Special to The Truth
The Purdue University Honors College in West Lafayette, Indiana has announced that Gabrielle Dennis has been awarded a Steven C. Beering Scholarship, which covers the full educational expenses for a bachelor’s degree and the opportunity to pursue two other graduate degrees at Purdue.
Gabrielle, a Toledo native and an honor student at Ohio Virtual Academy, has decided to become a wildlife biologist and researcher. This career path has been her goal for most of her life now, as far back as the second grade, in fact, when she was often reading her favorite books – books about animals.
Later, during her high school years, she began to put those interests into practice when she started working as a volunteer at Nature’s Nursery and at the Toledo Zoo. Nature’s Nursery is a wildlife rehabilitation and education center in Whitehouse.
She has also had internships in the care of animals in southern Ohio and the Big Sur region of California. During her junior year, she was one of 100 teens from around the nation chosen to participate in the “Disney Dreamers” program in Orlando – a series of educational sessions that converts the amusement park into a classroom for students with a wide range of interests and studies.
During her California internship, Gabrielle had an opportunity to work in a site that specialized in assisting the endangered California condor.
The Beering Scholarship is a tremendous value as it provides a “full ride” covering the average cost of education (tuition, room and board) for one bachelor’s degree, one master’s degree and either a Ph.D. or professional degree in medicine, veterinary medicine or pharmacy. It also includes funding for a study abroad experience.
Students are selected based on high school credentials and leadership skills. The program was created by Purdue’s ninth president, Steven C. Beering, PhD, who raised private funds for the endowment.
Scholarship recipients are selected through an invitation-only process once students are admitted to Purdue University. A committee then reviews applications and determines the recipients.
“One of my goals is to help the animals that need help the most,” said Gabrielle. “I’d maybe like to teach at some point, but I definitely want to do research. I’ve always wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands and maybe do research somewhere like that.”