SNC Benefactor Nelson Funds Scholars

Last week, the first annual Lin M. Nelson Award for Leadership & Civic Engage-ment scholarships were awarded to SNC interdisciplinary students Celine Holland and Weston Park. This new scholarship opportunity will be offered annually to junior interdisciplinary studies majors, thanks to the generosity of SNC support Lin M. Nelson.

The INTD faculty committee, including faculty from all departments, met to dis- cuss examples of students who have gone above and beyond the high expectations of the Service Learning program. Eligible students for the scholarship completed service learning projects between Spring 2017 and Fall 2018.

“Our criteria included exceptional projects and continued service and leadership both inside and outside of the classroom in subsequent semesters,” Katie Zanto, interdisciplinary studies program chair, said. “We all believe strongly in mentoring students in civic engagement and the process is meant to support developing leaders.”

The award recipients were nominated by faculty.

“This is the first time this award has ever been given,” Holland, a junior, said. “It’s new and is really a big step to validate the hard work that comes out of the interdisciplinary studies department.”

Both students were surprised to learn they had not only been nominated, but won a scholarship last week. Their dedication and understanding of the INTD program explains why they stood out to SNC faculty.

“I believe that sustainability needs to be incorporated into all aspects of our society, from the way we protect and preserve our natural resources, to how people act and collaborate as a community, to how businesses are conducted,” Park, a senior, said.

Both recipients appreciate the variety the interdisciplinary studies program offers, and the program’s emphasis on service.

“Sustainability is a complete dedication of giving yourself back. It feels like civic engagement on steroids and impacts all pillars which make our world work: the political, economic, societal, cultural, environmental, and most clearly, action,” Holland said. “This education is not about personal success; it’s about being motivated to create better change for all.”

“Juggling multiple projects inside and outside of school was taking a toll on me and this award really gave me a boost of focus and motivation to get everything done on time to the standard I’d like,” Park said.

Holland knows her hard work will not go to waste, and has learned about herself in this process.

“This award has brought me reassurance in my faith in love,” Holland said.

“If you care about something and want to make it prosper, you’re never going to be wasting your time. “ is acknowledgement of my sweat dedicated to SNC has proven to me I can succeed in anything I go on to pursue. I have had the privilege of experiencing how much I am capable of.”

Nelson, the scholarship’s sponsor, has 35 years of experience in higher education with a non-traditional approach. In 2000, she co-founded a small educational consulting company, the purpose of which was to assist educational institutions and businesses cultivate learning environments independent of time and place.

Following her retirement, Nelson’s interest in creating her own award was prompted after volunteering with Canine Companions for Independence, and attending the DogFest Walk ‘n’ Roll in Incline Village. The event was part of 2017 graduate Carissa Priebusch’s INTD service learning project. Nelson was invited to attend the SNC student’s final presentation and was blown away by the professionalism of SNC’s interdisciplinary students.

“I was so impressed with the student presentations that I wanted to learn more about INTD and the three sequential service learning courses,” Nelson said.

“As I have attended other service learning presentations, met INTD faculty, and had the privilege of getting to know (INTD department chair) Katie Zanto, I just knew this is the program I wanted to support via an endowed award.”

Nelson said supporting SNC’s interdisciplinary studies program was an easy decision due to the core elements and values that INTD students explore throughout their education.

“Decisions are easy to make when they coincide with your values,” she said. “Service learning aligns with my belief in learning by doing—collaborating and sharing knowledge and resources.”

Recipients intend to use the scholarship money to pay off student debts, but the award is the ultimate prize.

Holland reflected on the scholarship.

“It’s the fact that positive change can be further motivated in others with this annual award,” she said. “It brings gratitude and inspires more action.”

“I’m truly flattered to accept this award beside Celine,” Park said. “During my last few years on campus I have always seen Celine go above and beyond to make an impact here on campus, learn as much as possible, and advocate for sustainability.”