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2021 Gwen Ifill Scholars

The Gwen Ifill Scholarship Fund of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 2020 with a bequest from Gwendolyn Ifill, award-winning journalist and faithful member of Metropolitan, and funds donated in her memory for the purpose of providing financial support for students residing in Washington, DC to pursue opportunities in higher education.

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Noel Boadi

Langley High School

Noel has been a member of Metropolitan A.M.E Church since childhood, where he participates in scripture readings and plays the violin at Sunday services. Noel volunteers at the Metropolitan AME Church Food Bank and at a Retirement Community where he assists elderly residents with technology problems.  Noel will attend Morehouse College in the fall where he plans to major in Computer Science and Software Engineering. His professional goals include working at the intersection of cyber security and artificial intelligence while bridging the digital divide in underserved communities globally.

Lalah Choice

Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Lalah has played cello for 11 years and is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts.  She has served as the Site Ambassador at the American Institute of Research site for College Bound and is a member of the Metropolitan AME Junior Usher board. She will attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University supported by the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Award. Lalah plans to become a Marine Scientist focusing on marine wildlife and coastal restoration while influencing policy change and encouraging diversity in the STEM field.

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Eric Easter

Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Eric H. Easter is an actor, filmmaker, and storyteller.  He has served on the Kennedy Center Youth Council, directed and produced 11 short films, and studied with the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England. In the fall, he will attend New York University Tisch School of the Arts as a drama major and filmmaking minor. His mission is to put truthful characters on screen who represent the voices of the unheard. Eric is elated to receive this opportunity to further his education and help to preserve the legacy of Ms. Gwen Ifill.

Jackson Grant

Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Jackson Grant is a multi-instrumentalist whose primary instrument is the saxophone.  Jackson also plays electric bass, piano, guitar, and bass clarinet. He is looking forward to continuing his studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Jackson’s aspiration to pursue a career as a musician is fueled by his desire to regenerate the cultural roots of music in his  community and to create spaces “where people are free to learn and interact with music in new ways."

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Laci Joseph

Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Laci’s studies in Technical Design and Production led her to work on the technical crew for a number of professional school productions over her four years in high school. She was also a proud member of Ellington’s “Radical Elite” Showband. In addition to school and extracurricular activities, she provided over 104 community service hours during high school. Laci will attend Temple University with a major in Film and Media Arts and a minor in Theatre, aspiring to become a successful multimedia artist, with projects in filmmaking, acting, visual art, modeling, and music. She is looking forward to expressing herself through her art and contributing to her community in the most creative way possible.

David Marsh

Duke Ellington School of the Arts

David expresses his deep gratitude for the Ifill Scholarship which reinforces his growth both academically and in the arts during his time at the Ellington school.  During that time, he had numerous opportunities to participate in pro bono concerts for city residents which provided the “aha moment” of the role of music in connecting people through beautiful, shared experiences.  He is looking forward to pursuing more experiences like this as he studies at the University of California at Los Angeles in Jazz Studies and Computer Science.

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Dzifa Nepenthe

Langley High School

Dzifa is a long-time member of Metropolitan AME.  An honor student at Langley High School, in Mclean, Virginia she played the violin in the school orchestra and at church and has a passion for dance and art.  Dzifa is fluent in Spanish, proficient in Latin and is currently studying Chinese and French. After high school, Dzifa spent a Gap Year in Accra, Ghana where she pursued her interest in science through an internship at a dermatology clinic while working at an organic chocolate factory and bakery. She also used her experience from her Johns Hopkins Contact Tracing Course to organize COVID-prevention classes while distributing protection kits in the community. Dzifa will attend Wellesley College, where she plans to study neuroscience. She hopes to attend medical school and become a healthcare provider in underserved communities.

Wend-Manegde Pitropia

Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Wend Manegde Cheryl Pitroipa is a violinist who served as a member of Duke Ellington’s student ambassador team and had the honor to represent her school at the Youth Olympics 2018 in Buenos Aires.  Born and raised in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Wend moved to the U.S in 2012 and has been an active member of her local church, volunteering for the outreach ministry, donating grocery bags to families in need in her community, and volunteering in the youth ministry. She will pursue a double major in journalism and international relations at New York University in preparation for speaking out and advocating for justice in her African American community as well as about the injustice faced by many Native Africans in countries such as Burkina Faso because of the history of colonialism and exploitation from Western countries.

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Liya Taylor

Woodrow Wilson Senior High School

Liya will be attending Hampton University majoring in cyber security. A soccer player since the age of four, she will continue playing in college.  Liya’s numerous activities included Girl Scouts, National Honor Society, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE, Jr). She plans to pursue a career in information security.

Sanjula Tomlinson

School Without Walls

In addition to her challenging high school course load of 11 Advanced Placement classes and two dual enrollment courses with George Washington University, Sanjula completed pre-collegiate courses at Smith College and Syracuse University. Her extracurricular activities included serving as President of the National Spanish Honor Society and serving as a volunteer for the Sitar Arts Center where she utilized her bilingual skills to assist Spanish-speaking families.  Sanjula will attend New York University in the fall where she will major in biology and psychology and looks forward to exploring as many classes and disciplines as possible.

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