Why Phelps Scholars?

The Phelps Scholars Program (PSP) welcomes all students who have an interest in growing their knowledge of cultures, learning about those with different backgrounds than their own and being a part of a diverse community.

Not only does the PSP develop relationships outside of Hope with off-campus trips, but there is a community that builds within the walls of Scott Hall, home to the Phelps Scholars. We asked two Phelps Scholars to answer a few questions as to why they think the Phelps Scholar Program is significant to campus.

The first student we asked was Isabel Shultz (‘26). Shultz plans to major in social work and is currently a part of three different clubs: Hope Advocates for Invisible Conditions, Prism and Swing Dance club. She shares her thoughts on the importance of the Phelps Scholar Program and diversity from her own experience.

The Phelps Scholar Program is a community of diverse students. In what ways did this impact your transition into college? 

I really pride myself on my academics and they are very important to me and yes, I’m coming to college for experiences but I’m also coming to college to learn. So being with a group of people who are like-minded individuals who also are placing importance on academics is important, but also the community aspect is definitely important to me. I want to be learning more about diversity and other people’s cultures. I haven’t had the chance to talk to our international students but even talking to people in our dorm we all have such different experiences and that is so interesting to me.

Would you say diversity inclusion was a big factor for you during your college search? 

Where I grew up in St. Louis was very diverse and then when I moved to Indiana it was not, and then I lived in Philadelphia for a year which was even more diverse! And I love it, and I love learning about different types of people. 

Do you think it is beneficial to learn about diversity and inclusion? 

Yes of course it is because— spoiler alert— everybody is different. Wherever you settle there is going to be diversity. I strongly believe that it is important to be learning about it as early as possible, especially because our brains are still developing. We are in a sensitive time period from puberty to age 25. What you are learning and experiencing now is going to stick with you a lot more easily. 

Are you looking forward to the out-of-the-classroom trips? What do you wish to gain from these experiences? 

I am going on the Native American Pow-Wow trip. I grew up in more racially diverse communities, rather than religiously diverse communities. I was raised evangelical Christian and that’s really the only religion I’ve ever experienced. I’m excited to see how others experience religion and the difference between religion and spirituality.

The second Phelps Scholar we asked was Lynsey Smith (‘26). Smith is majoring in nursing and is a part of the Animal Lovers club and the Yoga in the Pine Grove club. She shares her thoughts on how the Phelps Scholars Program is already influencing students.

How do you think being in the Phelps Scholar Program will enhance your own understanding of culture and diversity?

I think it already has! With the people I meet and talk to about our different religions and cultures, I’ve learned we all have differences. I’m already learning a ton and I think I will continue to learn a ton while in the Phelps Scholars Program. Especially with the classes that we are taking with our first-year seminars as well. 

Do you think there is a sense of community already building in Scott hall? 

Absolutely, especially with the game nights on Sunday where everyone sits around together and hangs out or in our community rooms where people get to know each other, say hello, and enjoy each other’s company. 

Would you say diversity inclusion was a big factor for you during your college search? 

Actually no, it was not at first. I knew I wanted to go somewhere small. However, I believe it is beneficial for others to go outside of their comfort zone and their own community, because when you are experiencing other cultures and different people you may end up learning more about yourself as well.

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