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Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement Distinguished Scholarships Program

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Enabling valuable experiences for WSU’s prospective distinguished scholars.

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Gifts of all sizes make powerful investments in our very worthy students.

For example:

Support enabled a WSU graduate student to become more competitive for a Fulbright grant.

  • Ryan Booth is a Ph.D. student from WSU Pullman who is applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to India. Using financial support offered through the Distinguished Scholarships Opportunity Fund, Ryan has been taking regular basic Hindi language lessons this summer from Sumit Karn, a student at WSU Everett. A key part of their lessons is imparting the personal and cultural knowledge necessary for navigating India, both literally and figuratively.

Support helped pay for travel expenses for two Cougars invited to interview in person for national awards.

  • Future policymaker, environmental engineer, and attorney Alyssa Norris, a junior from Alaska, traveled in spring 2017 to Seattle as one of 199 students nationwide selected to interview for the Truman Scholarship. WSU’s two prior Truman Scholars were in 1990 and 1983.
  • Alumna Roxanne Reese (’12 Philosophy and Political Science) interviewed at the British Consulate-General in San Francisco in 2013 as WSU’s first finalist for a Marshall Scholarship.

Support enabled a WSU undergraduate be able to present research at a national conference.

  • Travis King (’15 Zoology) conducted summer research as an undergraduate, tracking jaguar and other big-cat scat through the forests of Costa Rica to document migration patterns. He applied, and was invited, to present a poster presentation on his work at an acclaimed conference. King went on to become a Fulbright Scholar and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship winner.

Why Should I Give To This Fund?

Personal, WSU, and National Goals

Distinguished scholarships include awards, such as the Rhodes, Fulbright, Truman, and Goldwater, typically are tied to areas deemed to have critical and strategic importance to our country, such as science and engineering research, national security, public and environmental policy, and globalization. WSU applicants compete against thousands, many of whom are the best and brightest from every major and every year in college and beyond. Award winners from Washington State reinforce the reputation for excellence that the state’s land-grant institution has earned for more than a century.

The Process: Every Applicant Benefits

Winning a distinguished scholarship opens many new doors both today and tomorrow. While only a small fraction of award-seekers receive these scholarships, it is widely recognized that every student who embarks on the rigorous and often lengthy process of applying reaps invaluable and life-long rewards. Pursuing these prestigious awards uniquely raises students’ own expectations about what they are capable of, dramatically boosts their self-awareness, helps bring their goals into sharp focus, and fine-tunes a variety of communication skills.

Some Valuable Experiences Come with a Cost

Throughout the process, great opportunities arise that entail additional expenses beyond tuition and fees that many students cannot afford on their own. We believe that talented students should never feel discouraged due to their financial situation to attain impactful experiences and pursue national awards. Accordingly, the Distinguished Scholarships Opportunity Fund is designed to help WSU students cover costs to:

Acquire life-changing experiences:

  • Development of cultural and foreign language skills through one-to-one tutoring
  • Attendance at national and international conferences, meetings, and events that help students build their portfolios and expand professional networks

Be more competitive in the application process:

  • Travel expenses for scholarship interviews and conference presentations
  • Professional clothing and preparation for national interviews
  • Other expenses deemed valuable by the Distinguished Scholarships Program