We are in the throes of the holiday season, and for many of us, that means selecting the perfect gifts for friends and family members. We angle our way into lines on Black Friday or queue up virtually on Cyber Monday. We want good deals and we’re not afraid to throw an elbow to get them. We spend time (perhaps better spent on rest or catching up or getting a jump on things) in pursuit of the biggest sales, the greatest values—in getting the most ‘bang for our buck,’ as our older relatives might say with satisfaction.
As chair of the Scholarships and Awards Committee, I think quite often about the “value” of the more than $100,000 that Sigma Tau Delta gives out in awards and scholarships each year. Those of us who serve as judges or who work to coordinate the distribution of the funds sometimes hear from the students who apply for and are awarded this money. That feedback constantly reinforces the way in which our Committee is invested (and investing) in the best possible return for Sigma Tau Delta monies.
One recent student awardee wrote to us this fall, and she described her study abroad experience as the “most enriching experience . . . of [her] life.”
Mull that over for a second. Most enriching.
We save our superlatives for very special occasions indeed. We use them to describe our economic transactions of this season (remember those “biggest sales” and “greatest values” above?), and while we may not be above a bit of exaggeration, I take this traveling scholar at her word.
Sigma Tau Delta’s Board works consistently to increase the organization’s ability to give back. This year, you will find that the Continuing Education Scholarship (combining the best elements of and replacing the part-time and Alumni scholarships) encourages lifelong learners or those returning to school for degrees to pursue new opportunities. We are joining forces with NEHS to offer more classroom library grants to members who have been teachers for five years or fewer. And we created the Lambda Iota Tau Research Grant, offering undergraduates and graduates (whether full- or part-time students) support in their research endeavors.
We realize that scholarships and awards help students stay in school or make ends meet—those are stories that have us cheering in our respective offices and typing happy responses to grateful recipients. Sometimes, though, the additional support helps Sigma Tau Delta members realize dreams, opening doors to new experiences that are worthy of all the superlatives we can ascribe to them.
The end of the semester makes great demands on our time and energy and funds, and those demands can sometimes take the jolly (and the holly, and the holy) out of our happiest holidays. What joy there is in belonging to an organization that privileges the gifts of the mind—and the value to be found in experience and in scholarly pursuits. What a great season of giving!
Newly Announced Winners
Study Abroad Scholarships
Fall 2017 Winner ($3,000)
Alpha Epsilon Kappa Chapter
Fall 2017 Runner-up ($1,500)
Western Kentucky University
Pi Iota Chapter
Summer Program Scholarship
Fall 2017 Winner ($1,500)
New Jersey City University
Alpha Iota Tau Chapter
Fall 2017 Runner-up ($750)
Alpha Chi Xi Chapter
Add Scholarship, Award, and Grant Application Due Dates to Your Calendar
The spring round opens on February 5, 2018 and closes on April 9.