FIRST Scholarship Provider: Minerva University

Jan 17, 2022 Written by FIRST Scholarship Provider: Minerva University

My name is Miray, and I am a 19-year-old freshman currently attending Minerva University. Although I haven't declared my major yet, I plan to double major in Computational Sciences and Natural Sciences. I am originally from Turkey and, during high school, I had the chance to closely engage with FIRST for two years, attending two different tournaments: FIRST LEGO® League (2018 Hydrodynamics) and FIRST Robotics Competition (2019 Deep Space). Thanks to how being a FIRST alumnus shaped my perspective; I am interested in robotics, science, technology, critical thinking, effective communication, discovering new places, and connecting with people from different cultures and backgrounds!

Through my two years of engagement with FIRST, I appreciated how they designed their competitions. First, they encouraged each team to reveal their real potential by excelling in the annual theme tasks by working hard and devoting a great time. Then, they ensured that successful teams received rewards for their efforts by organizing championship events where they gathered international peers altogether. Whenever I look back at my photographs with the new friends I made during the 2018 FIRST LEGO International Championship at Estonia and 2019 FIRST World Championship at Houston, I remember how all the sleepless nights I spent on having meetings with my team as the captain and working on our robots/Chairman's strategies were replaced with an infinite joy while running to the stage after the announcement "Rookie All-Star goes to 7465!".

FIRST made me realize how much I wanted to spend my college life in an international environment where I would cherish the diversity of ideas to make an impact on the world's crucial problems. Then, I decided Minerva was the best place for me to accomplish this goal. Minerva offers a dreamland to students like me, who want to be in an environment where an international student body would surround them, have close relationships with their professors in discussion-based small-sized classes, travel around the world, never take exams, and can actually apply the concepts they learn in class to real life. Within Minerva’s unique education model and curriculum, we get graded based on our class contributions and assignments, take concrete steps for active learning, and greatly appreciate self-learning that comes from the pleasure of discovery. FIRST and Minerva are pretty similar in many aspects: they both use innovative technologies to connect people who want to make a change and create an excellent environment for self-development and growth. Minerva has a Global Rotation program where students study in seven different countries within four years of education. The mission of this program is to nurture critical wisdom for the sake of the world, which I believe aligns with FIRST's purpose of inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders.

While going through the challenging academics and adapting to the vibrant social life at Minerva, the experiences I had while preparing for FIRST competitions became my guide. I felt confident handling any hardship brought by moving around different countries and communicating with people from various backgrounds. FIRST championships highly international environments prepared me for my life at Minerva, and I feel so grateful for having these opportunities that led me to my biggest goal in life.

In the future, I want to keep being brave enough to never second-think to take action and connect people around the world by inspiring them to become individuals who cannot stay silent in the face of solving the world's biggest problems. I believe that being a FIRST alumnus and a Minerva student will make a great contribution to my future endeavors.

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