Meet Octavia Beyah, GSK Opportunity Scholar

No child should cry herself to sleep feeling terrified and hungry. Yet, for Octavia Beyah, this was her normal life. She was raised by a drug-addicted parent who kept her and her sister out of school for months locked in their room. She repeatedly witnessed her mother being beaten by boyfriends.

As a result of these unstable years, Octavia was very timid, even afraid to speak. Mercifully, she was placed in foster care at nine years old. Nonetheless, she was harboring difficult feelings and dealing with problems under the surface.

With the help of her foster family and their friends, Octavia’s life has totally changed. She is a rising sophomore at Montgomery County Community College, where she will use her GlaxoSmithKline Opportunity Scholarship to pursue an associate’s degree in preparation for a bachelor’s degree in biology. Her goal is to become a neurologist.

Octavia believes that her difficult childhood helped mold her into the person she is today: outgoing, persistent, and dedicated to making a difference in the world. She says she aspires “to improve lives and leave a mark on everyone that she encounters.” This is exemplified by her years of care for her severely handicapped foster brother and by her community volunteer efforts.

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