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Scholarships Offer Big Rewards

Written by Candace Edwards 09, Alyssa Letsch 11, and Meghan Swope '11

MLK scholar L-Greta Hardware '09  enjoys volunteering as a "big sister."

Ithaca Leadership Scholarship: At IC, it pays to be a leader. One of the annual scholarships the College offers is the $7000 Ithaca Leadership Scholarship, awarded to students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, service, and commitment to academics.

The award is a renewable scholarship that students maintain by adhering to the standards and requirements of the program. Students must attend three leadership sessions per semester through the Student Leadership Institute, participate in a service project, and maintain a portfolio that reflects their leadership experience.

Leadership scholar Jason Barrera '11 and Shaina Ung '11

Leadership scholar Jason Barrera '11 takes a YouTube break with Shaina Ung '11 in his room in Boothroyd Hall.

The scholarship puts great emphasis on the individual leadership journeys of the scholars. Students can select which leadership sessions to attend based on their interests and motives, an option that provides flexibility and diversity in the program. “There are tons of student leadership workshops to choose from that can challenge your thinking about leadership and help you develop your own personal style,” said leadership scholar Samantha Wolfe ’11.

Scholars often get passionate about their service projects. Some students choose on-campus service projects such as food drives, cleanups days, and fund-raising for charitable clubs, while others support larger causes such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, and the SPCA. Scholar Shari Kaplan ’11 has benefited greatly from the program. “It has encouraged me to become a more informed community member and has made me examine myself, what I have achieved, and what my goals are for the future,” she explains.

Program director Michelle Lenhart puts great emphasis on the idea that leadership is not a position but a process. The goal-oriented program encourages students follow a plan to guide them through their college journey to strengthen their skills and become practiced and effective leaders.

Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar Program: The Ithaca College Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar Program graduated its inaugural class of just eight students in spring 2006. Today, it has over 30 scholars.

This ambitious program was started as a way for students to be radical agents for social change by building the skills and perspectives to carry out King’s message of nonviolence and perseverance. The program has blossomed from its humble beginnings and has reached far beyond the Ithaca College campus. In the greater Ithaca community, MLK scholars continue to make an impact through community involvement and service.

Scholars are global citizens, which means that they are called to look beyond their immediate point of reference and make cross-cultural connections in the spirit of scholarship, diplomacy, and brotherhood; to act in peace, justice, and understanding wherever they may travel; and to foster intellectual and spiritual growth.

MLK scholars in Brazil

MLK scholars (foreground) pose for a photo while visiting Brazil.

Scholars travel outside the United States for a full week each year to research issues of social justice in different cultures. Scholars have traveled to such locations as Brazil, Spain, Morocco, South Korea, London, and Costa Rica. First-year scholars participate in the civil rights tour, a moving and in-depth experience of the civil rights movement that takes students to its southern origins. Upperclassmen in the program present a three-year research project at the James Whalen Academic Symposium. Their projects also include a portfolio in which they describe their perspectives on social justice as developed by international travel. Two scholars have gone on to develop the presentation project into Fulbright Scholarship work.

“Once you are an MLK scholar you carry the same spirit of social justice and passion for learning and leadership into whatever you choose to do after you leave this campus,” says Fred Chandra ’06.

Park Scholar Program: The Park Scholar Program at Ithaca College is one of few scholarship programs of its kind in the country. Made possible by the generosity of the Park Foundation, each Park Scholar Award covers the full cost of attendance at Ithaca College -- tuition, room and board, books, a stipend for living expenses, and a one-time computer purchase of up to $2,500. Up to 15 of these merit-based awards are given to incoming freshman each year, and in 2008 the Park Scholar Program introduced its rising junior awards to give current Park School students an opportunity to be recognized for their outstanding achievements.

Park scholars meet with James Rubin and Christiane Amanpour.

Park scholars meet with former assistant secretary of state for public affairs James Rubin and CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

The Park Scholar Program isn’t just a scholarship -- it’s a learning community. Park scholars come together to participate in a variety of community service partnerships and educational experiences including book reviews, symposiums, and receptions with guests speakers such as Christiane Amanpour and Tom Wolfe. While at IC, Park scholars are challenged to maintain a 3.5 GPA, engage in community service, and remain in good judicial standing.

First-year scholars live in the HOME program, a residential learning community on campus that explores multicultural issues, and participate in the first-year seminar. Over fall break, junior scholars travel to New York City on a job-shadowing trip. Scholars from every class year are given the opportunity to participate in a unique faculty mentor program through which students work one-on-one with a professor on a research project or creative work.

Many scholars have also had fulfilling experiences abroad. Whether it be interning with NBC during the Olympics Games, conducting research in South Africa, studying and interning in London or L.A., or volunteering in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, scholars are making a big impact abroad. 



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