Gustavus Adolphus College sophomore Nicole Ektnitphong has been named a Jay and Rose Phillips Scholar for 2013-15. Ektnitphong is one of six Minnesota college students to be named a Phillips Scholar this year out of 16 finalists.
The Phillips Scholars Program recognizes and rewards Minnesota private college students who strive to make life better for people with unmet needs in Minnesota communities. The program supports potential leaders with outstanding academic credentials who intend to dedicate a portion of their lives to community service. Students from 16 eligible private colleges and universities are invited to apply for one of six $16,500 awards given annually.
Ektnitphong will receive a $6,000 scholarship for her junior year, a $6,000 scholarship for her senior year, a $4,000 summer stipend to support the development and implementation of a self-designed service project to address unmet needs in Minnesota communities, and a $500 award to fund project resources.
Ektnitphong, a native of Worthington, Minn., plans to use her award to implement a program she created called “Leading from Within” – a vocational and leadership development summer program for transitioning seniors at Worthington High School. The program will focus on developing personal leadership through three main points: vocation, self-awareness, and authenticity. Ektnitphong says that at this stage in students’ careers many are unsure of who they are, why they are here, and where they are going. This designed curriculum will lead students to discover their calling, understanding not only their desires and passions, but also how they play out through action and relationships. Students will recognize strengths and areas for improvement, and reflect as a leader would – thinking and acting with intentionality, meaning, and purpose. Ektnitphong hopes that development of personal leadership will set up a foundation to engage students into meaningful service where they can use their knowledge of self and skills to better serve others around them and in their community.
“My heart is filled with so much gratitude for all the guidance, support, and love I’ve received from so many people about my project,” Ektnitphong said. “It is such an honor to be chosen as a recipient of this award. I’m absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to work with students on intentionally creating lives of service and purpose.”
At Gustavus, Ektnitphong is a political science major with minors in peace studies and civic leadership. She is a Gustavus Ambassador, advocacy coordinator for the Habitat for Humanity executive board, plays violin in the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and is an ambassador in the Servant Leadership Program. Ektnitphong was also crowned St. Lucia this past December at the College’s 72nd annual Festival of St. Lucia. Ektnitphong received the honor through a campus community vote based on courageous leadership, strength of character, service to others, and compassion. She has plans to study abroad in the fall of 2013 through the College’s Semester in India program.
Ektnitphong is the 12th Gustavus student since 1998 to be named a Phillips Scholar. Previous recipients include Melanie (Larson) Sinouthasy (1998), Sara Imholte (2001), Noah Johnson (2002), Linda Lee (2003), Zong Xiong (2004), Ma Lee Vang (2005), Nhung Le (2006), Ashley Gibbs (2007), Laura Jensen (2009), Irma Marquez Trapero (2010), and Sandy Xiong (2012).
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