I was nominated for the JMB Award by my high school counselor. The first thing I did after learning about the nomination was look at the award’s website. When I read all the benefits they offered—the financial award, having a mentor, the retreat, and the community aspect—I became even more eager to apply. I was selected as an honorable mention in 2017, which meant I became a member of JMB Award’s supportive community.
Having been an awardee, I was very curious as to how the awardees were selected. This year I found out. I was part of the selection committee and I saw all the hard work that goes into considering which applicants would fit best in the JMB Award community.
We look for someone who shows resilience and grit. When someone is able to rise above a challenge, you see their dedication, hard work, and motivation to continue moving forward. I saw myself reflected in all of them because I could see the hard work they were putting in to receive a college education.
Next we look for someone who will benefit from our community. As a member of the JMB Award community, it’s important to be involved and to be able to communicate with the other members of our community. Awardees are assigned a mentor, so we’re looking for applicants who are open to having this type of experience.
We also look for openness. That’s really the most important thing we look for. We look for someone who is open to learning and being supported by a powerful group of women who want to see each other succeed. These are the applicants we invite to interview as finalists and ultimately select as awardees.
Angie Ortiz is a 2017 awardee. She writes about her experience on the 2019 selection committee.