University Scouts is an opportunity for all incoming University students to continue a passion for cheerful service. Many Scouts enthusiastically share stories of their career; UScouts gives them, as well as others new to scouting, a chance to experience the excitement around providing exceptional opportunities for younger Scouts while experiencing the community of Scouting for themselves in a University setting. UScouts creates a network between interested students and the local Scouting Units and uses the connection to provide the required extra adult leadership, as well as knowledgeable mentors, for local Scouting Units to participate in a variety of activities from badge-work to backpacking. UScouts outreach also supports community service organizations by providing willing volunteers for service projects. I am proud to say that at the beginning of this next semester we will have over 25 active volunteers cheerfully serving the community in projects from food drives to Merit Badge Universities to high adventure backpackers (uscouts.org).
Another program I am working on is called the Music Department Undergraduate Representative Board. MDURB will be a board of undergraduate students who each represent their respective ensemble. This board will be a place for exponential opportunity from a chance to have each ensemble represented both within and outside the Music Department to fostering a body of unity within our community of music. Each representative will plan, or delegate the planning to another in their ensemble, an Ensemble Bonding Event where they can get funding from College Council and the Music Department to get to know members in their ensemble outside of intense rehearsal. This will hopefully be the spark to ignite interest in attending Music Department events. From these events we will look at the commonalities among the well attended events and the representatives will come together to plan one large event based on those commonalities. Among other things this is a student self-governance initiative allowing the students to take ownership of the community within and around their department, not to mention the ownership of one large event being shared by many.
I have enjoyed a wide variety of activities since my first year, ranging from elected positions in class and student councils, relief organizations, various committees as well as membership in the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. My most meaningful endeavors, however, have been more intellectual. As an Echols Scholar studying neuroscience and leadership, I spend a great deal of time in a research lab in the medical school studying adult neurogenesis. This semester I am teaching my own course entitled Adult Neurogenesis in Regenerative Medicine. Periodically throughout the year I have participated in historical and philosophical weekend colloquia around the country as an Honors Fellow for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Last year I participated in a year-long Christian living program as an Elzinga Residential Scholar at the Center for Christian Study, during which time I co-lead a discussion group on Faith, Science and Reason, a role I continued to serve in my third year. This summer I held a research position at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France, continuing my studies in adult neurogenesis and French. I am pursuing a career in translational medicine.
A community is as rich as its limits, and stereotypes limit a community. At UVa, I have worked to break the stereotypes associated with my communities in order to elevate the whole University.
An international student is stereotyped as one who excels in academics at the expense of extracurricular involvements. International students have a large potential to enrich the University with global experiences. However, this cannot occur until they get involved. As a Chinese student, I was the first in my class to join a fraternity. I was actively involved in student organizations, such as Honor and McIntire Investment Institute. I have strived to set an example for how involved international students can deepen the University, and as president of Mainland Student Network, I have helped foster this mindset among first and second year Chinese students.
A Greek member is stereotyped as one who is sociable and easy-going, yet wild at times. Beta strives to break this stereotype. We develop gentlemen, leaders, and scholars, men who project the finest image of the University. Contributing to that vision, I served as the Scholarship Chairman. I led a committee to give three scholarships to men who embodied our values, and recognized them at a Rotunda banquet. Many administrators and faculty, including President Sullivan, attended in recognition of our efforts.
A commerce student is stereotyped as one who strives for success selfishly. In contrast, I have found that mutual assistance excels. As one of the top finance and accounting students, I consistently help my classmates understand class material in my spare time. Before every major finance or accounting exam, I attended large-group study sessions to answer questions from classmates. I did so believing that if the classmates improved, McIntire would become a more conducive learning environment, benefiting everyone in the program.
My name is Matt Powell from Austin, Texas, and I’m majoring in Commerce and Economics. When I was a first-year here at UVA, I interviewed for the Men of Principal Scholarship that Beta offers. I remember one of the questions asked, “What do you want your legacy to be at UVA?” At the time I hadn’t given the question much thought, but it prompted me to think about how I could leave a lasting impact on the community even after I left. Throughout my time at the University, I have sought to leave a legacy at UVA through my work with athletics, the Greek community, and the first-year experience. I work for Sports Promotions at UVA and also have served on the Student Council Athletics committee for the past 3 years. I am proud to have helped to return Homecomings to importance with the student body instead of the weekend just being for alumni. Within the Greek community I am always proud to say I am a Beta, helping to provide a standard to which other chapters can look. As a member of Order of Omega I also strive to improve relations between the University and Greek communities while working to prevent hazing. I also feel that I have left a mark on the first-year experience at UVA. I spent last summer on Grounds as an Orientation Leader, and have served as a leader of First Year Seminar the past 2 years. I am happy to say that I have helped enrich the first-year experience and positively impacted current and future Wahoos. When I found out I was going to be living on the lawn with 4 other members of Beta, I was honored and humbled. I am excited to live with these close friends and other community leaders next year as we continue to look for ways to leave the University a better place than when we arrived here.
Besides holding multiple different positions in Beta for the last few years, I have several other involvements. John Dreyzehner and I co-founded the University Scouts last year, which is a student-run organization (and BSA Venture Crew) that provides leadership, volunteers, and adult supervision to local Scout troops in the area. As Vice President of the Crew this year, I have volunteered many hours to helping Scouts. I also lead the trombone section of the Cavalier Marching Band, where I lead 30 members of the section during the fall football season. Being a part of the recent Chick-fil-a Bowl was an unbelievable experience. I am also the Vice President of the UVa Triathlon Team, and am looking forward to competing for the National Championship for the second time this April. Over spring break, I led an Alternative Spring Break trip to Joshua Tree National Park in California to work with the National Park Service. Leading a trip of 11 participants required planning starting about 9 months prior to the trip. I have also led a small group Bible study through the Catholic Student Ministry during my second year. I have been involved in part of a research project on Geologic Carbon Sequestration through the Civil and Environmental Engineering department since last semester, and I am passionate about many aspects of Civil Engineering. I make a point of showing energy and enthusiasm in my involvements and interactions with others.