On June 20, 2017, the Abramson Scholarship Foundation hosted a successful scholarship reception – with Scholar alumni, many board members, founders and former board members, as well as a number of people who were new to the Foundation in attendance. The Foundation honored the new class of 2017 Abramson Scholars, along with continuing Scholars.

Scholar speaker Yue Ou, 2017 Graduating Abramson Scholar, spoke beautifully about her experiences and how much the Foundation has meant to her success. See below for her speech, as well as some photos from that special evening.

Yue Ou, 2017 Graduating Abramson Scholar, The University of Maryland, Civil Engineering
Speech given at the June 20, 2017 Abramson Scholarship Reception

It is a great honor for me to have been invited to speak. Thank you all for making this opportunity possible.

To be honest, I never thought that I would be given the chance to speak in front of a group of such distinguished guests. About eight years ago, when I first moved to the U.S. from China, the bravest thing I could do was buy something from McDonald’s where I had to speak English. But even then, I always cheated to only purchase combos, because all I needed to say was “Number 1 please”. After four years of studying at Woodrow Wilson High School, I gained a lot of experience speaking English, however, I was used to sitting in an ESL class….

Very fortunately, I was selected to interview for an Abramson Scholarship to support my civil engineering studies at the University of Maryland . I still remember, even though I sat in front of ten board members answering questions with my poor English, I felt relaxed sharing my story. It was like talking to a bunch old friends about my life. When I learned that I was one of the recipients, I knew the experience would help me to grow. Four years later, I have evolved from a shy girl to a proud college graduate. Thank you Abramson family for supporting me. I would not be here with the success I’ve earned without your help!

There were always ups and downs during college, and luckily, I had a great mentor, Judge John McCabe, who made sure I was on the right track, invited me to his band concert, and introduced me to other great people in the field. I received emails from Mrs. Linda McKoy checking in with me throughout the semesters. I attended Abramson family dinners where I could relay my experiences. I prepared for my career with the Abramson Professional Development Workshop. I attended annual receptions to meet the many wonderful Abramson supporters. I also got the opportunity to be in a video for the Foundation’s 20th anniversary. There was also one other special thing that I got from the Abramson family, that I can’t share right now because it will spoil the surprise for the first year scholars. But believe me, the Abramson family knows how to cheer you up, no matter where you are. All of these great memories give me the confidence that Abramson will always be in my corner, no matter what.

Throughout my four years at Maryland, I have been guided by principles represented by Mr. Fred Abramson, and the mentors in the Abramson family. The most important one is to help others whenever possible. Another value I hold close is that each person has his or her own skills. As a minority who barely spoke English, I always thought I was at a disadvantage to other students. But the Abramson family showed me to not look for all my disadvantages, but to see all my unique advantages such as being a bilingual engineer.

My advice to the first year scholars is to cherish your time in college; four years will fly by in no time. Get out and meet people, many will become your friends for the rest of your lives.

Now that I have graduated, I hope to stay involved with Abramson and become a mentor. Abramson is full of people who have passion to help others, and I am looking forward to becoming one of them. I would like to end with a quote from British Playwright/Poet, Hada Bejar, “The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose”.

Thank you Abramson Family, and thank you everyone!