FOSSI | Meet Cianni Wallace: 2022 FOSSI Scholar Attending Howard University

Meet Cianni Wallace: 2022 FOSSI Scholar Attending Howard University

October 19, 2022

FOSSI: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Cianni and I am an 18-year-old from Philadelphia. As the oldest of four siblings, I pride myself on being a good older sister; although sometimes they would disagree. I stem from a very close-knit family. We love going on vacations, having family gatherings, and just spending time with each other. One activity that we (my mother, siblings, and cousins) love to do is have family TV nights where we spend an afternoon or weekend binge-watching new shows.

Two of my passions are social and environmental justice and spending time spreading awareness to my peers on the subjects.  I am a member of the Philadelphia Community Youth Court where I advocate and hear the cases of troubled youth within the public school system of my community and with the help of my peers, deliver them restorative sanctions.  Cooking and gardening are also hobbies of mine that I thoroughly enjoy, especially trying innovative vegetarian recipes. Playing the bass guitar is another way I spend my free time.

FOSSI: Why is receiving the FOSSI scholarship important for you?

The main reason receiving the FOSSI scholarship is important to me is because it makes my dreams financially achievable. For a long time, I've known what I wanted to do with my life and how I wanted to leave a positive effect on this planet; my only setback was how I was going to be able to afford it. Coming from a single-parent household, money has always been a worry and limitation of mine, and though my mom tried her best to shield me from that harsh reality it was only a matter of time till I discovered it.

 Being awarded this scholarship has made it so I do not have to limit my options for my future. I can go to my dream school, I can start my dream career, and hopefully, I can make this possible for other kids like me to achieve in the future.

With the help of FOSSI and their contributing organizations, many doors have been opened for me, and I plan to take advantage of them all. 

FOSSI: Who is a role model that has influenced you?

The person who I would say has influenced my life the most is my mother. Though it's quite a cliche to say that your mother is your biggest role model, it still holds true for me. I can genuinely say that my mother is the strongest person I know and has shown me over and over again that no matter what life throws your way, there is always a way to spin it.

My mom has taught me an endless amount of life lessons, but the ones that stick the most are the morals she has instilled in me. She has taught me to be selfless but not to the extent of losing yourself to please others. As black women, we are conditioned to try and remedy every situation even when it is out of our control or just not our issue to deal with. That is why my mom has tried so hard to make sure that I understand that I am enough and that I do not have to be a problem solver to have and be valued. 

FOSSI: Share a few fun facts about yourself.

  • I have a total of 9 pets: 4 turtles, 3 cats, 1 dog, and 1 rabbit.
  • I am vegetarian. 
  • I like to paint and draw.
  • I love baking.
  • I performed a speech at an event honoring Fredrick Douglass in front of his great-great grandson.