Major - Political Science/Economics
Hometown - Olympia, WA
"This scholarship will help me devote time to my studies (approximately 100 hours!) that I would have spent working during the 14-15 academic year."
Growing up I always knew I would go to college. The same way I always knew that my favorite color is purple, I always knew I would be the first person in my family to earn a degree. Initially I had planned to major in human services, but soon realized that my academic curiosity and passions lay with political science. I still consider myself an undercover human services major and hope to use my education to promote people-centered policy making decisions. The journey to and through school has not been an easy one for me; figuring out how to finance my education without the possibility of family support was one of the biggest barriers I have had to overcome. I have been fortunate to receive aid through FAFSA and scholarships like this one that help me access the education I have always wanted. I learned about the Alumni Association Leader Scholarship last year while sitting on the Alumni Association Board of Directors as Associated Students President.
Because of this scholarship, I will be able to more fully explore my academic potential. I will be able to devote approximately 100 hours of my time to studying next year that would have been spent working to finance my education. This added time will allow me to do things like write an undergraduate thesis and present academic papers at conferences – things that I would have had to set aside in order to earn enough to even stay in school. Also, I have gained the invaluable confidence boost that comes with knowing that there are people out there invested in my success. Knowing that my Alumni Association is supporting me is extremely encouraging.
While earning my minor in Ancient Greek Language, I learned more than verb conjugations and noun declensions. I learned a new way of thinking about and expressing ideas, or rather I unlearned everything I knew about language and expression of thought. My patterns were torn apart and rearranged again and again. I find that becoming free of the previously perceived confines of language has allowed me to engage with thought and its expression in a critical and creative way that I was not capable of before. In addition to the intellectual benefits I gained from my study of Greek language, I also can say that the kindness and support of my Greek professor, Byron Stayskal, was key to my return to Western after my freshman year. Byron is a model of what I have come to expect from Western faculty. He is an experienced academic, but also takes the time to invest in and connect with his students on an individual human level.