“Service on 11” Scholarship Winner

Compassion by Patrick S.

Compassion is what drives us to move forward towards higher goals, compels us to act beyond ourselves. It is the force behind change that we enact in our communities. Compassion is what takes us to “Service on 11.” I endeavor to make a compassion-driven impact on every community that I touch, even those beyond my immediate locality. I’m a pre-medical (medicinal biochemistry) student at Arizona State University, a Soldier assigned to the US Army Infantry (Arizona Army National Guard), and an advocate for empowerment through education regardless of circumstance, and these three causes fuel “Service on 11” to me.

As a pre-medical student, my enthusiasm for helping others through medicine is reflected both clinically and through research. Locally, I am a certified hospice volunteer. In hospice, it is not uncommon to have patients who have Alzheimer’s Disease, and I am also a research assistant at the Biodesign Institute Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center, in a lab that focuses specifically on Alzheimer’s Disease. I continue my service in healthcare across international borders, as I am involved in an organization called the Flying Samaritans, which is a group consisting of volunteer pilots, volunteer healthcare professionals, and volunteer interpreters that travels to rural Mexico to provide direct patient care to an underserved population. I have made three trips, and contribute my own funds towards some of the cost of the trips. When at the clinic, I am an interpreter (Spanish/English), skilled at triaging patients and work in conjunction with a nurse or pre-health student to take patient vitals and medical history. I love to see the direct and unbiased impact that our small organization has on this community, as some of our patients receive life-changing care that would not otherwise be possible. Seeing that I can bridge the language gap between provider and patient is incredibly rewarding, and I will continue to visit the clinic. The Flying Samaritans has a club at Arizona State that educates students in relevant pre-health skills and encourages clinic attendance, and I am the Vice President for the organization. I have personally recruited new members that have continued on to visit the clinic, as well as instructed a medical Spanish class.

Outside of the classroom, I strive for a “Service to 11” mentality as well. As a Soldier in the Arizona Army National Guard, “selfless service” is one of the seven Army values to which all Soldiers are expected to adhere. I enlisted in the Army in 2014 because I wanted to defend my country and the ideals upon which it was founded. Friends who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan told me terrible stories of the abuses that everyday citizens suffer in those countries under oppressive rule by groups such as the Taliban. This injustice and the mounting headlines in the newspaper led to me enlisting, specifically into the Army Infantry, so that should I deploy, I would have a direct role in aiding the innocent men, women, and children overseas. Being a part of the military community as a citizen-Soldier has also made me very compassionate towards my brothers and sisters-in-arms. As an ASU Tillman Scholar (a program that recognizes leadership and academic merit), I have coordinated an effort to mobilize students at my university to work with an organization that rehabilitates homeless veterans. So far, we have helped out at their kitchen, worked in their garden, and I hope to use students to help teach resume writing and provide career help. Also as part of the ASU Tillman Scholars, I have helped mobilize students to write letters to veterans at the Arizona Veterans’ Home, which were then turned into a flag and delivered to the vets. Serving veterans is so important to me because of their personal service and sacrifice that have allowed me to be where I am today, to be able to serve in the military that they fought in, to be able to enjoy the freedoms that I do. Finally, I am driven by education, and more importantly, the power that comes through education. I am a Korean-American that grew up in a middle-class suburb in metropolitan Phoenix and have always been inspired and motivated by those around me to continue my education.

However, I understand that this is not the case for every student around the nation and world, and I try to make an impact in elementary education wherever I can to inspire students, regardless of their background, to stay motivated to be in school. Most recently, I was part of a “Basketball beyond Barriers” campaign that used basketball to coach students at a local elementary school in a low-income neighborhood about healthy eating, exercise, and teamwork. In November of last year, I was at the same elementary school helping to teach a group of students about the space program, as well as elementary fundamentals of engineering that culminated in the students building cardboard rubber band-powered moon rovers. The curiosity of young children when focused, can yield incredible things, and it is awesome to see this potential come to fruition. Similarly, each February, I am a science instructor at a local elementary school’s afterschool “Science Club” that utilizes a presentation and fun experiments to teach students about various scientific disciplines, from physics to chemistry to molecular biology. The experiments are the best part, as sometimes, the students are truly amazed at the results of their work! Overall, “Service on 11” is a mentality that I strive for to affect positive change in my communities. Compassion is the driving force behind this change, and I like to believe that I am making an impact within them. I think that that with such an attitude, an individual, company, or business can reach beyond expectations in their fields.

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