The Spring 2019 Winner!
Congratulations, Emma Lipkowski! You are the Spring 2019 winner of the Intuition for Tuition Poshified Scholarship! Your essay talks about perseverance and determination. You found a way to see past the common perception that basketball players need to be tall. You have grit: “Rejection didn’t bring me down; it just provided me more fortitude to find where I belonged.” Your willingness to find the niche that brought together your college major and your passion for basketball is paramount. I think that listening to your heart and your gut is essential, and you found a way to do both. “The answer to my dreams won’t land on my doorstep — I have to go out and get it. I choose to go with my gut and pursue my dream when nobody believed I could.” Your words and actions embody the true meaning of the Poshified Scholarship. I’m pleased to present you with this honor!
During my college search in high school, I had a burning desire to play basketball in college, however, at 5′ 4″, there weren’t many colleges or college coaches seeking out a diminutive shooting guard. I wanted to major in biomedical engineering, so I had to find a school that would give me a top-notch education and a women’s basketball program that needed me.
I knew this was something that I couldn’t do by myself. I spoke to my parents and told them my plans that l wanted to contact a sports recruiter. It may be a bit unorthodox for an undersized girl determined to play college basketball, but my belief and my determination, as well as my academics, would help me. Through research, I learned that many engineering or technical colleges were looking for women athletes especially in the STEM fields. Again through research, I found a college sports recruiter who had been placing high school athletes with college teams for over 20 years. He told me he could help, but ultimately I had to put the work in and reach out to coaches and colleges. My first task was deciding which colleges could offer me the education I wanted as well as be a good fit for basketball.
Over four months, I contacted coaches at the schools that offered a biomedical engineering degree. There were many rejection letters stating that I wasn’t the type of player they needed or they had a completed roster. Rejection didn’t bring me down; it just provided me more fortitude to find where I belonged. I accumulated a list of approximately eight colleges that were the complete package of academics and basketball, and scheduled visits at each of the colleges to tour the campus and meet with the coach one-on-one. This was a big time and money commitment for my parents and me, but I felt it provided me with the best chance of achieving my goal to play basketball while still receiving a biomedical engineering degree.
After visiting all eight colleges, I had another big decision to make: which colleges to apply and submit my application. Immediately, I eliminated five of the eight colleges. I didn’t have a connection to the campus, the coach or the engineering program. The other three fit the bill, and I could see myself at the college and in the team colors to play the sport I loved.
All the schools to which I applied, I was accepted. This was great news because I just needed to select which one I wanted to attend. It was also bad news because I just needed to select which one I wanted to attend. This decision was the most significant choice of my life. If I chose the wrong institution, there could be lifelong consequences. One of the deciding factors was that no matter my love of basketball, I needed to pick the college that would provide me with the best education.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology did just that. For the last 19 years, the school has been voted best undergraduate engineering school in the country by US News and World Report. The acceptance rate at Rose is 54%, and it is one of the top engineering schools in the country. Their fundamental objective to develop students academically, culturally, physically, and socially so that they can make significant contributions to the nation’s economy, the resolution of social problems and the welfare of the human race is synonymous with my goals.
Plus, the women’s basketball team has won their conference for the last two years, made the NCAA Division III tournament, and had an undefeated record in 2017-18. The coach told me that he could see me on the Fighting Engineers floor shooting threes, and he knew I would be a great fit to his 15-women roster.
Because of the magnitude of this decision, I had to ensure my decision was the right one. I did an overnight visit at the college spending time with several freshman basketball players, all engineering students, and attending several classes and experiencing the student campus life as well as meeting several professors and administrators. The visit just reaffirmed that I made the correct choice. I couldn’t believe how excited the professors were to talk about engineering and how much they loved teaching their students. I think that was the biggest seller for me because I definitely can get excited about engineering when my professor is excited about it.
I am grateful that I decided to pursue my love of basketball. Without it, I would have never known that a college like Rose-Hulman existed, and I would have settled on one of the state schools and given up my dream.
Anyone who believes they can do something and know in their gut, they can accomplish it should go for it. There is no reward without risk. I know that too many people play it safe in life, but despite this I know it is about going after what I want, not settling for what comes easily. If I’m looking for the most out of life, I can’t be afraid to make a big move. If I know what I want, I might have to give up all that I currently have to reach my goals. The answer to my dreams won’t land on my doorstep — I have to go out and get it. I choose to go with my gut and pursue my dream when nobody believed I could.
Thank You To The Applicants
Choosing a winner is never an easy process. I read so many excellent essays, and almost all of you are deserving of this scholarship in one way or another. A giant THANK YOU for everyone who entered. If I can say anything to you all, it is for you to keep trying! If you didn’t win this time, please again in the fall for the 2019 Fall Poshified Intuition for Tuition Scholarship Program.