Just under a year ago, I was anxiously sitting in front of my computer screen, writing and rewriting essays for a scholarship I was convinced that I had no chance of receiving. My nerves were fried from work and school, and I was getting blurry-eyed just thinking about the concept of college. If you had asked me then whether or not I thought I would make it as a Cox Scholar, I probably would have answered with a resounding ‘No!’
Nowadays, people may say I was selling myself short. At the time, though, through all the stress of senior year, I could see little about myself that made me qualified to work with people who received the prestigious Cox Scholarship.
Luckily, those people in charge of distributing the scholarship thought differently. Fast-forward to May 2013, when, an application and Skype interview later, I received an email informing me that I had received the Cox Engagement Scholarship.
It was made clear, at that point, that I had a legacy to live up to.
What is a Cox Scholar, you ask? What do Cox Scholars do? How did you manage to get it? Well, the first two questions I can answer easily.
According to the characteristics defined by Jesse and Beulah Cox, a Cox Scholar must be community oriented. A Scholar must be willing to work hard and come up with inventive ways to go about his or her work. Furthermore, a Cox Scholar must be self-motivated. Jesse and Beulah set the bar high for the students who would receive their scholarship. They are intimidating figures to represent, but it also a great honor to be considered worthy of representing them.
These two outstanding people, after a lifetime of serving the community around Bloomington, had a scholarship named for them that was then divided into four separate parts: Cox Research, Engagement, Exploratory, and Legacy scholarships.
Check out more information regarding these scholarships here: http://scholarships.indiana.edu/scholarships/cox/
I was awarded the Cox Engagement Scholarship, and have far more knowledge regarding that branch than any of the others. I’m still in the process of discovering just why the scholarship board thought I deserved this scholarship, but I know the process of working as an Engagement Scholar has taught me more than I could ever imagine.
Working as a Cox Engagement Scholar places me alongside the Department of Service Learning on campus. I work as an ACE, or Advocate for Community Engagement. What that means is that I and the other recipients are assigned to an organization, on or off the IU Bloomington Campus. We then serve as a bridge in between that organization and professors at the university, encouraging service learning projects that will better influence the lives of students and those who utilize our organizations.
The work can be difficult, without a doubt. It can also be rewarding. As an ACE, and a Scholar, one is required to talk with professors and leaders who have had years of experience compared to an incoming freshman. Because ACEs serve as bridges between organizations and professors, they must be confident in what they are doing, because there are few people like them who can do what they do.