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This year, we learned to get comfortable with change.

When it became apparent that our MMI Works summer program wouldn't be happening in person, our fearless team leaders quickly and carefully adapted the program to the virtual world. But while a few pieces of the MMI Works puzzle have changed, most have not. At its core, the MMI Works summer internship program is a safe space for creativity, connection, and critical thinking. Students learn from professionals, worksite partners, and each other.

Reflection is key.

One avenue for that reflection is the intern scholarship process, consisting of a 750-word essay on the student’s summer experience. Applicants are invited to reflect on what they learned during creative sessions and group discussions, or how they felt they’d grown during the program. Youth participants were eligible for a one-time, $1,500 scholarship if they completed at least one summer employment cycle and one MMI Works Extended (MWE) year. Youth were eligible for a one-time, $500 scholarship if they were an MMI Works first-time participant and/or graduated senior who has completed one summer cycle.

In total, we awarded $20,500 in scholarships to 19 students, and we’re delighted to share a few of the essays with you now. As part of the application process, students were asked to provide proof of enrollment to the academic institution they're attending. We've included those—as well as links to the students' final essays—below.

Major kudos to these young creatives! The colleges and universities you've chosen are lucky to have your talent, and we are lucky to call you part of the MMI family. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

Caycie Boyce, Southwest Tennessee Community College

Coby Bennett, Morehouse College

Dwayne Morgan, Northwestern University

Jessica Lively, Southern Illinois University

Kathy Lombardo, taking a gap year

Nadifah Abdur Rasheed, University of Memphis

Precious Colon, Tennessee State University