Veterans Scholarship Student Profile: Bruce O’Brien (School of Kinesiology, 2019)

Veterans Scholarship Student Profile: Bruce O’Brien (School of Kinesiology, 2019)

Bruce O’Brien was willing to make sacrifices for his country when he joined the United States Marine Corps as a cryogenics supervisor in 2009. Years later, when he returned home to further his education at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology, generous donors awarded Bruce the Veterans Scholarship for his service, enabling him to make the most of a Michigan education.

“I always had a tendency to learn as much as I can about everything,” Bruce said.

At the School of Kinesiology, a biology class with Dr. Meghan Duffy inspired Bruce to participate in the Research Experience for Undergraduates, where students conduct research under the tutelage of experienced faculty members. With the opportunity to explore new educational experiences, Bruce is now studying evolution and spore distributions in the environment as a participant in Duffy’s lab.

For Bruce, the Veterans Scholarship has provided support beyond just financial resources.

“It has afforded me time,” Bruce said. “The scholarship has afforded me the freedom to not have to work while I go to school, so I’m able to work in the research lab, participate in seminars on Thursday evenings, and still spend time with my family.”

Now, as he prepares to graduate from the University of Michigan’s School of Kinesiology later this year, Bruce recalls what made it all possible: the Veteran’s Scholarship.

“[The scholarship] really has all the potential to be the difference between getting a job I live with the rest of my life, or having a career that I excel at because it truly aligns with my interests,” Bruce said.

With plans to pursue a doctoral degree, Bruce wants to pay forward the generous investment donors made in him by helping to remove the barriers he faced in continuing his education.

“The donor support really does grant me the opportunity to ensure that what I’m doing is really what’s going to benefit myself and the world the most.”

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