Brandon Beck Seymour Award 2020-2021 Central Coast Region Finalist

Audrey Kaefer
Central Coast Region
Chapter 1423 – Tilden Preparatory School
Adviser Jane Muller

Brandon Beck is a student at Tilden Preparatory School in Walnut Creek.  Brandon is the president of the Tilden Leadership Club, and the founder of the Tilden Music Club.  As a part of the Tilden Debate Club & Social Justice Club he is active in promoting awareness of current social justice issues occurring in the world and community. 

Brandon is an accomplished singer and has performed in a number of musical theatre productions as both a volunteer and a paid performer.  Among his performances, Brandan has played Gavroche in Les Misérables at the Contra Costa Musical Theatre and improvised interactive shows for children at the Chevron Family Theatre Festival. 

Brandon is a Youth Ambassador to the Narcolepsy Network, an organization that raises awareness of, and advocates for, narcolepsy and other rare diseases. In his personal statement, Brandon expresses how personal challenges have led him to advocate for others, which has included a trip to Washington DC to lobby on Capitol Hill for support for science-driven policies that improve and save lives.  Brandon delivers presentations and leads discussions during nationwide webinars that assist youth and young adults. 

Brandon states, “My goals are to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels empowered rather than diminished. I am dedicated to creating hope by changing the healthcare landscape and improving healthcare outcomes…I am looking forward to the challenge!”  To bridge the gap between innovation (science and technology) and the patient, Brandon will pursue degrees in Economics and Business Administration, and hopes to attend UC Berkeley. 

Jane Muller, Brandon’s CSF Adviser, talks about Brandon thusly, “With his enthusiasm for life, his natural empathy for those around him, and his innate emotional intelligence about others, he has the capability to be a strong leader.  It is extremely rare to encounter someone that is so gifted intellectually yet so humble and genuine.” 

Cynthia Zorn, the Director of the Narcolepsy Network’s youth program, explains in her letter of recommendation for Brandon, “It is a privilege for me to share his extraordinary commitment to his work and leadership responsibilities, his loyalty to fellow volunteers, and his gifts for listening and demonstrating empathy toward people of all ages.  He is a great inspiration to many, young and old alike.”

Aya Aziz Seymour Award 2020-2021 Central Region Finalist

Aya Aziz
Central Region
Chapter 512 – Redwood High School, Visalia
Adviser Georgette Cheatwood

Aya Aziz is a student at Redwood High School in Visalia and is currently serving as Vice-President of her CSF chapter. Her activities while a member of CSF include the Thanksgiving Canned Food Drive, Kaweah Oaks Preserve, Visalia Rescue Mission, Prestigious Assisted Living Home and a blood drive. As an activity that serves to continue to promote CSF for years to come, Aya developed and promoted a CSF Freshman Orientation Power Point that was utilized via Zoom this past year as well.

CSF Advisor, Georgette Cheatwood writes “Aya sets goals, and then methodically puts strategies in place to turn her dreams and ideas into reality.”  Her fondness of music led to the creation of the Playing Love Quintet with fellow high school musicians which has been a platform for raising funds for Preemptive Love, an organization providing relief to refugees of war. Aya expressed the importance of this organization as it is a link to her Iraqi heritage and memory of the sacrifice her parents made.

In her letter of recommendation, Rudolfina Sjostrand states “Aya plays not only for herself, but for others.” She has also been recognized by the Tulare Kings County Music Educators Association Honor Orchestra, the California Orchestra Directors Association Annual All-State Honor String Orchestra, the College of Sequoias Symphony as well as the Redwood High School Chamber Orchestra. Aya has also participated in the Science Olympiad and tennis teams and has worked at the Visalia Cardiovascular and Medical Center this past year.

She will continue her education at Stanford University studying Science, Technology, and Society.

Steven Conaway Seymour Award 2020-2021 South Central Region Finalist

Steven Conaway
South Central Region
Chapter 1395 – Saint Monica Academy
Adviser Jessica Halpin

​Steven Conaway is a senior at Saint Monica Academy in Montrose California where he is actively involved in his CSF chapter and serves as its president. A national merit commended scholar and an AP Scholar with Honor, Steven also works heavily with Robotics. 

His CSF adviser, Jacqueline Halpin , mentioned that “Steven founded the Robotics Club that has successfully competed in regional and state competitions in addition to his garnering a multi-thousand dollar grant from the Dan Murphy Foundation to build a dedicated Robotics classroom.” 

Michael Murry, from the East Los Angeles Youth Center commends Steven for his hard work and dedication.  “Steven was part of a group that was tasked with teaching the Arduino run Smart Car Class to elementary aged children.” states Mr. Murry, “As time went by, we offered courses in robotics, drones, and even initiated a grant-funded Air Quality Testing Using Drone Technology to test the ambient air in East Los Angeles” all of which Steven helped greatly with. 

In the next phase of his life, he plans to go into Computer Science or Computer Engineering at Notre Dame, or MIT.  He looks forward to continuing to teach robotics both virtually and in person.

Yadira Castillo Seymour Award 2020-2021 South Central Region Finalist

Yadira Castillo
South Central Region
Chapter 634 – Ulysses S Grant Senior High School
Adviser Erin Suess

Yadira Castillo attends Ulysses S Grant Senior High School in Van Nuys where she has served as the Secretary of her CSF chapter. Throughout her school career she has spent a lot of time working with a variety of community service projects including canned food drives, Teacher appreciation days and videos, and a local Secret Santa program.  She has excelled in the Academic Decathlon program through her school, receiving numerous Medals in both the regional and state levels of competition. 

Erin Suess, her CSF adviser states “If you ask Yadira why she works so hard, she will tell you it is to honor her parents. Yadira’s drive is not just for herself but for her entire community.” 

“As a volunteer at the Casa Durango, Yadira had an integral role in teaching both English and basic arithmetic classes. She is a shining example of someone who is both proactive and driven.” says Nilsa Dipp. 

She found economics the most difficult subject to understand when working in the academic decathlon, so after high school, Yadira plans to attend Yale, or Harvard, or Columbia and study economics.

Anika Madan Seymour Award 2020-2021 South Region Finalist

Anika Madan
South Region
Chapter 667 – Sunny Hills High School
Adviser Hera Kwon

Anika Madan is a student at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton.  She is the president of her CSF chapter, and has participated in a multitude of CSF activities, including the recent CSF Virtual Student Leadership Conference, Project Teddy Bear, and the CSF Panda Express fundraiser. 

Her CSF adviser, Hera Kwon explains, “As CSF President, Anika Madan exceeds expectations.  I could not have asked for a more capable individual to lead us through the challenges of running CSF remotely.  Anika brings both a high level of competence and a genuine warmth to her responsibilities…always the first one to arrive and the last one to stay…”  Along with CSF, Anika is also the Editor-in-Chief of the school yearbook, vice-president of the Key Club, vice-president of Amnesty International, president of the International Baccalaureate Student Council, and Appreciation Team Commissioner for the Link Crew.  Her community activities include being a judge at the Orange County Debate League, a summer camp volunteer, a children’s museum volunteer, and founder of the All Smiles Here Project.  Anika is an AP Scholar with Honor, and an IB Diploma Candidate. 

Her Seymour Award application included a letter of recommendation from Jaeeun Lee, the President in Division 30 North Key Club.  Ms. Lee explains that throughout the time she has known Anika she consistently demonstrates the qualities of leadership with her community, both in and out of school…distinguishing herself as an incredible leader, saying, “…she not only excels as an individual but also as a member of a team.  When I think about all of the qualities I respect in an individual — determination, integrity, leadership, hard work, and tenacity —- I think of Anika.” 

In her personal statement Anika explains how she learned to take risks as a first grader, choosing to recite the Gettysburg Address in the school talent show, rather than singing or dancing like the other students.  Her performance was a success, and from that success she fell in love with the idea of risk.  Anika goes on to describe taking risks as being innovative, trying something new, committing to one’s interests, and moving beyond a stagnant glance at learning.  Anika’s words say it all, “Whether it is with inspiration, encouragement, or shock, I strive to make an impact.” 

In the fall Anika plans to attend UCLA and major in Psychology.

Macey Leonard Seymour Award 2020-2021 South Region Finalist

Macey Leonard
South Region
Chapter 1411 – San Juan Hills High School
Adviser Vivian Nguyen

Macey Leonard is a student at San Juan Hills High School in San Juan Capistrano.  In CSF she has been a tutor, and participated in the Walk for Wellness.  Macey is also a member of student government, Link Crew, the National Honors Society, and the community volunteer program called Lion’s Heart.  She has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, is a varsity track member and is the captain of the varsity soccer team.  Among her recognitions, Macy has been on the principal’s honor roll all four years of high school, and earned the Spirit of Stallion award. 

“Macey is always ready to volunteer her time to help others and does so with a genuine smile and upbeat energy that is contagious,” states Macey’s CSF Adviser Vivian Nguyen. 

Macey’s Girl Scout leader, Janine Schunk, describes her as outgoing and welcoming, and always taking a leadership role.  Ms. Schunk explains, “I have also seen [Macey] consistently handle herself with grace and dignity. Her values and her commitment to her family, her friends, her education, and her community will leave a lasting impression.” 

Both of Macey’s letters of recommendation commend her on having founded the free community program “We assist, You Score”.  In her personal statement, Macey explains that she created this program to help girls with low self-esteem increase their confidence through one-on-one soccer coaching and personalized mentorship.  Macey says “I spent countless hours developing “We assist, You Score”, researching strategies for confidence-building, and speaking with experienced soccer coaches.  Helping these young girls develop self-confidence I never had during middle school meant everything to me.  Not only did these girls grow, but I did as well.” 

Macey has committed to Brown University where she plans to play soccer, and pursue a degree in Astro-Physics, with the dream of someday being an aerospace engineer working for NASA.