Posts Tagged ‘Political Science’

2013 Graduate

Congratulations to Air Force dependent Michael Atkins, Jr, who graduated from North Carolina State University with degrees in Sociology and Political Science. While at NC State, the Thomas Jefferson Scholar received consecutive ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $9,000. With his undergraduate studies complete, Michael is eagerly preparing for law school.

Graduation announcement

Michael has remained actively involved with ThanksUSA throughout his college years. He was first introduced to ThanksUSA supporters in a Scholarship News feature during his freshman year. He represented ThanksUSA scholarship recipients at our 2010 Congressional Round Table and has written letters of thanks to individual donors. Most recently, Michael has been meeting with fellow ThanksUSA scholarship recipients to establish a ThanksUSA alumni group.

ThanksUSA is just one of many charitable organizations that Michael contributes his time and energy to. He has made a lifetime commitment to community service and was even appointed to the North Carolina Commission for Volunteerism and Community Service at the age of 19.

Please join the ThanksUSA team in congratulating Michael on his academic accomplishments and wishing him continued success with law school. Congratulations Michael!!

In 2012, Michael had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Manchester. He was able to fit in some incredible sightseeing which he is happy to share with ThanksUSA supporters:

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As the daughter of a career Airman, Katie Whitmore spent most of her childhood overseas.  Her experiences as a military brat led her to fall in love with travelling and she has developed a passion for interacting with people of different cultures.  Currently a junior at Hardin-Simmons University, Katie has received $6000 in ThanksUSA scholarships.  Most recently, she was awarded a $3000 Marriott Hotel & Golf Club/ThanksUSA Scholarship for the 2010/2011 academic year.

Katie Whitmore near Villach, Austria

I first spoke to Katie via a very long-distance call this past June.  Carrying a Political Science major and Psychology minor, Katie was studying abroad in Austria.  Katie is such a charismatic and engaging young lady, that I would be doing you, the reader, a disservice by not quoting her directly.  So this week, I hope you enjoy (and learn from) the wisdom of Katie Whitmore:

Katie, what influenced your decision to study Political Science?

“Many different experiences and feelings have influenced my decision to be a political science major, the main reason being that I want to travel. With these aspirations, I figured I had three choices. Number one, marry rich.  NUmber two, get a high-paying job.  Number three, find a profession that includes travel. For some reason, the third choice just seemed a little more practical to me.  I also enjoyed my government courses in high school, as well as my experience as a military brat. I initially entered Hardin-Simmons thinking I would graduate with a political science major, go on to get a masters in international relations, and then get a job working for the State Department overseas.  Although my post-graduate plans have changed since freshman year, I believe that a political science major is the best first step towards my goals.”

You spent your summer experiencing a different country and culture…what would you like to share about the experience and how has it changed your life or influenced your future academics?

“I don’t think my trip abroad changed my life in any major way. It was not my first international experience or trip away from home; I was born in the Netherlands, lived in Portugal, and graduated high school in Japan.  I was exposed to many new things, however. The European Union and each European nation functions very differently compared to the U.S. and its states. It was exciting to live in that environment for six weeks. I rode a city bus to and from school every day, taking overnight trains for weekend adventures. Shops in Austria closed at six or seven o’clock every night, which was very unexpected to me; it’s quite un-American!

From my experiences travelling abroad, I have realized you can’t close your mind to diversity or an opportunity to learn is wasted. I was reminded that different policies don’t make one country or the other better, an important principle for political science majors. But I also learned to appreciate what I have and the way my country does many things. For example, although I enjoyed visiting my birthplace, some of their policies (i.e. legal marijuana use) are way too liberal for me. However, I wish the U.S. would take a lesson from Austria in recycling and taking care of the environment.”

I understand that you are very involved with faith-based charitable endeavors in your local area.  Can you share your experiences with us?

“Over the past two years, I have worked with the Baptist Student Ministries Local Missions Group. They try to have a community service event once a month, such as cleaning up a neighborhood park or cleaning the house and yard for someone who cannot do the job themselves. Also, as a member of Gamma Beta Phi, an honors and service based fraternity, I have participated in community service working with the Friendship House and tutoring at-risk kids at one of the local high schools.

Recently I have started working with The Mission, a church which primarily ministers to the poor, homeless, etc. My sister and I teach Sunday school and assist with children’s church. Over the summer we also helped with the children’s Wednesday night bible study. Working with the children at The Mission is not easy, not in the least. But with patience and perseverance, it is rewarding and totally worth the time and effort! I have come to love those kids and some of them have become very attached to me. Most of them have not grown up in the best family situations and it has been wonderful to see some of their personalities bloom with a little love, instruction, and attention.”

Katie has so much more to share with us!  Please check back next week to learn more about Katie’s future career plans and how her father’s career influenced those plans. Part two of Katie’s Scholarship News blog will post on  September 18th.

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