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Olivia Getzinger

West Branch
Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, 2023

Scholarships opened doors to opportunities I wouldn’t have normally had.
young woman scuba diving, giving hang loose sign


Olivia Getzinger’s eyes dance as she describes her life-changing study abroad experience on Little Cayman Island. The 10-day trip with SVSU’s Biology Department promised to be challenging. Daily dives and lectures from Central Caribbean Marine Institute scientists taught students about marine life and the impact of plastics and climate change on aquatic ecosystems, particularly coral reefs.

Olivia’s study abroad experience not only provided her with a more global perspective of her place in the world, but also motivated her to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

“I have a changed perspective on how I live my life, thinking about how my actions affect the environment.”

A scholarship through SVSU’s Global Foundation Scholars (GFS) program made Olivia’s transformative study abroad experience possible. Beyond that, she worked hard to keep her SVSU education affordable. Olivia not only received the university’s Founder’s Scholarship and accessed grants, but also worked on campus.

“Scholarships opened doors to opportunities I wouldn’t have normally had.”

Young man in baseball cap standing next to young woman in bucket hatBeing involved in GFS also helped Olivia find her home at SVSU and eased the transition from her small town of West Branch.  It gave her a network of friends before class even started and enabled her to “become a more diverse and inclusive thinker”. In addition to GFS, she made the most of leadership opportunities, engaged in student research and served on Program Board and with Valley Nights, coordinating the annual Springfest the past two years. 

Ultimately, Olivia believes her involvement helped her stand out in the sea of bright, promising dental school applicants. She will be entering the dental program at Case Western Reserve University in the fall.

“Applying for dental school is insanely competitive. If I had not had scholarships, I would not have been able to participate in extracurricular, research and study abroad experiences. Dental schools look for students who are well-rounded. I needed the experiences to set myself apart.”

Scholarships relieved financial stress, but they also enabled Olivia to focus on out-of-class experiences that broadened her worldview, tested her limits, and strengthened her leadership skills so she could strive for academic excellence and realize her dreams. 

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