What does it take to be a Smith Scholar? “It takes a lot of hard work, open-mindedness, patience, and appreciation,” says Nhat Le ‘20, a biology major and member of the James F. Smith, S.J., Collegiate Scholars Program. Fortunately, these are all skills Le is already equipped with, making her a perfect fit for the program.
The Smith Scholars Program is a relatively new initiative at Le Moyne which provides financial support for exemplary, yet financially limited students. The program funds a total of two-thirds of their scholars’ tuitions, with one of those thirds rewarded through an external internship. For Le, that means working an additional ten hours a week as a marketing intern at Sodexo, after already balancing her rigorous biology course load. Next semester, Le will work twenty hours a week.
While challenging, the program is rewarding—and not just financially. “Smith Scholars are really hard working. We’re not here just because Le Moyne helps us with our tuition,” says Le. “We’re here because we care about our future, and we want to do something meaningful with it. We really want experience and exposure to the real world, and this program allows us to do that.”
“The internship is one of the reasons why this program is special compared to other scholarship programs,” Le adds. Indeed, the Smith Scholars Program is unique because it allows students to pay for their education through a pre-arranged internship, which simultaneously provides them with life skills, professional experience, and critical business connections.
While Le acknowledges her internship placement in Sodexo doesn’t explicitly reflect her desire to enter the medical field, she recognizes that her experiences have taught her valuable professional skills that will one day translate into her career—regardless of her professional field. “I didn’t think I’d ever be exposed to marketing, but it’s fun! It’s taught me social skills, how to work with other people, and how to be in a community.”
Le’s appreciation for the program, however, cannot be simply boiled down to a long list of life skills. Every other weekend, with their program director Donald Maldari, S.J., the group of Smith Scholars go to the local Rescue Mission to give back. For Le, this community service is a necessary part of her experience as a Smith Scholar.
“This program helps us with so much. To give it back to the community instead of simply receiving is an amazing part of this program.”
Article by Kaelin E. Foody '18. Kaelin is interning with the Office of Communications this semester.
Biology at Le Moyne