Two University of Findlay undergraduate students submitted compelling videos about themselves that earned them $10,000 scholarships as part of the Browns Scholar Award program.
Of the more than 50 students who applied, sophomore Alan “AJ” Kittle and junior Sarah Ludinich recorded the most inspiring messages that linked how the University is putting them on the path to a meaningful life and a productive career with the Cleveland Brown’s mantra of “play like a Brown.”
The two will be recognized on-field at the Browns’ Nov. 19 home game in FirstEnergy Stadium.
Both Kittle and Ludinich’s videos focused on personal resilience, determination and compassion.
Kittle, a Bryan, Ohio native who is double majoring in finance and business management, produced an entertaining and honest video that supported his scholarship worthiness as evidenced by his on-campus activities, work ethic and financial need. He works two jobs, is enrolled in 19 credit hours of courses, plays in the Marching Oiler Brass and serves as Student Government Association treasurer.
“I know how difficult it can be to earn money for tuition,” he explained, adding that persistence can pay off. “Tell me I can’t and I’ll work that much harder,” he noted.
In her submitted video, Ludinich, from Frazeysburg, Ohio who is an ovarian cancer survivor, spoke about her illness and her work with a disabled child from the area. As she continues to assists the child, named Ally, with walking on her own, and as she navigates her post-cancer life, Ludinich is focusing on her studies that will lead her to UF’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.
“In the past year, I have proven that I can play like a Brown by showing the physical strength to fight cancer and the mental strength by finishing classes while dealing with the diagnosis and going back to school being only three months cancer free,” she explains in her video.
A previously published feature story about Ludinich’s cancer journey can be found here.
The University of Findlay “has really redefined who I am as a person,” said Kittle following a short, informal award recognition gathering at the office of President Katherine Fell, Ph.D. “Last year I hit some low points in my life, but I’ve bounced back. I found that I’m not happy unless I put as much energy as I can into what I’m passionate about,” he said.
Kittle said he now lives by “five essential character traits,” which he attempts to exemplify daily: honesty, dedication, perseverance, compassion and hard work.
The scholarship news “meant the world to me,” Kittle said.
“I cried when I found out” about the Browns Scholar Award, Ludinich said. “Things have been hard to deal with, and I’m still struggling, so just having that bright light shine through was incredible.”
Ludinich said she is grateful to UF for helping her continue her studies during and after cancer treatment, and to “pursue a career that I know I am meant for.”
The Browns Scholar Awards are made possible by the Browns Edge Partnership, a learning and professional collaboration between UF and the Cleveland Browns.