Join me in supporting the Morrill Scholarship Program.
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I am a fourth-year student majoring in Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability with a specialization in Community Development. This year, I am the President of SPHINX Senior Class Honorary, Treasurer for the Latino Student Association, and I work as an Inclusion and Outreach Coordinator for the School of Environment and Natural resources where I work on recruitment and retention efforts for underrepresented students in the school. I am working on completing a senior thesis that aims to uncover how the response and mobilization of assets through COVID-19 can inform climate change resilience efforts in my hometown of Paterson, New Jersey.
My Ohio State journey would not have begun without the Morrill Scholarship Program (MSP). To be fair, I was not born a Buckeye. Being raised in New Jersey, I didn’t have a clue about Ohio State and it was one of the last schools I applied to. When filling out my Ohio State application, I checked a box to apply for the Morrill Scholarship Program by submitting my essay without a real understanding of the journey that was about to begin. A few weeks went by and I received my official acceptance letter from Ohio State where I knew I was already trailblazing for my family and I. After a few more weeks passed by, I was sitting in my high school gym class where I received an email letting me know that I was awarded the Morrill Scholarship which covered the cost of out-of-state tuition. In that email, I read that I was invited to Distinction Weekend where I would have an opportunity to visit the campus, meet current Morrill Scholars and interview for the full cost of attendance scholarship. Traveling to Ohio from New Jersey was a bit inaccessible at the time, but I asked my parents to buy me a plane ticket as an early birthday present so I could come to Columbus and interview. I was able to make it to Distinction Weekend and realized that I immediately felt at home on campus and being surrounded by other scholars. During the week of my father's birthday in March, I was laying in bed after band practice where I received a call from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Ohio State where I was told that I had just been awarded the full cost of attendance scholarship. I'm not sure why I decided to keep this from my parents for the whole week, but I broke the news to them at my father's birthday dinner where I could gift both of my parents with not having to pay a dime for my college education. When I started my college application process, I never thought I would end up in Ohio but Ohio State chose me. Looking back it seemed like I was destined to become a Buckeye and it was in my cards for me to be awarded this scholarship that I wouldn’t have been able to afford tuition without.
After three full years in the program, I’ve held various leadership positions where I have been able to not only continue the legacy of past scholars but have also set up initiatives and programs for future scholars to do the same. I was a member of the Morrill Scholars Student Advisory Council where I championed for the creation of an Alumni Network that would connect current scholars to scholars of the past. I worked with my other council members to create MSP Week where we held a series of events that focused on highlighting the social justice advocacy of our scholars. I had the opportunity to attend two alternative spring break trips to Weldon, North Carolina to engage and learn about educational equity in rural communities. Another trip to Washington, D.C. focused on food justice and allowed me to strengthen my knowledge, understanding and passion for combating food insecurity.
Supporting the Morrill Scholarship Program would be to provide the opportunity to cultivate leaders by enhancing their knowledge and experience with social justice advocacy. I wouldn’t be the Buckeye I am today without this program and supporting its initiatives is something I have been committed to since stepping foot on campus and is something I will continue to do post-graduation.