Herbert P. Schoen Scholarship Recipient: Michelle Mor '19
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Michelle Mor '19

"A donation to a student's undergraduate degree is a donation of motivation, empowerment, and fresh perspective in a journey to reaching the diploma."

Michelle Mor '19Michelle Mor '19 (pictured, right, with sister, Tamar '20), an English literature major, discovered her love of storytelling at the University of Hartford. Scholarships have not only given her the opportunities to explore, but a newfound perspective on her UHart experience. Below is an excerpt of Mor's speech, thanking donors for their support:

An entire year has passed since I nervously woke up to an alarm on the morning that would change my life. I shot up with a jolt, turning my head towards a buzzing phone. On this morning a year ago, I did not tap the snooze button.

I could feel the butterflies beat their wings against my stomach as I marched across campus to Hillyer Hall. My heart leapt faster than my feet when I ran up a flight upstairs and through a winding green hallway.

“Do you want a glass of water while you wait?” a nice lady asked as I sat with shaking hands and flushed cheeks outside the door.

I quickly drank the water—probably the greatest glass of water I had ever tasted. With wide eyes, I peered through a little window that led into the room. Suddenly, like mind control, the door swung open, and I was invited into the interview room.

A lady with kind eyes and a genuine smile stood up and shook my hand.

“I'm nervous,” I said. “I apologize for my shakiness.” But the anxiety melted when the lady who had greeted me, along with everyone in the room, began to laugh. In all of my jittery movements and over-excited facial expressions, they seemed to like me.

An incredible conversation began to unfold. We talked about human awareness, and the origins of our natural instinct to want to help, to engage, to learn, and to understand a world that is happening outside of our own little bubble. We talked about creativity and the power of diverse intelligences.

We talked about the places the mind leads us when it is following a map drawn by inspiration and directed by a compass of absolute curiosity. I explained that the most recent destination to which this path has brought me is the University of Hartford.

I began to see that the qualities I had wished most to contain in myself were held by the people who sat across from me at the table. They exhibited a sense of earnest curiosity, driven inquisitiveness, an understanding of the true depth of things, and the ability to quickly comprehend the dimensions of a presented situation. I realized that the woman who had stood to shake my hand 20 minutes prior is someone I endeavor to be like in the future: a person who takes a moment to listen; a person who supports and gives to the growth and success of another person who she believes is doing good for a world outside of herself.

I told her about all of my geeky undertakings at the University of Hartford. I told her about my love for the characters I met in the fiction and poetry my major presented me with. I told her about my curiosity in writing for the school newspaper and my drive to tell the stories that happen around me in plain sight. I told her about my involvement in the Jewish special needs community of Greater Hartford, and my passion to achieve perspective through a lens of Autism awareness.

I was given undivided attention and I received critical replies to the thoughts I spoke aloud, followed by incredibly observant questions—the kind that help you understand yourself more with each answer.

No matter the outcome of this interview, I felt proud and satisfied for having been invited into this conversation. My finding was precious—upon arriving at this meeting, I had discovered a complete panel of inspiring individuals who could aid me in establishing my most important life goal: the kind of Michelle that I'd like the future to hold.

This interview changed my life. This interview changed my life twofold when I was notified that I would be the recipient of the Herbert P. Schoen Scholarship. The context of my undergraduate efforts at the University of Hartford has just shifted. I have always been passionate about my work in the College of Arts and Sciences. But suddenly, I felt elevated in my field of study; the things that motivate me and drive my curious journey in the humanities have been validated.

To me, receiving this scholarship means that there is someone else in the world who appreciates the hours of revisions I give to my essays and writing assignments. It means someone is supporting me as I take on huge time commitments to volunteer in the West Hartford community. It means someone thinks it's okay that I ask my professors every question I can possibly fit into an hour and fifteen minute class period.

This kind of recognition had added weight to the importance of my degree. The award I have received from a generous donor has made me think of my studies as an effort to achieve greater heights not only for my own sake, but also for someone important who is watching and applauding me with each step forward.

A donation to a student's undergraduate degree is a donation of motivation, empowerment, and fresh perspective in a journey to reaching the diploma.

When I think back to the morning one year ago that changed my life, I am so, so happy that I did not hit the snooze button so that I could have the opportunity to stand here, and say thank you to the people who lend the world generosity for its most significant purpose.


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