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Rebecca Lifford

Rising junior Rebecca Lifford is a double major in biology and environmental science from Eaton Rapids. She has special passions for ornithology and environmental health, and she was recently awarded the David N. Cutler ’65 Endowed Scholarship during Honors Week. The scholarship, honoring renowned alumnus David N. Cutler ’65, is awarded to a junior or senior who excels in math, science or computer science. Students selected to receive this competitive merit award are expected to make a substantial contribution in their field of study during their year as a Cutler Fellow.

Read more about Rebecca and her impact at Olivet College, in her field and beyond.

I am from Eaton Rapids and chose Olivet College because it was close to home and enabled me to commute. This gave me my ideal balance of home and school, making it more than possible to be involved in on-campus activities and organizations while still maintaining hobbies at home, including my small family farm. Olivet was the best choice for me because of the small environment with personal class settings, as well as a strong biology program with helpful professors.

I am a double major in biology and environmental science, and I am still probing career options in my field. I have a strong interest in ornithology (the study of birds) and environmental health, and I hope to find a career where I can make a positive impact on both. I am considering pursuing a master’s degree after Olivet College and going into wildlife biology or environmental health and toxicology. For now, I am working in a professional environment at the State of Michigan to build connections within the state government.

In my program, Dr. Leah Knapp, professor of biology, is by far my strongest support system at Olivet College. She is constantly encouraging me to pursue knowledge in the form of research, and she is simply an encouraging and enjoyable person to be around. I appreciate her for the wisdom, knowledge and friendship she offers to all students.

One of my most impactful experiences at OC came as part of the ornithology class — traveling to Kino Bay, Mexico. In addition to observing the wonderful wildlife (including estuaries, numerous bird species, dolphins and snorkeling in a reef) the class was exposed to a different culture and we were able to meet a local indigenous group. This greatly opened my eyes to the way people live in other parts of the world, as well as exposed me to new environmental issues. This was easily one of the most enlightening and enjoyable experiences I have had in my life.

This spring, I experienced another standout moment in my college journey when I was awarded the David N. Cutler ’65 Endowed Scholarship. Receiving this scholarship was a huge honor to me. I have always loved research, which is the foundation of this scholarship. I have been creating and executing research since high school and being selected for this scholarship by the College meant the world to me. I felt beyond honored to have my previous work recognized with such a prestigious award. I am looking forward to diving into more research this year with the help of Olivet’s wonderful professors along the way.

It’s simple for me to encourage other students to attend Olivet College — affordability, environment, learning and growth opportunities are the biggest advantages. With scholarships and financial aid, Olivet provides resources to make education affordable, without sacrificing education quality. The College also offers a small, personal and engaging environment where students feel encouraged to get involved on campus, even commuter students like myself. Aside from the quality in-class education, Olivet offers numerous opportunities for students to broaden their horizons and explore the world around them. Many of these have helped me grow as a person, such as the trips hosted by Dr. Leah Knapp.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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