April 2017 marked the inaugural experiential learning trip to Washington, D.C. for the very first group of Gupta Values Scholars, which is comprised of these nine MSU undergraduate students.
· Kaila Baroff (College of Communications Arts and Sciences)
· Sarah Anne Brandicourt (College of Social Science)
· Morgan Dumaine (Eli Broad College of Business)
· Kelton Engemann (College of Agriculture and Natural Resources)
· Bethany Kogut (College of Education)
· Zackir Metcalf (College of Engineering)
· Lily Powell (James Madison College)
· Tristyn Walton (College of Social Science)
· Hakeem Weatherspoon (College of Communication Arts and Sciences)
“Receiving this scholarship has truly been an honor,” Kogut said. “This scholarship has allowed me to feel empowered to expose myself to different cultures and experiences and to live in a way that allows me to make a difference, and to help those who need it with the privileges that I hold.”
The Gupta Values Scholarship was established through a generous $2.5 million endowment from Shashikant and Margaret Gupta, with the express intent of promoting lifelong commitment to the core values of integrity, human dignity, and excellence among students attending MSU.
“Mr. Gupta said something interesting while we were in Washington, D.C.,” Dumaine said. “He said that a person or company can’t have many core values or they lose their power. One needs to have few core values and be extremely passionate about those. I found this to be interesting and it changed the way I pick what I value. I believe that the core values the Gupta’s chose are excellent choices, especially in terms of running a company. A company can make billions of dollars, but if it does not have the morals and integrity to not cut corners, or the respect for workers, or those who will be affected by the product, than they have nothing to show for their work. Excellence is an interesting value because I can relate to it personally.”
Students selected for this award receive a $5,000 scholarship renewable for up to a total of four years, given they remain in good academic standing and demonstrate a continued commitment to the core values of the endowment.
“In addition to being a student, I am also running a business that sells value-added agriculture products,” Kogut said. “I feel these values are incorporated into my everyday life through this business. I act with integrity as we treat and reward employees. By acting with integrity in mind, we are able to provide an experience of excellence for our customers and express to them a sense of respect that we have for them and what they have for us in return.”
In addition to the annual scholarship, Gupta Values Scholars have the opportunity to expand their learning through experiential opportunities (Gupta Experiential Learning Award), meet with the donors, and travel to Washington, D.C. to engage the donors and/or their representatives on issues focused on enhancing their understanding and commitment to the core values.
“During the experiential learning trip, I was able to meet a diverse group of fellow scholars that greatly opened up my perspective in just a short weekend,” Baroff said. “I learned about farming, policy writing, urban planning in Detroit, and many other things just from talking with other individuals about their interests. It was incredible to see the variances between nine different people, as well as the topics and activities each of us were passionate about. This realization will help me in the future, as it’s applicable to any situation in which I find myself. It allows me to see others’ perspectives and motivations while better understanding my own.”
To qualify for consideration for this scholarship, students must:
· Demonstrate that integrity is reflected in all they do by providing evidence of their ability to make difficult decisions even when those decisions may not have been in their best interest, but were the right things to do.
· Manifest personal actions that demonstrate a commitment to human dignity – listening and considering the value of all individuals regardless of such things as race, religion, social status, or gender identity.
· Evidence a commitment to excellence in all they do. More than just grades and standardized test scores, this can be seen in such things as the ability to be creative and seek new solutions, motivational leadership and striving to advance the mission and goals of clubs and organizations, persevering in the face of difficulties, or seeking to gain new knowledge.
“My favorite part of the experiential learning trip to Washington, D.C. was when we all gathered at the Gupta’s home for dinner and discussion,” Baroff said. “It gave me the opportunity to understand the Gupta’s in an informal setting and learn more about their hobbies, projects and passions. We saw videos and pictures of the incredible experiences they had and this is where I truly began to see how inspiring they both are. I was able to experience the warmth with which they treat the scholars, their employees, and anyone they come into contact with. I saw their passion for always doing the right thing and making moral decisions, as well as their drive to help people reach their full potential.”
Vising Giving to MSU for more information about the Gupta Values Scholarship.