What has your scholarship meant to you and how has it enabled you to pursue new and exciting opportunities?
Honestly, this scholarship means much to me. My parents came here with me and a single suitcase of clothes, bringing only what we could to start a new life. Really, we started with nothing. They worked hard, incredibly hard, to move us out from first a friends basement, then to our own apartment, to finally a townhouse that we can really call our own. Through all this they did their best to raise me and care for me, giving very much everything so I could have an opportunity to have more than we do now. I value their help and sacrifice tremendously, and I understand attending university is no easy matter for our family, as tuition is not something minor. Thus, I'm trying my best to retain my scholarship to at least help them out and lessen the burden however much I can, since regardless of me having it or not, they intend to put me through school. It's one of the reason I picked College Park, to help my parents since they're helping me, and with the help of this scholarship I've been able to experience top-quality staff and instructors across all my classes. Each one being very able and willing to assist when I ask questions , as well as a wide range of extra-curricular activities, of which I chose fencing. Really I've never been the most athletic type, though I did swimming for 4 years and boxing and football both for 1, but I've found a thrill and joy to bout with other people and practice to improve me skills. It really is some of the best fun I've had, and I intend to keep doing it for all 4 years to come.
How will you make a positive difference in the world?
I don't know yet. All I know is that I wish to create. Maybe when I graduate I'll go to the auto-industry, help make the next most oil-effective car that is so good no amount of lobbying will get it off the market, helping the world lose some oil dependency. Maybe I'll go into robotics, work the mechanical side of limbs and digits on hands and toes to help amputees get as much of a problem-free and non-restrictive life as possible. I considered working in the defense industry, making the tools needed to protect this country and others from threats, both foreign and domestic, saving lives in the process. Maybe I'll just do free-lance engineering, trying to help people improve the general quality-of-life that they have. Regardless of what it is that I eventually do, if it can help a single person in some way, it will have been worth it.
What is your major, minor, class and graduation year?
I am a first year mechanical engineering major in the James A. Clark School of Engineering, hoping to get a minor in either creative writing or business management, and will hopefully be graduating in the year of 2020.
What is your Hometown?
I current live in Gaithersburg, Maryland, but originally I was born in Odessa, Ukraine. Gaithersburg is an outlier to the DC area, but if you drive a couple of miles past where I live it's like you're in the country, while on the other hand you can take the metro and be in the heart of DC in a few hours. That being said, Odessa is a beautiful and old city, and though "official" founded in 1794, its predecessor dates to 1440. The architecture of many buildings is magnificent and grand, with a unique mix of Russian/Jewish/Ukrainian culture. It really is a sight to see, and speaking of, the Black Sea is very pleasant. Actually the mild and warm temperatures resulting from its location have given Odessa a rather culture significance as a place where the tired, sick or weary can come to rest and heal in the spas and waters. The beaches are fun and warm, and if memory hold, in some places rather shallow for long stretches with rocks and sand supporting you below. Actually, I remember that there were jellyfish in the water, right next to one of the low-docks near the beach. It really is a majestic place to visit at least once.
Tell us about your favorite class, extracurricular activity, academic opportunity, community involvement or another unique experience.
Believe it or not, my favorite class is in no way major specific. It's actually a seminar on Tolkien and his works. Yup, I love The Lord of the Rings, it's perhaps one of my favorite medieval-esque franchises there is. The world is just so vibrant, the characters far deeper than many give them credit for. The writing style is to descriptive, so familiar and captivating that it draws you into the story and hold you tightly throughout. It's also interesting and beyond entertaining to learning about the men himself, how much of a real -pardon the colloquial and slightly improper language- verbal ass-kicking he was able to dispense to both his critics and his friends when they attacked him or his work. The very evolution of scholarly works on the man and his mythos is astounding, and the mythos itself is massive. And as I've previously said in another answer, I've found a deep fondness for fencing. Now, I am a bit of a medievalist. I enjoy reading about the battles, the empires, the strategies, the weaponry, all of it. I've always considered doing HEMA (historic European martial arts), but never could find a good opportunity. Then suddenly in club fair I heard that there was fencing. Well that was similar enough, why not try it? And from day one, when all I really did was same fancy practice footwork, and run laps until I felt my chest was going to burst; the moment I gripped the saber to practice striking I knew this was for me. And it was! I'm honestly still getting the hang of it, if anything my footwork is a mess, but on the positive side I have very clean and quick striking, so that's something. Really even though I have a ridiculous amount of work periodically, I still eagerly make space for fencing 3 times a week. I hope I continue improving until I'm a rather good match to the other fencers in the club, but for now I'll practice footwork.