MCTS Announces Winners of 2023 Rosa Parks Tribute Scholarship Essay Contest


Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) announces the winners of its third annual Rosa Parks Tribute Scholarship essay contest. 

High school seniors in Milwaukee County who will attend a trade school, college, or university were invited to submit a short essay inspired by Parks’ famous quote, “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” 

More than 150 essays were submitted — representing 26 high schools — and reviewed by a diverse panel of staff from MCTS, the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation, and the Milwaukee County Office of Equity.

The following three students were chosen to each receive a $1,000 scholarship towards their higher education:

1) Ryan Withers (Franklin High School) 

Ryan is looking forward to attending a four-year college or university in the fall of 2023, where he’ll major in biology to prepare for medical school. Ryan has known since elementary school that his ultimate goal is to become a physician while tackling racial health disparities in the community. In his essay, he describes an incident that took place on Saturday, November 25, 2017, which shaped his motivation to serve as a better role model in the community.

Click here to read Ryan’s essay 

2) Einthiri Mudili (University School of Milwaukee

Einthiri plans to double major in biology and business with a minor in global health. By volunteering and shadowing in hospitals, Einthiri hopes to research and develop methods to minimize side effects of radiation therapy. In her essay, she says that as an Asian American, she sees a need to amplify underrepresented voices, like Rosa Parks did.

Click here to read Einthiri’s essay

3) Alyssa Ruiz (Carmen School of Science and Technology)

As a Latina student in STEM, Alyssa shared in her essay her goal of becoming a doctor so that more underrepresented people can see themselves in the medical field. Alyssa hopes to make a difference in the lives of others by following in the footsteps of leaders such as Rosa Parks who showed the importance of setting good examples.

Click here to read Alyssa’s essay

"The Rosa Park's Tribute Scholarship is a wonderful way for students across Milwaukee County to express themselves and showcase their wonderful leadership skills and actions through the words of Rosa Parks," said Donna Brown-Martin, director of Milwaukee County Department of Transportation. "Although it was a hard decision, I am pleased to be a part of a wonderful tradition with MCTS to acknowledge and invest in future leaders who care about racial equity." 

Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955, after refusing to give up her seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. Her small act of civil disobedience led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling that outlawed segregation on public transportation.

Every year, on December 1 — recognized nationally as Rosa Parks Day — MCTS honors Parks by reserving a seat on board all buses in its fleet. Each reserved seat includes a red rose and a placard that features Parks’ photo and a message about her courageous act.

During Black History Month and Transit Equity Day, MCTS remembers Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin, and civil rights pioneers who fought for equitable transit. Standing up for transit equity continues to be important as MCTS faces an unprecedented budget shortfall. With increased transit funding, we can continue to make progress toward the county’s equity goals and vision to be the healthiest county in Wisconsin. Read more about Rosa Parks and other great civil rights pioneers including Claudette Colvin here: