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Frostburg student wins Rotary scholarship

August 21, 2006

The Rotary District 7350 Scholarship Committee met Aug. 12 in Bedford, Pa., to interview 10 candidates for the 2007 ambassadorial scholarship. This was a record number of candidates from the 45 clubs in the district, which covers parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.

After reviewing the applications and interviews with each of the young adults, the committee selected Michael Snyder of Frostburg, Md., for the $26,000 award to be used in fall 2007 to study in a country outside the U.S.

Growing up in Frostburg, Snyder graduated from Beall High School in Frostburg and took classes at Allegany College in Cumberland, Md., before he enrolled in Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. During his junior year at Dickinson, Snyder spent five months in New Zealand studying geology at the University of Otago. After graduation from Dickinson in May 2003 with a bachelor of science degree in geology/environmental science, he spent the fall of that year conducting research under Dr. Craig Etchison at Allegany College, focusing on American leaders in nonviolence for a potential new textbook.

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In 2004, Snyder spent 10 months hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail to raise funds to provide experiential opportunities for at-risk youths, a journey of more than 2,174 miles.

In May 2005, he went to James English School in Sendai, Japan, where he spent a year as an English teacher. Wishing to experience as much of the world as possible, Snyder chose an unusual route to return home. Taking a boat to Tainjin, China, he traveled by rail from there to Lisbon, Portugal, crossing more than 20 countries and the entire length of Asia and Europe, a journey of more than 10,000 miles.

"I would like to use this scholarship at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to work on the degree they offer tailored specifically toward environmental sustainability, a problem high on the agenda in the United Kingdom, where 60 million people live in a nation with one of the highest urban densities," Snyder said. He added, "My long-term goal is to become a college professor. The prospect of studying as a Rotary scholar, an organization committed to a world vision reflective of my own, would allow me to take the next steps fulfilling the dreams of my life."

District Rotarians who interviewed the applicants included committee chairman Frank Erck of Hagerstown, Dinah Courrier of Keyser, W.Va., Larry Powell of Huntingdon, Pa., and Peggy Bronder of Bedford. Also assisting in the interviews were District Gov. Jerry Friedman, District Gov. Nominee Dr. Ron Keyser and Past District Gov. Jack E. Murray.

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