Scholarship support allowed Sneha Krishna (center) to be involved in many opportunities including a project to study human response to music. She is pictured here with CreateIt Collaboratory team members Caleb Barde (left) and Tanner Christensen (right).
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Having scholarship support meant that Oregon State senior Akira Mendez did not deliberate about whether he could spend $300 on a textbook.
But beyond the obvious economic impact, Mendez and other students in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) say that there are many additional benefits to scholarships.
“Knowing that someone wants to help you out with college really gives you the confidence that you can do it,” said Mendez, a first-generation college student majoring in electrical and computer engineering.
For computer science junior Sneha Krishna, getting scholarship support means more opportunities for involvement in leadership and research activities. As a sophomore, she became a teaching assistant and really enjoyed creating a positive experience for incoming students. This year, she is part of a student team with the CreateIT Collaboratory, developing a system to measure emotional responses to music, and is also working on a research project to analyze data from a study on plant preferences of pollinator insects. She is also an active member of Circle K International, a student group dedicated to volunteerism.
Brian Benavidez did not expect to have a chance to go to college, since he had enlisted in the U.S. Air Force immediately after graduating from high school. So some days he gets a feeling of appreciation while walking across campus — gratitude just for being there.
Starting college as an older student and a veteran came with a different set of challenges, and the help Benavidez received through scholarships inspired him to reach out to others. “Non-traditional students have more baggage than your typical student right out of high school, including families, mortgages and car loans,” he said. “Trying to deal with those additional responsibilities while being successful academically is more challenging.”
He said he didn’t feel comfortable accepting the scholarships without finding a way to give back. “Getting a scholarship is very, very humbling — to take money from someone just because you’re doing your job,” he said. In his role as vice president of Oregon State’s Veterans & Family Student Association, he initiated the Allworth-Holcomb Memorial Scholarship Fund for outstanding veterans at Oregon State.
Gifts to the EECS scholarship fund supported more than 200 undergraduate students this year. These gifts are part of the $1 billion Campaign for OSU, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.
“Private support in the form of scholarships is essential to the college’s ability to attract talented and deserving students and to help them fully realize their potential,” said Scott Ashford, dean of College of Engineering and interim head of EECS. “Ultimately, the success of our students is at the heart of our mission.”
As the parents of two college students, Oregon State alumni Dick Liu (’78, electrical and computer engineering) and Gladys Liu (’80, computer science) are keenly aware of the challenges that today’s students face, so they chose to support EECS by contributing to the scholarship fund.
“The world has become a much more competitive place since we graduated over 30 years ago,” Gladys said. “If our annual modest donation to the university can help one student worry less about the tuition and focus more on school work, and not be saddled with debt when he or she graduates, that will make us happy.”