Andrew Conton

Being the youngest of three I have always had a sense of self. Family and community are important. My parents separated while I was in grade school, as a result, my siblings and I became a strong unit. We encouraged each other, saw the importance of teamwork and acceptance.

A major benchmark in my transition from middle school to high school was learning to develop crucial organizational skills. As a fulltime student, musician and student-athletes I had to learn to use my time wisely and efficiently. I knew that each activity I pursued would ultimately lead to future aspirations. My position as the Salutatorian at Roosevelt Magnet School in Peoria, Illinois encouraged me to become a student leader. I used my talents in the arts to serve as a musical ambassador within the community. Exposure in outreach programs led me to be more proficient in public relations and service.

My love for science encouraged me to apply for the Bradley University Clinical Research Experience Internship Program (CREST). I worked as a research summer intern in 2017 and 2018. My studies included: “the Impact of Anthropometrics on Musical Execution” with Dr. Jacqueline Henderson in 2017, and “ECG Signal Processing and Arrhythmia Monitoring” with Dr. Yufeng Lu in 2018.

When presented the opportunity to move into a more visible leadership role I took on the challenge. In 2017, I was nominated to be a member of Illinois State Senator Chuck Weaver’s Youth Advisory Council. The experience allowed me to be a part of a state-wide organization of upwardly mobile youth. I knew that I as well as my peers are the future of our state and country. I was comfortable with my interpersonal skills and knew that merging my community ideas and philosophies with others would make a positive influence.

In Summer 2018, I traveled to France as a member of the Peoria High School French Club. The experience as a world traveler opened my vision to human service and community. I saw first-hand the similarities we have as world citizens and the need to embraces various cultures. The experience was enlightening and educational. Education has become a crucial part of my vision to pursue civil service and community outreach.
Being active at Peoria High School and within the community has made me a well-rounded individual. I hold several memberships in local and national organizations such as the National Society of High School Scholars; National Urban League’s Tomorrow’s, Scientist Technician and Managers; 100 Black Men mentee; National Society of Black Engineers junior member; Peoria Jazz All-Stars; Illinois State Senator Chuck Weaver’s Youth Advisory Council; Peoria High School French Club; and my church. I have been recognized for my musical talent by the Illinois Music Educators Association, Bradley University Honor Band, Eastern Illinois University Honor Band, and have played with Grammy Award Jazz artist Najee. In spring 2018, I participated and won first place in the 44th Annual National Society of Black Engineers Technical Innovations Poster competition and placed 2nd nationally in the organization’s Oratorical portion. I am a Central Illinois African American Hall of Fame Museum Scholarship recipient and a 2019 Sterling Merit Award Winner.

In the Fall, I will attend Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina majoring in Music Industry. Being passionate about science, art, and politics I plan to use all three to reignite my community. I want to inspire people to become self-starters, embrace their individuality, and utilize technological innovation.

Thank you so much for this outstanding opportunity. I am humbled and honored by this Award.