Olivia Truesdale ’21: Investing in Students’ Future Careers With Senior Class Gift

Olivia Truesdale ’21 gives to Scripps’ Senior Class Giving campaign so other students can access the same transformational internship experience that she’s had.

By Emily Glory Peters

These days, life for Olivia Truesdale ’21 is a balancing act. Presently sheltering-in-place in icy Washington, DC, the foreign languages major is juggling her studies and post-graduate planning with her work as a think tank intern with the National Bureau of Asian Research. Truesdale credits acquiring her current job to skills she’s built through multiple summer internships—experiences, she says, that would have been impossible without donor support.

“I was fortunate to receive an internship grant that allowed me to intern in South Korea at the US Embassy in Seoul during the summer of 2019. It was one of the most formative experiences in my life, both personally and professionally,” she says.

That internship was a turning point for Truesdale, saying that it confirmed her desire to pursue a career in international affairs and diplomacy. So when the opportunity arose for her to make a gift as part of the Senior Class Giving campaign, she knew exactly what to support.

“Internships are an invaluable part of the college experience, but so many are unpaid,” says Truesdale. “That’s why I chose to designate my Senior Class Gift to internship grants—to lift those financial restrictions so students can discover who they are and what they want to do.”

Seniors can designate their class gift to any area that’s meaningful to them

A time-honored College tradition, the Senior Class Giving campaign is frequently directed towards scholarship support—something Truesdale herself relied on to attend Scripps. This year, rather than focusing on one giving area, the campaign is more individualized.

“Given the challenges that the Class of 2021 has faced in completing our final year remotely, we’re encouraging seniors who are in a position to give to support what’s personally significant to them, like mental health and wellness, racial justice and equity, or other areas,” say Scripps Phonathon Program Supervisors Gabby Ollig ’21 and Vivian Matthews ’21. “It’s a powerful way for us to collectively impact the lives of future students for the better.”

Truesdale’s gift simultaneously supports the work of Career Planning & Resources (CP&R), a department that oversees internship grants and is partially funded by The Scripps Fund. Last year, donor support allowed CP&R to award 81 internship grants to Scripps students, plus an additional 38 grants for students who opted to defer their internships until 2021 due to the pandemic. The senior worked closely with CP&R beginning her first year, first as a blogger, then as a career consultant, and took advantage of their services herself—something for which she’s sincerely grateful.

“I couldn’t have gotten where I am without donors who give and for all the support I’ve received from Scripps, from professors who write recommendations to CP&R helping me write my cover letter,” she says, citing Scripps’ close-knit community as key to her development. “People here are genuinely invested in making the campus an environment that challenges your opinions and builds you up as a person.”

As she prepares with the rest of Scripps’ Senior Class for an unconventional Commencement, Truesdale is also readying herself for next steps. She’s in consideration for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award in South Korea and is exploring internships and research roles to gain more experience before graduate school.

With so many career opportunities going remote, Truesdale is optimistic—a natural trait, she says, but one that was nurtured by her community at Scripps. She hopes her gift will extend that outlook to other Scripps students, and encourages fellow seniors to join her.

“It’s important that we take advantage of the opportunity to make our voices heard and contribute to something that we really value. Giving to the Senior Class Giving campaign will allow others to have a wonderful experience like we’ve had—or even better—and will support initiatives to help the College become more inclusive,” she says. “Whether it’s a dollar or a hundred dollars, it all builds when we work together. We can support a lot of students together in that way.”

Seniors leave a lasting legacy for both current and future Scripps students. To make a contribution to the Senior Class Giving campaign, click here.

Interested in learning more? Check out our latest giving and impact news here.