Please Help Me Finish College

$1,630 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 24 people in 29 months
My name is Stirling, and I am starting this GoFundMe campaign specifically to apply for the GoFundMe scholarship.  If I were to win the scholarship, it would enable me to achieve much more in my time left in college, which will put me and my family in an upward trajectory after I graduate. I have worked hard despite my challenges and plan to go into a line of work from which I can help communities develop sustainably.
I am a student of Geography at Western Washington University. I am just starting my senior year, and my time spent so far at Western has truly opened my worldview. I feel deeply that it is my responsibility to put my position of privilege and my education to work to improve the lives of others. After college, I hope to go into public service and work to improve human quality of life. With my major in Geography and my minors in Disaster Risk Reduction, Russian Language and Eurasian Studies, and Geographic Information Systems, I hope to work for a humanitarian non-profit, an emergency management agency, a government agency such as FEMA or a branch of government at a local level or higher. Despite my humble beginnings as a graduate from one of the worst school districts in my home state of Maryland, I am a dedicated student with a 3.6 cumulative GPA.
I have demonstrated my interest in public welfare through my two-year involvement with Student Labor Action Project, a national organization devoted to the engagement of students in economic justice campaigns.  In my time with SLAP, our team worked to educate students on current economic issues and engage them, along with the local community, in political activism. I also attended the USSA's LegCon 2015, where I recieved further training in grassroots activism  and learned about successful models of government. 
In the same vein, I have practiced civic engagement by participating in WWU's Viking Lobby Day for the past three years, as well as other similar student civic engagement activities through Western.
I also interned with Whatcom Unified Emergency Management last spring as a spatial analyst/tsunami specialist. From this position I made maps to support the work of fellow interns and assisted in a campaign to educate the local community about their vulnerability to tsunamis. I love this type of work because it feels like I can make a real difference.
Currently I am volunteering for the Red Cross as a Workforce Engagement Volunteer, helping to get volunteers deployed by updating their profiles and matching qualified volunteers to positions that need to be filled.
While my long-term goals may seem a little fuzzy, I have put in the work, tried out different things, and lived my genuine interest in the good of the public.  There are a lot of ways I could continue to satisfy this interest, whether as a GIS technician, an emergency manager, a volunteer, a geographer, a graduate student, or through other opportunities I find along the way, and I plan on doing so to the best of my ability in whatever ways I can.

As for my need, this scholarship--or any donations--will make a real difference for me, especially in this critical last year of my undergraduate education. If I were to get the GoFundMe scholarship, I could cancel my loans for the rest of this year. This would make a significant difference in my life after college, especially since I have already incurred a formidable amount of debt, and it would help a great deal with my anxiety for the rest of the year. This would be very impactful for me, especially because I have experienced declining mental health since entering college. All through this process of developing a deep understanding of the ongoing issues of the world while learning the basic life skills of adulthood, I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and related mental and physical illnesses. This has significantly lowered my ability to excel in school without devoting ALL of my energy to that purpose, and has been an additional financial strain as I have sought treatment.

Lastly, what I worry about other than my own future is that of my two brothers, both of whom have Autism Spectrum Disorders. One day they may need assistance from me. While I have been encouraged that college is a necessity for anyone hoping to make a decent income to support dependents with, I understand that currently many college grads are barely paying back their debt working low-wage jobs. Any money I can get now that I won't have to pay back later will make a huge difference not only in my own life, but in my whole family's lives.

Thank you so much for reading my story.
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WOW. To be honest, we've raised more money than I ever actually expected to get from donations. Even if I don't get the scholarship, this will be a big help. Thank you SO much to everyone who has donated! I will remember your generosity and willingness to help in my time of need.
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Wow!! I just needed ten donations to qualify for the scholarship, but all of you have been so generous! I am amazed to have raised this much money so fast. Every cent will make a difference for me as I deal with all of the expenses of college. Thank you so much!!
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$1,630 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 24 people in 29 months
Created September 25, 2016
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Linda Gieri
26 months ago

Good luck to you, Stirling! Hope to meet you someday and that you and my daughter, Sofia, can also meet. Your mom and I both think you'd travel well together! She just graduated and got a job so in return, please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Charla Kates
27 months ago

Good luck with your education.

Alex Cannon
28 months ago

Good Luck! I'm a friend of your Dad's, you have a great family.

Scott Pryde
29 months ago

Keep up the good work!

ben pratt
29 months ago

Go gettem' kid!

29 months ago
Tom Botulinski
29 months ago

Stirling, I am another of your Dad's Navy and contractor buddies. My wife Pat & I also know your Mom. They have always spoken with great pride about you. You have a wonderful family. Your Dad has always been there for me. Hard worker, loyal, and brilliant problem solver. Excellent role model. Keep up the good work. Your college is a good one. My nephew is an alumnus. And I am a Central Washington State College, Ellensburg alum from over 50 years ago, back in early '60's. We wish you well.

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