Terrell L. Bruce Scholar: Laney Riley

In the fall, I will be attending the University of Southern California (USC) and am extremely excited to be doing so.  Currently, my major is declared as Biological Sciences, however I will be changing my major to Neuroscience, with a possible double major in Psychology.  Additionally, I hope to minor in Forensics & Criminality, as well as Gender & Sexuality Studies.  While this may seem very ambitious, I truly believe I will be able to excel.

The human brain fascinates me with how complex it is. If I do go into research, which I most likely will, I want to study rare neurological disorders and/or psycho-somatic disorders. One particular disorder I would love to study is Functional Neurological Disorder (also known as Conversion Disorder). This disorder is a psycho-somatic neurological condition with no medical cause where psychological stressors are manifested into physiological symptoms (e.x. seizures, blindness, and more). As of now, there is not an understanding of why this happens and there is no cure. If I am unable to find a direct cure, I would like to discover the understanding of why this happens. While this is a rare disorder, it can be extremely debilitating for those who experience it and deserves to be understood.

Being given the Terrell L. Bruce Memorial Fund Scholarship truly means so much to me and I am so grateful. As a former foster child, my life has been filled with much uncertainty. While I have many, many big dreams and aspirations, I didn’t know if they would be possible. I know I am smart enough to be successful, but I didn’t know if it would be financially feasible. Fortunately, I was given amazing financial aid from the University of Southern California, however I do still have to cover flights, books, dorm decor, and other miscellaneous expenses that will come my way. All of those things definitely add up. Every single penny counts and means so insanely much to me. With this scholarship, I will be able to get the things I need to be successful. To the Terrell L. Bruce Memorial Fund, thank you so insanely much for this opportunity. This will help me so much and I will forever be grateful.

​​- Laney Riley (Excerpts from personal statement)