When I was going through the college search process, I knew that I wanted a Catholic university with a strong business school and a lot of school spirit. I toured a lot of places, including Villanova, and liked all of them. It wasn’t until I came back to Villanova for Early Action Candidate’s Day as a senior that I really fell in love and knew this was the place for me.
Everywhere on campus, there were students, faculty and staff excited to welcome me to the Nova Nation. I felt like the entire community wanted me to come here—more so than at any other university I visited. It was that feeling that solidified my desire to attend Villanova.
To relieve the financial burden for my family, I applied for a Presidential Scholarship. The final step was a three-day visit on campus filled with interviews, presentations and conversations with deans, professors and current scholars. I left that weekend feeling so excited to hear the results.
When I found out, I remember I was in my room and it was a Thursday night about a week after the interviews. I pulled up the MyNova page and saw that I had been awarded the Frank J. and Kathryn M. Kelly Endowed Presidential Scholarship. I ran downstairs to tell my dad, and he gave me a big hug and shed a tear—something I had never seen him do before! We immediately hopped in the car to surprise my mom and my sisters with the news. It was a really great day in the Eby household.
With my scholarship, I’ve been able to take advantage of many opportunities in and out of the classroom. I’m currently a double-major in Finance and English, so I love the ability to focus on my classes while I’m here. In addition, the Presidential Scholarship has given me the flexibility to explore extracurricular activities and internships in my areas of interest.
During the summer of 2015, I served as an unpaid teaching fellow for Breakthrough, a program that helps get high-achieving, underprivileged middle school students excited about going to college. One day we had a college fair, and I was able to share my Villanova experience with these students. I remember after the fair, one of my advisees came up and told me that he wanted to go to Villanova. The fact that he was so excited about the idea of college at such a young age was amazing. The entire teaching fellowship was a rewarding and meaningful experience, and I’m very excited to be returning to teach in the Breakthrough program again in summer 2016.
None of this would have been possible without my Presidential Scholarship. I want my benefactors to know how grateful, honored and humbled I am for all the opportunities that are now available to me. Their gift has shaped my experience at Villanova and will continue to shape the trajectory of my path moving forward.