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Opinions, thoughts and ideas from the leaders of the Arizona Community Foundation, Arizona’s largest statewide philanthropic grantmaker.


Meet Carter Johnson, ACF scholarship recipient
Meet Carter Johnson, ACF scholarship recipient

Each day, students find the courage and strength to continue on the path to their dreams. They are seeking change through choosing to pursue higher education. Each student experiences a unique and powerful journey when they apply for scholarships through ACF. 

When Carter Johnson began his college career, he felt like he'd finally found his place: somewhere he could focus on his love of biology, his in-depth knowledge of animals and wildlife, and his passion for American Sign Language. This sense of belonging meant a lot to Carter, especially because he began attending community college at just 14 years old.

Carter is now attending his second semester at Arizona State University's West campus to obtain a bachelor's degree in biology. In addition to his studies, Carter has internships at three different wildlife rehabilitation centers, including the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary, Wild at Heart Raptors, and Liberty Wildlife. These opportunities have been exceptional in providing Carter with hands-on experience, encouraging him to assist in surgeries and physical therapy for the animals.

Through his internships, Carter performs educational outreach programs on conservation and wildlife. He has presented to veterinarian schools, fire departments, and elementary schools.

His work in the community has already made a huge impact. At only 17 years old, Carter already receives calls from animal hospitals asking him how to properly care for exotic animals.

He's also actively pursuing his American Sign Language certification. He currently teaches a free ASL class to anyone in the community once a week. He has 45 students attend his class. His goal is for the deaf community to have more ways of communicating.

In 2019, Carter received the Swift Transportation Scholarship, which is managed by the Arizona Community Foundation. In his note thanking Swift Transportation, Carter talked about the sense of relief and gratitude the scholarships brought him and his family:

"This scholarship is so important to me because it is my way of helping my parents. They have made so many sacrifices to get me where I am today."

As Carter looks to the future, he dreams of continuing to medical school. He wants to become a doctor, while still making a difference in conservation efforts by volunteering his extensive knowledge on the subject.

If you are inspired by Carter's story and ready to pursue your dreams, head to our online scholarship application. The deadlines for ACF scholarships are March 15 and May 15, 2020. We recommend submitting your application by the March 15 deadline so you can be matched with as many scholarships as possible.

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