Western Washington University Alumni Association

Jessica Stanley

Major - Sociology
Hometown - Spokane, WA

“…receiving this particular scholarship, a scholarship from my own university that acknowledges and recognizes my hard work and involvement on Western's campus, is a particular honor. It makes me feel like a valued member of the Western Washington University community."

To tell you the story of how I ended up receiving this scholarship, I must begin with how I ended up at Western! During my junior year of high school in Spokane, I attended a college information tour day at the community college. I spoke with representatives from various Washington State Universities. Among them: Evergreen, University of Washington, Eastern, Washington State, and last, but not least, Western! There were lines designated for all of the schools. The rooms were packed with curious, excited students, but the sessions felt rushed and rather impersonal. Then, I arrived at the Western information session and unexplainably only six students were present. The WWU representative was a laid-back looking lady with dreadlocks, and her narrative of what Western was like, as well as the requirements for admission, all appeared to be very ‘organic’ and similar to what I wanted from my college experience.

Fast forward to the fall of the following year. More research, conversations and visits had occurred, and my heart was set on Western! I applied for early admission,  and I had decided that Western was the only school I wanted to attend because it completely resonated with me, and thus was the only one worth applying to. Although this was risky, I was fortunate to be accepted, and have been lucky to be an extremely happy Viking for the past three years. I love Western, and during my time here I have grown and expanded my skills, identity and social circle. Which brings me to this scholarship!

The simple truth is that I saw the scholarship application on the Western scholarship website, and acted.  While reading the requirements, I felt qualified to apply since I met the criteria; my academic performance, my involvement in leadership at Western, and my love for this school, to name a few. During my time at Western, I have worked diligently at pushing beyond my comfort zone, exposing myself to experiences that I knew would be beneficial. My first year I worked hard to meet people at Western, primarily in my FIG, and in the Bellingham Jewish community. During my sophomore year I took on more of a leadership position. For example, I accepted board positions for multiple Jewish clubs, as well as worked two jobs in Bellingham, which has expanded my horizons and provided new opportunities. Last year, junior year, I took my leadership a step further and co-founded the Students Appreciating and Loving Salsa Always Club (SALSA). This involved the approval process (by the AS), and the planning of multiple successful events. When I reflect back over the past three years, I note the insight and tremendous growth I have undergone. Western has given me so much, and in return, I have worked hard to give back.

Looking to the future, I know that receiving this scholarship will be a tremendous help next year, giving me the advantage of financial stability during my most difficult year. During my senior year at Western, I will be able to focus on academics, and worry less about financial woes. In addition, receiving this scholarship is a great feeling. It feels like a reward and acknowledgement of my continued hard work at Western over the past three years. Receiving any scholarship is a huge gift and reward, but receiving a scholarship from the university that I love and take great pride in is a tremendous honor. Thank you.

After my freshman year at Western, I was given the opportunity to travel with a group from Western to Israel for two weeks. The trip involved lots of excursions including intense hikes, crawling through ancient tunnels in Jerusalem, and river rafting. Traditionally, I am not an outdoorsy or  athletic sort. In fact, embarrassingly, I have been known as a “complainer” when it comes to exerting large amounts of physical energy. So, I set a goal during this trip- not to complain at all, to embrace every moment, and to appreciate the incredible opportunities I had been afforded. I fulfilled this goal, and I had a better time for it! Fortunately for me, this experience of embracing the moment and loving the life I am living followed me home from my trip. Although I am still a planner, and I like to be organized and to know what to expect, I also try to enjoy the moment and be a little spontaneous.  I embrace my community and its healthy lifestyle and I appreciate the people who surround me. This has served me positively. During my time at Western, I have made friendships and countless memories that have helped me grow and create an awesome home away from home here in Bellingham!

When I am not studying, I love listening to music and attending concerts and festivals. Bellingham has fostered my love for hiking and the outdoors. When the opportunity affords, I am quick to embrace a  “road trip” near to Bellingham.  I also enjoy planning community events that help or bring enjoyment to others, such as the fundraiser, Three-Dollar-Challah that I created this year.  We make bread, sell it on vendor’s row, and then donate the profits to charities, such as the Bellingham Food Bank and DVSAS. This past year, I was also Vice President of the student board at the Chabad on Western’s campus. I had a great time planning and participating in the many events we organized and carried out throughout the year. I truly enjoy spending time with friends, entertaining and cooking for an evening of socializing and fun. Some of my favorite hobbies include scrapbooking, traveling, camping, and music. I especially love going on adventures that hold the promise of new experiences.

 

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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.