Kurt Mueller Named the 2021 Woodward Scholar at Young Harris College

Thursday, September 30, 2021
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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Kurt Mueller, a 2021 Young Harris College graduate from Woodstock, Georgia, received the Beverly Barrow Woodward, 1953, Endowed Scholarship, which was established by Leonard and Beverly Woodward of Rome, Georgia, and is granted annually to one YHC student to study abroad in England at Harlaxton College.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the Woodward family in their establishment of the Woodward Scholarship,” said Dr. Jennifer Schroeder, professor of biology at YHC. “Recipients of the Woodward Scholarship return with changed global perspectives and greater senses of empowerment to positively impact the campus and the world.”

Criteria for the Woodward Scholarship include a strong academic record, a compelling application essay, and a successful interview that convinces the committee that the student is mature and resourceful enough to have a rich educational experience and to be an excellent ambassador of YHC. The selection committee for this award was chaired by Dr. Matthew Bruen and included Dr. Claudie Massicotte, Dr. Mary Slavkin, Dr. Chris Sass, Dr. Amanda Song, and Dr. Jennifer Schroeder.

“Kurt carried passions and skills across the pond, where they were easily noticed by his classmates and instructors,” said Schroeder. “He served as an outstanding ambassador of YHC to the community at Harlaxton College. This was confirmed at Harlaxton College’s closing ceremonies, where Kurt received the prestigious Principal’s Award for ‘representing [their] mission to think critically, act bravely, serve responsibly, and live meaningfully in a changing world.’”

During his time at Harlaxton College, Mueller studied jurisprudence and ethics in healthcare, as well as theatre.

“Though these courses were vastly different from one another, and one more directly pertained to my desired career path, both provided me with an enormity of memories, life lessons, experience and knowledge that I will carry with me and apply for the rest of my life,” said Mueller.

Mueller expressed that what resonated with him the most was the importance of cultural inclusion obtained through diversifying one’s cultural exposure.

“To truly be able to understand and empathize with people we do not share cultural roots with, we must acknowledge the lack of knowledge we have about other cultures,” said Mueller. “We must go in with an open mind to reevaluate all the cultural norms we may have believed were correct based upon our own finite experiences and exposures. The opportunity to engage in this practice firsthand gave me more perspective than I could have ever imagined, while showing me how much I still have to learn about interacting and engaging with people from other cultures, as well as my own.”

Mueller majored in biology and minored in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. He is now working in the medical field in Buffalo, New York, while applying for combined medical school and law school programs. Additionally, Mueller is working to obtain instructor certification for the “Darkness to Light” program. He plans to pursue a career in pediatric surgery or psychiatry.

While attending YHC, Mueller shadowed at Union General Hospital and Murphy Medical Center. He also worked as a medical researcher at Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, New York, and his research is in the process of being published. He volunteered at local and YHC-sponsored COVID-19 vaccination clinics, and he served as a mentor to a Towns County Elementary School student for three years.

Additionally, Mueller was a member of YHC’s SOLE program, which stands for Student Opportunities for Leadership through Engagement. He was also a member of the Chemistry Club, president of the Biology Club and the Astronomy Club, vice president of Alpha Omega fraternity, and he played baseball for two years.

About Young Harris College

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires, and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit yhc.edu.

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