Nearing Graduation, a Student Reflects on Impact of Scholarships

Trayvonn Diaz ’15 (CLAS), a scholarship recipient, UConn Foundation student director, resident assistant, and National Residence Hall Honorary Secretary of Finance, reflects on his four years at UConn.

Trayvonn Diaz '15 and Foundation President Josh Newton

When I first visited campus, I remember being intimidated by the size of the campus and the number of classes and buildings, but I saw it as a new experience, a new start to a better future.

The Leadership Scholarship I received shortly after being accepted was a strong motivator in my decision to commit to UConn. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in activities around campus, such as concert performances, bus trips to New York City and Boston, my coed community service fraternity, local charity races, or other experiences that helped me enjoy the overall UConn experience. Not to mention that I would have struggled to purchase the textbooks I needed for required courses in my major.

The best experiences I’ve had at UConn have always involved the amazing people I have met during my time here. I can vividly remember my friends teaching me to ice skate and how much trouble I had standing—I remember I felt so accomplished when I could finally complete a lap without falling! And as a resident assistant, I have great memories of meeting new students and helping them transition to a new environment.

After graduation, I plan to start a career where I can use the skills I’ve learned over the past four years that will allow me to get a feel for real-world business. After gaining some applicable experience, I plan to go to law school—UConn Law is, of course, my first choice—to study corporate or real estate law. Law school is where I really see myself developing and understanding the path I intend to follow.

These may seem like big dreams to some, but they’re even bigger dreams in my family, considering I am soon to be a first-generation college graduate. I see myself as taking the first step in helping our family raise future generations of college graduates.

In working with the Foundation, I’ve grown to understand the importance of giving back, how invested our alumni are in the students and the university, and how scholarships change lives. I give back through participating in community service efforts, making small donations to student-run organizations, fundraising for UConn causes, mentoring incoming students, and even sacrificing Friday nights to drive students home safely.

The scholarship support I received has inspired me to give back in a similar way. I’ve seen more than a few friends leave the university, either permanently or temporarily, simply because they cannot afford the rising cost of college. I can’t help all struggling students, but if I can help a few, then I can impact their life for the better.