Tatyana Lowry

College-bound Tatyana Lowry is trying to decide if she wants to be a nurse or a doctor.

“I love science, and I love to help people,” the 18-year-old explained. “So I figured I would put my love for helping others in service.”

Also a factor in her decision to enter the medical field was the diagnosis last April of her mother’s lymphoma. The discovery of the cancer, which affects the immune system, was just the latest challenge for the family.

The two were left homeless after her mother left her abusive father, having withstood the situation from the time Lowry was a newborn up until about age 3.

“My mom has always been the one to push me to work hard,” she said. “You take the anger you have from things like that and you turn it into stamina and that turns into motivation that you use to want to do better.”

On June 2, Lowry graduated from Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, a private school located at 5218 N. Broad St., and this fall will attend Saint Joseph’s University, where she will major in biology and minor in film.

“I have a love a science that I’ve had since I was younger, and in high school I was involved with the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] program,” Lowry said.

Her opportunity to attend St. Joe’s is partly made possible by a scholarship she received from the Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia, a privately funded program with a mission to provide financial access for students from low-income families to safe, high-quality tuition-based schools. It is awarded by lottery and is need-based.

When Lowry was a child, her mom found about the program through the Black Alliance of Educational Options. She is among 10 college scholarship recipients.

Earlier this month, Lowry and other scholarship lottery winners were honored during a ceremony at the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., where Tatyana’s accomplishments were recognized.

“It felt great,” Lowry said of receiving the scholarship. “I did like getting acknowledged, although I was a little nervous to speak. I still have a far way to go, but I’m on the right path to where I want to be.”

Patrick J. Burke, president of the CSFP Board, said Lowry exceeded all of the criteria for receiving a scholarship, despite having a challenging academic course load and serving in many leadership and mentoring roles.

“She will be attending St. Joseph’s University on an academic scholarship to pursue a rigorous biology degree with the hope of helping others in the future as a medical professional,” Burke said in an emailed statement to the Tribune.

“On a personal note, I related to Tatyana’s story, having grown up with a single mother with a debilitating illness,” he added. “I am excited she will be attending my alma mater and I’m looking forward to hearing about her continued success at St. Joe’s.”

Lowry’s mom is an alumna of St. Joe’s and staying close to her and being in a supportive collegiate environment were both important to her.

“If you stay around the right type of people in the right crowd, you will get to where you want to be and your dreams and aspirations will more than likely come true,” she added. “Everyone needs that push to be where they want to be. You can never do it on your own.”

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