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Southfield, Lathrup Village

March 27, 2013

U-M student receives top Michigan First scholarship

By Jessica Strachan
C & G Staff Writer

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U-M student receives top Michigan First scholarship
Clare Luckey, a Southfield native and current University of Michigan student, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship by Michigan First for her video depicting how she would use $50,000 to support adult literacy programs and alternative energy initiatives.

SOUTHFIELD/LATHRUP VILLAGE — When Southfield native Clare Luckey, a chemical engineering freshman at the University of Michigan, was dared to “dream big” and share what she’d do with $50,000, she didn’t hold back.

For her, addressing a dire community issue, supporting a peer’s project to go green on campus, and doing a little hands-on training as a global citizen in the making were her top priorities.

Tossing that into a one-minute video, Luckey came out as the grand-prize winner for Michigan First Credit Union’s 2013 scholarship contest.

“This was my first time making a video, and when I found out I won, I was so excited that people had voted for me and that Michigan First liked my video, even though I was just a novice to video making,” Luckey, a 2012 University High School Academy graduate, said. “My inspiration for the video was that I wanted to do something with the money that would not only benefit myself, but others.”

In her video submission, she shared her answer to Michigan First’s prompt, “What would you do with $50,000?”

“The ability to read is often taken for granted, but it’s the basis of all education, which is essential in any thriving community,” she says in the video.

Her second passion of choice was supporting a fellow student’s innovative idea to make the buses on campus more energy efficient.

“As a chemical engineering student, it’s important for me to donate money to alternative energy initiative,” Luckey explained. Her third idea was to travel for a good cause with the money. “Global thinking is really important, and also I’m passionate about traveling, meeting new people and getting new perspectives and learning new cultures. So, my final thing would help me to become a more global citizen.”

Michigan First President and CEO Michael Poulos said this year’s submissions were a creative bunch, but Luckey’s video took it “a step further.”

“Her work was professional and heartfelt, detailing how she would support adult literacy in Southeast Michigan and invest in converting the University of Michigan’s buses to hydrogen fuel cell power. It clearly showed her passion for helping others and making this world a better place,” he said. “We have no doubt she is well on her way to accomplishing these goals and are thrilled that Michigan First Foundation and Young & Free Michigan could support her on this journey.”

In the end, Luckey secured a $10,000 scholarship that she said will help her and her parents cover her next year’s tuition. Among her plans as a sophomore are going to Ghana for an engineering program.

A total of $85,000 in scholarships were awarded in the competition to local high school and college students. Twenty of the students, accounting for $30,000 in funds, are in Oakland County.

Now in its 10th year, Michigan First expanded its scholarship program in 2013 to include a high school video contest, a high school essay contest and a college video contest. The top three entries in each category received $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000 scholarships, respectively. An additional 31 students were also awarded $1,000 bonus scholarships this year.

“Michigan First was founded by teachers, and it is inspiring for us to see these students use their creativity to express a passion for education,” Poulos said. “It is evident by the submissions that each of our contest participants has a bright future ahead of them.”

Michigan First has given away more than $730,000 to local students. The scholarships are funded by the community financial institution’s nonprofit Michigan First Foundation, founded last year.

For more information, or to see Luckey’s winning video, visit www.youngfreemichigan.com/college-videos.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jessica Strachan at jstrachan@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1108.