Bryan Adams student Guadalupe Serrato wrote this article.
Dominique Nicole James this week became the first ever Bryan Adams High School student to be awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to 1,000 students nationwide each year and will cover her entire tuition at any university in which she is accepted.
“I set myself up to be prepared in case I didn’t get it, so I was totally surprised when I learned that I had been awarded the scholarship,”James said.
James is involved in multiple extracurricular activities at Bryan Adams, including serving as the Bryan Adams Belles Drill Team captain, Academic Decathlon, Destination Imagination and National Honor Society.
“I like to stay busy,” she said. “If I’m not then I get easily bored.”
Academically, James is ranked number one in her class after four years at Bryan Adams. James is popular both with her peers and her instructors, especially those that teach advanced placement (AP) classes. James she is currently enrolled in five AP classes.
“She is dedicated to doing her very best. She’s a leader, very smart and likes to find out the ‘why’ to problems,” said Mary Ella Aufill, an AP statistics teacher. “She is so well rounded; the full package student.”
The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, which is funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African-American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest. The application process requires eight written essays, a minimum of a 3.3 GPA as well as U.S. citizenship.
James sees herself as just a typical high school student. She has a part-time job at the skating rink and volunteers monthly in the Dallas Arboretum. She has a busy schedule, but she manages to make time for friends and family while staying focused on her goals.
“I like going to pep rallies, having fun with my friends and making memories,” she said.
James was accepted into multiple colleges but decided on the University of Rochester in New York. She plans to study biomedical engineering and hopes to achieve her master’s degree in the field.
Although James has accomplished some exceptional achievements, she knows she could not have done without the help from her family, friends and teachers.
“Throughout my school years my parents have always encouraged me as my teachers continually challenged me,” she said. “I owe them a lot of thanks, as well as Ms. Igeh for helping me with my college applications and the whole Gates Scholarship process.”