By Cadence Russell
Every year, Daemen University hosts Scholar’s Day, where nominated students who have applied and been accepted into Daemen compete for ten Trustee Scholarships. This year, over 270+ prospective students attended Scholar’s Day, the largest group ever.
“I mean, the best way to put it, it’s the happiest event you’ll go to as an admissions counselor, or admissions director, because all those kids are super hopeful that they’re about to maybe get a full-tuition scholarship,” Austin Brass, Director of Undergraduate Admissions said.
There are ten Trustee Scholarships available, four $15,000, four $17,000, and two full-tuition scholarships.
“It’s really an opportunity for students to earn additional money from our end, it’s really an opportunity to kind of see who fits Daemen the best. So kind of like who with a little extra money can have experiences, opportunities, things like that,” Brass said.
Throughout the whole process, those on staff are looking at more than just someone with the best GPA or test scores, but someone who would benefit from such a scholarship while also being involved in Daemen’s community. Many current scholars worked the event, like Matilda Lovejoy, a sophomore animation major said.
“Well, working or volunteering for Scholars Day or Scholars week, as it was last year, is very different from being an interviewee on the day. I much prefer volunteering for the day than the anxiety I had going into my interview,” Lovejoy said.
Scholar’s Day is big for one reason, it’s the point in time in which prospective students interview for a scholarship, potentially deciding if they win a scholarship or not.
“The hardest part for me and my role at Scholar’s Day is that there are so many great students, and it’s really hard to differentiate, like, who should get the full tuition? Who should be at this? Or who should get the scholarship or who doesn’t get a scholarship,” Brass said.
Every year, Brass mentioned, it seemed like there were more and more fantastic students applying and coming to Daemen, making the selection process even harder.
“It’s, you want to give everyone a scholarship that, to me, is the hardest part,” Brass said. “Anything in admissions is saying no because anyone who wants to come to Daemen you want to make it happen.”
Besides just interviewing for a Trustee Scholarship, there are many other things happening during Scholar’s Day.
“My job during the day was to give tours around the campus, and also make sure to help families get to where they need to be,” freshman Tatiana Nowakowski, a tour guide and social work major minoring in forensic science said.
“I worked the event because I am a tour guide and incoming students wanted to see the campus and know more about the school,” Nowakowski said.
This year, due to COVID-19, there were four separate Scholar’s Day events. Each one consisted of a welcoming ceremony, interviews with students, and then optional tours and presentations afterward.
“So we’re just making sure students realize they’re interviewing for additional scholarships,” Brass said, “but also it’s the same kind of concept is that we have the honors program, then we have the academic experience, we have all the trustees’ scholars are there. So it’s kind of really kind of like finding a tribe.”
As Nowakowski said, Daemen goes all out for Scholar’s Day, meaning months of preparation goes into planning such an important, and logistical event.
“Months of planning and preparation go into Scholars Day, most of which I don’t even begin to know the depths of,” Lovejoy said, who works as the Trustee Scholar’s assistant.
“While I helped in collecting information from fellow scholars as to whether or not they would be able to volunteer, that is nothing compared to the work of Yolanda Morris and Emma Alvarado, who successfully organized and carried out Scholar’s Day,” Lovejoy said.
Despite all the months of work that goes into Scholar’s Day, and the subsequent decisions afterward, it still remains the highlight of the admissions department. Through the scholarships, they hope to give the best chances to the best students.
“We want more to see like, what else you want to do, you know, what are you passionate about? Because that’s really what Daemen excels at, taking the things you love to do and making them happen,” Brass said.
For Trustee Scholars like Lovejoy, it’s something she’s thankful for.
“To the people who created Scholars Day and this amazing opportunity,” Lovejoy said, “genuinely thank you. Personally speaking, there is not enough that I could ever say or do that can convey how grateful I am for this title, honor, and scholarship.”