HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A Huntsville teen is one of 20 that has been selected for a renewable scholarship.

Halia Morris has been awarded Scholarship America’s Dream Award, a renewable scholarship recognizing those with financial needs who have overcome significant barriers to make it to college.

Morris’s life changed when she was diagnosed with lymphoma at 14 years old. During her treatment at St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, she missed out on basketball, volunteering, and nearly a quarter of the school year. She was determined to make up her work in challenging honors classes. That year, she finished with an A average.

Since then, Morris has enrolled at Hampton University in Virginia, where she’s studying marine and environmental science. Ultimately, her goal is to become a marine research biologist, focusing on marine ecology, study how humans are affecting marine ecosystems, and increase marine and environmental awareness by inspiring sustainable living.

Since it began in 2014, the Dream Award has been given to 150 students, with awards totaling more than $3.2 million. Hardships that recipients have overcome include personal and family illnesses, poverty, neglect, learning disabilities, and homelessness.

In addition, 70% of recipients are the first in their families to attend college, 80% have contributed financially to their family’s income, and nearly one-third have served as caregivers while enrolled in college.

The Dream Award ranges from $5,000 to $15,000 at the time it’s initially awarded and grows by $1,000 each year to reflect the annual increase in the cost of attendance. Applications for the 2023 award will open in August. Anyone 17 and older is welcome to apply, so long as they’ve completed one year of college, trade, or technical school. More details on eligibility can be found on the Scholarship America website.