DPS Scholars Continue Academic Excellence through Support from
Dr. Pernick and DPSF

We recently caught up with Detroit Public Schools alumni Tanya Brown and Kayla Young to find out how they’re doing at Princeton and Michigan State University.

DPSF Support Helps Tanya Rise at Princeton  

Winning the Pernick Prize in 2023, it was never a question of if Tanya would go to college, it was simply where

Now attending the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, the focus and work ethic she developed as a straight-A scholar—while balancing commitments to Renaissance’s Golf Team, the Michigan Youth in Government program, and the Girl Scouts as a mentor—has prepared her for the intensely competitive environment of an Ivy League university. 

While the financial support from DPSF was one of the many scholarships and funding sources that Tanya received as a result of her hard work and dedication, it is also the most liberating. 

This flexible support from DPSF has alleviated her financial constraints and empowered her to take advantage of Princeton’s diverse academic enrichment opportunities, such as their prestigious Model Congress and the Black Student Union.

“I always thought that college was supposed to be the great equalizer, but everyone can’t experience it in the same way due to their backgrounds and personal circumstance,” Tanya shares. “This support from DPSF is making my journey more equitable, allowing me the freedom to experience all that the University has to offer. It’s removing barriers and enabling me to pursue every avenue that can position me to reach my full potential, including participating in career boosting opportunities.”

DPSF’s Investment in Kayla Pays Off at MSU

Before entering her Freshman year at Michigan State University, Kayla had already earned an Associate’s degree and gained global recognition for her innovative packaging concept to reengineer cereal storage.

Kayla cultivated an aptitude for STEM through years of dedication to Ecotek, a Detroit-based research lab that creates momentum in STEM fields for kids of all backgrounds. Ecotek equips them with tangible experience to stand out amongst the sea of scholars vying for the same opportunities.

The rigors of balancing advanced high school programming, college coursework, and STEM research gave Kayla the competitive edge to excel in the Packaging program at Michigan State University. She continues to rise through the financial support granted to her through DPSF.

“I poured a lot into my education, and receiving this financial support felt like a reward for my immense dedication to my studies — like the District was pouring right back into me,” Kayla explains. “This generous award limits roadblocks, allowing me to harness all of my hard work to reach my full potential. When I do, I look forward to pouring back into the people and institutions that invested in and poured into me.”


Tanya and Kayla are just two of the brilliant young minds that we have helped to activate amongst the many innovators, artists, entrepreneurs, and change agents walking DPSCD’s halls. 

These inspiring students are poised to help us solve some of our community’s biggest challenges.

And they need your support. 

Invest in Detroit’s Future: Donate Today.

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