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GE-Reagan Scholarship Helps Freshman Achieve Lifelong College Dream

November 18, 2011

Even as she collected her Rose-Hulman issued laptop and finished moving on campus, freshman Erin Campbell was still incredulous that she was actually attending her first-choice college.  It had long been on her wish list, but being one of seven children of a pastor who doesn't believe in carrying personal debt, she was forced to set her sights on other educational options.

     Erin Campbell

"I had applied to 13 colleges, including two military academies," Campbell says.  Her dad kept a chart with of all of the colleges, paying close attention to their costs, scholarships, and grants.

Campbell had applied to Rose-Hulman at the behest of 1974 alumnus Bill Finley, her dad's best friend and someone Campbell considered a mentor.  "He knew that I was interested in engineering and he knew that Rose-Hulman was the best engineering school," Campbell says.

Finley, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, urged Campbell to apply to Rose-Hulman because of his own experience at the college.  She did, and was accepted.  But the financial issue remained a heavy burden.

Then Campbell received the GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship, a $40,000 award to students demonstrating exemplary leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship.

At 18 years old, Campbell has completed more hours of humanitarian and service work than most people will in a lifetime.  There's the two week-long trips to rehabilitate homes after Hurricane Katrina, the weekly volunteer shifts at a local hospital, the summer internship with a humanitarian organization, the stint tutoring a third grader in reading, the hours of roadside trash pick-up, and the experiences volunteering in a soup kitchen and crisis pregnancy center.  Family and faith instilled in Campbell a desire to help others.    

Campbell is also a member of the Civil Air Patrol, has recently earned her pilot's license, sings in an a capella women's ensemble, is SCUBA certified, and plays Celtic harp.

Cornwell with Student  

Service-Oriented Freshman: Erin Campbell talks with Phil Cornwell, vice president for academic affairs, in Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Moench Hall.  Campbell has completed several community service projects and wants to help people in third-world countries.

 

The Rose-Hulman student was an ideal choice for the scholarship, according to Stewart McLaurin, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

"Ronald Reagan believed in educating and inspiring the future leaders of tomorrow," he stated. "The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program enables us to continue this tradition and keep his spirit alive among the youth of today.  The Reagan Foundation is so pleased that Erin Campbell is among those deserving award recipients."

Campbell is pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering with the intention of continuing to medical school.  "My goal is to help people in third-world countries.  I think there's a need out there for Christian doctors to be able to help people physically and spiritually," she says.

Sadly, Finley did not live long enough to see Campbell attend Rose-Hulman.  But, she reflects, "He'd have definitely been thrilled if he had known I was here."