I was sent an email from the Office of Financial Aid a few weeks ago saying that I was eligible for further scholarship (an incredible thing that DU does for us students!) and I figured I might just attach the essay here for you all to read. The prompt asked specifically about future career and educational goals, as well as how I have contributed to society, the school, and how I would do so in the future.
Today I walk my usual path though campus feeling a sense humility, inspiration, and responsibility. The arboretum garden plots appear more colorful, the mountains closer than normal, and the smiles of those I pass wider than ever before. I have called the University of Denver home for two years now, and yet since this past Friday I suddenly see it as more than that. I am part of this home, it surrounds me, encourages me, pushes me to greater and greater heights. No single day here at DU has shown me this more so than May 11th, 2012. You see, only 48 hours ago I was elected as the 2012-2013 Student Body President and I couldn’t be more exhilarated by all that this opportunity entails.
While at the University of Denver, I have discovered more about myself and the world around me than I could ever have anticipated. Indeed the two greatest gifts that DU has given me so far are those of opportunity and clarity. Through programs such as the Pioneer Leadership Program, the El Pomar Foundation, the Center for World Languages and Cultures, and Partners in Scholarship (PinS), I have been blessed in ways that I will never be able to fully repay. I sit now as the leadership program’s El Pomar Scholar, an appointed position with the Colorado Springs-based foundation through which I attend quarterly leadership summits and complete a yearlong community project. Therefore, over the past seven months I have helped organize the Englewood City Council’s Cities of Service initiative, a service provider network aimed at unleashing asset based community development. It has been an exciting opportunity to see a city grow in such meaningful ways, knowing that my volunteer hours are behind that change.
A second opportunity that has defined my DU experience is the research grant that myself and a fellow German department student were able to design and complete last year. Through the Partners in Scholarship Endowment, we worked in Denmark and German for a month last summer in order to conduct interviews of youth, aimed at defining cultural identity in terms of languages and geography. The project was an unbelievable experience and one I hope to continue over the next two summers in order to culminate in a senior thesis project that has hit my three main languages of German, Spanish, and Japanese. Opportunities such as these truly set apart DU as an institution.
In terms of that future, the University of Denver has also given me a sense of conviction as to where I hope to take my career. Through a course titled “Communication, Culture and Sport” I was sparked into inspiration, realizing that when combining my education and natural skillset, where I belong most is working for the International Olympic Committee.
I can picture myself years from now, content and tired, knowing that the University of Denver was the platform from which I was able to launch a successful international career. I have always enjoyed travel and learning foreign languages. In fact, before coming to DU I even took time off to be a Rotary Youth Exchange Student to Asia for a year. Since returning, I have worked with Professor Castellani, the chair of the Foreign Languages and Literatures department, to narrow my studies down to three main languages: Spanish, German and Japanese. With his help, I have now developed my individually structured major of Intercultural Communications and Foreign Languages. I have full faith that with continued hard work (I hold a 3.98 GPA), combined with my leadership studies and business administration minors, I will soon happily work for the ISO. I am currently uncertain of my graduate school plans, but if I do attend, I look to DU programs such as International & Intercultural Communications or Business Administration, or to a connection I have with the London School of Economics.
- Sam Estenson