Melinda Smith spent 1 year in Michigan's foster care system. Even with having to face the trails of foster care and her illness with lupus, Melinda remains a beacon of positive energy for everyone around her. While Melinda has been quoted as saying, “I can either sit around and be sad about this, or I can get on with living my life” in actuality she’s done so much more. Melinda is an active volunteer who spends her time serving as a peer leader in the Seita scholars program. Everyone that works with Melinda through her various volunteer projects say they are inspired by her ability to shape her circumstances into motivation and strength despite the obvious challenges she has faced. Through determination and a great attitude she has been able to create opportunities for her education and personal development that would be challenging for any youth to pull off. Her natural curiosity and willingness to facilitate positive change in the world around her has made her a great advocate on behalf of underserved populations and she hopes to continue this work by influencing social policy as a lawyer.