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Young Ambassador Scholarship In Memory of Christopher Nordquist

Scholarship Criteria

To apply, students must meet all of the following requirements:
  1. Reside within The Eye-Bank’s service area: New York City, Long Island, and the lower Hudson Valley (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange Counties).
  2. Be a student under 25 years of age who will be, or is presently enrolled, in a 2 or 4-year college, university, trade or technical school for the current academic year at the time of application deadline.
  3. Complete the Scholarship Application and return it by May 15.
  4. Use the scholarship award for continuing education at an accredited university, college, trade or technical school certificate program.
  5. Write a short essay, 1-2 type written pages, doubled-spaced, describing an educational or public service initiative in which the student participated that promoted eye, organ and tissue donation such as distributing brochures or speaking to a class or club (eye information must be included).
  6. Applicants may contact The Eye-Bank in advance for project ideas and free materials.
  7. Provide two references from current school and a counselor’s report.
  8. Provide a current official transcript and/or acceptance letter from the college, university or trade/technical school the applicant plans to attend.

Application Deadline

Please submit the completed application and related materials post-marked by May 15 to:
Mrs. Andrea Nordquist
The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration
120 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Young Ambassador Scholarship Winners


Tamara Aqil

Charles Hager

Tamara Aqil is enrolled in the undergraduate nursing program at Excelsior College with plans to advance her career. Currently a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at Elmhurst Hospital, Tamara delivered an informative presentation about eye, organ and tissue donation to her fellow operating room nurses. To enhance her presentation, she created an eye-catching standing visual that offered key factual information about donation. She also created a video titled, Change the Way You See Things, capturing New York City’s amazing sights which she posted to You Tube. Her video culminated with a message urging New Yorkers to “Sign up in the Donate Life Registry and give the gift of sight.”

A graduating senior at Lindenhurst High School, Charles Hager was inspired to create greater awareness about donation once he understood the good it can accomplish. As a volunteer at Good Samaritan Hospital, Charles arranged to conduct a tabling event on the same day as the hospital’s blood drive in order to benefit from the increased pedestrian traffic. He researched information about eye, organ and tissue donation so that he would be well informed and able to interact with visitors and staff throughout the day, providing brochures, answering questions and giving information. He emphasized that all major religions support donation, that there is no cost to donate and that it is important to enroll in the Donate Life Registry. In the fall, Charles will pursue the field of Dentistry in a program offered jointly by Adelphi University and New York University, College of Dentistry.



Spenser Caitlin White
Spenser Caitlin White, a 2015 graduate of New Rochelle High School promoted eye, organ and tissue donation at various community events and signed up more than 30 New Yorkers in the Donate Life Registry. Spenser was inspired by her grandfather, a veteran, who was pleased to learn that many cancer patients can still be eye donors and leave the beautiful gift of sight. As a result she decided to create greater awareness about donation within her community and used her talent as a baker and resources from the at-home business she began in 2009 to create cupcakes decorated in the form of eyes to draw passersby to her table at the community events. She provided information at Holy Family Church in New Rochelle in conjunction with a Blood Drive and another at Glen Island Park organized by local veterans where she also addressed an audience of more than 500 people about the importance of eye, organ and tissue donation. Spenser will begin as a freshman at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI in September.


Lauren McFarland

Jaclyn Schess
After learning about the importance of organ donation in class at the School of Nursing at Suffolk County Community College, Lauren McFarland used today’s cupcake craze to promote eye, organ and tissue donation. She organized a tabling event to help spread awareness to the rest of the students on her college campus. With the help of friend and fellow student, Nathalia Andrade, the two promoted donation by distributing Donor Registry enrollment brochures and pens provided by The Eye-Bank and homemade cupcakes decorated in the shape of an eye to entice students to visit their table. The two nursing students interacted with the college community, combatting misconceptions about donation by sharing factual information and inviting people to visit and ‘like’ The Eye-Bank’s Facebook page. This initiative which garnered support for The Eye-Bank and its mission deserved being awarded one of the 2014 Young Ambassador Scholarships. As the award-winning applicant, Lauren is sharing the scholarship with her friend Nathalia.

Incoming Yale University undergraduate student, Jaclyn Schess, has devoted a great deal of her time to the cause of eye, organ and tissue donation. She developed a sample curriculum for New York City schools, complete with teacher lesson plans and necessary supporting materials to deliver a comprehensive overview on donation that engages students and makes a compelling case for enrolling in the Donate Life Registry. With this plethora of knowledge about the Donate Life Registry, Jaclyn also engaged in community outreach in Times Square during Donate Life Month to augment a public awareness campaign about the need for New Yorkers to enroll. Jaclyn’s continuous commitment to raising awareness for eye, organ and tissue donation has been recognized by The Eye-Bank, as she has been named one of 2014’s Young Ambassador Scholarship winners.



Karyn Haynes
While working as a nursing attendant at NSLIJ-Southside Hospital, Karyn Haynes, a resident of Brentwood, Long Island, learned of the critical need for eye, organ and tissue donation. Utilizing multiple social media platforms, such as Twitter and a blog, the SUNY Old Westbury student created awareness about enrolling in the Donate Life Registry in an attempt to increase the number of registered eye, organ and tissue donors. Karyn also wrote an article for submission to her school’s newspaper, as well as PreMedLife Magazine. For her impressive efforts, The Eye-Bank awarded Karyn Haynes the 2012 Young Ambassador Scholarship.


Elizabeth Duker
As a recipient of a cornea transplant, Elizabeth Duker, originally from Ghana, Africa, fully understands the importance of eye, organ and tissue donation. Her successful surgery and improved eyesight was motivation to use Facebook to create general awareness and encourage others to sign-up in the Donate Life Registry. Elizabeth, who will be attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, in the fall of 2011 to follow her dreams of being a chef, designed The Eye-Bank’s 2010 Thanksgiving card which also included an original recipe. It is her personal experiences, motivation and strong academics that qualify Elizabeth as the recipient of the 2011 Young Ambassador Scholarship.


Robert Sers
After being severely bitten by a dog at a young age, Robert Sers, a resident of La Grange, NY, was left without vision in his right eye. This event triggered Robert’s commitment to the eye, organ and tissue donation cause. Using Facebook, Robert created a page called “The Gift of Sight,” where he shared his personal story, provided facts about enrolling as a donor, encouraged members to share their own stories and opinions, and linked page viewers to The Eye-Bank’s homepage for further information. Robert’s creativity and dedication to the cause resulted in his being named the 2010 Young Ambassador Scholarship winner. At the time of his award, approximately 500 people, including Robert’s fraternity, Kappa Sigma, had joined “The Gift of Sight.”
The Eye-Bank is pleased to announce the establishment of its Young Ambassador Scholarship in Memory of Christopher Nordquist. The annual $1,000 award to an eligible student is made possible through private contributions given to The Eye-Bank in memory of Christopher, who was two when he died and left the gift of sight.

Through the years, his mother Andrea Nordquist has shared the story of their family’s loss and subsequent decision to donate Christopher’s corneas in hopes of increasing awareness of the good that eye donation can do. In this way, Christopher became one of The Eye-Bank’s first Young Ambassadors.

The Scholarship in his memory is intended to encourage young people to pursue learning and to help spread the message about the priceless gift almost anyone can leave after death – the gift of sight through eye donation.