Athens, OH 26 October 2015 –
I can still remember the moment that I answered the phone call which changed my life. It was spring break of my senior year of high school, and I remember shaking with excitement as I was informed that I had been awarded the
Russ-Legacy Cutler Scholarship. The incredible generosity of the program was something completely unprecedented in any other scholarship I had heard of—-it included not only room and board for four years, but also stipends for summer enrichment programs like Outward Bound Leadership programs, volunteer trips, study-abroad opportunities, and internships. For me, it made the decision as to whether I should leave my family in Washington behind for college a no-brainer. I have never regretted my choice for a second since I’ve come to OU.
Fast-forward to my junior year and I can hardly believe the places I’ve been as a result of the Cutler Scholars Program. From a sea-kayaking trip in North Carolina, to a sea-turtle conservation project in Ostional, Costa Rica, to an internship with a start-up biotech company right here in Athens: the Cutler Scholars have shaped my life in countless ways.
Below are a couple of pictures from my time in Ostional. The pictures were taken when it was basically pitch dark out, while we were out on patrol.
During the school year, all of the scholars meet up for a weekly discussion session which covers a wide variety of different topics from semester to semester. Colloquium is often my favorite part of the week because it gives me an hour to unwind from the hard math and science of engineering by discussing current events, philosophy, and a myriad of other subjects.
Former OU President Dr. Charles Ping often joins us for these discussions, and one of his nuggets of wisdom which really stuck with me was when he told us, “You are all the products of incredible generosity.” The benefactors for each of our scholarships have made investments in each of us not so that we can travel around the world purely for our enjoyment, but so we can truly make a difference in the lives of others.
I cannot find the words to accurately express everything which the Cutler Scholars Program has meant to me, but I can say without a doubt that without the generosity of the Russ Family, I would not be the person I am today.