Ever wonder what the top Most Valuable Student scholarship winners go on to do after college? The Elks National Foundation caught up with 13 Most Valuable Student top winners to find out. Every business day through September 20, we will feature a MVS top winner and what they are up to now.
Alexis Saba 2002 Most Valuable Student Top Female Winner
Sponsored by Canajoharie-Fort Plain, N.Y., Lodge No. 2621
| || Alexis Saba graduated from Williams College and worked as a paralegal in New York City before earning a degree from Cornell Law School. She now works in the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School. |
“It’s still a really proud moment for me to have received that phone call that I received the Most Valuable Student scholarship,” says Saba. Click here for Saba's full interview.
Ellen Mueller (Johnson) 1998 Most Valuable Student Top Female Winner
Sponsored by St. George ‘Dixie,’ Utah, Lodge No. 1743
| || Ellen Mueller (formerly Johnson) graduated with a degree in graphic design from the University of Utah. Now a mother of four, Ellen does freelance design work and started her own business—Run Backcountry—which puts on racing events in Utah and Nevada. |
“The scholarship provided the means for me to accomplish my goals,” says Mueller. “I always knew that I wanted to go to college, but money was kind of a scarcity. Because of the scholarship, I came away with a great foundation in what I studied.” Click here for Mueller's full interview.
Philip Burrows 2002 Most Valuable Student Top Male Winner
Sponsored by Winfield, Kan., Lodge No. 732
| || Philip Burrows graduated from Harding University with a degree in graphic design. He now works as a web developer for a company that makes electronic books for higher education. |
“Not having to worry about financial concerns because of the Elks was huge,” says Burrows. “It really allowed me to get to where I am today.” Click here for Burrows' full interview.
Bryce Caswell 2003 Most Valuable Student Top Female Winner
Sponsored by Calpine, Calif., Lodge No. 2432
| || Bryce Caswell graduated from Harvard and worked as a financial analyst for a few years before moving back to California where she worked at School Pathways, a software company that works with educational software. Just this fall, Bryce enrolled in Business School at Duke University. |
“To have a group like the Elks find something in me that they were willing to give me a scholarship for was a profound experience,” says Caswell. “It solidified a confidence in myself and made me realize that dreams do come true." Click here for Caswell's full interview.
Haiwen Chen 2005 Most Valuable Student Top Female Winner
Sponsored by Essex, Md., Lodge No. 1866
| || Haiwen Chen graduated from Harvard with a degree in neuroscience and is now enrolled in a MD/PhD dual degree program at the University of Maryland. Her particular area of interest is psychiatric diseases. |
“The Most Valuable Student scholarship was based on community service and giving back, so that’s always been something I’ve kept in mind,” says Chen. “The Elks impressed upon me early on that it’s important to help people in the community.” Click here for Chen's full interview.
Stephanie Smith (McDonald) 2004 Most Valuable Student Top Female Winner
Sponsored by Kokomo, Ind., Lodge No. 190
| || In 2008, Stephanie Smith (formerly McDonald) graduated from Taylor University and went on to become a Resident Director at Hope College. She and her husband are both working toward their Masters of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary. |
“I often brag about the Elks to people because I loved their generosity,” says Smith. “They are doing a lot of good in their communities and I like being associated with that.” Click here for Smith's full interview.
Robert Ryan 2006 Most Valuable Student Top Male Winner
Sponsored by Mesa-Buckhorn, Ariz., Lodge No. 2656
| || Robert Ryan graduated in June 2012 from Stanford, and recently moved to Dallas with his wife. He now does strategy consulting for Accenture. |
“There’s definitely a connection when you meet someone else who is an Elks scholar,” says Ryan. “There’s this immediate connection. Even if you don’t know the person, you understand we’re a lot alike, we see eye-to-eye.” Click here for Ryan's full interview.
Alice Chuang 2007 Most Valuable Student Top Female Winner
Sponsored by Orange, Calif., Lodge No. 1475
| || Alice Chuang went on to study bioengineering at Brown University. She was accepted into an eight-year medical school program, and after her undergraduate studies, went right into medical school. |
“It’s an honor knowing that you’ve been recognized for your passion and that you’re going in the right direction with your education,” says Chuang. Click here for Chuang's full interview.
Cole Ruby 2001 Most Valuable Student Top Male Winner
Sponsored by Oshkosh, Wis., Lodge No. 292
| || Cole Ruby graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in three years and went on to law school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is now a criminal defense attorney and owns his own law firm in Baraboo, Wis. |
“I am forever grateful to the Elks for the scholarship,” says Ruby. “It’s had a huge impact on my life and I can’t imagine how difficult college would have been without it.” Click here for Ruby's full interview.
Tracy Meng 2006 Most Valuable Student Top Female Winner
Sponsored by Cuyahoga Falls-Akron-Barberton, Ohio, Lodge No. 1923
| || Tracy Meng concentrated on economics and psychology at Harvard. During her junior year, she secured an internship at Bain and Company, where she now works full time. |
“It was nice to see what a great community of philanthropists the Elks is,” says Meng. “I am so grateful to the organization. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Elks.” Click here for Meng's full interview.
Sean Loosli 2003 Most Valuable Student Top Male Winner
Sponsored by Provo, Utah, Lodge No. 849
| || Sean Loosli graduated from Harvard and went on to complete a graduate program in Russian Studies at Stanford. He now works as a program manager for online banking software at Intuit. |
“I think there is a responsibility that where much is given, much is expected,” says Loosli. “In becoming a part of the Elks community, I have the responsibility and opportunity to give back and impact the lives of other people.” Click here for Loosli's full interview.
Philip Goering 1995 Most Valuable Student Top Male Winner
Sponsored by Ottumwa, Iowa, Lodge No. 347
| || Philip Goering graduated from Truman State University and went on to get master’s in chemistry from the University of Illinois. He taught high school chemistry for several years and is now in medical school at the University of Illinois. |
“The scholarship meant I could go to college," says Goering. "A lot of stress just disappeared. I know it’s a big honor, but at the time I don’t think I realized what a big deal it was—I came to realize it was a big deal.” Click here for Goering's full interview.
Belinda Kong 1994 Most Valuable Student Top Female Winner
Sponsored by Virginia Beach, Va., Lodge No. 2268
| || Belinda Kong graduated from the College of William and Mary and went on to get her doctorate in English from the University of Michigan. She now teaches English and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College in Maine. |
“The scholarship was very affirming," says Kong. "I appreciate the kind of philanthropy that allows students like me, who really would have struggled, to pursue my academic goals.” Click here for Kong's full interview.