Tiffany Potok met students from throughout the world as an honors student at University of Glasgow, one of Europe’s oldest universities. Along with Scottish students, she met Canadians and lived in a flat with students from Brazil, China, Cyprus, and Malaysia during the spring semester this year.
She studied the Scottish enlightenment and took neuroscience courses while there. And she brought home some life lessons as well.
“One of the main take-aways I have is this: We focus way too much on cultural differences and how that separates us,” Potok said. “We need to focus more on what makes us all human.”
She was the recipient of the 2016 Dr. Adrian R. Lawler Exchange Student Scholarship, which provided funds to assist with her international studies experience. She was a sophomore at Carson Newman University when she took part in the University of Glasgow’s honors-only study abroad program through a program called the Principia Consortium.
The scholarship helped her realize what Lawler hoped students would discover from his gift. He established the scholarship in 2008 to offer students here opportunities to gain tolerance and understanding of people from other cultures.
The Lawler Scholarship supports international study programs and is administered by the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation. Lawler was an Oak Ridge High School graduate and the second student here to participate in an American Field Service international program in 1957. Before his death several years ago, Lawler, a retired marine scientist, designated the Education Foundation to administer the scholarship with a five-member scholarship committee.
The Education Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2016 Lawler Scholarship. The deadline for applications is Friday, November 4. Applications are available through the Foundation’s website at www.orpsef.org under the Lawler Scholarship tab, and should be returned to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, P.O. Box 117 MS-22, Oak Ridge, TN 37831.
Students with a B+ average attending Oak Ridge schools and graduates of Oak Ridge High School currently attending college are eligible for the scholarship. The scholarship will not usually provide total funding, but instead encourages students to earn part of their funding as a life lesson.
Potok transferred to the University of Tennessee, where she is a junior majoring in neuroscience. She hopes to do research through computer science.
The Lawler Scholarship enabled Potok to travel throughout Scotland during her studies there. She had dreamed of studying in Scotland since she was in the fifth grade, when she, her mother, and brother traveled there with her father, who was on a business trip. She is the daughter of Thomas and Judith Potok.
“One of my favorite memories of Scotland was walking down the streets in Glasgow, looking at the buildings, and thinking that the buildings were older than my country,” she said.
Besides expanding her cultural and academic horizons, Potok said she was excited about getting in touch with her Scottish family history, with her roots on one grandmother’s side going back to the Isle of Mull. The experience also increased her networking potential with others she met from around the globe.
The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation invests in the Oak Ridge Public Schools beyond what public tax dollars can provide to ensure the highest quality of education for Oak Ridge students. The Foundation raises funds through grants and private donations. The Foundation then invests in enhanced educational programming, innovative technology, and state-of-the-art facilities for teachers and students. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.orpsef.org or contact Jessica Steed at (865) 241-3667.
This press release was submitted by Jessica Steed.
More information will be added as it becomes available.