Scholarships allow brother to reach for new heights

A sophomore at the time, Sean Luo (Illinois ’17) was pleasantly surprised when he received not one, but two prestigious scholarships through Phi Kappa Psi.

“I’d been having a great semester academically and working hard at volunteer roles in and beyond the chapter,” said Luo, who was serving as IL Delta Chapter Historian at the time. “I decided to apply for our chapter’s Renaissance Man scholarship.” This scholarship is given every year to an IL Delta brother who excels in academics, community service, and service to the fraternity.

That $1,190 award came via a disbursement from IL Delta’s Chapter Scholarship Fund, an endowed fund made possible primarily by the chapter’s own alumni and managed by the Phi Kappa Psi Foundation.

A few weeks later, Luo received the national Watkins Christian Scholar Award, a $2,500 scholarship recognizing a Phi Psi who inspires his peers and demonstrates his faith on campus and in the community.

“Out of all the Phi Psis in the nation, it was extremely humbling to be selected for this award,” Luo said. “I participate a lot in my church on campus and do my best to share my faith with my brothers in the house.”

The awards were helpful in meeting expenses associated with Luo’s dream internship with NASA, as well as offsetting his tuition. He successfully completed his NASA internship June-August 2018.

“Being honored with two fraternity scholarships really confirms to me that joining Phi Psi was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life, as well as the biggest influence on my college career. The support helped pay for food and travel as I worked for NASA through The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the remainder helped with tuition and books.”

Not only was Phi Psi behind Brother Luo financially during his internship, but the brotherhood was there to welcome him personally, too.

“I was hundreds of miles from my hometown and didn’t know anyone. It was very intimidating. But, early in my stay, my chapter advisor connected me with a recent IL Delta graduate who was working in the same area I was. We spent a day together and I immediately felt more at home. It was then that I realized just how great Phi Psi really is, and I am extremely blessed to be a part of it.”

Sean Luo is a computer engineering major who hopes to live and work in a large metropolitan area where many Phi Psi brothers are living. He plans to return the generosity that made his scholarships possible. “Phi Psi has done so much for me in the past three years, and it would be a blessing to give back to it one day,” he said.