In this “23 Big Dreams” series, the LeBron James Family Foundation and its broadcast partner, WKYC, highlight a new Akron Public School student and his or her career aspirations each week. With a tuition and fees scholarship from The University of Akron, the commitment of college has changed their personal goals and their expectations for their futures. Like LeBron, these are just kids from Akron with big dreams.
For as long as she can remember, Sharen Mullis has been creating things. While most young kids play with toys and dolls purchased from the store, Sharen preferred to make her own by hand. Her mom recalls how she would meticulously remove the stuffing from pillows from around the house and head into her dad’s drawers for socks. After stuffing the socks full, she would find things around the house to add for eyes and a mouth.
Once the dolls were complete, she realized they needed a dollhouse, so she built them one from scratch out of boxes she found lying around.
Now a 7th grader at Litchfield Middle School and a member of the LeBron James Family Foundation’s Akron I PROMISE Network, Sharen is still using her creativity every chance she gets as she chases her big dream of becoming a game developer.
There’s something about the virtual world of gaming that appeals to Sharen’s creative side. She has a particular affinity for the game Minecraft that enables players to build their own 3-D generated world with unlimited resources.
Being able to construct your own surroundings and develop your tools from scratch is something Sharen has been doing her whole life, and she’d like to continue doing that by designing and creating new games and applications so other people can enjoy exploring and creating things too.
“It’s fun to make stuff and it would be awesome to make my own games because it makes people happy,” says Sharen.
Also described as a real go-getter, Sharen is as committed to her school work as she is to her passion for creating. Some of her biggest motivations are the promises she makes to Mr. LeBron and the commitment he’s made to her of a college education through The University of Akron. Knowing if she keeps her end of the deal in the classroom and in the community, Sharen doesn’t miss a day of school and always does her homework.
“The scholarship means a lot,” says her mom, Nicole. “I think it motivates both of us, both me and her to make sure she continues to do well in school.”
Sharen has always had the dream of going to college because she knows what it means to her future. At one point she told her mom she would go somewhere that was not cold. But now that a full, four-year scholarship to The University of Akron awaits her at the end of her hard work, she is excited to stay in Akron and pursue her dream.
“College is exciting because you get a degree and can get a job doing what you love,” says Sharen, who recognizes the monumental value of a college education.
With her love of creating combined with her passion for gaming, and Mr. LeBron, The University of Akron, and the entire community cheering her on the whole way through, there is no doubt Sharen will reach her big dream of developing her very own games that will inspire creativity and happiness around the world.