In celebration of the 30th class of Flinn Scholars, selected earlier this year, several members of the Flinn Scholars Alumni Advisory Council have offered reflections on their own undergraduate experiences.
Flinn Scholar Class of 1987
Current Position: Senior Vice President, Business Improvement, Junior Achievement USA
Life-Changing Event: Three simple words that represent the purest moments of life, altering forever the course of one’s future. Those fortunate enough to become Flinn Scholars experience a true life-changing event.
I still remember awaiting the envelope in the mail, eager to learn if I was to be one of the fortunate winners of this scholarship, then selecting its second class of Scholars in 1987. I grabbed the envelope out of the mailbox and snuck into my bedroom so that I could open it privately. I could hardly believe that I had earned the honor, and that was the start of this life-changing event. On the surface, the greatest benefits of the scholarship include financial freedom during one’s college years and access to the best academic mentors. Below the surface, the purest benefits of the Flinn Scholars Program are priceless, creating impact far beyond the short years of college.
A child grows up viewing life and the future through the lens that is presented to him or her. I am a strong believer that children of each economic class have difficulty breaking out beyond their current class because their lens is never widened beyond their immediate life and surroundings. The Flinn Scholars Program widens a young adult’s lens, allowing them to see far beyond their current boundaries, encouraging them to explore the unknown.
I had the pleasure of embarking on that journey of exploration with 19 other Flinn Scholars whom I respected greatly, and in return, they challenged me to excel. Being associated with such a distinguished group of individuals is a blessing. In life’s most grueling hours, you remember that you are a Flinn Scholar, and you have a responsibility to fight through adversity and come out ahead.
The truth is, many institutions “give away money” in support of a college education. The Flinn Foundation does much, much more than that. The Foundation made an investment in my future, challenging me to be more than just another solid performer at a university. They offered me a life-changing event at a time when I was ready to view life through a wider lens. Without this incredible offer in 1987, I would not have had many experiences that I have cherished: my tremendous college experiences, my travels abroad, and my current career working for a nonprofit, impacting the lives of nearly five million youth a year.
I am forever thankful to the Flinn Scholars Program, and look forward to the windows that are yet to open before my eyes.