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Summerlin wins ServiceScape Scholarship

A photo of Nick Summerlin.

Nick Summerlin


Nick Summerlin, a West Virginia University engineering student, has won the 2018 ServiceScape Scholarship with his creative essay on the power of language, even at its most simplistic.  

To be eligible for the $1,000 scholarship, Summerlin had to submit an essay under 300 words on a specific topic that varies each year. 

In his 273-word essay, Summerlin commends the power behind even the most simplistic writing. He wrote, “It doesn't take the strongest vocabulary or the lengthiest literature to get a point across but being able to use words in a way that is captivating and provoking can go a long way.”

Although just a freshman, Summerlin is already learning much about what it means to write and communicate in the discipline of engineering.

“I have learned that you must be very precise with your writing in engineering so that the design or experiment can be replicated,” he said.

Using Robert Frost’s poem, “Fire and Ice,” and Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” Summerlin focused on the eloquence and everlasting hold these examples still have on the world today.  Summerlin transcribed, “Frost wrote that poem in 1920, consisting of nine lines and 51 words. It has been read all over the world and interpreted in hundreds of ways since then … Lincoln's writing is still one of the most influential speeches ever, and it only lasted two minutes.”

When asked about his own writing, Summerlin said, “I love to write poetry. It’s something that I do to clear my mind and it allows me to put my thoughts onto paper in my own artistic language. I am also an avid photographer and feel that my photos are another form of writing, one with which the viewer creates the story.”

As an engineering student who writes poetry and dabbles in photography, Summerlin feels that his brain is wired both logically and creatively, which will be a strength when he becomes an engineer.

“Engineers can absolutely be considered creatives and artists,” he explained. “Those aspects of an engineer are very important as they allow them to come up with ideas and innovations that no one else could come up with.”

A freshman in the Statler College, Summerlin is planning to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. “I feel that this field suits me best because it is very hands-on and physics-heavy, things that I thoroughly enjoy. I have always loved building things and tearing them apart and understanding how things move and react based on physics.

“My favorite thing about being an engineering student at WVU has been meeting people from all walks of life. I feel that there is an abundance of diversity, and I find that I can get along well with just about anyone. My least favorite thing has probably been the workload, but even then, I feel fulfilled from all the things I have achieved so far.”



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