LA Sentinel (LAS): What prompted you to sign up for the Taste of Soul scholarship, and how did you find out about it?

Ashley Williams (AW): Initially, I wanted to sign up for The Taste of Soul scholarship so that I could try to get financial help in my own community. It’s rare that on the search for scholarships, that I can find money in my own community– so I took the chance. I found out about the scholarship through a family friend.

LAS: What impact did the scholarship have on your college experience?

AW: Every dime and penny is important in college. There are so many expenses that could stop one from attending college, and the Taste of Soul scholarship made sure that I didn’t have to be one of those teenagers making the decision to not attend UCLA because of financial hardships.

LAS: What was your favorite thing about starting college?

AW: My favorite thing about starting college was the amount of different types of people I got to meet. There were so many different personalities, races, and ages that I got to connect with on a deeper level, which led to more self-understanding. I was exposed to more, making me dig deeper into myself to figure out what I liked and didn’t like.

LAS: What was the most challenging thing about college?

AW: The most challenging thing about college is learning how to navigate a campus on my own. There are so many resources offered to students, but if you do not find them, they won’t find you either. I had to learn that it was completely up to me to seek the help when I needed it.

LAS: What are you doing now and hope to accomplish?

AW: Right now I’m a second year at UCLA, hoping to have a great academic year. I plan to major in Communications, with a minor in English in hopes of becoming a screenwriter. I take everything one day at a time, so for now I’m eager to sharpen up on all of my writing skills while being a collegiate student. If I can accomplish that, I believe I’ll reach my dreams soon.

LAS: What would you say to future Taste of Soul Scholarship applicants?

AW: I would tell them to always stay true to themselves. Staying true will be reflected in your personality, writing, and relationships. Never alter yourself for the fitting of someone or something else, because everything that is destined for you will happen naturally. If it’s meant for you, it will happen.