Scholarship the First of Many Opportunities Otterbein has Offered these Students

Posted Jan 25, 2022

By Madelyn Nelson ’23 

Otterbein has been known for giving students unique and impactful opportunities alongside quality education for 175 years. Research, internships, and community service are among the incredible opportunities Otterbein students have during their four years, but sometimes the most important opportunity is the one that allows them to come to campus in the first place — a scholarship. 

Otterbein has awarded nearly 450 Opportunity Scholarships since 2019. It is offered to new or transfer, full-time, undergraduate students who are eligible for the Pell Grant, reside in Ohio, and maintain a 2.75 GPA while at Otterbein. The scholarship covers the direct cost of tuition and helps close the gap between the cost of higher education and determined students wanting to earn an Otterbein degree. Otterbein will award its 500th life-changing Opportunity Scholarship in fall 2022.   

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Junior Breanna Teece’s Otterbein journey first started by learning about the Opportunity Scholarship during her senior year of high school. Teece saw a poster displayed in her high school about the scholarship and decided to look further into Otterbein.  

After viewing the website, applying for the scholarship, coming on a campus tour, and learning how Otterbein’s environmental science program was different than other schools, she knew she would spend her next four years as a Cardinal. 

Teece, a resident of Mantua, Ohio, is in her third year at Otterbein triple majoring in environmental sciencebiology and sustainability studies with a minor in earth science. Outside of her rigorous studies, Teece is involved in many extracurricular activities that support her future career and allow her to connect with people from across campus. 

Teece works with the Center for Community Engagement where she is a Cardinal Corp Leader and runs their weekly SEEDS program at the Otterbein Community Garden. She also serves as an Orientation Leader, a member of the Host and Tour Program, and is a part of Tau Epsilon Mu sorority. 

“Otterbein has opened my eyes a lot to what you can do. There’s so many opportunities and possibilities that if you stay in a small area, you may not know about,” said Teece. 

When thinking of highlights in her Otterbein career so far, Teece pinpointed attending the CNN Democratic Debate on campus in 2019 and building connections with people in her career field with the help of her professors. 

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“There will always be somebody that I can connect with here,” said Teece. “You build connections really early on, and those are going to stay with you.” 

Another Opportunity Scholarship recipient, Lea Wright, is a triple major in zoo and conservation sciencebiology, and biochemistry and molecular biology with minors in chemistry and psychology.  

Originally from Wheelersburg, Ohio, Wright says, “Otterbein has provided me the opportunity to meet people from around the world and introduce me to new cultures.” 

With her opportunity to attend Otterbein, Wright has seen firsthand the benefits of having experiences outside of the classroom to her own education and the education of her classmates in different fields of study. 

“I’ve been able to work in a research lab with Dr. Sinn, which aids in my microbiology interest. I have friends in the Zoo and Conservation Program who have internships at the zoo, many education majors acting as student teachers, and the Theatre Department allows seniors to internship in New York,” said Wright, adding that there are many more examples.  

Professors play a large role in defining an Otterbein experience and sparking those unique opportunities students have while on campus. 

“My professors have been very helpful in introducing us to people already in the field of our interest,” said Wright. “We have guest speakers and visitors that we’re able to connect with and get to know.” 

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Professors provide stepping stones to the next phases of a student’s education and career, but they also help students balance and adjust to life in college. 

“I believe the most unique quality about Otterbein is the student and faculty relationship,” said Wright. “The professors understand and provide accommodations for students who need them and take time out of their class to remind us how important our physical and mental health is. They emphasize that our education is important, but so is balance.” 

The Opportunity Scholarship ensures students have the chance to create a college experience for themselves. The scholarship recipients are fully emerged in their studies, extracurriculars, and will leave Otterbein with a four-year degree and the tools to help them change the world. 

Otterbein’s commitment to affordability — and making education possible for everyone — is evident in the students making a difference today. 

“Otterbein is definitely one of the more aware places of making education available to everyone,” Teece said. 

Otterbein continues to demonstrate its commitment to affordability, and Wright and Teece are just two examples of students building a life-changing Otterbein experience because of one common opportunity – becoming a Cardinal.