First-year student, Allyson Ritchey, earned the Horatio Alger National Scholarship – a scholarship with a .27 percent acceptance rate and awarded to only 106 students nationwide. 

During Ritchey’s senior year at Northern Bedford County High School, she received an email stating she won the scholarship, which she described as slightly “underwhelming.” Though, Ritchey quickly became shocked after realizing she actually applied for the $25,000 national scholarship; not the $10,000 state-level scholarship.  

At Shippensburg, Ritchey studies communication/journalism with a concentration in public relations and a minor in sociology. She also is a student in the Wood Honors College. Knowing the scholarship’s impact on her academically, she expressed, “I feel very glad for the financial security to study what I want.”  

The Horatio Alger National Scholarship assists students who have faced and overcome much adversity in their lives. During the application process, Ritchey wrote about her struggles with her mom dying of leukemia in 2012 and her dad facing arrest in 2014. Her essays detailed how she persevered through these trials to succeed academically and in her extracurriculars. 

The scholarship also includes an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. for the National Scholars Conference. Due to the pandemic, last year’s conference took place virtually over three different sessions. Ritchey said the virtual conference involved speeches from a number of well-known individuals, including High School Musical star, Corbin Bleu, and American poet, Amanda Gorman, who spoke at President Biden’s inauguration.  

Ritchey said she became aware of the significance of the scholarship when she heard they were to receive their medals from the United States Supreme Court during the D.C. trip. Luckily, the Horatio Alger Association rescheduled the in-person conference for October, 2021.  

Despite the national conference being rescheduled, Ritchey attributes a wonderful first year at Ship to the SU Marching Band and the Wood Honors College. She expressed, “I don’t know what I would have done this past year without the friends I’ve made through the Honors College.” 

Ritchey looks forward to the upcoming D.C. trip along with all that Ship has in store for the rest of her undergraduate experience.