A few weeks ago my wife Kelley and I had the pleasure of visiting Springfield Missouri to award Amelia Carpenter the HHCF scholarship. Amelia is a student in the MSSU Environmental Health Program in Joplin and was accompanied by two of her professors, Michael Kennedy and Dr. Mike Fletcher. We had a great time getting to know Amelia and her professors a little better. Amelia also has a degree in English, graduates the environmental health program in December, and is clearly well-liked by her professors.
During the awards ceremony Amelia read her essay:
It’s humbling to take refuge under an oak tree, knowing that the tree shares a common ancestor, which lived about 1.5 billion years ago, with us. An appreciation of the inherent connections between our environments and us can enrich our lives as we catch reflections of ourselves in the natural world. This deeper understanding helps us recognize that protecting our environments helps us protect ourselves.
Just as trees provide services to people and other creatures, I, too, want to provide services to the communities that I will serve in the future. I want to teach people that protecting their environments ultimately protects themselves, their families, and their communities. I want my expertise to be like branches, extending into a community to teach and protect. I want my knowledge to be like leaves, renewing with each year as I learn new information. By being knowledgeable in subjects such as food safety, drinking water quality, vector control, and emergency preparedness, I will create safe communities by ensuring that people have access to safe food, water, and recreational spaces.
I want to thank the Hainline Heritage Charitable Foundation and the Missouri Milk, Food, and Environmental Association for this opportunity.
We also couldn’t let Amelia or Dr. Fletcher leave without the traditional hugs and homemade pies that accompany the scholarship. Thank you Michael, Mike, and the scholarship selection committee at MSSU for all that you do, and for selecting Amelia for this $1000 HHCF scholarship. Amelia, we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!