Western Washington University Alumni Association

Abram Gates

Major - Biology
Hometown - Maple Falls, WA

“There are many challenges associated with going to college and having a part-time job, and this scholarship has made it a little easier."

Several months ago I was checking my school email when I learned about the AAL Scholarship. Often I have been referred to as a leader by friends and family, so I felt prompted to turn in the needed information and apply for the scholarship. I was able to obtain a letter of recommendation from my district fire chief, Chief Jerry DeBruin, and a professor I had while taking classes at Whatcom Community College, Dr. Angela Enderberg. Upon learning about being a recipient of the AAL Scholarship I thanked both of them, as they have both given me opportunities that I wouldn't have had access to without them.

This scholarship has made it much easier for me to focus on volunteer firefighting in helping those in my local community. Receiving this scholarship has also encouraged me to push on with my education at WWU and not to give up.

Often I don't know how I wind up in some places that I do. When I'm not studying I find myself putting out house fires and spending time in the outdoors. Last August I found myself unloading 28,000 pounds of crab from a crab boat with only five-hours notice. When I am motivated, I train for the Chuckanut 50K in March. I also enjoy camping out in the North Cascades and taking pictures of the local wildlife.

Having grown up in the county, I spent much of my free time learning about the local species of plants and animals. Through learning about the local wildlife, I acquired many National Audubon Society Field Guides and other assorted field guides. I don't remember where I found them all. I do remember buying one at Barnes and Noble though. I remember finding the book, and making sure that I had just enough money to buy it (my parents had left me alone to go buy the book and were waiting in the car.) While I was paying for it I found out that I was short of around a dollar in taxes. That was when a kind woman behind me offered to pay for whatever I didn't have for the book. I have never forgotten this incident, and I hope to leave a lasting impact with people I help in the same way.




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Western Washington University
Alumni Association

516 High Street, MS 9199
Bellingham, WA 98225
360.650.3353 | alumni.wwu.edu
WWU is an equal opportunity institution.