Introducing the Winner of the Winter Scholarship Award 2023
Below is Laurens’ essay:
I have been designing and creating things since I can remember. I would always enjoy building things with beautiful outcomes, whether it was assisting my brother in creating an attachment to turn his conventional skateboard into an electric skateboard or creating an obstacle course for a marble to pass through before landing in a cup. When I was in middle school, my intermediate school encouraged students in every science class to make an invention, and those whose inventions were chosen by administration would travel to the University of Connecticut to compete against students from other Connecticut intermediate schools. It was remarkable to be one of four fifth-grade students chosen to go to the University of Connecticut. My invention, The Easy, Sneezy Pillow, which included an attached pocket packed with tissues for when you are sick, advanced in a competition of over a thousand students ranging from grade five to grade eight. Despite the fact that I did not win, my love for creating grew, and I began learning about the science and mathematics behind why things are the way they are, as well as how to build more serious inventions. My passion for civil engineering in particular was ignited by developing answers to problems, like I did in fifth-grade. My ambition as a future civil engineer is to develop sustainable engineering projects in places around the world. I want to use my technical knowledge and problem-solving skills to help make the world a better place and witness how these projects help those in the community. I plan to get a head-start on my overall goal as a civil engineer by joining the Engineers Without Borders, a multidisciplinary group for undergraduate students at the University of Delaware. My desire to be creative would be nurtured through Engineers without Borders in the many diverse cultures I would encounter. I would have the opportunity to create sustainable engineering projects in impoverished nations all over the world if I joined this group. My 10-year-old self, who was working in the garage with my brother to build a device that would convert his manual skateboard into an electronic one, would seize the chance to design a product that would help other people. Engineers without Borders is that chance, as it blends my technical knowledge with my desire to contribute to the creation of a better world. I intend to keep working toward my objective of improving the environment in any company that will accommodate my aspirations after I graduate. I hope to be proud of the projects I build or assist in the construction of. Each project should have an impact on someone and mean something to the world. Although this is a lofty goal, I believe that with a civil engineering degree, I will be able to achieve it.
Although I have many future goals as an aspiring civil engineer, I have already achieved many of my personal goals through my creative thinking, problem-solving abilities, and leadership qualities. In my opinion, the most successful attributes of leaders today are empathy, adaptability, and staying consistent. Empathy allows leaders to understand the needs and emotions of their team members, leading to a more positive and productive environment. Adaptability is crucial in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, where leaders must be able to pivot and adjust their strategies quickly to keep up with change in plans and people. Consistency is also key, as leaders must constantly show up and be role models for those around them. These attributes enable leaders to build strong relationships, inspire their team, and ultimately drive success. In my life, I have modeled these characteristics by always being the first to get involved when a problem presents itself. Aside from being named captain of the Branford Girl’s Field Hockey team my senior year, I am a member of the Branford High School National Honor Society. I was inducted into this society last year and took on the role of Secretary soon after. I came up with a way for us to give back to the community. As of last January, members of the National Honor Society go around classrooms every Wednesday after school collecting recycling bins in collaboration with the Branford High School Environmental Club. This is a step towards making our environment more friendly. Lastly, at Branford High School, the junior and senior girls go head-to-head in a game of flag football. My junior year, not knowing much about the game, I quickly formed a group chat with the other girls who had signed up and began designing the junior’s apparel to wear during play. Following the completion of the apparel, I launched an email chat with a Campus Customs representative to produce our designs and create a website where junior girls could get their favorite attire. Along with the email correspondence, I had to gather money from each girl in order to purchase our game-day decorations.Because I was organizing everything on my own and using my creative thinking to develop new ideas for our class, I had to adapt quickly. It was quite tough to work with the owner of Campus Customs in my town. I was passed around to various members of their staff until I found someone willing to complete what we had hoped for. I then went to the store to get balloons, streamers, and other decorations, and the night before the game, we all met at the school to set up and make posters. The girls elected me captain for our team because I was able to lead them through this incredible high school experience. I realized right away that this title came with a lot of obligations, and I was eager to take on all of them. It was a tremendous honor to be able to represent the junior girls throughout the three-week preparation period for the “Powderpuff” game. I carried the responsibility of captain of this game this past fall of my senior year.
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