For the past few years, McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., has awarded a $2,500 scholarship to a deserving college student. The Teen Drinking and Driving Prevention PSA Scholarship aims to raise awareness about drinking and driving dangers among teenagers.
This year’s winner, Ellen Schneider, is passionate about the fight against drunk driving. As a teacher, she sees firsthand how impressionable students are, especially when safe driving behaviors aren’t modeled for them. Ellen plans to use the scholarship money to pay for some of her college courses at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.
Empathy for Young Adults Drew Ellen to Apply for the Teen Drinking and Driving Prevention PSA Scholarship
Ellen Schneider has been an educator for the past 10 years, which has allowed her to develop a deep empathy for young adults. “I have seen my students struggle to fit in, and I have worried about them when they are out of my sight,” Ellen says. “Addressing the root causes of teen drinking and driving is key to keeping young people safe on the roads.”
Her empathy for the challenges adolescents face is what compelled her to apply for McKenzie Law Firm, P.C.’s scholarship. She believes understanding the dangers of reckless behavior begins in students’ homes and educational institutions. By furthering her education, Ellen is preparing to help students avoid the dangers of poor decision-making that could lead to drunk driving.
Ellen Shares Reasons for Teenage Drunk Driving Behaviors in Her Scholarship Essay
Part of qualifying for McKenzie Law Firm, P.C.’s scholarship is writing an essay about why the applicant thinks some teenagers drink and drive. Then, the scholarship applicant must propose solutions to discourage teenagers from getting behind the wheel after drinking.
In her essay, Ellen states that poor role models may be part of the issue. As hard as most parents try to demonstrate safe behaviors to their children, they may be giving off the wrong idea by drinking and driving themselves. Ellen explains that if a parent has even one drink before driving, they’re teaching their children that it is safer for the least drunk person to drive. In reality, driving after even one drink is unsafe, and teens should always rely on a fully sober driver.
Ellen also attributes poor decision-making in teens to peer pressure. Teenagers know the risks of drunk driving, but the pressure to fit in with their peers outweighs the fear of driving while drunk. For example, Ellen notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that teenagers are more likely to partake in risky behaviors when in the car with their friends versus driving alone.
Ellen Proposes Solutions to the Teenage Drunk Driving Problem
Ellen’s passion for ending drunk driving inspired her to brainstorm solutions to the issue. Her first recommendation is to emphasize that strict penalties come with drinking and driving. Although teens might not be scared of getting into an accident, the fear of losing their driver’s license or going to jail may stop them from drunk driving.
Along these same lines, Ellen suggests a nationwide reduction in the legally acceptable blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. It’s illegal to drive with a .08% BAC or higher, and some states already implement laws about drunk driving for those under 21, the legal drinking age. However, Ellen recommends that a 0.05% BAC limit could help decrease the number of drunk driving accidents that regularly occur. More sobriety checkpoints could also dissuade teenagers from driving while drunk.
Ellen suggests that social campaigns could also help solve the drunk driving problem. Though NHTSA has launched national campaigns against drunk driving, Ellen thinks using social media influencers and other relatable content creators could help the message to travel further. Teens might take messages against drunk driving more seriously if they came from public figures they admire.
Ellen’s final recommendation is for cities to make public transportation more affordable and accessible. Although rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are also available, there aren’t many inexpensive options to call a ride. Ellen suggests that operating public transportation systems at night and on the weekends would allow drivers of all ages to enjoy their nights out without worrying about how they’ll get home.
About Our Scholarship Awardee
Beyond her passion for preventing drunk driving, Ellen is family-focused and enjoys participating in extracurricular activities on campus. She is a First Year Representative for the Master of Business Administration’s Out in Business Club. Ellen also participates in the Net Impact club as a First Year Service Corps Representative in addition to being a Forté Fellow and a ROMBA Fellow.
Had it not been for her Aunt Lynda, Ellen might not have gone back to school for her master’s degree after 10 years of professional work. Ellen’s aunt graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing and served on the board of the Indiana Midwives Association. This inspired Ellen to follow her dreams at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Applying for the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. Scholarship
If you think you could benefit from our firm’s scholarship, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be currently enrolled in classes or accepted to a college or university.
- You must write a 1,000-word essay and fill out an application.
- You must have at least a 3.0 GPA, which we will verify by looking at your unofficial transcript.
There are a few other requirements that you can read about on our scholarship page.
Contact McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., or Apply for Our Scholarship Today
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is a criminal defense law firm in Pennsylvania that handles DUI cases, drug possession cases, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from a lawyer, contact us today for a legal consultation.
You can apply to our Teen Drinking and Driving Prevention PSA Scholarship on our website today.