As a senior at West Mifflin High School, Jordan Scott has already begun to climb the stairway to success. (Photo by Jackie McDonald)

The competition sure is fierce out there. But they’re no match for Jordan Scott.

Scott, a senior at West Mifflin High School, recently wrote three mini-essays which propelled him to be selected as one of the 100 winners of this year’s 2017 Steve Harvey/Disneyworld Dreamers Academy. There were over 20,000 applicants vying to be selected.

The West Mifflin resident is one of two Pittsburgh-area students to receive such the honor.

The Disney Dreamers Academy was a four-day, star-studded week in Orlando, where students and their parents were engaged in empowerment sessions and presentations held by speakers such as Mikki Taylor, editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine; Lisa Nichols, noted motivational speaker; and comedian Steve Harvey. Entertainment included gospel singer Yolanda Adams and Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle.

But it didn’t stop there. Scott competed against over 500 applicants in hopes of receiving a full scholarship to Penn State University.

The result?

He indeed was among the roughly 40 students awarded the full scholarship to Nittany Lions country.

“I was shocked,” said Regina Scott, his mother. “It was a very competitive program he was in. They were some of the brightest minds I’ve ever met. But I know Jordan’s very capable.”

Scott will be attending Penn State to study electrical engineering. He has a bevy of accomplishments under his belt, including membership in the National Achievers Society (Urban League) and National Honor Society; receiving the Active Scholar Award for students who played sports, and still kept over a 3.8 GPA; and winning the NEED Sylvester Pace Scholarship.

“He is conscientious, principled and smart,” shared Mark Chapman, an elder at Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh. “His hard work has enabled him to excel academically, garnering national awards and accolades, and just recently, being chosen for Penn State University’s Millennium Scholars Program. Yet, he remains grounded, self-sacrificing and considerate, extending himself to reach and teach fellow teens to help empower them toward making wise choices and pursuing healthy lifestyles.”

The Millennium Scholars Program is designed for high-achieving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students who will become leaders in their chosen fields and are committed to increasing the diversity of professionals in STEM-related disciplines. As a Millennium Scholar, Scott will spend seven to eight weeks team-building and taking classes on the main campus in State College, Pa. this summer.

Scott has a strong affinity for math and sciences. His interest in electrical engineering was fueled by his participation in a college-prep program at the University of Pittsburgh, Investing Now.

“I was interested in most of the programming they offered, but while interning at Pitt, I developed a deeper interest in electrical engineering,” Scott said.

Scott already has a vision for using his degree to find ways to develop and design technology that is renewable, such as computers and things that run on solar energy for Third World countries.

“Many times, they cannot afford the technology that they need,” he said. “If I can help design something that they can use that does not require them to be wealthy, this would be a very good use of my skills. English and social studies are okay, but they are mostly memorization. But math is a sure thing. If you use the equation correctly, you get the right answer every time.”

Reverend Shirley Lyle, teen pastor at Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh, who has known Scott for years, said she’s enjoyed watching his transformation.

“He is a mature, respectable young man who has overcome academic obstacles and has demonstrated consistency and follow-through,” she said. “Along with this, he is very service-oriented and gives of his time in the various volunteer opportunities at Macedonia. By these things, he exemplifies leadership and, because of his personal progression over the years, his leadership abilities will be even greater.”

Scott exhibits a distinct air of humility, yet clear confidence.

“I definitely see myself as a leader, I don’t demand to be followed, but when I’m around others, I feel naturally drawn toward leadership,” Scott said. “My hope is to develop the natural leaning I have along with my intellect to really refine my leadership.”

His mother, Regina, a district director for the Southeast District Office, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, said she was intentional about keeping Scott busy.

“It proved to be the right tactic, as a single mom of a son,” she said. “I knew that a busy schedule with positive activities was going to be the key to keeping him on track.”

Giving back is important to Scott. Through a program at his school, his community service is tutoring on Mondays and Wednesdays at West Mifflin middle school.

“While I am only required by the program to go twice a month, I go as often as I can,” Scott said. “If people did not help me when I went to programs where I received help, I may not have gotten where I am.”

 

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