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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

Regent's Scholarships change lives with full tuition packages

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Among other academic accomplishemts, Lia Ossander '02 is an All-American cross country runner.

By Greg Brewis

Many students come out of high school with the
focus, drive and ability to change the world. They come from any walk of life and study in any academic discipline. Every year, among hundreds of talented students at PLU, there are 12 of the best and the brightest on campus. They are PLU Regent's Scholars.

"The Regent's Scholar program began in 1993 to offer a highly visible reward and recognition for the best of the high caliber students entering PLU," said David Gunovich '82 '95, PLU's director of admissions. "The program also serves as a recruiting tool to help attract top students to the university."

Each year three freshmen students are named Regent's Scholars and receive a full tuition scholarship that is renewable for up to four years. To be eligible students, must have a high school GPA of 3.8 or higher and a combined score of at least 1250 on the SAT (or 28 on the ACT). Finalists must also interview before a faculty panel and demonstrate leadership, service and academic ability.

The PLU Regent's Scholarships literally change lives.

"It's hard even now for me to describe how much the Regent's Scholarship meant to me," said Jana Dee (Steiner '98) Strasburg, one of the first Regent's Scholars. "I just love PLU and I know I would have never been able to attend there without it. I credit PLU and the Regent's Scholarship for setting me on the path to a special career in science."

Strasburg earned her undergraduate degree in physics and electrical engineering and is now a graduate student in physics at the University of Washington. She is at work on her thesis project, firing laser beams at reflectors on the surface of the moon to measure the distance between the Earth and the moon to within a millimeter. Such measurements enable her research team to undertake sophisticated tests of gravitational physics in the solar system.
The program is the only continuing legacy of the manned moon landings-Apollo astronauts placed the reflectors Strasburg is shooting at on the moon.

"I still come back to PLU to visit my engineering and physics professors and to give something back by meeting with students and giving talks on campus," Strasburg said. "Now the support goes both ways."

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Lia Ossander '02

Another Regent's Scholar and future scientist, Lia Ossiander '02 graduated last month magna cum laude with honors in chemistry and German. While at PLU she was an All-American cross country runner and an outdoor recreation guide. In April Ossiander was one of three PLU students to receive a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. She will study pollution travel in the Baltic Sea for a year at the University of Rostock in Germany as a chemical oceanographer.

"There is absolutely no doubt about it. I am going to help save the world," Ossiander said. "I'm going to pull on all of my past experience and use my science to help humanity understand the impact that we are having on our planet. We are going to save our oceans and the planet from global warming caused by greenhouse gasses.

"And you know what? I wouldn't be in this position now without the Regent's Scholarship. Because I was given so much support for four years, I am graduating without having to worry about paying back student loans. I can do what I want and go where I want and I'm going to take full advantage of it," she said.

Ossiander, who is from Chugiak, Alaska, said that when she was first applying to college she had no idea which of her nine top schools she would choose. "My decision to come to PLU surprised me. But when I visited campus and met the great people here and then when I was offered a Regent's Scholarship I knew it was the right place for me," she said.

"Regent's Scholars are people who come to PLU with special talents and abilities," David Gunovich said. "And PLU is a special place that challenges them to succeed. The combination results in top-notch students who have unlimited opportunities after graduation."


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