Marshallese Student takes on Stanford University

Even more fantastic news from our volunteers out of the Marshall Islands! Last week, we informed you of Marshallese student Kami Mackphie and the incredible opportunity he has been given to study at the United World College in Vancouver. Now, as our Marshall Islands volunteer Brittany Peterson has informed us, another student has been granted an equally impressive opportunity. Rickonson Patrick has been awarded the Junior Statesman Abroad Scholarship for an opportunity to spend a summer studying at Stanford University! Brittany has provided us with an excellent look into what awaits this wonderful student. Congratulations, Rickonson!

     It’s not every day that I get a call from the US Embassy, but that’s exactly what happened last week when I found out that my student, Rickonson Patrick, was one of the five chosen recipients for the JSA Scholarship.  This is a full scholarship which will allow Rickonson to study this summer in a unique, accelerated program at the prestigious Stanford University.  Earlier this quarter I helped Rickonson apply for this exclusive JSA scholarship opportunity. Prior to that, he had received the honor of being shortlisted for the first UWC scholarship alongside 11th grader Kimberly Areieta.
In June, Rickonson will travel to California along with four other Marshallese students and participate in the challenging summer program.  While this will be the experience of a lifetime, it will definitely present Rickonson and the other recipients with many new and possibly unforeseen challenges.  They will participate in debates, write formal papers, and discuss political issues. 
Rickonson is truly an exceptional student and based on my time spent teaching him this year, I know he has the perfect personality and mindset to step up to any challenges that he is faced with.  Not only that, but I know he is able to surpass even his highest expectations.  I could not be happier for Rickonson.  I know he will take full advantage of this amazing opportunity, and I can see that he most definitely has a bright future ahead of him.
My biggest hope is that this encourages other students in the RMI, especially Ebeye, to put themselves out there, try new things, and aim for their biggest dreams.  Anything is possible, so always believe in yourselves and strive for greater things.  Rickonson has worked hard and applied for multiple scholarships both this year and last year.  Some did not work out, including this exact scholarship last year, but with his perseverance he was chosen this time around.  Things work out for a reason.  There are always opportunities out there; just dig deep and never back down!

We are so proud of all that Rickonson and the other Marshallese students have achieved! If you'd like to feel the same pride Brittany feels for her amazing students on the Marshall Islands, consider applying to one of our volunteer programs today!

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