Annual Robert Jordan Memorial Scholarship
From Tar Valon Library
Winners of past Scholarships and their essays
2012 - Jessica Mudge
Personally, one of my biggest career goals is finding a job that will allow me to benefit my community on a day to day basis. To further this goal, I am entering Michigan State University as a freshman this fall, double majoring in criminal justice and psychology in order to obtain the eventual goal of working in a dream job of criminal rehabilitation. As an accepted member of the Honors College, I will have numerous opportunities at Michigan State to supplement my majors. Most importantly, I have been offered a professorial assistantship because of my high school GPA, which is a two year research position under an assigned professor. With this, I will be able to gain practical experience in a professional setting that relates to one of my two majors, as well as being exposed to professors on a more personal level than can be found in the classroom, giving me the opportunity for a mentor and, perhaps, further research opportunities after the two year position ends. I also hope to be able to intern in major-related fields throughout my undergraduate education. These work experiences will supplement my studies and been equip me to be of greater service to the people I will be helping through my career.
Upon graduation from Michigan State, I will return home temporarily and begin my job search. Although I will likely take any relevant position temporarily due to the current economic situation of America, I plan to eventually obtain work in criminal rehabilitation, preferably in an urban environment. I want to combine my psychology and criminal justice majors and experiences to help lawbreakers – especially juvenile delinquents – learn from their mistakes to become stable, contributing members of society. Success in such a position will not only offer protection to society by lowering the amount of criminals on the street – though by a very small margin – but will also help young people turn from a life of drugs, poverty, and jail to a healthy and educated lifestyle.
Ever since I was a small child, I have been fascinated by stories of young people who turn to crime or delinquent behavior due to environmental circumstances. I used to devour stories of angry orphans who were rehabilitated by their foster parents, teens who joined gangs or committed crimes only to be reformed in juvenile detention centers, and children who escaped ghettos to find a better life. As I grew older, my reading interests expanded greatly but I never lost that childlike fascination for the relationship between crime and environment. In Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, for example, I have always been engrossed by characters like Rolan, who commit atrocities under Sevanna but is a good person at heart. Like a Healer of the Yellow Ajah, I want to someday help such people escape their environments and conditioning, albeit through psychological, not physical means.
2011 - Eric LaRose
I spent the majority of my teenage years immersed in the rich and engrossing world which Robert Jordan has created through his Wheel of Time series. I have modeled my person after a combination of several of his characters, all of who were, in my own personal opinion, “servants of all.” I have always admired especially though, Nyneave’s insistence that “anything short of death should be able to be [h]ealed,” which is why I have chosen to go down the path of medicine.
I am currently going to school to apply to the Nursing program at Utah Valley University so that I might be able to serve my fellow man. I am also a Corpsman in the United States Navy Reserves. I am no stranger to service. I honestly take great joy in helping those around me and in giving to my community. I recently performed my clinicals for a certified nurse’s assistant (CNA) class that I’m taking at a long term care center, and I cannot express how much I loved being able to help those elderly citizens and to watch their expressions as someone showed them a simple kindness. It was such a gratifying experience.
It amazes me that so many people take the job of a nurse simply for the money. I am not one of those people. I want to be a nurse not for the paycheck, but rather for the opportunity I will have to lessen the pain of the patients I will be working with. It is for this reason that I plan on getting a specialization as a nurse anesthetist, meaning I will assist in procedures where the patient will be needing anesthesia or intravenous pain killers, like during labor or for different surgeries. If I were truly in it for the money, without a care for the people, I would become a doctor because, as most people in the medical field know, it really is the nurses that get the most hands on time with a patient. It is the nurses that administer the medicines and the emotional aspect of healing.
I may not have been able to grow up and be an Aes Sedai or an Ash’a’man since I am unable to wield the One Power, but I can become a modern day healer. I cannot think of a better or more noble a vocation than that of a nurse. It is a greatly underappreciated profession, the people in it performing duties that not only heal the body, but also serve the soul. Like Nyneave, I too want to help those around me, and by going into this field of work, I will fulfill both my desire and the need at hand. A nurse is truly a Servant of All.
2010 - Christopher Lipnickas
I met a heroin addict who told me about the first time she slid the needle into her arm. She remembers the date, the circumstances, and even the song that played on the radio as that intoxicating rush pulsed through her for the first time. She believes it was at that moment she became an addict. For my father, crossing the line into addiction was not so clear.
Prescription pain medication abuse/addiction is an insidious process. My father fractured several vertebrae and his doctor made it very clear to him that he would not be able to function without narcotic pain relievers. This statement was actually prophetic as prolonged use of the opiates “re-wired” his brain and made it nearly impossible to live without the pills. The only warning he received regarding this danger was a small label stuck to the side of the prescription bottle. Looking back, he has no idea when he crossed the line from needing the pain medication to NEEDING the pain medication.
Our family was plunged into a nightmare. During a time we now refer to as “the dark ages”, we endured a cycle of lying, enabling, anger, desperation, overdoses, and hopelessness. Only through what I now recognize as our amazing inner strength and the support of a talented and compassionate substance abuse counseling center did our family survive and we begin to get our lives back. My father wakes each morning determined that this will not be the day he relapses. I go to bed each night proud of what he has accomplished that day.
I am a psychology major at Wichita State University and I plan to become a substance abuse counselor. Having experienced first hand the destructive power of prescription drug abuse on both the user and the family, I need to help others who are in that same place and do what I can to prevent this cycle from claiming another family, another father, another life.
Prescription opiates are prescribed often, with minimal counseling and/or monitoring of the patients’ use and virtually no education as to the dangers. According to a Columbia University research study, 84 percent of online pharmacies do not require prescriptions to order medication and over 50 million people in the U.S. alone have abused prescription drugs at least once.
My primary focus will be to prevent the abuse from beginning. I want to create an educational program that teaches doctors and patients the realities of long term pain medication use. No doctor would consider handing an insulin prescription to a newly diagnosed diabetic and wishing them well. Diabetics are educated in their disease and the treatments. I want to develop a similar training program for patients requiring pain medication for longer than 5 days. Providing information, support, and guidance, I want to inform the patients and families of the warning signs of growing dependence before families are shattered and lives are lost.
I did not have the knowledge or the tools to help my father and my family when the darkness descended. I will dedicate myself to preventing this from happening to others. I want to bring light to those struggling in the shadows of addiction.
2009 - Troy Valthaven
The ideals of being a true Servant of All are ones that I have learned to appreciate and embrace throughout my life. For twelve years I collected canned goods for the local food bank with my family, friends and neighbors. I have tutored and babysat children while their parents worked in the next room to study for their GED. I have done yard work for my elderly neighbors. Even now, as I am working to complete my degree, I am helping the local, underfunded band programs to get more instruments for their students. Community service is something that has shaped who I am over the course of my life and I don’t plan on letting that spirit die once I have left university.
When I graduate I will become a high school science teacher in 12th most impoverished state in the USA. While I was still in high school, I instinctively knew that education was my future; it combined so much of who I am and what is important to me. I can’t think of a greater service to the community on all levels than to help the young people of the time to greater understand the world and their place in it. Yes, I could have chosen to become a doctor treat the sick or I could have chosen to become a writer and touched the minds and hearts of my readers. But instead I chose the life of a teacher, being able to help influence and nurture the next generation to go out and help their fellow man. My students will travel down all walks of life into my classroom and leave through just as many separate paths. But if even one of my students each year goes on to do bigger and better things for the world, those are thirty five individuals that will learn to serve their community, their country and the global community.
But I don’t intend to limit myself simply to the strict confines of the academic classroom. One of the most enjoyable times of my personal high school career was participating in the Interact program. Interact is a Rotary Club sponsored service group through which I gained leadership experience while serving my community. I hope to either institute such a program or else work to support a similar program in any school I end up teaching in. It is through a program such as this that I hope to help students in my school gain opportunities to help improve their community.
Being a Servant of All is something that has been a part of my life even before I picked up the Eye of the World for the first time. My service has shaped me in the past, continues to play a role in my present and will continue as a part of my life for years to come. I feel that my education will help me to become a greater Servant of All through the lives of the students who pass through my classroom and move on out into the world. Thank you all for your consideration and for volunteering to make this most difficult decision.
2008 - Elbereth Gailbridhil
The world relies on so many people every day without ever realising it. These are the people I consider to be servants of all, the type of person I aim to be. We extol our doctors and nurses for saving our lives, yet the chemists who developed the drugs the nurses administered upon us are not similarly praised. Neither are the physicists responsible for the medical equipment used to diagnose us. And both the chemist and the physicist could not do their work without mathematics; nor could the doctor or the nurse. Mathematics sits at the foundation of all we see and use in our daily lives, from the calculus used to determine how to build your house, to the discrete mathematics upon which your computer runs.
As a mathematics and computer science student intending to become a professor, my research underpins the basis of our future. The role of mathematics and computer science in society is something that I felt best about during a workshop on the use of computer science in humanitarian work. This database research is being directly used to determine when and where to deploy aid in crises, and volunteers in places of need. This software was written with the same tools I am currently learning about.
Another important application of the subjects I study is in medicine: with so many drugs and ailments to know, doctors are increasingly reliant on computerised databases to find information in time to save lives. To find this information quickly in a giant array of data, fast search algorithms are necessary. My research has been in this area. In order to speed up searches, these arrays must first be sorted; thus, having fast sorting algorithms is imperative. I have been spending my free time studying a fast sorting algorithm and trying to optimise its speed. The more I learn about mathematics and computer science, the more tools I gain to work on projects like these.
The algorithms I study are not only important to doctors; everybody can benefit from computer science research, like in searches of Google or Wikipedia. Inventions like these have become ubiquitous in our lives, like mass-produced literature and general literacy. And for us as a culture to accept and responsibly use these new tools, we must be able to understand them. From voting machines to online banking, the public is increasingly faced with issues where knowledge of computer science is crucial to making informed decisions. This is part of why I wish to become a computer science educator.
Teaching is a role I find highly rewarding. I am passionate about what I learn and it matters a lot to me to be able to impart this onto others. Educators are an important group of servants of all: behind every great inventor or doctor are the instructors who contributed to their greatness. With the education I am pursuing, I look forward to playing a part in this cycle.
2006 - Valena Dalmere
We grow up under our parents’ wing being pampered by those who wish to serve. We may not think of it in that context at the time, for we think in terms of these services as those who want to generate a business for profit. Perhaps this perception is influenced by our education, especially Social Studies which name these people as entrepreneurs; those who wish to risk their existing money to generate a larger income by establishing a successful business. We may think that the profit motive is the key desire that fuels them, and that in many cases may very well be so.
However if the time is taken to look at these businesses, we may see a connection that is shared between them. Whether it is the waiter that brings you your midday meal, or the scientist who thrives to find a cure for a disease, we can see a root function that exists. They wish to serve. There are many who may not have this pure intention, but there is also a counterbalance of a workforce who truly wishes it, and work to help others as it is their only intention. Doctors, nurses, and dentists are a few of these examples as they are professions in which the individual must enter knowing they are to serve others.
Graduation marks a great shifting point in our life time. Not only do we get introduced into the reality of the real world, but we come to a point in our life where it becomes our time to further our education and bring our own services into the world. It is a cycle, the human race functions on services given and received as we are all educated on different levels and are not capable of doing absolutely everything for ourselves.
I have chosen to enter into the field of general sciences, an option that has a major impact in our health related society. It’s an area with a broad view in different aspects, and it is also accompanied by gray areas, allowing us to dive in head first, experimenting, learning, and improving. This one aspect is what has attracted me the most. You hear everyday about diseases, the incurable ones which may have claimed a life and also miracles that have happened with advances in technology. What a great service this would provide to the community if a cure for cancer was found, if an organ could be re-grown (now like the tooth which can be re-grown with ultrasound vibrations), or even if the cure for the common cold or other viruses could be found. If I could have any impact on those parts, any influence in creating advancements for the world, that would be my greatest achievement of all, which is improving lives and bringing hope. Serving others as so many professions do. Although that is a desire of my own, in which I hope to exceed in my undergraduate year, I do have plans on entering into the dental field, which has been an ultimate goal of mine since grade four. My inspiration came from the work done on my own teeth, which has been quite a few years involving a retainer, getting a tooth extracted and pulled to its desired position, followed by almost four years of braces. It has been a long process, but in the end I think it will turn out to look great. That is what I want to do, it’s an image factor that also carries out a function, to give people confidence if they do not like the way their teeth may be or for personal health. It also holds a field of experimentation, all human beings are different and therefore dental situations that may come forth are not all going to be completed by the textbook. It holds an element of challenge which allows me to problem solve in order to figure out different situations and complete them to my satisfaction. It is a profession that is based on serving the public, to be a servant to those who need the required attention and also to help repay the services to those who have done so for us in the past. This is what I want, it has been a dream, and now I have the opportunity to go for it.
To serve is something we can’t ignore. I hope that I can be of service to others in any way possible. I love working with people, I have done so ever since I began working at my local swimming pool as a lifeguard. I love to work hard, enjoy challenges, and especially like to try to fill in the blanks where there are gray areas in science. I hope to improve the world in any way I can, although it may seem impossible, it could still happen with my whole heart dedicated to it. To add in new ideas, to add a different way of thinking. If that is all I can do then so be it, however if I could be of some service then I know I have done my part.