"Having the support of the Junior Achievement scholarship has made an enormous difference to my education. Right now I’m a philosophy major and computer science minor, and I’m now planning to go to graduate school in philosophy and keep pursuing philosophy for the rest of my life. This is the kind of decision that wouldn’t have been possible without a scholarship - the $10,000 award from Junior Achievement removed my worries about paying off debts at the end of college, thereby making it possible for me to try out new subjects and take the kinds of risks that would have otherwise been unimaginable.
Not only is philosophy something I personally love, it’s a subject that I strongly believe is important to society. We live in a moment in history that is being shaped by revolutions in computer science and technology, and since the traditional task of philosophy is to reflect upon the significance of new bodies of knowledge, there’s a lot of useful and urgent work for philosophers to do. The Junior Achievement scholarship had made it possible for me to try to do some of this work myself — I currently work at the intersection of computer science and philosophy, and try to tackle questions about the relationship between technological developments and human meaning.
Philosophy can be a risky path, but the support of a scholarship has given me the capacity to take my first steps in a direction that I think is both socially useful and intrinsically worthwhile. I’m extremely grateful to Junior Achievement for making this option into a reality for me."
-Maya Krishnan, 2009 Winner
"Winning the $10,000 scholarship has entirely defined my undergraduate career thus far. Because I won the scholarship, I felt financially secure enough to pursue opportunities that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to pursue. The summer after my first year at the University of Virginia, I took a great, but relatively low-paying research position in the Department of Astronomy, studying galaxy evolution. Being able to start scientific research early is critical to long-term success in science.
The opportunity to pursue scientific research during that summer--due in large part to the support I received from Mr. Rubenstein--has opened up so many doors for me in the years since. I have gone on astronomical observing runs at world-class telescopes, attended professional astronomy conferences, and won further research grant support from various sources. All of these experiences have strengthened my resolve to get a PhD in the sciences."
-Catherine Zucker, 2010 Winner
"I truly cannot overstate the effect that the essay competition scholarship has had on me. At the time that I received the scholarship, I had been admitted to Columbia University. Columbia is a truly fantastic place, but also has one of the highest costs of attendance. While my parents have always encouraged me to follow my dreams, I knew that going to Columbia would present them with significant expenses. It was an investment far greater than any they had made in their lives.
Winning the essay competition allowed me to contribute to my education in a meaningful manner. While in later years I would also work part-time to defray expenses, the scholarship gave me additional time that first fall semester to just focus on my studies and adjusting to Columbia. That time was especially valuable for me - I took extra classes to push my early requirements out of the way. One of those extra classes exposed me to Political Science, a field I studied and discovered a passion for.
Today, I am a senior at Columbia; I double majored in English and Political Science. I'm planning on studying law, and have been accepted into Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, NYU, Columbia and Chicago law schools. I find myself in the odd position of being the beneficiary of Mr. Rubenstein's generosity not once, but twice - I have been offered the Rubenstein full tuition scholarship at Chicago Law."
-Mica Moore, 2009 Winner
"Honestly I am so thankful to Mr. Rubenstein for offering this scholarship because it is one of the reasons that I can afford to attend UC Berkeley. Out of state tuition at the UCs is more or less comparable to private universities, and I have to pay travel costs back and forth between the coasts as well. This scholarship has allowed me, at least for my first couple of semesters, not to work a job on top of all my academic studies.
As a result I did very well in my first semester of college, and have been able to spend the free time that I would otherwise have spent working, building key relationship with the faculty at Berkeley. As a result, next week I am starting research with one of my professors. The Junior Achievement Scholarship was not the only reason that I could afford to study and then do so well at UC Berkeley, but it has definitely made my transition to college much easier."
-Katie Thomas-Canfield, 2012 Winner
"Winning the competition helped me afford Princeton. Without it I would have had to take out more debt. A Princeton education in turn helped me get my current job at Goldman Sachs. Its impact on my academic and professional career is hard to overstate. The competition also stoked my interest in financial markets and local businesses, driving me to minor in Finance at Princeton and further preparing me for my current role at GS."
-Nicolas Lulli, 2008
"I'm grateful for the $10,000 scholarship not only for having won it, but also for being introduced to the world of business. Before this competition, I had very little exposure to business, except the basic, even skeletal theoretical models taught in AP Microeconomics. But in the process of doing research for the essay competition, I made a habit of reading the Business section of the newspaper. Businesses weren't simply equating marginal cost to price; they responded creatively and decisively to new opportunities and challenges, or they didn't and paid the price. It was then that I became hooked.
As a result, the Junior Achievement Essay Competition gave me a new direction going into college. As the captain of my high school Mock Trial team, I had envisioned myself as a lawyer, but entering the business world became an increasingly appealing option, so I joined the consulting and investment groups at Yale in my freshmen year in addition to Mock Trial. I'll spare the boring details, but learning about business and finance in particular has been a central part of my life throughout college. I'm currently the Portfolio Manager of Yale's Student Investment Group, which adopts a fundamental, value-oriented strategy in managing its $450,000 in assets. My duties also include leading training sessions teach incoming members to interpreting financial statements. Moreover, I'm doing research about the leverage cycle with John Geanakoplos, a Finance Professor at Yale, and over the upcoming summer I will intern for Weiss Asset Management, a hedge fund in Boston.
More importantly, meeting Mr. Rubenstein helped give me perspective. Being a successful wasn't only determined by one's net worth, but also (I would like to think more so) by what one gives back to the community. In the face of the backlash against "Wall Street", this knowledge has sharpened my resolve in building a career in business and finance and hopefully being able to someday sponsor scholarships and contribute to other worthwhile causes.
I want to convey how strong of an impact that the Junior Achievement Essay Competition has had on me. It helped pave my way to college and sparked a genuine interest in business that's shaped my life these last couple of years."
-Jingran Wang, 2010 Winner
"The Junior Achievement Essay Competition was an incredibly transformative experience for me. Not only did the scholarship enable my family to be better able to support my tuition at Harvard, but my interaction with all the incredible people at Junior Achievement served as a significant inspiration for my academic and professional aspirations. In particular, I was struck by JA's mission and community focus - so much so that I actually volunteered as a financial analyst and strategist for Junior Achievement's Northern New England branch my sophomore year, assisting the new leadership with plans for growth and expansion and even helping teach the JA in a Day curriculum in a local South Boston elementary school. My time with JANNE was extremely fulfilling, and I hope to continue to give back through JA in the future.
Mr. Rubenstein has proved to be a similar inspiration and role model for me. I remember meeting him at the JA Essay Competition dinner and hearing about his incredible career and experiences. After learning more about Mr. Rubenstein's substantial impact as a business leader and philanthropist, I've sought to strive toward the standard of excellence he communicated to the award winners during his speech at the ceremony. I find his work with the Carlyle Group fascinating and have spent my college summers exploring the intellectually riveting worlds of business and investment. Since coming to college, I have spent summers working for Apollo Global Management and the Blackstone Group (which I will be joining full-time next year). In every setting, I have heard nothing but words of admiration for Mr. Rubenstein. Even now, as I am about to head into the working world and begin my own career, Mr. Rubenstein and Junior Achievement continue to serve as a guiding light for how to build an impactful career and give back to the community that has been so instrumental in helping me become the person I am today."
-Scott Yu, 2009 Winner
"The Junior Achievement scholarship has been an invaluable resource for me this year as I began my undergraduate education at Yale. Tangibly, of course, the scholarship has ensured that I can easily handle expenses for textbooks, technology essentials, train tickets to go home over vacation, and all of the other aspects of attending college. Less tangibly, the scholarship funds gave me much needed peace of mind. Transitioning to college is stressful in so many ways: academically, socially, and mentally. I’m very lucky that I could reduce my financial stress to a minimum, particularly in a time when student loan debt and the cost of college are skyrocketing. Academically, I was very pleased with my fall semester, earning a 4.0 G.P.A. I took some great classes and plan to be a Political Science major. I’ve taken fascinating classes, from Writing the Modern Essay (a class that teaches us to write New Yorker-style pieces) to Who Is the Dalai Lama? This semester is shaping up to be just as great as the last. I would like to thank you, Mr. Rubenstein, and Junior Achievement for your support."
-Azeezat Adeleke, 2010 Winner
"I would like to thank David Rubenstein for his generous Junior Achievement Grand Prize scholarship award. It came as a pleasant surprise in 2011 and is still a great encouragement to me as I finish my first semester at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Looking back at my high school years, I realize that the Junior Achievement essay competition was a major spark for my interest in business. I became very interested in finance, and hope to explore the field for the next four years and beyond. This winter I will be interning at Stone Harbor Investment Partners, where I hope to learn more about the finance industry. This recognition continues to further my determination to pursue my education and business goals.
This award is also a great inspiration to me. When I have the ability to do so, I will certainly think back to this sweet moment and donate what I can to help other students."
-Fiona Lam, 2011 Winner
"The scholarship enabled me to study abroad in South Korea for three months during the summer after my freshman year in college (2011), which was a transforming experience. Not only was I able to significantly advance my skills in a language that is of both personal (my mother is Korean) and potentially professional (the US government has designated Korean as a "critical" language) importance, but I also gained cultural understanding and international connections.
In addition, that summer experience laid the ground for me to take a year-long leave of absence last year (2012-2013) to return to Korea, where I continued studying the language and also worked in a chemistry laboratory. At Yale, the JA scholarship also reduced the financial pressure to work a certain number of hours in an on-campus job. I do work for the Yale College Writing Center, but thanks to the scholarship, I have been able to focus first and foremost on my studies."
-Elena Perry, 2008 Winner
"Probably the most obvious way the scholarship affected my academic career was financially. It's helpful in paying for tuition, supplies, and other things necessary when you go away for college. However, in my eyes this the smallest of the impacts on my academic career.
Before even winning the scholarship, the essay competition provides you with a chance to think. It provides you with the opportunity to think about a question that wouldn't have crossed your mind otherwise. My question was very much government, public life, and economics oriented. I didn't take economics or government classes in high school, but this question alone sparked an interest. I found economics and its relationship to the world both socially and financially to be fascinating. Winning the competition is almost validation that maybe I am good at this sort of thing. I had originally intended to study engineering and mathematics while in college, but now, partially due to this question, I intend to major in economics and business.
The actual act of winning does something for you. Regardless of the competition, winning instills confidence. Winning the scholarship provided me with the confidence that I could write well, and that maybe this sort of thinking was what I should be doing in the future. I would argue this was the most important to me. I felt more confident in my writing, and more confident in my future. A $10,000 scholarship does far more important things than give you $10,000."
-Matt Ashley, 2011 Winner