Congratulations to Katie Coppard, who was awarded the 2023 Dr. M. Rosalind Morris Scholarship by NCHS.
The scholarship is funded through the generosity of M. Rosalind Morris, who began the scholarship in 2014 because of her strong belief in both education and the work of NCHS. Dr. Morris was a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1947-1990. She was a pioneer in agricultural science and internationally recognized for her work in wheat genetics. After leading a highly accomplished life, Dr. Morris passed away in 2022, just shy of her 102nd birthday.
The scholarship is given to two high school seniors who were adopted through NCHS. Recipients must be attending postsecondary institutions in Nebraska, with preference to students majoring in the education, social work, or science fields. In conjunction with the NCHS 130th anniversary celebration, this was the final year of the Morris Scholarship.
Below is the essay that Katie submitted to the scholarship committee. Applicants were asked to answer the questions, “How has NCHS and your adoption experience made a difference in your life? What does ‘family’ mean to you? How do you plan to use your educational experience and training to affect the lives of others? How would this scholarship impact you personally and in your future education?”
“I’m a curious person by nature. I thrive with knowledge and I seek answers to anything I don’t know. One thing I have always known is my adoption. However, there are a lot of unknowns that come with adoption. My life has always been surrounded by what-ifs that I struggle to keep out of my mind. As I live the life I do and not another one, there is no real way of knowing what my life would have been like had one decision regarding my adoption was diﬀerent. What I do know is that I was adopted into a wonderful family who has done their best to support me at every step of the way. I am forever grateful with the NCHS for allowing my birth mother the option to choose which family to adopt me, and for making the process easier for both her and my parents.
Family to me has always meant support. My family is made up of those who have taken the time to support me in my endeavors, whether by coming to my events and being my personal cheer team or giving me someone to talk to when need be. My family has never been made up of purely blood- relatives. There are many people I consider family who aren’t my relatives in any way: my closest friends, those I do theater with, and many of my parents’ friends. They have supported me in any way they are able to, including in my ever-changing plans for my future.
While I am a very curious person, I am also a very indecisive person. I have so many interests that it has been diﬃcult for me to truly make a decision involving what I hope to do in my future. I have thought about nearly every possible career: lawyer, teacher, psychologist of any kind, sound engineer, biomedical engineer, archeologist, doctor. I applied for diﬀerent schools with diﬀerent majors hoping to keep my options open as I was debating between engineering and psychology. In the end, I realized psychology has always been where my passions lie.
My interest in psychology stems from both my utter fascination in how the brain works and in how my brain works in comparison to my birth parents and my adoptive parents. Nature vs. nurture is the age-old question that is especially applicable to adoptive children. My own want to know how much of my personality and interests are due to how I was raised vs my biological parents led to my original interest in psychology, and that ultimately led to my decision to major in psychology. I am still figuring out what I want to do with psychology, but for a while I have been thinking about something in law or going into social work as a way to help other adoptive children go to families who will love them as much as my own parents do me.
This scholarship would give some extra help in my room and board payment at Creighton. Allowing this to go to room and board would help me to stay on campus easier, which is something my parents and I both want, and would allow me to save a bit more for graduate school, which has always been in my plans regardless of what field I go into."
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