Catherine Sophia George ’19 (Indianapolis) doesn’t just have her next four years mapped out. She’s developed an eight-year plan that will end with a doctorate in economics from Stanford University.
George is the recipient of a QuestBridge scholarship to Stanford that will cover four years of tuition, room and board, and other expenses. QuestBridge pairs high-achieving, low-income high school seniors with full scholarships to the nation’s top colleges. In 2018, there were 16,248 QuestBridge applicants, from which 6,507 finalists were chosen. A total of 1,044 students were matched with one of QuestBridge’s partner colleges.
She also received a $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholarship and another $4,000 scholarship from Raytheon Co. through the National Merit Foundation. Since she received the Questbridge scholarship, George can defer those two scholarships until she is ready to work on her master’s degree. And, if she receives her master’s from Stanford, the university will cover the cost of her doctorate, she said.
Plus, she added, there is that 529 account her father started that will be available, too.
“It’s really amazing,” George said. “QuestBridge covers everything for four years, including personal expenses.”
The added bonus for George has been all the people she has met during the scholarship process. She attended the Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend in Atlanta earlier this year, making several new friends. Then, when she went to Stanford for admissions weekend, she ran into some of them again, as well as the other incoming freshmen. And QuestBridge offers networking opportunities for its scholars who are at Stanford, so she is looking forward to tapping into that group this fall. And, of course, there is the Culver connection of students on the Palo Alto campus.
These new networks are helping George expand her interests. “They are just amazing to talk to,” she said. “It was more than I anticipated.” She has continued to text with some of them, even discussing different economic policy issues. “It’s something I never thought I would do.”
With her combined interests in economics and public policy, George said she knew Stanford was the right fit. Along with having a world-class economics program that includes Nobel Prize winners as professors, Stanford is home to The Hoover Institution, named after Stanford alumnus Herbert Hoover, which is a public policy think tank focusing on domestic and foreign policy initiatives. And she is hoping to study in Japan through the university’s Global Studies Internship Program.
That possibility has George more than just a little excited. She is a big fan of Japanese art, especially anime. And she appreciates the different perspective Japanese writers offer in their literature. She is already making plans, including learning to speak Japanese with her sister, Sarah ’17, over the summer. She hopes learning Mandarin Chinese at Culver helps speed that process.
Heading to the west coast this fall will be new experience for George. The farthest west she had ever been until her college visit was Des Moines, Iowa. That is when she attended the World Food Prize conference as a member of Culver’s Global Studies Institute. And, she admitted, it will be nice to experience winter in northern California.
After all, would you rather spend January in Palo Alto or in the Polar Vortex?