Writer’s note: Excerpts from Brodell’s scholarship essays are indicated in italics.
For a long time Amanda Brodell felt she lived in the shadows.
She packed lunches, folded laundry, changed diapers and took care of the household duties.
She played Santa Claus at Christmas and the Tooth Fairy at bedtime in an effort to keep the magic of childhood alive.
She was 16. Not an unwed mother, but the female head of the household. Her mother, lost in the grips of her severe bipolar disorder, left her six children when Brodell was 10. Her father Robert raised his children as a single father the best he could.
“I tried to give them the childhood I didn’t have,” Brodell says of her siblings. “It was tough. I grew up too fast.”
But part of that tremendous strength Brodell forged in childhood would factor into her determination to get an education and work her way out of the troublesome situation of her past. Now 18, Brodell is entering her second year at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and her education is fully funded through scholarships. She was named one of the recipients of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholars and is paving a new path for her future.
I became aware that life would not always be fair, but I would always respond in a positive, progressive manner.
Early into Brodell’s childhood, she became a caretaker of others. It’s no surprise that she hopes to be a doctor.
After her mother left, she naturally stepped into the role that her mother’s absence had created. She lost herself in the safe place of academics and extracurricular activities and stayed dedicated to her faith.
When she started her freshman year of high school at Central Union High, she decided her goal, despite graduation being four years away, would be to receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
“My dad told me I came from a big family and he couldn’t pay for college,” Brodell says. “I didn’t know it was because he wasn’t going to be alive.”
Read more about Amanda Brodell in the July/August 2012 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
Amanda Brodell: Paving a new Path for the Future
Amanda Brodell (August 9, 2012)