Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Finals Week and High School Visits

By 2014 Legacy Awards Recipient and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member Anji Radakrishnan

Anji Radakrishnan, 2014 Legacy scholar and freshmen representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, is giving us a glimpse into life as a college freshmen. Join her each month as she blogs about her exciting new challenges and experiences at Penn State. 

Hi everyone! The last few weeks between Thanksgiving break and Winter Break were mostly centered on studying for finals. Studying for finals in college and high school are two completely different ballgames. In high school, I would stay at home and make my own study guides, maybe occasionally study with a friend over the phone. In college, I’ve never seen as many of my friends grouped in one place as during finals week. Whether I went to the study lounge, library, or even dining hall, there were swarms of people loudly engaging in group study. It was really the first time that I started studying in a group setting, and I learned how useful it actually is! Bouncing ideas off one another and learning from each other’s mistakes, we somehow got each other through that week.

However, the highlight of my Winter Break was returning to my high school. A group of alums met in the school gym and were each assigned to a different classroom to discuss our college experiences. Even though I wasn’t particularly close to the alums in my room, I felt a sort of companionship with them, knowing that we all had the mutual experience of a Bishop Guertin High School education. I looked out into the class of current seniors, remembering how I was in the same exact position only a year ago. I thought of all of the things I had learned in my first semester of college.

Each person discussed a different aspect of his or her college experience that affected them. The one that stood out to me most was socially. Having been an utter and complete nerd in high school, I used to think that the most important part of my education was what I learned in the classroom. I discussed in my last post how my education since coming to Penn State has truly branched out beyond the classroom. Sharing this knowledge with others added a whole new dimension to its truth. Afterwards, we had spare time to go through the school and visit our favorite teachers. Here is a picture of me with my favorite teacher, Mr. Galotta. Throughout my four years of high school, Mr. Galotta was somewhat of a grandfather to me, and words can’t describe how happy I was to see him again.

All in all, my first semester was truly amazing and I have just returned to school, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do it all over again! I hope all of the other Elks scholars have had (or are still having, if you’re lucky) a delightful and relaxing Winter Break, and return to school refreshed! Be prepared to take what you learned from last semester and apply it to make an even more rewarding next semester!

Anjithaa Radakrishnan
Elks Scholar Advisory Board Freshman Representative
Pennsylvania State University

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Katharine Bryan
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

University of Rhode Island—Civil Engineering and German

Sponsored by Sierra Vista, Ariz., Lodge No. 2065


Like her fellow Elks scholars, Katharine Bryan takes advantage of opportunities presented to her, using them to better herself and her community.

In high school, Katharine took advantage of numerous leadership opportunities, such as being Class President, present of her school’s academic team, captain of the tennis team, as well as state president of financial for the Arizona chapter of Future Business Leaders of America.

Besides gaining public speaking and teamwork skills, Katharine also made a positive difference with her involvement. She led a community service project to benefit the local animal shelter, including building maintenance, animal care, fundraising, and advocacy. Her project was recognized nationally at the Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference.

As she adjusts to the colder temperatures of Rhode Island, Katharine is taking advantage of all college has to offer. She attends German movie nights with classmates to supplement her studies and is looking forward to studying abroad in future years. She also won a seat in the student senate and volunteers with the university’s community service club. In preparation for her future career, she is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

“College is so enjoyable and I am extremely thankful to the Elks for helping me chase my dreams,” says Katharine. “I am honored to be a part of this family.”
   
A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Shawon Huang   
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

University of Southern California—Business Administration Major

Sponsored by Santa Ana, Calif., Lodge No. 794


Shawon Huang knows the meaning of loyalty, dedication and patriotism.

Besides being involved in marching band and community service, Shawon has dedicated much of his time to the Infantry Explorers, a group that prepares interested young men and women for careers in the Armed Forces. He served as both founder and a team leader in multiple battalions. He also founded and led his high school’s JROTC program, preparing both him and others to serve their country.

“Infantry Explorers has allowed me not only to improve myself but improve others as well,” says Shawon.

Shawon hopes his civilian and military education will enable him to become an effective and influential leader. After college, he plans to become a military officer in the U.S. Army, utilizing his years of training and hard work throughout high school and college.

“Being an Elks scholar means being a representative for the future,” says Shawon. “To aim higher, dream bigger, go farther—I have an even better opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives.”

With his optimism and dedication to his country, we know Shawon will have a positive impact in college and beyond.

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Sophia Scalise
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient

University of Arkansas—Biological Engineering Major

Sponsored by Fayetteville-Springdale, Ark., Lodge No. 1987


Elks scholars are known for their hard work and dedication to excellence. Sophia Scalise is no exception.

In high school, Sophia was involved in numerous activities, including playing varsity tennis, participating in school musicals, working as a lifeguard, and volunteering at her church and the local animal shelter.

Besides her commitment to her extracurricular involvement and community service, Sophia also achieved academically, taking AP classes, becoming a member of the National Honor Society, and graduating first in her class.

Now in college, Sophia studies hard for her biology courses and has also found time to become involved on campus. Her new involvements include club tennis, joining Phi Mu, and Residents Interhall Congress Judiciary, a branch of the university’s student government.

While her eyes are set on her future, Sophia has fond memories of her youth spent at the local Lodge.

“The Elks Lodge is where my family bonded,” says Sophia, whose brother Samuel is also a Legacy scholar. “I owe some of the fondest experiences of my childhood to our local Lodge.”

Sophia looks forward to making more memories at the Lodge.

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. In 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $1 million to fund 250 scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Elks. If you know any Elks children who are high school seniors, encourage them to visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars for information, including eligibility and deadlines.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Success in Springfield

by Programs Assistant Sarah Louderman

Due to my brother’s poor timing picking a wedding date, I unfortunately did not have the chance to attend the Elks National Convention in New Orleans this past summer. Thankfully though, the Elks National Foundation was invited to attend the Illinois Elks Convention. The IEA wants to encourage more Lodges to apply for Community Investments Program grants, so our two-person grant department of Programs Associate, Mary Morgan, and I traveled to Springfield for the weekend.

Mary and I arrived in Springfield late Friday morning and were greeted by many friendly Elks who helped us set up a conference room for office hours. We held office hours and assisted visitors with general information about the Community Investments Program. Afterwards, we walked to the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library and spent the end of the afternoon touring the spectacular exhibits and perusing the gift shop.

Once we returned from our museum visit, we went to the top floor of the hotel to stop by the Districts’ hospitality rooms. The rooms were decorated with fun themes and we toured each one to say hello to volunteers we had become acquainted with through the Community Investments Program. Since our grant presentation was planned for Saturday morning, we decided to turn in early so we would be well-rested and prepared for the next day.

Saturday morning was busy and exciting. Mary and I met early to review our presentation notes and before long, we had only 15 minutes before we were planned to start! We hurried to the conference room and got rolling. The room was filled from the beginning, but many more people joined and we eventually had to bring in additional chairs. The crowd was attentive and we distributed all of our flyers and brochures. The presentation mainly focused on the Beacon and Gratitude Grants, since these are generally the only two still available in September. Mary detailed the different guidelines for each grant, important details that the ENF looks for on grant applications, and common application mistakes.

After the presentation wrapped, many Elks came up to chat with us and ask questions. Some people requested more information and others just wanted to introduce themselves. After speaking with so many volunteers over the phone during our regular work days, it’s always nice to formally meet in person.

We stayed for a couple hours after the presentation to help a few Secretaries, Exalted Rulers, and Grant Coordinators with project ideas and planning. Once everyone had the assistance they needed, we packed up our rental car to hit the road—but not before one last stop. We had a craving for something sweet, chocolaty, and Lincolny, so we stopped at the Lincoln Museum’s gift shop one last time to purchase chocolate covered penny cookies. We then bid farewell to Springfield and the IEA Convention. Thank you for being such great hosts!

The Elks National Foundation allocated $8.68 million this year to fund the Community Investments Program. Lodges meet local needs in Elks communities through Beacon, Gratitude, Promise and Impact Grants. These grants offer Lodges opportunities to serve the community in ways that will raise the Lodge’s profile, energize the membership, encourage former members to return to the fold, and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that’s doing great things. To learn more about the Community Investments Program, please visit www.elks.org/enf/community

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An Education In and Out of the Classroom

By 2014 Legacy Awards Recipient and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member Anji Radakrishnan

Anji Radakrishnan, 2014 Legacy scholar and freshmen representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, is giving us a glimpse into life as a college freshmen. Join her each month as she blogs about her exciting new challenges and experiences at Penn State. 

Hi everyone! Hope everything is going well for my fellow Elks scholars, and everyone is as happy as I am to finally be going home for Thanksgiving. I’d like to highlight a few important things I’ve learned this month, in the classroom setting, on the extracurricular front, and in an incredible lecture I watched from a guest speaker.

In sociology class, we are learning about ethnocentrism—how we tend to see our own culture as the central crux of the world. Our teacher showed us videos of life in other countries, such as a woman eating bugs in China. I saw a video of a Chinese woman eating a live frog. My class was simply stunned, which my teacher pointed out was an example of how sometimes, we get so absorbed in our own culture and what we know and think is right, that we can’t comprehend that there are other ways of living.

Last weekend, my dance team performed together for the first time. We bought yards of fabric and made skirts, and wore a lot of stage makeup. We even put blush and eyeliner on the boys! The performance itself was amazing. Afterwards, the four teams: Ghaam, the garba-raas team, Jadhoom, the fusion team, Natya, the classical dance team, and Fanaa, the acapella team, had a social. Dance and the associated community is quickly becoming a huge part of my life here at Penn State. In the past, I’ve only danced solo, so this past weekend I learned how exhilarating performing with a group of people that you love and share your passions can be.

I also just attended a lecture given by Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Malala and co-founder of the Malala Fund. His daughter was shot in the face after showing her support for women’s education. He was simply awe-inspiring; his wit, humility, and perceptiveness depict an honest, yet optimistic view of humankind. All of the people in his audience left with a new-found respect and gratitude for our education, when only 1 in 10 women in Kenya are able to attend school. As I walked away from that lecture hall, my first thought was, “Wow, women in other locales don’t even have the chance to be educated like I do.” My second thought? “Hmm, I probably should stop skipping my 8am Chem class….”  :)

I hope college has been as enlightening for others as it has been for me. Post in the comments with your experiences and funny stories. Until next time!

Anjithaa Radakrishnan
Elks Scholar Advisory Board Freshman Representative
Pennsylvania State University

Friday, November 21, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Sarah Morton
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

University of Wyoming—Biology Major

Sponsored by Cheyenne, Wyo., Lodge No. 660

Having started her first job at just 12-years-old, Sarah Morton understands the meaning of hard work.
After a busy high school career, Sarah shows no signs of slowing down. She jumped head first into all her university has to offer.

Even before classes started Sarah was involved with the university’s Outdoor Program, where she met fellow freshman and enjoyed Wyoming’s natural beauty during a weeklong backpacking trip. She continues to hike and enjoy the outdoors on a regular basis.

On campus, Sarah became a freshman senator for the university’s student government, reviewing legislation and planning events and programs for the enjoyment of her fellow students. She also promotes student well-being by participating in Real Women Real Bodies, a university organization that promotes positive body image among students through campus-wide campaigns.
She is also involved with the Pre-Med Club, which will not only keep her on track for medical school but also allows her to raise awareness for conditions from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s.

In the future, she will continue to help others through her hard work and commitment to excellence. After obtaining her biology degree, Sarah will pursue her graduate degree in optometry and hopes to ultimately open her own office focusing on children’s vision health.

“I am incredibly honored to be recognized by a group that promotes stronger communities, helps youth, and supports veterans,” says Sarah. “Being an Elks scholar means that I am a role model who promotes being a positive and active community member.”

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. This year, the ENF allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.