As a first-generation college student, leaving to go to college was an overwhelming and slightly terrifying experience. Although I was only 45 minutes away from home (without traffic), I felt like I was entering into an unfamiliar and unknown domain. Luckily, I had the Tiger Woods Foundation family on which to rely.
Being a part of the Earl Woods Scholarship Program meant that I was connected to a cohort of students who were going through similar challenges and a network of professionals that provided academic and emotional support. When I graduated from the program, I stayed connected with the foundation by attending events and participating in a few panels. I enjoyed staying connected with the scholarship program and wanted to expand the opportunities for Earl Woods Scholar alumni.
I started the Earl Woods Scholar Alumni Association as a way to facilitate and continue the relationships and conversations we had as scholars. I wanted it to be an engine for alumni to stay connected with the foundation and help support the growth of the scholarship program and the current scholars. I first started this program by writing a proposal that outlined the mission and vision statement of the alumni association. Working with TWF’s senior director of programs Cristina Fernández and senior program manager Hilary Falk, I developed a four-phase, three-year plan that captured tangible goals for each phase. After the proposal was polished, we had an alumni convening with representation from all graduating classes, where we assessed our goals and priorities for the association as a whole and agreed on our timeline.
For the first year, our goal is to plan an event in each regional location and create the Earl Woods Alumni Bio Book. The bio book will contain information about alumni such as hometown, alma mater, major and current occupation; this info is intended to help current scholars with their own academic and professional pursuits. Ultimately, we intend for organic growth that best supports current scholars and provides opportunities for alumni to get involved and engaged. The foundation has also indicated an interest in engaging alumni to provide constructive feedback for the scholar’s program as a whole.
This collaborative effort truly captures the team spirit of the scholarship program and the foundation. Thoughts become developed ideas that then become actionable items that are all guided and shaped by important stakeholders. Through creating this alumni network, we hope to strengthen the bonds we all had as Earl Woods Scholars, and expand our reach and impact for supporting students to realize their thoughts, ideas and dreams, turning them into attainable realities.
Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.