly. He is currently working on a project that facilitates dialogue about peace-building between American youth and those in developing countries. After completing his degree in International Affairs, he hopes to continue to expand this program.

  • Sarah Haygood

    Boaz, Alabama

    Auburn University, 2017

    Major: Psychology

    Inspired by the behavioral therapists who have helped her brother overcome communication barriers related to autism, Sarah plans to become an applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapist. In high school, she shadowed a certified behavioral therapist on home visits through the Piece by Piece program and eventually led home visits with children who have autism. She was also a summer camp counselor to a group of special needs children at Camp Gideon in Actworth, GA. Sarah plans to pursue undergraduate research in ABA and autism at Auburn, while volunteering at a partner school for children with autism.

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  • Marleca Higgs

    Miami, FL

    Spelman College, 2017

    Major: Political Science & Government

    After witnessing domestic abuse in her own home, Marleca resolved to advocate for abused women as a criminal prosecutor. In high school, she was a member of Teen Court, where she acted as an attorney, bailiff and clerk in mock court cases. She also interned at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse. After completing her undergraduate degree in political science and government, Marleca plans to attend law school, become an attorney and eventually serve as a judge.

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  • Thomas Melanson

    Hilton Head Island, SC

    Stanford University, 2017

    Major: Computer Engineering

    Thomas aspires to revolutionize the field of search and rescue through computer engineering. He is a graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics. In high school, Thomas served as captain of a NASA/MIT Zero Robotics team and interned at the Air Force Research Lab – a program generally reserved for undergraduates. He plans to pursue research in the fields of artificial intelligence, quantum computing and robotics, while mentoring young students in the fields of math and science.

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  • Yosan Negga

    Atlanta, GA

    University of Georgia, 2015

    Major: Genetics

    After witnessing her mother’s treatment for thyroid cancer, Yosan set out to eliminate the suffering of cancer patients. She currently volunteers at the Grady Hospital in Atlanta and has contributed to cancer research using in-vitro, lab-produced cells to fight tumors in mice. After completing her undergraduate degree in genetics, she plans to attend medical school and become an oncologist. In addition to treating patients, Yosan plans to conduct clinical research to develop alternatives to chemotherapy and invasive surgeries.

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  • Levibrice Edouna Obama

    Marietta, GA

    Duke University, 2017

    Major: Biology, Environmental Science
    and Policy

    Working toward his vision of a carbon neutral global society, Levibrice founded the environmental action team Do Green. As president of Do Green and of his high school’s student government, he helped establish recycling and composting programs, coordinated street cleanups and raised funds for solar panels that allow the school to run on natural light on certain days. Levibrice plans to join Duke University’s sustainability program and work with organizations like the Alliance for Climate Education and Greenpeace.

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  • Victoria Poston

    Calvert City, KY

    Berea College, 2017

    Major: Art, Fine Arts

    Following her own eye loss experience, Victoria was inspired to become an ocularist. As an ocularist, Victoria will design, fabricate and fit custom prosthetics for those who have lost an eye or eyes due to trauma or illness. In high school, she attended an American Society of Ocularists educational program and served as an ocular apprentice. In college, she will study the fine arts with supplemental courses in science, psychology and business. When she graduates, Victoria plans to pursue an ocularist board certification and aspires to open a private practice.

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  • Erika Pritchett

    East Grand Forks, MN

    University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2017

    Major: Microbiology, Bacteriology

    Erika plans to become a neurologist, specializing in epilepsy. She would like to help patients like her sister, who suffered from a life-altering fall as a result of a seizure. After receiving her undergraduate and medical degrees, she hopes to work with the Neuroscience Research Center for the Mayo Clinic in Florida. Erika is currently working toward certification as a nursing assistant in order to begin work in the medical field.

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  • Kaitlin Shelton

    Cincinnati, OH

    University of Dayton, 2016

    Major: Music Therapy / Minor: Psychology

    Born legally blind, Kaitlin was enrolled in music therapy classes at a young age, instilling a life-long love of music. She has since become an award-winning musician and volunteered alongside music therapists at The Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired and at the agency Melodic Connections. After completing her degree, she plans to be a board-certified music therapist to help teens with special needs overcome obstacles through music.

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  • Kennington Smith

    Fayetteville, Georgia

    University of Georgia, 2017

    Major: Journalism

    After attending sports journalism camp, Kennington decided to pursue a career as a broadcast sports journalist. In middle school and high school, he announced sports games and covered sports for his local newspaper. Kennington also ran his high school’s broadcast department, anchoring, editing, writing and producing video announcements and interest segments. After completing a degree in broadcast journalism, Kennington plans to create and share positive stories about athletic achievements that inspire people to be the best that they can be.

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