A project to test the ecosystem of the Rocky Fork Creek led Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Brandon Muschlitz to win a full scholarship to Costa Rica next month, thanks to the Buckeye Association of School Administrators and Education First.
Muschlitz is one of 20 students from the United States to be chosen as an Education First Global Citizen Scholar, providing him with a 10-day educational tour of Costa Rica.
The Education First scholarship is designed to unite students from around the world by breaking down barriers of culture, language and geography while helping students develop global-awareness, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
"I did a project with my AP environmental science class about the Rocky Fork Creek ecosystem," Muschlitz said. "The class did chemical tests to see how polluted it was and how many organisms were living in it. We found out the creek is very healthy. That's the project that was sent in for this whole scholarship."
Muschlitz's April 13-26 trip will conclude with a two-day leadership summit in which he will collaborate with other students to design potential solutions to key environmental issues, and he will hear keynote speeches from former Vice President Al Gore, former Costa Rican President Dr. Oscar Arias and noted environmental advocate Severn Cullis-Suzuki.
Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter said the association of administrators had contacted him concerning potential scholarship candidates.
"Brandon did a phenomenal project," Carter said. "I've known him since he was a student at Middle School East. We're proud to partner with Education First to enhance global education and get involved in global citizenry."
Kathy Lowery, association director, said she was delighted and thrilled that Muschlitz was chosen for the scholarship.
"I did work here 14 years in the beginning of my career," she said. "We've worked with Chinese administrators, and Gahanna has graciously hosted them. We've seen what Gahanna has done with global citizenry. I found out that I get to go on the trip, so I'm really wowed."
Criteria for the 2013 Global Citizen Scholarship included a video or essay submission, addressing the global implications of an environmental issue and providing ideas to solve it. After receiving hundreds of submissions from across the United States and Canada, a panel of global education experts selected the scholars through a series of assessments and interviews, judging the students on creativity, inventive ideas and their demonstration of global citizenship.
"I applied for the Global Citizen Scholarship because it is a fantastic opportunity to understand the culture of Costa Rica and learn more about the environmental initiatives being taken to protect our earth's natural resources and beauty," Muschlitz said. "I'm very excited to learn all about different environmental issues going on in the world and different environmental solutions. We don't hear about what other cultures are doing to address their problems. I am most interested in learning about different cultures and seeing national landmarks and nature in new places."
Following graduation from Gahanna Lincoln, Muschlitz plans to major in civil engineering at Ohio State University, Purdue University or the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The 2013 class of Global Citizen Scholars is an impressive group of high school students from across the United States and Canada who represent the next generation of global leaders, said Shane Steffens, president of EF Educational Tours.
"Each scholar has a unique passion for the environment," he said. "They recognize the global connectedness of the world in which we live, and they're prepared to tackle global environmental challenges together."
For more information on the EF Global Citizen Scholarship, visit eftours.com/globalcitizen or check out the Global Citizen Facebook page to see the U.S. scholars' video and essay submissions.