Congratulations to Alert1's 2022 Students for Seniors Scholarship Winner

scholarship winner

We are pleased to announce that Sienna Matregrano has won the 2022 Alert1 Students for Seniors Scholarship.

Sienna attends the University of New England and will be graduating in the Class of 2025. She is majoring in Biological Sciences and maintains a 4.0 GPA.

We asked our candidates to answer a few questions about how their behaviors and future life plans would help America’s senior population. Read on for Sienna’s award-winning answers!

Share a time when you helped a senior citizen keep his/her independence.

"This past summer, going into my freshman year at college, I was tasked with taking care of my family friend’s grandmother along with her grandson. Roberta, the woman we were caring for, had begun to refuse to take her medication and was unable to drive anymore. Roberta’s family wanted her to live with them for the summer, [so they could care for her, but she did not want to leave her home]. My friend and I proposed a plan to keep Roberta in her house as she wanted. We agreed to take the night shift so we could drop off her medication and dinner while [others] stopped by in the morning. Although most of the family’s stops were very short, Roberta loved when I was able to stay and talk. She told me all about her childhood and where she used to live and would always appreciate when I asked her questions."

Share a time when you helped a senior in his/her pursuit of happiness.

"One of the seniors that I volunteered to spend time with was very passionate about her photos. She would show me hundreds every time I went to her house, however, she couldn’t remember most of the details about the pictures. She would always tell me how her mother insisted on writing [notes] on the back of every photo, but she never believed that she would forget the details. Her goal before she passed was to go through all the pictures she had and put them into scrapbooks. Although this seems relatively easy, it was very hard for her to put names to the faces that she was seeing, and she struggled to remember the years and locations of most of the photos.

To help her, I used Google to find the locations of the photos and narrow down the years. I also helped match pictures with descriptions to photos that were missing information. My senior friend successfully put together multiple scrapbooks and re-lived lots of her favorite memories. She was very grateful for my help and showed them to everyone that she saw. Helping her with these photos made her the happiest she had been in years she told me. She had the closure she needed and had produced something that others could use to learn about her after she passed, which was very important to her."

How will you help seniors in your chosen career?

My chosen career is to be a medical biologist. I have always been very interested in research and my ability to make a change in the world through it. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s for most of my childhood, so I was never able to meet her. I want to dedicate my life to helping others, especially from things that you have no control over. I would love to work in an Alzheimer’s research lab to pursue an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s to heal patients and their families. In addition to Alzheimer’s, I am also passionate about educating others on elder speech. Elder speech is a term for how younger adults and caretakers speak to elders. It is very close to infant speech and harder to hear for elderly people due to its high pitch frequency. It can be very patronizing for older adults and make it harder for them to accept care. I would educate others on the effects of elder speech and how to properly talk to elders, so they feel respected.

Alongside whatever career path that I end up in, I also want to continue to volunteer to spend time with older adults. I enjoy hearing all their stories and what they have accomplished in their lives. I think it is important that people can share what they are passionate about and teach others the lessons that they learned along the way.

Alert1 thanks all of our collegiate participants in this year’s scholarship competition and encourages students to apply again next year.

Congratulations, Sienna!