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Ryan T. Herich Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Herich Family
3 winners, $5,000 each
Application Deadline
Apr 15, 2024
Winners Announced
May 15, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Field of Study:
Political science, cultural anthropology, geography, or history
Education Level:
High school senior or 2 or 4-year undergraduate

Ryan T. Herich was a young man who loved a good political argument, was fascinated by ancient cultures and how they shape modern society, the physical world around us, and the lessons learned through historical events.

This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Ryan T. Herich by supporting students who are studying political science, cultural anthropology, geography, or history to better our world.

Any high school senior or two or four-year undergraduate, studying or planning to study one of these majors is encouraged to apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us about yourself and how you plan to make a difference in the world by better understanding how the lessons learned from history, cultural anthropology, political science or geography might make the world a better place.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published December 12, 2023
Essay Topic

Tell us about yourself and how you plan to make a difference in the world by better understanding how the lessons learned from history, cultural anthropology, political science or geography might make the world a better place.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Joshua Barker
John F Kennedy High SchoolCedar Rapids, IA
Hello Herich family, I'm Joshua. Before I start, I'd like to thank you all for putting this scholarship out there. It can be difficult attempting to finance college, especially within the last two decades. I'd also like to express my sympathy for your loss. While I know little about Ryan, your description makes me believe he'd be quite interesting to talk to. (especially since our interests seem to align so well) Regardless, since this is a scholarship application, I should probably start answering the prompt. As said, I'm Joshua Barker, a 17-year-old ambitious high school senior with a love for all things historical, political, military, or generally challenging. Therefore, it's quite obvious I'm already excited for college which I'll be attending in mere months. Entering with the goal of triple majoring in Public Relations, Economics, and Political Science, I can already see my work will be cut out for me. However, I'm quite fine with such a workload because I believe it will help me reach my dream. That dream is, to become a state senator or representative so I can advocate for and protect, liberty, justice, and life. To put it simply, I want to become a politician... which on paper, makes no sense. Politicians the bad side of many jokes and are commonly seen as corrupt, self-serving, evil, or just plain stupid individuals. (All things which I don't believe myself to be) However, when responsible, a politician can have tremendous power in bringing hope, change, and safety to a society. I learned the truth of this lesson a long time ago when I first developed my love for history in the 7th grade. During my second year in middle school, I began to learn about history through the lenses of strategy games, books, and YouTube. One such instance was when I first discovered a new YouTube channel called World War Two. Presented by Indy Neidell and Spartacus Olsen, this documentary channel would cover the history of the Second World War week by week, not letting a single event be forgotten, or single story untold. Their goal of spreading history and the stories of its people would proceed to change my life forever. Releasing on a week-by-week basis, this series threw me into a unique perspective by learning from the world's worst collective history in real time. With emotions that I can't put into words, I would learn of the systems of Nazi terror, their systematic usage of hate, the Soviet Purges, the Katyn and Babi Yar Massacres, the Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Implementation of the Final Solution, and so much more. The list is still growing for me, the series hasn't even finished yet, and my own research is still years later incomplete. But why is this important to me, or important to anyone? It's important because there is a lesson to be learned from the horror. Behind nearly every single event in human history, there is a person. Someone who was born, grew up through childhood, worked a job, had a family, experienced love, and wasn't all too different from you. Yet almost every single ruthless or evil event in history can be tied back to a person just like that. Just like me. Just like you. History taught me the importance of understanding our collective history and the costs that come with ignoring evil. History taught me how just one person can change the lives of millions if not billions. History taught me I can achieve something. Now I want to try, and maybe this scholarship will help.
Erick Sanchez Hernandez
California State University-Los AngelesFontana, CA
Detra Dor
The College of the Florida KeysKey West, FL
Foremost thank you to the Ryan T. Herlich Scholarship committee for this opportunity. I look forward to using this time in this essay to provide an understating of how my I will use my education to support not only my future but, also the future of my state and country. In order to help you understand my drive for political change I have to let you know a little more in about who Detra is. To begin with I am the youngest of four siblings, my mother is a fifth generation Conch, no not the mollusk a Conch is what we call people born and raised in Key West, she has been active in local community service since middle school, and last but far from least is my father, a Haitian immigrant who came to this country at the age of twenty leaving behind my two older sibling to make a better way and life for them here. And that man and that woman are the reason I want to be a conduit for change. I grew up in a home where you could find FOX NEWS, CNN, BBC, or MSNBC playing at any time. Road trips we listened to music and played games but we also listened to NPR and hosted our own theoretical, philosophical and most times heated debates. Even being the youngest of four very individual siblings I was never one to back down from expressing my own views, even when mom and dad joined the conversation. I can still hear my mom yell from the front seat, “Stick to the facts!” It also helped that I loved spending time with my grandparents, my mother’s father is a local politician and I love seeing him in action. I love watching him get his point across, in a room that could be a sea of discontent, my grandfather could walk out with people seeing his perspective and understanding…even if their feathers were still ruffled, there is respect. Something that is desperately missing from today’s political climate, respect, respect for differences of opinions. Much like on those road trips where me and my siblings and parents would get our heated points across but still love and respect each other while not losing site of the ultimate goal. I do feel as though we as a country have lost that respect and sight of an ultimate goal, with the help of this scholarship my education will help me learn more about the roots of my country, the ability to communicate effectively and help me and others like me that know the gap is not as great as “the spin” makes it out to be close it. I have already embarked on a path there, I have participated in Florida’s Girls State Program, Florida’s House Page and Messenger Program, and Florida’s Senate Page Program. My sincerest intention is to double major in political science, and constitutional law, currently I’m a theater kid so with all my tools I feel as though I’ll be a natural politician. I want to use my very dynamically diverse background to help prove politically we all have a meeting place and even if feathers are ruffled when we leave that space we can leave each other with respect.
Charles Walters
Northgate High SchoolWalnut Creek, CA
I love politics for a lot of the same reasons that I assume Ryan did. I love the dialogue, the arguments, and the new opinions. I feel best after a political discussion when someone changed my mind and presented me with an idea that challenged my own beliefs. Politics and government can be so toxic and hateful, especially at the highest levels. I believe that our current environment has flaws. I know that I alone can not change that. Those changes come from individuals having conversations. My hope for college is to go have political discussions. I plan on attending school in Washington DC, an area filled with political minds. I know that I am happiest when I am surrounded by people who are interested in politics, government, and history. I first realized this when I had the opportunity to attend California Boys State. This is the largest mock-government program in California and is put on by the American Legion. This was a week spent strictly with people like Ryan and myself. I often found myself and the other kids, discussing issues such as tax policy, school police officers, and healthcare late into the night. As a kid who likes politics, it was the best week of the year. Every great politician has been able to have a conversation and come to an agreement. We have seen this throughout American History. From Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson’s compromise over the National bank and the location of the Capital to more modern history with the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. All of America’s greatest leaders have been able to get in a room and compromise. It is what has kept our country together for over two centuries. With my college education, I want to be able to be in those rooms. I want to see where the deals get made. Hear the conversations that change the course of history. I know those are the conversations that change the world, I just want a seat at the table. At the end of the day, politics is about helping people. Individuals elect politicians to better their lives. I believe that current politicians do not have this in mind. One of my political heroes is not a name that you would have heard on the news. Her name is Karen Tedford and she is now the head of voter outreach in Contra Costa County. I first met Karen when I was helping with my school’s voter registration day. After introductions, we instantly clicked. Karen showed me the impact that the government can have on an individual's life. Karen was a longtime case manager for Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher. I was lucky enough to hear her stories of fighting for her constituents. She told me tales of how she trapped members of the labor department in their offices until they helped her constituents, or how she threatened to step on the toes of the joint chiefs if they did not help veterans with PTSD. I know that if I can do half the good she can, I can make an impact in my community. Politics, government, and history are what I am passionate about. I stay up late watching youtube videos and try to debate with any adult I see. I simply can not get enough of any of it. I know that given the opportunity, I can help make a change. I just want to be given the chance to make that happen.
Sydnie VanArsdale
Wichita State UniversityWICHITA, KS
Hi, I am Sydnie VanArsdale and I am going to be attending Washburn University fall of 2023 for Political Science. I am a self-proclaimed nerd, I love reading, history, international policy, debate, and just intaking knowledge. I am also a self-proclaimed plethora of useless information or at least that is what I am to a lot of people. I would say I know a pretty nice amount about political science and I will never admit I know everything because that is true, I will never know everything about it but that won't stop me from learning more about it whenever I get an option. I know you are probably looking for some type of essay about how democracy has affected our everyday lives or some vast, jargon-sounding idea that makes the world better or rather how it can but that is not what this will be. My personal thought behind how the world can become a better place based on what I have learned through the topics stated in the prompt is simply, we as people need a more open mind. I am well aware that many people believe or even do have rather open minds when it comes to many topics but when you look at history all of the truly open-minded civilizations have been the most successful. For example the Romans, they traveled all around or at least as far as all around was for them, they discovered new lands, new people, new everything and were willing to incorporate many of the concepts and items into their every day lives. Although they did not lack their issues they still were so incredibly prosperous and innovative simply from their open-mindedness. That is a quality that the people in our time lack drastically, everyone thinks they know everything and are constantly correct, it is there way or no way and due to this, although we are very advanced, we have slowed down innovation because we are not willing to listen to possibilities. This could be a true game changer in my opinion when it comes to diplomacy, social issues, and especially war we just must be willing to implement it.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 15, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 15, 2024.

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