Scholarship Winners

Jesse Willms Scholarship Program recipient 2021

Jesse Willms, a prominent entrepreneur and business owner, is proud to announce the official winners of his Academic Scholarship Program. After careful consideration, Imanni Wright, Ella Stone, and Christopher Erickson have all been chosen to accept the amounts of $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000 USD.

The Jesse Willms Scholarship Program was put in place to help support students currently pursuing a post-secondary degree in business. All applicants were required to submit a 500-word essay outlining a business idea and their plans to bring it to life. Below are several statements from this year’s three winners:

Thank you so much for the selection! This scholarship has helped me get one step closer to graduating debt free and is especially needed given the hardship of the pandemic on my family.” – Imanni Wright

“It is an absolute honor to be named as a 2021 recipient of the Jesse Willms Scholarship. Please let me express my gratitude for this award. It is an absolute honor to be named as a 2021 recipient of the Jesse Willms Scholarship. Please let me express my gratitude for this award. Upon learning that I am a recipient, I was overjoyed, and I am beyond appreciative of your support of my education. Because of you, I am now one step closer to reaching my education and career goals.”.- Ella Stone

“I am very excited that I was chosen as I am not able to attend college without financial assistance. Thank you so much for selecting me.” – Christopher Erickson

“I am so grateful to be in the position to help students further their academic goals,” claims Jesse Willms. “I would like to offer my official congratulations to all three winners and I wish them nothing but the best for the upcoming year.”

Jesse Willms would also like to thank all of those who took the time to apply and looks forward to any future scholarship campaigns.

For more information on the scholarship program please visit the official site.

Ella S.


United States




Covid-19 impacts education. During the pandemic, schools closed, and students were forced online. Many struggled with the transition, but newcomer students, who came to the US in the past few years, were hit hardest. I compassionately invest at least 7 hours each week tutoring refugee students. Language translation using artificial intelligence removes language barriers, allowing diverse students to participate in the tutoring. The pandemic has highlighted the need for tutoring struggling students.

Hello. My name is Ella. I am a compassionate and diligent 14-year-old, who will graduate high school in 2021. I have completed many dual-credit courses, including multiple business, math, and programming courses. With a goal to start my own tutoring business, and teach mathematics at the high school or college level, I intend to earn my Bachelor’s degree in mathematics at 17, and my Masters’s in teaching mathematics at 19. Artificial Intelligence in Education will immensely impact my career as an entrepreneur and teacher, and improve many lives in the future.

My college Algebra course utilized AI, which accelerated my learning and nurtured my growth in the course. On day one I completed an assessment that allowed me to skip 47% of the course’s content because of the knowledge I had previously acquired. This helped me realize the immense need for AI in tutoring. AI used in Education can reduce repetition, ensure mastery, allow students to be self- paced, give students access to intelligent tutoring systems anytime & anywhere, and make education easily accessible and affordable to everyone. Utilizing AI in my tutoring company would assist students and allow them to flourish.

My students will take an initial assessment that utilizes AI, and will demonstrate the student’s current knowledge base. By tutoring only unmastered topics, the repetition of grasped topics is eliminated.

Students sometimes forget. To confirm comprehension, my AI tutoring will provide knowledge checks, and will reteach information students do not remember.

With over 200 students, teachers cannot provide the attention students deserve. In the traditional educational setting, all students are expected to keep the same pace. This stymies accelerated students and hurts those with delays. Using AI in my tutoring company, will unleash gifted students, and help those with learning difficulties, allowing each student to progress at their own pace.

While traditional tutors are not accessible 24/7. Intelligent tutoring systems allow for learning anytime and anywhere.

My tutoring company with the use of AI will provide equity in education. Socio-economic status, race, and ethnicity will not be barriers to learning when AI in education is fully embraced.

There are countless ways that my AI tutoring company could improve life, these are just a few. I am appreciative of AI in my education and in the tutoring I currently conduct with refugee students. My business will expand this volunteer service into a viable cash-flowing company that services a global community. The pandemic has highlighted the need to embrace the future of Artificial Intelligence in education. It is an honor to be considered for the generous Jesse Willms Scholarship.

Christopher E.


United States




My business plan is to open an online store that sells Brazilian candy and snacks to the US and Canada. The idea comes from a hobby that I started when I first visited Brazil. I have an Instagram account that showcases foods from Brazil that are unique but not completely alien to an American audience, things like strawberry milkshake Oreos, or Ovaltine Hershey bars. Soon I found several other businesses that operate by selling Japanese or European treats and drinks, some using a monthly subscription service, some operating as a traditional store. I would like to do both and hopefully be able to eventually work with small businesses in Brazil that would be able to include local and handmade treats as well.

I have started to look into opening this business already but would need much more experience before attempting to navigate around taxes and business costs related to shipping and customs. The idea would be to operate the business out of Brazil and ship directly to customers. This is something that may change, depending on what I may learn as a business major. I have a name and company logo that I plan on using for the business that will tie directly in with my pre-existing Instagram. Initially, I plan on offering mostly things that American and Canadian audiences will recognize but in a different form. This translates mostly to flavors of candy or snacks that are exclusive to Brazil.

I know there is a large fanbase for things like Pringles and Cheetos, both of which have flavors that only exist for Brazil. There is also room for locally produced coffee. I would like to offer these things as single purchase options, but know that shipping costs would be highly prohibitive. That is why a one-time or monthly subscription box would also be available. The plan is the shipping will be easier to justify, knowing there are more things along with the excitement of the surprise. There are always holidays that can tie directly into a theme for foods, so always a new reason to advertise these boxes.

What I would eventually like to do is find small, local businesses in Brazil that would be able to manufacture traditional snacks and candy that may be more adventurous, things that most people might not seek on their own, like candy made from dried guava or cinnamon crackers. Brazil has many different regional cuisines, so these options can change regularly. By including them with the subscription boxes it will introduce parts of a culture that many people are unaware of. Hopefully, this will lead to success for both parties and we can continue a distributive relationship after.

I know that there are things in Brazil that I wish I could share with my friends just to say “try this, it’s so cool” or “why don’t we have this in the US?”. That is what I hope to be able to do with this business. I am in Brazil until the pandemic is under control, and will certainly be packing my carry-on with junk food, but hopefully, someday I will be able to directly sell it as well.

Imanni W.


United States




As I pursue my college education, I will continue working with young girls via my non-profit, Life and Basketball (LAB), with the goal of providing academic, athletic and community service opportunity to high school girls. LAB is a non-profit, 501-c-3 organization I founded that provides top- notch basketball training, standardized test preparation and community service opportunities – all free of charge to participants. Founded in June of 2017, the organization will begin working with girls from metropolitan Detroit. I formed this organization in order to make a long-term impact on the academic and athletic success of girls like me who want to be student athletes and give back to their respective communities. I believe an important of leadership is giving back. By making a difference in someone else’s life, I can model the type of behavior that is important in our communities.

LAB will contribute to the academic success of girls who participate in the program. The test preparation courses will assist girls in being accepted to college and provide more educational options for them. The test tutoring courses will utilize educators and students as staff, providing volunteer opportunities for local residents and those who wish to give back to high school students via community service.
The community service component of the program at LAB will provide opportunities for teenage girls to solve problems in their communities, improve the lives of their neighbors, and strengthen their communities. One of the most important ways that community service benefits the community is by helping solve a problem or ongoing issue in the community.

LAB will assist individuals and work with other Michigan organizations to identify and solve problems in neighborhoods. Whether the issue is senior citizen hunger, a need for school supplies or helping the homeless, volunteers will consistently work to meet the needs of the community.

By doing community service, volunteers will impact the lives of individuals as well. We believe communities can change by helping one person at a time. While many of us take things like clean clothing and food for granted, these items are scarce for the needy. Projects like clothing and food drives will be coordinated regularly and not just during the holidays.

Community service is an important tool to bring neighborhoods, families, and people closer together. Through a community-wide effort to solve problems and better the lives of others in Michigan neighborhoods, a community can work hand-in-hand and improve at the same time.

Some communities may be even able to benefit from more funding because of community service projects that make an impact. State and local governments sometimes recognize community improvement programs with funding that can elevate and expand programs.

With my journalism degree, I can also bring attention to needs in communities by writing stories about community needs and also showcasing the youth who make a difference. Many times, donations are made when attention is brought to a need that may have been overlooked. I have a great love and dedication for my home state and community. Finding ways to give back and help neighborhoods thrive will be an important aspect of my future career and the non-profit I founded.

Thank you,