Please Help Me Finish College
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.