SPARTANS IN TIBET—Last summer, MSU students (l to r) Can (Aiden) Wang, Xinyu(Jacky) Yang and Haochen Han embarked on an ambitious bicycle trek through China from Dali City, Yunnan, to Tibet. “It’s something we wanted to do for ourselves and also as a way of promoting the MSU brand in China,” says Jacky Yang. The trio had to cross numerous mountains before finally reaching Lhasa, Tibet, where they showed the MSU flag by the iconic Potala Palace.
SPARTAN MOOSE KILL—Oct. 14: Erica Peterson (right), ’00, shot this 700-pound bull moose in Kokadjo, Maine, last fall. Hunting with her were her brother Andrew, father Bob (co-shooter) and grandfather Bob—all helping to show the S flag in the photo. The moose boasted a 40-inch spread and 17 points and took more than two hours to transport out of the woods.
Each year, more than 1,100 of the brightest high school seniors around the country are invited to campus to compete in MSU’s annual Alumni Distinguished Scholarship (ADS) competition. The scholarships, which cover full tuition, room and board, are considered among the most competitive awards in the country.
To date, more than 600 exceptional students have received Alumni Distinguished Scholarships. Many more have decided to enroll at MSU after experiencing the breadth of the university during the competition.
“The longstanding tradition of the ADS competition, MSU’s preeminent award program, has helped to bring thousands of exceptional high school students to campus since 1956,” says MSU Honors College Dean Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore. “The scholarship has supported the early careers of many MSU alumni who have since contributed deeply and widely to society in nearly every imaginable field.”
An ADS Student
Craig Pearson attends MSU on an Alumni Distinguished Scholars full scholarship. He is an Honors College senior from Bloomfield Hills, majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, English and neuroscience.
A 2012 Goldwater Scholar, Pearson was recently awarded the Marshall graduate scholarship, making him the 16th Spartan to receive the honor. The award will allow him to pursue his doctorate in clinical neurosciences from the University of Cambridge. He also represented MSU as a regional finalist in competition for a Rhodes Scholarship and he is a nominee for a Churchill scholarship. Craig says he chose MSU over many other offers—including from Ivy League and other Big Ten schools—because the quality and connectivity of MSU stuck with him.
“I came to feel that this was the place that was going to give me the greatest range of opportunities—academically and personally,” Craig says.
Craig is a lead undergraduate researcher working on an interdisciplinary, multi-university project to design a drug delivery system to treat a genetic blindness disorder. He is also the undergraduate lab manager for another team analyzing brain scan data to explore the neuroscience of reading.
Craig was also selected as a 2013-2014 College of Natural Science (CNS) Dean’s Research Scholar (DRS). The DRS are an elite group of outstanding undergraduate students who have experience conducting research, proven academic success and exemplify the traits of true Spartans: hard-working, intelligent, problem-solvers. The DRS are selected annually through a competitive scholarship program. As part of their experience, they commit to represent CNS at events and speaking opportunities on campus and around the country.
“Undergraduate research has been the most impactful experience I’ve had at MSU,” Craig says. “Research has supplemented my education, introduced me to crucial mentors and collaborators, and inspired my passion to pursue a career in visual neuroscience research.”
In addition, Craig volunteers at the MSU Neurology and Ophthalmology Clinic. And he’s the student managing editor for ReCUR, the Red Cedar Undergraduate Research Journal, and founder and managing editor of Exceptions: The Art and Literary Journal for Students with Visual Disabilities. He’s published in national literary magazines, attended conferences at Harvard and Yale, and went on study abroad at the University of Cambridge. This fall, he stood on the field at Spartan Stadium as a member of the 2013 Homecoming Court.
“Every single class and experience I’ve had here has been a challenge and an opportunity to expand my skill set and my world view,” says Craig.
Craig plans to complete both doctoral and medical degrees for a career in the clinical neuroscience of vision, working toward treatments for blindness or visual impairments and to develop a better understanding of how the eye works.
“It’s really exciting because one topic informs another,” he says. “I’ll be able to approach my work from the neuroscience of perception to the biochemistry of the retina to me being the leader of this literary journal that publishes creative work by students who are blind or visually impaired.”
An ADS Alumnus
Greg Hauser remembers well his first trip to campus. A native of Rochester, NY, he arrived after a particularly heavy snowfall to undertake the Alumni Distinguished Scholarship test.
“We all have a mental image of what college is,” he says. “I looked around at the beautiful blanket of white all across campus and I realized this was the place I always imagined myself being.”
Greg (’75, B.S., Honors College/Natural Science; ’77, M.S., Zoology) aced the test, received the full scholarship and began his MSU journey intending to become a zoologist. Along the way he discovered an affinity for law over science, completed his J.D. at New York University, and found a unique niche utilizing his MSU minor in German. As an attorney, he represents German, Austrian and Swiss corporations with disputes in the U.S.
A life member of the MSU Alumni Association, Greg served as president of the New York City MSU Alumni Club for more than a decade, and has also served as a member and head of MSUAA’s National Board. He has remained committed to his fraternity (Delta Chi) as well, highlighted by a presidency of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, the umbrella group for all national and international men’s college social fraternities.
He also honors a promise he says he made to himself to “pay MSU back.” He has been a consistent contributor to the club’s scholarships and many other MSU initiatives, joining MSU’s Kedzie Donor Society. Through his estate plans, Greg established a charitable bequest directed to support the MSU Libraries, the Department of Zoology and the Joseph John Hauser Endowed Alumni Distinguished Scholarship, named in tribute to his father.
“When I think of how much MSU did for me and the other ADSers (Alumni Distinguished Scholars), it underlies my certainty that this institution is essential to the world,” he says.
?For more information on the Alumni Distinguished Scholarship Program, contact Senior Director of Development Jennifer Bertram at email@example.com or call (517) 432-7330.