RCS Senior Grace Engel recently accepted a highly-recognized scholarship to attend Syracuse University next fall. Ms. Engel has been awarded the 1870 Scholarship. According to Syracuse University, the 1870 Scholarship is the highest recognition offered by the Office of Admissions. Named for the year in which the university was founded, prospective recipients are evaluated for academic and creative accomplishments, as well as personal achievement and commitment in community service and demonstrated caring for others.
In addition, the scholarship recognizes students of talent and promise of all identities and backgrounds who have further exemplified value like innovation, discovery and courage – the same value also demonstrated by the University’s pioneering alumni including Eileen Collins, the first female space shuttle commander and John Tsebe, the first black national librarian in South Africa.
As we’ve continued to share the stories and experiences of the Class of 2021, we wanted to highlight Ms. Engel’s Q&A to share her insights in her own words. Read more about this special accomplishment here:
Congratulations! How did you approach this opportunity? Why Syracuse University and this particular scholarship?
In the Fall of 2019, I attended Syracuse University’s open house and immediately fell in love. SU has an endless amount of opportunities both academic and extracurricular, so it is obvious that anyone can be successful in any field they choose there. Honestly, I was completely unaware of this scholarship and carried on the past two years believing I wouldn’t be able to afford to attend SU when the time came around. After being invited to apply to the Coronat Scholarship (offered by the College of Arts and Sciences), I was selected as a finalist and given an interview. About four days after the most nerve racking interview of my life, I received an email notifying me that instead of the Coronat Scholarship, I was being awarded Syracuse University’s 1870 Scholarship. That was quite frankly the best day of my life thus far.
What areas of study are you looking to concentrate on while attending Syracuse?
I have chosen to major in Biochemistry with a concentration in Genetics at Syracuse University’s College of the Arts and Sciences. Since taking ninth grade Biology with Ms. Branley, I have had a love of science and her interest in genetics have clearly rubbed off on me. She is by far one of the most intelligent people I know and has definitely played an influential role when it came to selecting my major.
As for a future career, where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years from now, I hope to be enrolled in graduate school to obtain a Master’s or even possibly a PhD in Genetics. After obtaining all the necessary degrees and doing residency work, I plan on becoming a geneticist which would allow me to study hereditary diseases and perform cancer research so I can help families who want healthy lives for their future children. Whether I will be working in a lab or a medical facility, I am not sure yet, but I do plan on exploring both options during my career.
How did you shape your own experiences at RCS? Did you have a mindset towards making the most of your time in the district?
At RCS, I have always taken pleasure in being extremely involved and I swear by a busy schedule. As far as academics go, I focused mainly on science and technology, but filled my time at school with nearly all honors and AP-level courses. I planned to get as many college credits in high school as I could, which is something I’d recommend to anyone wanting to save some money. By participating in sports, music, and a variety of clubs I have made connections with so many different people in the school district and attribute some of my closest friendships to my involvement in those activities. High school truly is what you make of it and I’ve loved all my years at RCS.
What advice would you give to current students as they look to make their mark at RCS?
To my fellow RCS students, I encourage you to get involved and try new things. RCS has so much to offer! From our recognized music program to competitive sports teams and everything in between, there are countless opportunities right in front of your nose. You are bound to create memories and form friendships that will last a lifetime, if only you have the courage to do so. I also encourage you to get involved in the community, as there are so many ways we can make our district a friendlier, inclusive, and sustainable place.