Hello everyone, my name is Maurice Rodgers and I am honored to be selected as the first-ever recipient of the BHA scholarship at the University of Louisville! I transferred to the University of Louisville from Chicago in 2018. I am a senior transfer student double-majoring in Pan-African studies and political science.
I appreciate this opportunity to join the BHA family and learn more about my role in preserving the environment while adding to my education. I grew up on the south side of Chicago, where exploring the outdoors was not an option, nor a privilege. I say this because I had to overcome many systematic barriers and obstacles on Chicago’s south side that may have been highlighted in recent times. These experiences and disparities have discouraged many from taking risks and pursuing dreams that could better their lives. These experiences have groomed and cultivated my educational interests: gun violence prevention, disparities in wealth, unequal access to healthcare, and educational displacements that are rampant. Throughout my educational career, my instructors have instilled in me hard work, dedication and mainly resilience.
As a scholar, I hope to be a part of the change I want to see. This has influenced my decision to continue my education after undergrad and pursue a master’s in public administration. From there, I can work on policies and initiatives that uplift communities from poverty and hopelessness. Nevertheless, BHA’s focus on public policy and direct action can provide the experience I will need to bring the substantive change I want to see. As a future government administrator, I know learning more about the environment can provide me the perspective needed to prevent persistent natural problems that become social crises. Additionally, I hope to provide perspective and become a voice in environmental change.
Being the first BHA scholar, I hope to take on an ambassador role within the organization and help to recruit other passionate young leaders who can impact change. The importance of curating a dialogue around environmental policy hasn’t been widely accepted, so as a young leader from a diverse background, I will play a vital role in helping to further the cause.
One interesting fact about myself is that I am musically inclined but very bookish, being that I find myself enthralled in books more than worldly interests. However, I do enjoy a good conversation, as well as other forms of entertainment, including sports, movies, Broadway plays, etc. To end, I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
*This scholarship is fully funded by Kentucky BHA chapter leader Colonel Mike Abell