2022 Scholarship Recipients | Allen and Allen
2022 Scholarship Recipients

2022 Scholarship Recipients

Through its high school scholarship program, Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen celebrates the life of its founder George E. Allen, Sr..

A native Virginian from Lunenburg County, George Allen overcame many challenges in his early life. He put himself through college and law school and went on to found Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, one of the premier personal injury law firms in Virginia and in the country. In his honor, the firm awards 15 scholarships each year, in the amount of $2,000 each, to Virginia high school seniors who have overcome adversity and who show significant academic promise.

Congratulations to our 2022 George E. Allen Academic Scholarship recipients! We wish them all the best as they begin their college careers.

2022 Scholarship Recipients

Grace Allen

Grace is a senior at Manchester High School in Midlothian, Virginia. Next year, she will be attending Appalachian Bible College.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
Yes, interestingly enough: she’s a character named Kate O’Malley from the book ‘The Negotiator’ by Dee Henderson. She was an orphan from childhood but grew up to help people in need. Kate shows character traits that I aspire to have.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
The three passions that are preeminent above all others are hiking, photography, and reading.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
This last year has given me time to spend more in devotions. I have been able to get away from this busy, overcrowded environment to be able to hear where the Lord is leading my future.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
My first year of college, I will receive a certificate in Ministry and Biblical Studies. Afterward, I will go on to double major in Disaster Relief and International Community Development.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
Everything in your life has a purpose, whether it is to strengthen or give experience. Do not waste these opportunities to become better.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
My strongest character trait is my determination, and that, with the right mindset, is the only way to overcome obstacles. A negative outlook won’t show you the light at the end of the tunnel.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
Every obstacle in my life has a purpose in changing and preparing me for the future. I have learned from my ocular and processing disadvantages to not compare myself to others.

Blakely Wright

Blakely is graduating from Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, Virginia, and has been accepted into the Cormier Honors College program at Longwood University.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My mother, whom I admire and will always be grateful for, has inspired me to become the hardworking and goal-driven woman I am today.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I love photography and writing. I like to travel and document my adventures with stories and photos. I also enjoy music and playing video games with my friends.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
The global pandemic reminded me of how fragile life is, and how short our time on earth can be. You only get one chance to be here and I believe it's important to make every day worth living.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I have not decided on a major yet, but I am interested in criminology, psychology, and journalism. I want my career to help others who have been through similar situations as me.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
Even when you are struggling, there's always a path forward. You'll find that one day, seeing how far you've come will motivate you to continue to be strong in the face of adversity.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
I believe my sense of humor has allowed me to persevere through hard times.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
Yes. I have been through many life-changing experiences that have made me look at myself and my environment in a different light. Keep an open mind and maintain friendships that will help you grow.

Ginger Umstadter

Ginger is a senior at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, Virginia and will be attending the Honors College at Virginia Tech.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
Yes, my dad. His kindness and generosity are part of the reason I want to become a civil rights attorney. He has always had a soft heart for those less fortunate than him.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about the relationships in my life. I love spending my time with friends and family.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
Last year reaffirmed my views on the future greatly. Staying busy and working toward my goals assisted in alleviating the frustration of personal challenges.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
Yes, I plan to major in political science and minor in psychology on the pre-law track.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
My best advice to younger students is to harness your frustration regarding personal challenges and utilize that energy to further your successes.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
I consider my strongest character trait to be my determination.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
I believe that overcoming an obstacle is a massive confidence boost. Enduring a challenging time and maturing from it has made me feel more prepared for adulthood.

Kayla Hutchison

Kayla is a senior at Orange County High School in Orange, Virginia, and will be attending Radford University.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
Throughout my life, I have seen family members make poor decisions with widespread effects. From a young age, I decided that I would not follow in their footsteps and have focused on helping others and making good decisions.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about helping others: I work at local daycares, assist with filing important CSA documents, and spend time with a woman with dementia. For fun, I read, crochet, socialize, and watch Netflix.

Q: Have you decided where you will be attending college next year?
I am officially enrolled in Radford University!! At Radford, I plan to earn a bachelor’s in nursing and then move on to earn my masters.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
This past year, I spent much of my time getting my CNA in my school's Nurse Aide program. The many hours of dedication affirmed my desire to further my education in nursing and become the best nurse possible.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I plan to major in Nursing! I plan to earn my bachelor’s, then work as a RN while I pursue my master’s. One day, I want to become a nurse practitioner.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
Do not give up! Times may be hard right now but by focusing on what you love and by working hard in school, you're setting yourself up for an amazing and exciting future.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
I consider my strongest character trait to be dedication. In medical settings, I dedicate myself to my patients. In school, I dedicate myself to academics. I believe that my dedication is the reason that I’ve come so far and overcome the obstacles I’ve faced.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
By overcoming this obstacle, I learned that what I want to do with my life is help people. Without it, I would be a completely different person, and I am very thankful because it has shaped me into the person I am today.

Aubrey Alexander

Aubrey is a senior at Eastern View High School and will be attending the University of Virginia.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My grandfather has inspired me to achieve my goals. He’s struggled a lot, but always keeps a positive attitude. He’s shown me that no matter what life throws at you, you can overcome it with hard work.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I like to watch documentaries and expand my knowledge. I’ve even been able to use some of the things I’ve learned in my courses this year.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
This last year reaffirmed my views on the future, as I still plan on majoring in a STEM field. I found that I still really enjoy math and science courses.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I’m going to be majoring in a field of Engineering. As of right now, I don’t have any specific career plans but I’m excited to see what opportunities will come about.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
The advice I’d give them would be to always remain optimistic. No matter how your current situation looks, keep a positive mindset about what the future will be like. Never let a bad situation take complete control of your life.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
My strongest character trait is my optimism. As mentioned before, optimism is very important to me. It helps me guide not only myself through tough situations, but others as well.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
Overcoming an obstacle definitely changed me. I learned that life can drastically change in an instant and I had to find ways to deal with that. Though overcoming an obstacle may be tough, you’ll always be able to take something positive away from it.

Monroe Hill

Monroe is a senior at Goochland High School and will be attending Texas A&M University.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
I am extremely blessed to have an amazing support system. My parents, boyfriend, and family have continually helped me find solutions to life’s challenges and achieve all of my crazy goals. When I received a traumatic brain injury, my support system never let me lose sight of those goals.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about my faith and conservative values, but I am always interested in others’ perspectives and respectful open dialogue. In my free time, I enjoy socializing (how is senior year flying by so fast?), pageants, and honestly, sleeping.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
I’m so grateful to attend school in-person this year. I treasure the connection with students and teachers. The pandemic has only enhanced my appreciation for the role models and mentors at my school that have shaped my life, always challenging, supporting, teaching, and cheering for me.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I am enrolled as a Society, Ethics and Law major on the pre-law track. This spring, I was fortunate enough to intern with Mr. Michael Caudill, the Goochland Commonwealth’s Attorney, and it changed the trajectory of my life. I aspire to be a federal prosecutor and eventually, to sit on the bench.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
My advice to all teens is to keep social media in perspective. Your likes, views, and followers do not determine your worth. My advice to those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries or other traumatic events is to be kind to yourself. Accept that you may be different than who you were before and be open to the idea that some of these differences may be opportunities you had never considered.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
My strongest characteristics are that I am an open book and advocate. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. I am proud of my work with the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, which helps erase the stigma of mental illness and allows me to support others.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
For me, the fact that my injury is unseen presents the biggest obstacle, and I have learned patience with those who make assumptions about it. I wrote a book called “When Your Cat Gets a Concussion“ to help illuminate the experience. I am now working to secure grant funding to make my book accessible to family members of impacted service members.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine is a senior at Patrick Henry High School in Ashland, Virginia, and will be attending Longwood University.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
I’d definitely say my mother, who pushes me to reach my goals even when I have lost sight of the end result. She always guides me toward positive decisions.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about helping others. Currently, I am raising a puppy to be trained as a service dog for a veteran with a traumatic brain injury or PTSD. In my free time, I like to listen to music, play softball, and socialize.

Q: Have you decided where will you be attending college next year?
I am planning to attend Longwood University. I plan to pursue my BSN and also minor in business.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
The last year has taught me the importance of flexibility and resilience, which I believe helped everyone adapt to virtual learning and the pandemic as a whole. My health issues coupled with the pandemic have proven to me that I can continue to set and achieve goals despite the obstacles.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I plan to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I want to work as an ER or trauma nurse, then continue my education to become a nurse practitioner. I’d like to establish a practice and be able to give back to my community.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
I would remind them to take care of themselves and not give up on their dreams. Being sick does not make you less than, it just means you have to balance hard work and rest. Having chronic medical needs makes you grow up faster, but rest and fun are still part of a fulfilling life.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
I believe my strongest character trait is perseverance. I learned from a young age to become my own advocate. Working hard to pursue my dreams required strength and perseverance as I faced repeated health roadblocks.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
I think overcoming obstacles fundamentally changed me. I learned to be responsible, self-motivated, and goal-oriented. I prioritize my health so that I can be well enough to care for others. Most importantly, I have learned to be kind to everyone because you never know what battles they are facing.

Solongo Shinekhuu

Solongo is a senior at Dominion High School in Loudoun County, Virginia, and will be attending Virginia Tech.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
There have been many people who have inspired me and helped me develop my character, but my aunt has played a huge role in exemplifying the importance of hard work.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
During my free time I like to practice piano, compose pieces, and read books. The books that I read are mostly related to psychology and business.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
It was a hugely challenging year for me since I transferred into a new high school and made new friends. Still, this experience has prepared me for next year, when I have to do it over again.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I’m pursuing a major in psychology and cognitive-behavioral science. I’m still deciding between a career in neuroscience or cognitive-behavioral therapy in my graduate study.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
Be more open to receiving help from others, and don’t be frightened of the challenges you are facing or make purely emotional decisions. It’s better to ground yourself and see what reality looks like.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
To me, resilience is the character trait that helped me cope with multiple circumstances when I started living in the U.S. I knew change was immediate and welcomed unfamiliar situations until I adjusted.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
Where I’m from, it isn’t common to ask for help, but changing my perspective and mindset helped me do better on my studies. I also learned that not every problem can be solved in one day. In a busy world like this, we have to remind ourselves that things are getting better and we need to focus on the positive side.

Pray Meh

Pray is a senior at Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, Virginia and will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My parents are my biggest inspirations. Even though they do not have a formal education, they have worked incredibly hard to provide a meaningful and loving life for my family.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about public health advocacy. Throughout high school, I have been part of a student-led advocacy program that works to encourage tobacco-free air in public settings.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
At the beginning of the pandemic, both of my parents were temporarily jobless. This created a huge financial strain. It also enhanced my dreams of going to college and getting a stable career, so I never have to face the hardships my parents did.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I plan on majoring in Biology with a Pre-Med/Health track. My dream is to become a pediatrician and go back to the refugee camp I was born in to build a clinic.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
Never be afraid to ask for help. As a first-generation immigrant, my family can’t answer questions about higher education, so I’ve sought help from teachers and counselors at school. Because of that drive and effort, I am college-bound!

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
Perseverance is my strongest character trait. I may not have the highest IQ in the class, but I have the strongest will and motivation to be great.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
There are many obstacles that I have experienced in my life, and every time, I have become more resilient.

Gabriella Garcia

Gabriella is a senior at Midlothian High School and plans to attend James Madison University.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
Yes, my mom was my biggest role model, and she inspires me daily to achieve my goals and find the good in bad situations. During junior year, my mom passed away from a year-long battle with multiple myeloma, and she was so brave, strong, and positive through it all.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am really passionate about running on the cross country and track teams, where I've created lifelong friendships. I also love animals, and became a vegetarian when I was seven years old. In my free time, I enjoy giving back to the community by volunteering.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
The past couple of years have been difficult for me and definitely reshaped my view of the future. My mom was my best friend and losing her has been challenging. Her passing has not only made me realize my strength, but that life is too short to not pursue my passions. I want to give back to the community by supporting and encouraging cancer patients.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I have decided to major in kinesiology with a minor in pre-physical therapy. Seeing nurses, physical therapists, and doctors support my mom during her fight inspired me. I aspire to become a physical therapist who works with cancer patients.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
Grant yourself grace, patience, and kindness. I tend to be hard on myself, and this is something I need to continue to work on too. I think it can be easy to become our own worst enemy, but it's important to become our own best friend.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
I’d say my strongest character traits are my work ethic and resilience. I give 110% to all my endeavors, and am very dedicated to my goals. I also feel that I have overcome a lot, and resilience helped me to do so.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
Overcoming an obstacle changed my perspective on life. I've learned that time is precious and nothing is guaranteed. My mom always said, "Enjoy the moments", and it taught me the importance of being present and cherishing each moment. I also learned that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Kristina Soiland

Kristina is a senior at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Virginia and will attend the University of Michigan.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My mother is truly inspirational! She has been a guiding force in my educational journey and has modeled hard work, compassion, and authenticity.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time? What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about community service, especially helping at-risk youth. I am also deeply committed to sustainable living and environmental conservation.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
One of the most valuable lessons I learned is to manifest patience - with myself, others, and the often exhausting process of learning and growing through iterations of experiences.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
Biomedical Engineering, with focus on rehabilitative medicine. I plan to develop medical devices to assist people who have sustained spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
I would tell them to put trust in themselves and seek positivity, no matter the circumstances.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
Resilience. I am not afraid of adversity. In fact, I like to embrace challenges.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
I learned that nothing worthwhile ever comes from worry. Most importantly, I learned that independence fosters a fearlessness that breeds confidence and hope.

Sydney Alphin

Sydney will be graduating from Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach. She will attend the University of Virginia.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My dad has always been a role model in my life. Seeing him work two full-time jobs for the past 18 years in a single-parent household to give my sister and I the best life possible has majorly impacted my work ethic and outlook on my future.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about civil rights and equality. Many people in my family are directly affected by discriminatory laws and hate speech in my community, so I try to use my voice and privilege to bring awareness to these issues.

Have you decided where you will be attending college next year?
Yes! I got accepted into the University of Virginia, my top choice school. I can’t wait to move up to Charlottesville this fall!

Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I am leaning toward majoring in speech communication disorders and minoring in sign language. One of my relatives is nonverbal and can’t speak, so I have a little experience in both of these areas.

What do you consider your strongest character trait?
Although it is sometimes my weakness, I am a perfectionist. I’m proud to say I’m a hard worker.

Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
Due to the hurdles I’ve faced, I now know that life isn’t always going to be easy or go the way you want it to. I can now say I’m open to learning from my mistakes and failures and growing from them onward.

Jack Ridolphi

Jack is from Douglas S. Freeman High School in Richmond and will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My mom has always been there for me and pushes me to do my best even when the path is difficult. She taught me not to fight my disability but embrace it. She has always supported my goal of living independently and is the reason I am where I am today.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
My greatest passion is power soccer, which is soccer played with power wheelchairs. I have played power soccer for many years through an organization called Sportable, which offers sports for disabled people. This sport has allowed me to meet new people and participate in friendly competitions.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
This past year has shown me that we can still push forward and adapt even when times are changing. Coming back to school reminded me the joy of being out in the world again and that motivated me when applying for colleges and this scholarship.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
When I attend VCU, I will be studying engineering. As of now, I am unsure of what type of engineering I want to pursue, I’m very much interested in computer engineering and computer science. I wish to become an engineer and help solve current and future problems.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
I'd tell younger students with disabilities to keep pushing forward and discover your passions. Living with a disability is tough and can leave you feeling hopeless, but it is important not to give up. Having lived with my condition for so long, I've discovered that focusing on what I have leads to a happier life than focusing on what I don't.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
I think my strongest character trait is my determination, even when the task in front of me seems insurmountable. Life is full of many hardships and obstacles, but giving up will not solve them.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
Living with and overcoming a disability has changed me significantly. I've been able to meet people and experience things I wouldn't have if I wasn’t disabled. I've learned to never treat someone differently or doubt them based on their appearance or physical limitations. I've also learned that life is still beautiful with a disability and that I should never let it stop me.

Declan Wood

Declan is a senior at Loudoun Valley High School in Purchellville, Virginia, and will be attending James Madison University.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My mother, who worked vigorously to grant me the necessary skills I need to succeed both in my career and my academics.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about acting and performing.

Q: How has the last year reshaped or reaffirmed your views on your future?
The last year has taught me that one cannot anticipate what the future holds. I've also learned that I cannot and certainly will not stay in one place for too long.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
I want to major in theatre and hopefully, film as well in order to pursue my career goal of being a professional actor.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
No matter what challenges you face, whether from individuals or greater forces, the single greatest advice I can give is to never lose who you are.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
Mindfulness; I try to keep my mind open to multiple possibilities, almost always asking questions rather than making actions based on assumptions.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
I feel that overcoming the obstacles I faced led me to find objectives in my career as well as my life. I have learned that I need to be open to other people offering me help and vice versa; when someone offers a hand, I ought to give them mine in return.

Madeline Carpenter

Madeline attends Douglas S. Freeman High School and will attend the University of Virginia.

Q: Is there someone in your life that has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My mom has had the largest influence on who I am today. She taught me the importance of pursuing your dreams and working hard to achieve them. She has also shown me that simply being kind will take you far in life.

Q: What are you passionate about? What do you do in your free time?
I am passionate about spending quality time with others and leadership. I have been able to combine these two passions by working as a camp counselor at YMCA Camp Silver Beach.

Q: Have you decided on a major? If so, do you have any specific career plans?
Right now I am most interested in chemistry and mathematics. My current career goal is to attend medical school after undergrad and become a surgeon.

Q: What advice would you give younger students facing similar challenges as you?
I have had a chronic autoimmune disorder since age five. It is incurable and still affects my life, I have put in a ton of work and maintained a positive attitude which has helped to lessen the negative effects of the autoimmune disorder on my everyday life.

Q: What do you consider your strongest character trait?
Resilience is my strongest character trait. When presented with a challenge, I am not one to back down or give up at the first sign of difficulty.

Q: Do you feel that overcoming an obstacle, like you have, has changed you? What lessons have you learned along the way?
It has definitely changed me. The biggest lesson that I have learned is that some things are simply out of your control. A lot of times it is impossible to achieve perfection, and that is okay. As long as you have put your best effort into something, that can be enough.