Samsung Salutes: Veterans & Military Families Scholarship Initiatives
Building on nearly 40 years of community investment and impact in the U.S. is part of Samsung’s DNA. As we drive programs that are intrinsically tied to our expertise and resources as a global technology manufacturer, we are constantly looking for meaningful ways to apply our tech for good, as well as encourage the next generation of innovators through strategic initiatives, such as STEAM education.
One area of our citizenship efforts that takes on personal meaning for Samsung is veterans and military families. For over 20 years, we’ve supported veteran’s issues and the military community because these causes are deeply rooted in our gratitude and recognition for the role that the U.S. military played in South Korea’s history, and consequently enabled Samsung to grow into the global brand and conglomerate that it is today. From providing financial support for the maintenance of the Korean War Veterans Memorial to outfitting Fisher House Foundation homes with appliances and tablets, our dedication reflects the extent to which Samsung can be a valuable partner to this large and diverse community.
One specific way Samsung supports the military community is by enabling educational opportunities for veterans and their families through scholarship funds. At Samsung, education is such an important factor to fostering innovation, a tool for empowering people — not only to improve their lives, but also the lives of others. For military families that have embraced a lifestyle of regular uprooting, education serves as an important layer of financial and professional security, as well as an anchor during seasons of transition from active duty to civilian life.
Since 1996, we’ve been building on this commitment by providing military families with access to a scholarship fund with the American Legion, tailored for descendants of the veterans of American wars. Twenty-one years later, the Samsung American Legion Scholarship has awarded $5.3 million to nearly 2,000 high school students, and supported degrees from over 500 colleges and universities in almost every state across the country. Next week, we’ll be celebrating the 2016–2017 Samsung American Legion Scholars in Washington D.C., including ten young men and women who will have the opportunity to meet with Samsung-Legion alumni as well as representatives from their local Congressional offices present at the breakfast ceremony.
Truly, Samsung’s partnership with the American Legion reminds us that out of the ashes of war can emerge great legacies. One is the story of Rachel Forbes. A recipient of an original 1996 Samsung scholarship, she is now a kidney and pancreas transplant surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Nashville VA Medical Center, where she says she is “very grateful to have the opportunity to take care of veterans and help them almost on a daily basis.”
When filling out the Samsung American Legion Scholarship application, Rachel reflected on the “gratitude I had for my family members who made me eligible to receive the scholarship.” She said, “They are the reason we are all here today.”
Beyond the American Legion, we also launched a partnership with the National Military Family Association in 2015 by establishing a Military Spouse Scholarship fund — since its launch, the fund has enabled 70 military spouses to pursue higher education STEAM-focused careers. This fund, targeted for New Jersey-based spouses, is an important financial tool and anchor as families go through seasons of personal and professional transitions, as well as important emotional healing for the other spouse.
In turn, some of these men and women are paying it forward at the benefit of their peers, such as shaping their career paths to improve the lives and mental health of veterans. For example, Meagan M., a 2016 recipient of the NMFA scholarship, is applying her scholarship to get a degree clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. As part of the Columbia’s Resilience Center for Veterans and their Family Members, Meaghan is working on impacting lives through psychotherapy and cutting edge research on Veterans’ issues. Here’s her story:
“Just over a year ago, I realized that my dream career of research in neuroscience was not conducive to moving across the country every few years for the Coast Guard. Thus, I quickly pivoted to a career as an MRI technologist. I am thoroughly enjoying my new path in healthcare! I will be able to find work much more easily wherever we move next and maybe someday it will take me back in the direction of neuroscience research. Although this new educational direction came with some unexpected financial burdens, it is because of this scholarship that my husband and I are able to feel more comfortable financially. It means the world to me that this type of generosity exists through the crazy adventure that is military life.”
Whether you’re the granddaughter of a Korean War veteran getting ready for college like Rachel once was, or you’re the spouse of an active duty Coast Guard officer pivoting career paths, like Chelsea, education is equally important and valuable across generations. And, Samsung remains committed to furthering education at any age for our country’s community of military members, veterans and families who work so tirelessly for our country’s freedoms and protection.
Ultimately, at Samsung, we invest in education because we believe that it is the catalyst to innovation — and we know that innovation drives new levels of quality of life for these individuals and families in transition. We are proud to continue investing in this important community today, so that doors open for a brighter future for all tomorrow.