Students from across America apply each year for an award from the United States Achievement Academy. As you can imagine, the selection committee faces a very challenging task. Applicants are among the best and brightest, and most applicants clearly deserve recognition.
Since students usually have impressive grade point averages, awards, and activities, I look for thoughtful and specific goal statements and supporting documentation. Transcripts, recommendations, and résumés are particularly helpful to me in ranking the applications.
George M. Luckey, Jr.
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Morehead State University, KY
There appears to be a very broad population served by the Academy Recognition Program. The quality or range of candidate achievement often provides a tipping point in my recommendation especially since GPA and standard test scores are typically well above average. Better documentation of achievements, including the listing of dates for regional and national awards. This is especially important for accomplishments related to the applicants area of academic interest. It is also great to hear the students applicant's "voice" in the brief essay.
Professor Michael Marshall
Art Department Chair
University of Hawaii at Hilo, HI
To be on the USAA Selection Committee is one of the greatest honors I have received as an educator over the forty years of my teaching experience as a Physics Teacher. Being on the committee over the last ten years or so, I have found it to be the most rewarding and positive activities of my career.
As I read and study through each year's applications, I am amazed at the wonderful abilities and talents of so many of the top achieving American students. I jump of joy at their achievements. It is an extremely exciting experience. One that gives great confidence in America's future.
I have been asked to comment on what things I look for in a successful application. I first look for specifics. These are what you would expect. The grades, various standard test results, and things of that nature. I am very interested in letters submitted by individuals that have worked with and know the student. At times I have called these individuals asking more information about the student in question.
I look for effort in the application that shows a respect for the USAA. I want to read a personal letter from the student. This gives me an insight to their personality and goals. It is always helpful to have a picture of the student receiving awards or working at some educational project. One of the greatest attitudes a student could have is that attitude of the desire to somehow be able to help others through their abilities and talents as they pursue their goals. I look for these things.
Good luck and God bless all of you.
Joe Saint Michael Depuglio
High School Physics Teacher, NJ
I have had the privilege of being on the scholarship selection panel of the USAA Scholarship Foundation for more than six years and have found the experience to be both challenging and rewarding. There are so many wonderful young people applying for the scholarships that selecting the most deserving requires the utmost objectivity and thoughtfulness. The reward comes with the opportunity to read about the stellar academics, willingness to serve both school and community, and numerous achievements of our young people. Many students qualify in one area, but the scholarship winners reflect students who are well-rounded in all areas while exhibiting the utmost excellence in the subject area being judged. As a judge for English, I thoroughly enjoy reading the submissions of those students nominated in my subject area, and I feel confident that the scholarship awards are helping the next generation of young writers and teachers to achieve their goals.
High School Language Arts Teacher, SC