North Central College - Naperville, IL

Alumni Board Scholarship

The Alumni Board of Directors Student Involvement Scholarship provides financial assistance to a student who exhibits leadership abilities through involvement with the campus community, e.g., membership in various campus clubs and organizations. In addition to leadership abilities, applicants are asked to write a 1-2 page essay emphasizing the importance of involvement with alumni organizations and how his or her personal experiences will benefit the Alumni Board.

The 2015-2016 Alumni Board Scholarship recipient is Sarah Kott '16. Read Sarah's essay below:

 Sarah Kott As a first-generation college student, the process of finding somewhere to call home was daunting. Campus visits and applications were my weekend hobby and I began to feel discouraged when spring arrived. My dad encouraged me to schedule an overnight visit to North Central and I booked one for a Wednesday night. I do not quite remember why I chose a Wednesday, because overnights are typically done on the weekends, but it happened for a reason as that is the night that Focus meets. My hosts offered to take me and I eagerly agreed. So many welcoming faces greeted me as I walked through the doors of Koten Chapel. As we sat down, I could feel the love and energy in the room. We sang and listened to a student speak and then we sang again; it was during the last song that I knew I had found my home! After such a long search, I finally knew!

Whether I was aware of it or not as a new student at North Central, the places I chose to get involved on campus would connect me regularly with alumni. During the fall of my first year, I participated in Phonathon and helped with coat check for the President’s Club Dinner. Here, I met many people from the Offices of Alumni and Development and I began working in the office soon after. Additionally, becoming involved in Focus has brought me into contact with alumni on a weekly basis. We regularly welcome them back to visit and often ask them to speak at our meetings to share their wisdom with students who sit in the same pews that they sat in only a few years before.

As a student worker in Alumni and Development, I have helped the office prepare for events such as Homecoming, and spoken with alumni when they stop by the office. Hearing their stories has been the highlight of this position. The alumni always draw people out of their offices and have us laughing almost immediately. Last year was my first experience at a North Central Homecoming; alumni joined us on the dancefloor and I remember having so much fun with them that night. Watching them reconnect with old friends at the school that brought them together and fostered so many memories made the celebration full of special moments. As I look towards the future, participating in events like the 50-Year Club Banquet will be fantastic milestones. I can only imagine the pride in that moment. I am so thankful that the Alumni Association organizes these events, because when I am an alumna, I will be able to return with my lifelong friends to reminisce about all we accomplished at NCC.

North Central’s alumni are instrumental in preserving the legacy of the college and supporting its growth. Alumni that return to attend or speak at Focus are interested in how the organization continues to influence the college community and they spur us on to continue reaching out to campus. This helps maintain the integrity of Focus from year to year and assures those in leadership that we are always providing a welcoming place for all students, even those who have graduated. North Central students are fortunate to have such involved alumni supporting and caring for their education due to a deep desire to see students thrive.

There is so much students can learn from alumni. Next year I will be studying abroad in France, and was put in contact with a North Central alum who currently lives in Paris. I hope to meet up with him while I am abroad and talk with him and his wife, as they both have an impressive history in the business world. While exchanging emails with this alum, the Charlie Hebdo tragedy occurred in Paris; I was able to ask how the crimes impacted the average person and, in particular, how his family felt the emotions swelling around them. This helped me grasp the event through the eyes of someone actually living in France. It is connections like this that make alumni involvement essential. With one interaction, I learned more about the world from a different perspective.

Building experience through involvement and learning from professors, peers, and alumni are what propel my efforts to make the most out of an education at North Central. Participation in a broad range of activities where alumni involvement is the key to success keeps me actively in touch with campus and involved in the past and present community of our school. I am confident that I would be an asset to the Alumni Board by offering a student’s viewpoint paired with an understanding of the importance of alumni in the college’s endeavors. Thank you for all the support that alumni of North Central College offer students! I aspire to one day be a Cardinal that makes North Central proud, just like the countless individuals before me who have set fantastic examples of defining the “promising start” of their alma mater, so that we can all build our “brilliant future” together.