Student Achievement Award
2010 to 2011
Western State College of Colorado to Oklahoma State University - Academic year 2010-2011
When asked how his NSE experience had changed his life Kyle wrote, "Professionally, the NSE program allowed me to become the sports editor of our newspaper (Oklahoma State's The Daily O'Collegian) after one semester, and editor-in-chief after two semesters. I also was hired as the summer sports intern at The Tulsa World, one of two state newspapers in Oklahoma. I wrote over 100 articles in three months. I also received multiple scholarships from my work, including a national scholarship from the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Personally, I met friends that will continue to impact my life long after my college career is over. I overcame any previous fear I had of meeting new people and of trying new things. I branched out like never before, making connections with people of all types - from athletes, to journalists and members in the Greek community. I feel my year at Oklahoma State turned me into the person I always knew I could be."
Those kinds of accomplishments fulfilled the goals that motivated Kyle to participate in the National Student Exchange. Statements Kyle wrote to NSE included, "...... during the spring semester of my sophomore year when I learned about NSE, I was a frustrated journalist that was in need of some rejuvenation........ My dream was to be a sports reporter in a big-time college sports conference. I also wanted the opportunity to jump out of my comfort zone to really find out what I was capable of in a new environment. I thrive on change and excitement and the NSE program was the perfect way to experience both. So, that's why I packed everything I owned into the back of a worn out 1992 Ford Ranger and drove 700 miles to a state in which I had never stepped foot. I wandered to the journalism building my first day on campus...... That's where I met one of the most influential people in my life - Barbara Allen, advisor to The Daily O'Collegian." She wrote of Kyle, "From the moment he arrived, he showed he was a natural storyteller and leader, and within the first few weeks, we knew we had someone special in our midst."
The Oklahoma State campus NSE coordinator said of Kyle, "It was not difficult to become aware of Kyle's journalistic contributions to the campus. We began to notice his name first on the sports page and then on the front page in article by-lines! Kyle took advantage of what the National Student Exchange is all about -- exploration, adventure, enhanced educational opportunities, and personal growth."
Again from Kyle's writing to NSE, "So, as I sit in the newsroom, typing these final words. It's hard not to shake my head at how amazing my NSE experience has been. I started as a scared new writer who wondered what writing for a daily newspaper would be like and I ended my NSE adventure as editor-in-chief. It goes without question that the NSE program is the best thing to ever happen to me."
New Mexico State University to North Carolina State University - Academic Year 2010-2011
Major: Civil Engineering
There is a humbleness about Eric that is reflected in what he writes about his exchange in contrast to what others write about him. As a Christian and striving to be mature and sincere in his faith, he wrote, "NSE provided the opportunity to separate myself from some aspects of my normal home environment that had become a catalyst for apathy in my life. I wanted to temporarily live without some of the influences that have been a part of my life since before I began taking my faith seriously. An opportunity to isolate the variables in my life and strive to be the person I really want to be was ultimately why I participated in the NSE program." He then explained how finding a local church that provided the environment for change he sought allowed the growth he was seeking. From then on his emphasis was on how he could help others. One observer said, "Eric is one of those rare individuals who makes the people around him better ......... he was always seeking to build up others and make them a better person, and inviting them to engage their community."
One project in particular, Plant:Uganda, changed his life. He wrote, "The organization is sponsoring kids to go to school, supporting a family development ministry, and sharing the story of Jesus with people in the slums. Getting involved with Plant: Uganda showed me how blessed I am to be an American and helped me see the capacity I have to help others that have so much less. This revelation, in coalition with the musical encouragement I found in my Bible study, inspired me to put together a benefit concert for Plant: Uganda." He continued, "In helping with Plant: Uganda while on exchange last semester, I was also invited to travel to Uganda for 11 days in June (2011). With a group of eight friends, I was able to learn about the community in Uganda that our benefit concert assisted. My life will never be the same after some of the images I saw, people I met, and things I learned in Uganda last summer; and none of these things would have been possible if it weren't for my decision to participate in the National Student Exchange." He is committed to continue his work on behalf of Uganda at his home campus, and in promoting the NSE program.
While Eric was most concerned about helping others, the North Carolina State NSE coordinators saw a different side of Eric. They wrote, "What is particularly remarkable about Eric Reed's accomplishments is how varied they were. He took an extremely challenging upper-level engineering course load, and with all his extracurricular activities still achieved the exceptional GPA of 3.928. At NC State, this would put him at the top of his class.
During his first semester, Eric got connected with the Construction Facilities lab on campus, a very prestigious and unique research facility. He took the initiative to approach them about research opportunities. Due to his outstanding work, they were able to offer him a part-research/part-assistantship position. He is the only NSE student we have ever had to receive NC State scholarship funding.
His willingness to get involved and try new things really defined Eric's time at NC State! He also connected with students in the Park Scholars Program (our most prestigious scholarship program) and traveled with them to Washington, DC and New York City. He participated in a Sacrificial Spring Break building homes with Habitat for Humanity. He became a mentor for a 4th grader at Hunter Elementary in Raleigh, a commitment he continued throughout the spring semester. Most students who attend NC State for 4 years don't make this many connections and contributions to their community! Eric Reed is the single most outstanding and engaged student we have ever had the pleasure of hosting on exchange at NC State."
Eric evaluated his time on Exchange, "My exchange taught me a lot about who I am, what I care about, how people work, where I stand as a Christian, and how to be comfortable in many different situations. These lessons have changed my life by refining how I look at the world. I have also been drastically changed through the friends I made on exchange in North Carolina." In promoting NSE to others he says, "Have fun and do amazing things."
Université de Sherbrooke to Keene State College - Spring 2011
Major: Communication and Marketing
Marie-Helene's is a story of courage and inspiration. Exchange was one of her goals from first entering college. Her search for a suitable location for exchange brought her to NSE and ultimately Keene State College. While her primary goal was to work on becoming fluent in English, she wrote in an essay, "Another reason that motivated me to participate in NSE is that I wanted to live my own experience out of my comfort. I mean that a lot of my friends at college went to California all together but I decided to experience an exchange by myself. I wanted to be able to find my way and resolving problems by myself, without any help from my college friends. I was convinced that participating in NSE alone will help me to be a better person on personal and professional levels. Taking part in NSE was a challenge as well that I was ready to achieve considering my status of student."
Little did Marie-Helene know what lay ahead and what it was like to be out of her comfort zone and facing challenges. It all began when, as she relates the story, "......less than a week before my departure (on August 11, 2010), I had a car accident in Montreal (CAN).... The ambulance brought me at the hospital. Luckily, I did not get hurt! But the doctor saw something wrong on the right side of my neck. I got a couple of x-rays and exams; and after the doctor told me that I had many abnormal lymph nodes in my neck. On August 16, 2010, I had a biopsy and the day after, the doctor told me that I had a thyroid cancer. At this time, my life changed..."
Operations and treatments prevented her participation in the fall semester at Keene State College, but with her determination and the cooperation of the coordinators at both Sherbrooke and Keene, she began her exchange in the spring of 2011. The spring semester was a busy one for her. Her host NSE coordinator described her activity in the semester this way, "Many people would think that after overcoming this ordeal a student while on exchange would kick back. Nothing can be further from the truth. During the semester at Keene State Marie-Hélène:
- Assisted in French classes four times a week for two professors.
- Gave tours of Keene State to visiting groups.
- Participated in Zumba and Kickboxing classes.
- Brought domestic and other international students (she had a car) skiing on weekends. After lending them her winter gear she taught them how to ski.
- Active member of the International Friends Club.
- Very involved in residential life and other student activities.
- Took 16 credits and receive a 4.0 GPA (English being her second language and one of the classes was a public speaking class).
In summing up her experience, Marie-Helene said, "It was awesome, even if I was not at the top of my shape. I made a lot of friends there and I am still keeping in touch with them. My favorite quote is: "Make the most of every moment because life might surprise you at any time".