Executive Director Robin Redmond published an Op-Ed to the Chicago Sun-Times after Maryland passed a law banning scholarship displacement by public universities.

“Some displacement defenders say they need to recapture financial aid resources to disburse it to other students with financial need,” says Redmond. “But the logic here is off and is exactly the opposite of how the real world we are preparing these young people for works.”

Scholarship displacement has been a reoccurring issue for scholars since the 1980s and most likely before.

Read the Op-Ed in its entirety here.

Scholarship displacement in Illinois is becoming a topic of interest. After the Foundation’s Op-Ed was published in the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois Public Media contacted Executive Director Robin Redmond for a follow-up interview.

Pullman Scholar Julissa Garcia, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2018, joined Executive Director Robin Redmond for an interview on The 21st Show, an Illinois Public Media show, to share what happens when Illinois scholars are awarded financial aid and external scholarships.

Listen to the entire episode here or listen to our 15-minute interview below.

Dear Pullman Scholars,

In recent months, we have witnessed an uptick of divisive activities on the college campuses where many of you are studying. Some of them are overt and obvious, like the incident at the University of Pennsylvania where Black, first-year students were purposefully included in a series of racist GroupMe texts. On other campuses, the racist, sexist, or xenophobic messages are being subtly delivered through exclusion and stereotyping.

I want to take a moment to reflect and to remind you that we live in a country founded on democratic ideals—having a country and government for all people regardless of race, creed, or color. Similarly, the Pullman Foundation has a long history of supporting democracy by supporting the dreams of all scholars, regardless of your ethnicity or gender, or your community or religious beliefs, whatever they may be. As Pullman Scholars, you stand on the shoulders of many who have faced adversity and persevered. When I reflect on what I know of their journeys, I enthusiastically applaud their tenacity. Democracy dares to make room for all kinds of people and ideas. And that is why it is a privilege worth fighting for.

As you continue to pursue your degrees, here are three suggestions to help you navigate discord on your campus while embracing democracy:

1.  Meet and educate yourself about people from different backgrounds. Remember your experience at the annual Pullman Scholar Symposium. At this event, you embrace and learn alongside other scholars who may be immigrants, the children of immigrants, first-generation college students, White, Black/African-American, Multiracial, Asian, Latino/Hispanic, have different major…the list goes on! They may be very different than you, but as members of the Pullman Scholar Community, we all come together to connect, to learn, and to inspire each other. Make an effort to place yourself in situations with many different types of people so that you can learn about them and learn from them.

2. Get informed. In the same way that we encourage you to learn and take advantage of the resources on your campus, we suggest you do the same in your community. Find out who is making decisions that are affecting your life on campus, in your local community, and at the state and national levels. If you are interested in or concerned about a specific issue, research it. Then determine a strategy for conveying your concern to the decision makers. Use your voice to ensure your ability to thrive and prosper.

3. Establish calming habits to avoid anxious days. Technology makes it easy to never disconnect from an unceasing flow of information. And one troubling headline after another makes for living in anxious times. To combat anxiety, establish mechanisms or a routine that will calm you throughout the day. Whether it’s dimming the lights at certain times, drinking tea before bed, or listening to a guided online meditation, develop a practice of self-care that helps you relax and enables you to concentrate on your studies.

Lastly, please remember, as a Pullman Scholar you are a part of an amazing community with a long history of inclusiveness. For 67 years, the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation has supported young people with a strong desire to succeed, regardless of their race, gender, or country of origin. This is our legacy and continues to be our mission moving forward.

Robin Redmond, Executive Director

By Robin Redmond, Executive Director.

The last few months have been busy and exciting for the Foundation. With roughly 550 high school seniors applying this year to become Pullman Scholars, we have spent many hours reading, sorting, scheduling and reviewing applications. Soon, a new class of Pullman Scholars will be welcomed into the vibrant community of current scholars and alumni who are making a difference in the world and accomplishing great things.

When I reflect on the start of my career, I could easily be characterized as ambitious, enthusiastic and incredibly green. I was always willing to work hard and put in extra effort (“Sure, I’ll stay and stuff those envelopes. No worries, I can stack those chairs!”). This helped me land some choice positions and quickly climb in my field.

Despite my early accomplishments, my professional past includes more than a few missteps. For example, during one phone interview I decided to try and quietly eat my breakfast. (Hey, it was early!) The interviewer asked, “Are you eating?” Two second pause, followed by a swallow…“I’m sorry,” I timidly replied, “I was just finishing up a bowl of cereal.” Another time, I asked if wearing jeans to work was acceptable. Yes, jeans were acceptable attire, but no, not the holey pair I wore to work a few days later. (more…)