April 25, 2010 - 10:00 PM
On Friday, I had the great honor of joining other high-achieving scholars from the University of Oregon at a reception to discuss distinguished scholarship opportunities. The reception was held in the Browsing Room of the Knight Library.
It was a lot of fun being able to come to this event because I was finally able to put a face to several of the amazing people at the UO who helped to find funding for my internship this summer. I also recognized several of my peers, many of which were fellow Honors College students. I found myself very inspired by being in a room with so many incredible people who truly care about good education.
After we had all had time to mingle and grab some snacks, the presentation began. Dave Hubin, Senior Assistant to the President, spoke and introduced all of us to the new webpage for information on distinguished scholarships. Dr. Hubin has a true investment in increasing the amount of support available to students who wish to pursue these types of prestigious scholarships.
Next, we heard from President Richard Lariviere . President Lariviere also expressed an interest in helping high achieving students like ourselves be successful with these scholarships. He also recognized some of this year's distinguished scholars. I was very honored and humbled to have been recognized. Along with myself, the following other students were acknowledged for their achievements this year: Patricia McQueen (Goldwater recipient), Tamela Maciel (Marshall recipient), Ben Eckstein (Truman finalist), and Robbie McNulty (Hollings recipient).
The event continued with different speakers who discussed the process for some of the distinguished scholarships students could apply for. Some of the scholarships talked about were the Fulbright, the Marshall, the Mitchell, the Rhodes, the Rotary, the Truman, and the Goldwater. We also learned that there are several others that can be looked at in more detail on the new website.
It was nice to receive this kind of overview on some of the opportunities that are out there. I think it was really important that the speakers continued to mention that students need to think about applying for these types of competitive scholarships at least a year in advance. If I could give advice to incoming freshmen, it would be to start getting involved in a diverse range of activities at the beginning of their time here at the UO. I know that part of my being awarded an internship with The Carter Center was because of my preparation throughout the last four years. I have used my time at the UO to polish my skills and apply them to meaningful work.
At the end of the reception, President Lariviere left us with what he said was his guarantee. He said, "I guarantee you that you will not get one of these scholarships if you do not apply." This made me think about my application process with The Carter Center. I remember having doubts about applying for it because I knew it was competitive and a long shot. If I had not applied for the position, I would not be going to Atlanta this summer to meet a former president.
Overall, I think that the reception was a great start to encouraging more students to consider these types of academic programs. I hope to see these types of efforts in the University expand within the upcoming years.
The UO is not technically an "Ivy League" school, but it has a pool of talented students that is undeniably comparable. I would love to see more Ducks receive these honors.
April 24, 2010 - 6:45 PM
This summer will be my first ever trip to the South. I will be living in Atlanta. As soon as I found this out, I began the process of looking for housing. I have been told that Atlanta is very much a car-based city, so I began the struggle to find a place ideally in walking distance to The Carter Center. This was harder than I thought because the places nearby were already going fast. I was about to secure a room in a home that was about a thirty-minute travel by bus to The Carter Center. However, right before I did this, I got a very exciting email!
The Carter Center had set up a Facebook group for all of the new interns so that we could start to get to know each other and figure things out, such as housing. I realized that one of the other interns in the mental health program was from Portland! I was very excited to find someone else from the Pacific Northwest. I thought it would be fabulous to be able to connect with her when experiencing the culture shock of the South!
Before I settled on the house I had found, I got an email from this intern saying that she knew someone in Atlanta who had referred her to a house that was a five-minute walk from The Carter Center. She said that there was one other room in the house and that she would love to live with another intern. I, of course, was interested and emailed the landlords right away to secure the other room. They sent me pictures of the place and it is such a beautiful, large southern home!
This last weekend, I traveled up to Portland to meet her. We got to have some coffee on Hawthorne and chat. It turns out that she goes to Linfield College and has several similar interests to me, including homelessness nonprofits. We both talked about our application and interview process and shared our overall general excitement about this summer. Meeting her made me even more anxious to begin this incredible internship! I think I'm going to be meeting some really amazing people this summer. I cannot wait.
I also was able to arrange to take my finals during week ten so that I can make it to the final intern orientation day on June 7. The next few weeks are going to go by so fast.
April 18, 2010 - 10:00 PM
When I was little, my mother used to say to my brother and I that we needed to stop reaching across the table and mind our manners because some day we might be having dinner with the President. This summer, I will be dining with former President Jimmy Carter.
As if it was meant to be, the UO Career Center offered a Business Etiquette Dinner event this month for students. I was very grateful to be able to be added to the guest list despite my late registration (Thank you, Colleen Lewis, Events Coordinator!). I was hoping that this event could teach me some very valuable skills for my future professional life, as well as ease some of my nerves about this summer.
On Wednesday evening, I put on my business professional attire and headed off to the EMU Ballroom for the event. The first part of the event involved going around to different stations to learn about skills in interviewing and professionalism. There were a lot of recruiters from different companies who were there to help with this and explain what they look for in employees. Some of the topics that were covered during this mingle were: handshaking, thank you notes, attire, haircuts, how to put on a tie, and more.
The second part of the event involved the meal. All of the attendees sat at tables with the recruiters who were volunteering with the event. We were all instructed with a lovely PowerPoint on the proper setting of a table, how to hold your utensils, how to carry on polite conversation, and so on. It was all really great information and it was fun getting to meet my fellow tablemates. We were also able to ask any questions we had that arose throughout the meal. I think one of my favorite parts was the soup. I never knew that the proper way to eat it was by scooping it away from oneself.
The night ended with a presentation on workplace fashion, which was a lot of fun to watch. After gaining some knowledge on the topic, the audience had to pick out what was wrong with different models' outfits.
I also got the privilege to meet Associate Director of Career Development and Counseling, Clarice Wilsey and Career Center Director, Deb Chereck. They were both great women and had very kind words about my recent internship offer with The Carter Center. It is great to know that there is such a strong staff available to students in the UO Career Center.
Overall, I think that the Career Center's Business Etiquette Dinner was a great success! I would definitely recommend it to any student at the UO, as you never know when you might be dining a President!
April 17, 2010 - 9:00 PM
On a rainy, freezing day back in December 2005, I shivered my way around the University of Oregon campus with my dad and our tour guide. It was one of the worst days we could have ever gone to visit, but as the slushy rain hit my umbrella, I knew it was the right school for me. Four years later, I believe more than ever in my decision.
Last week, I received the exciting news that I had been named a Carter Center intern for this upcoming summer. The path that got me to this point had been paved with the support of my department and key faculty members throughout campus. I was overwhelmed with congratulations in the following days, but there was still one big question looming over my head - how was I going to fund this incomparable opportunity? A 10-week unpaid internship on the other side of the country is a hefty cost for an already debt-ridden college student. What unfolded next in my story is still almost unreal to me.
Rhonda Smith, the PPPM internship director, sent out an email to David Hubin, Senior Assistant to the President, to inform him of my offer with The Carter Center. She mentioned that funding was a big issue for me and asked whether he had any ideas on ways I could find some sponsorship. Next thing I knew, I felt as though I had the entire University on my side. I felt as though my campus truly cared about me and wanted me to be able to have this incredible experience. So many inspiring individuals on campus were busily at work, looking for places to find funding for my internship. The support was truly amazing. My entire belief in the power of higher education and the quality of my University entered a Renaissance. The University of Oregon was truly standing up for education and student opportunity.
I don't think I will ever forget the moment when I checked my campus email account and saw an email from Rhonda Smith with the subject, "You have FULL funding from the UO!" I got chills all over and I had to reread the email over and over again to make sure it was not a dream. I could not believe that my school had cared so much about making this experience happen that they had managed to pool resources together to fund my entire trip. I immediately called my parents who were just about as thrilled as I was. They were speechless, as was I.
My funding came from four different, caring departments on campus that all wanted to be a part of this prestigious opportunity.
1. I must thank the Robert D. Clark Honors College. The fact that the Honors College came through as one of the main donors for my trip affirms my passion for the department. I feel incredibly valued as a student in the Honors College and greatly appreciate its hardworking, knowledgeable faculty.
2. I am also grateful for the School of Architecture and Allied Arts that teamed with the Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management to contribute to my fund. Both of my minors and my major are through the AAA School. I have learned so much in these fields and am deeply touched that my department and the AAA School as a whole support my pursuits in applying my knowledge this summer.
3. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has a lot of work to do this time of the year. I was very thankful when I heard that, despite their current inundation with applications for student aid for the upcoming 2010-11 academic year, they took the time to find some extra funding for my summer internship. Financial Aid does not have an easy job and I really admire their diligence in trying to best allocate funds to students.
4. The final piece of my funding came from the Office of the President and Provosts. I was incredibly humbled by the fact that one of the top offices at the University of Oregon was behind me in this trip. The fact that the head UO administration wants to be involved in making this type of opportunity available to a student shows the extreme care that this campus has for its students. At the end of the day, the UO is truly a place for higher learning, the pursuit of which is supported wholeheartedly by every sector of the school.
It has been quite a ride this past week. I went from being interviewed by The Carter Center to receiving an offer to being informed that my University would be backing me in full.
I am a Carter Center intern. And I am a University of Oregon Duck.
An extra thank you must go out to the following people for helping to find the funding for this dream: David Hubin, David Frank, Doug Blandy, Rich Margerum, Renee Irvin, Marilyn Linton, James Bean, and Elizabeth Bickford.
April 11, 2010 - 8:30 PM
This post is most appropriately dedicated to Rhonda Smith, Internship Director for the Planning, Public Policy and Management department. You go through college and hope to find those one or two extraordinary people who somehow magically come into your life and help you see the path you're meant to walk. They are invaluable mentors who years from now you will realize helped to shape your entire future. To me, Rhonda Smith is one of these people.
Rhonda is the perfect example of why I love and believe in my department. She shows that the PPPM department truly cares about its students and their work. Her enthusiasm for the work that she does should stand as an example for everyone. Everyday, Rhonda helps students within the PPPM department polish the resumes and cover letters they need to get that perfect internship or job where they can apply what they've learned in their classes. She spends her time searching for new and unique opportunities for students. Her joy comes from seeing students succeed and receive some of our community's, nation's, and world's best internships. I believe that Rhonda does not see her job as a job, but as an incredibly fun and rewarding activity that betters the overall education of the University's students.
This past winter term, I spent hours upon hours working on applications for competitive summer internships. I could not have done this without the ongoing support of Rhonda Smith. When I could not figure out how to fix a sentence just right or how I could possibly cut another 50 words to meet my essay's word limit, Rhonda was there as a second pair of eyes. When my exhaustion tried to get the best of me, Rhonda reminded me of the importance in what I was doing. I did not go through this task alone, but instead with a strong advocate who believes in the value of applied learning, the gift of higher education, and the passion of a driven student.
Because of Rhonda, I will be spending this summer in Atlanta, Georgia interning with The Carter Center. This is an incomparable opportunity brought about by the help of an individual who stands as a strong example and resource for students throughout my department. For her support, I am truly grateful.
It is people like Rhonda Smith that reassure my choice of coming to the University of Oregon, my decision to become a major in the PPPM department, and my belief in the importance of higher education.