Letter from CPN scholarship recipient Sara Ghebremariam

This article originally ran in the November 2012 Cedar Park Neighbors newsletter.  Want to receive the newsletter delivered to your doorstep (or directly to your email inbox)?  Join CPN today at http://www.cedarparkneighbors.org/join-cpn-donate/cpn-membership-form/  Dear Cedar Park Neighbor Community,

I am one of the many neighborhood students who have benefitted from your continuous generosity and commitment to helping give the young adults in our community the chance to get ahead.  This sense of generosity is so apparent and wonderful to see at the annual award ceremonies and the Dock Street fundraisers I have attended in the past.  My college experience thus far has been everything I hoped for and more.  Starting at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall I had no clue what was in store for me, but I am so happy that I threw myself into it completely.  After getting a taste of engineering and finding out it was not for me very quickly in freshmen year, I found my place in the arts and sciences school, more specifically in psychology and economics.  Even though classes at Penn challenge me they also excite me and for that reason summer has gone from something I wish for during the year to something I nearly dread in May.

While I have grown in the obvious academic ways, I have also taken the time to grow outside the library.  Community service has always been a large part of my life and dominated my extracurricular activities.  Since starting at Penn I made it a point to make sure that did not change about me.  I did this by joining the oldest and the largest community service organization at Penn, the Kite and Key Society.  I eventually gained a seat on the executive board of the Kite and Key Society in my sophomore year of college.  This was a great opportunity to gain leadership skills, not only with running the Overnight Hosting program but also within the society in contributing that semester’s fundraising project, a Mario Kart Tournament to raise money for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.  Further, starting in the fall of this upcoming year, I will be serving as a house events manager in the building I have called home for the last 4 years, Gregory College House.

I spent much of junior year, taking part in two independent research projects in the field of abnormal psychology with the help of research advisors at the University of Pennsylvania.  I focused my thesis on first time substance use experiences and current patterns in use in college students.  The second project focused more on how those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder recall their experiences.  Both projects were the toughest undertakings of my undergraduate career with both year-long experiences culminating in written research papers and theses defenses in front of standing faculty at Penn- also known as some of the brightest minds in the field I was studying… it was terrifying to say the least.  However, I survived and received departmental honors for my work.

I am now looking to spend this upcoming semester working on developing my background in the second interest, economics and strategy management.  After my graduation in December I hope to obtain a job in strategy consulting and it has been the CPN funding over the years that has allowed me to carry out my studies just a bit longer.  It is something for which I will always be grateful to the community.

Thank you so much for all your support and assistance throughout the year!

Sara Ghebremariam