Congratulations to Gracie Martin, 19, of Tigard, OR, who is the recipient of the McKenzie Law Firm DUI Awareness Scholarship. Gracie, a sophomore at Washington State University, Pullman, WA, is a biology major. She is the daughter of Dan and Melia Martin, and sister to Molly, 16, all of Tigard. The scholarship is for $2500.
Gracie wrote a moving essay, answering the prompt: Why do you think many people still engage in drunk driving despite knowing the risks, and what you think you can do to address the issue among your peers?
She highlighted personal experience with people who have alcohol problems and how quickly their judgment is impaired with the first drink. Her essay opens with a quote from the great American writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
“In 2017 drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 were responsible for 42% of fatal DUI accidents,” she wrote in her essay.
It is confounding that most people understand that drinking under the influence is dangerous. And Gracie was surprised that her generation, so steeped in education about the dangers of DUI, still has such a high rate.
“When sober, most of my generation is strongly against drinking while driving,” she wrote.
As an aspiring physician, Gracie understands that the adolescent brain’s executive decision-making function in the frontal lobe is not fully developed until a person’s mid-20s. Adding alcohol or drugs to that mix only makes matters worse.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 28 percent of traffic fatalities in the U.S. involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
Gracie to Continue DUI Awareness at School
When Gracie returns to WSU this fall, she will be the house manager for her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. There she intends to form policies to discourage over-drinking, as well as not drinking and driving. Gracie understands the partying reputation Greek campus life has, but her sorority has offered her the friendship of like-minded successful women.
Gracie is also the president of the WSU Scientista Club, an organization for women students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. In middle school, she and a friend started Bella Joy Bows to design and make hair bows from children under medical treatment who may lose their hair. And even as a busy college student, she maintains that organization.
About the McKenzie Law Firm
Firm founder, David C. McKenzie, a former criminal prosecutor, has built a criminal law practice with the belief that everyone deserves a second chance and proper representation. He started this scholarship to raise awareness of DUI because it is preventable, especially with the rise of ride-sharing apps.