North Lake High School 2020 graduate Jillian Rudolf, who competed in volleyball, basketball and track and field, was one of six scholar athletes in Oregon who was awarded a $3,000 scholarship from the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, and the only one from eastern Oregon.
Rudolf, who is attending Oregon State University (OSU) this fall and majoring in rangeland sciences with a sustainable livestock ranching option, said that she applied for the scholarship on a bit of a whim, not thinking that she really had a shot. She had most of the material that was required for the scholarship such as transcripts, she just needed to write an essay.
“Why not give it a shot? I had been looking up and applying for all of these scholarships and just submitted applications,” said Rudolf.
She started attending North Lake in the seventh grade and quickly became involved in sports. Her family has been farming in the Christmas Valley area for generations, and being involved not only in sports but in the local FFA program prepared her to feel confident about applying for scholarships such as the one she just won, but also to choose an ag-related path.
“I did not just want to focus on animal sciences, as I did not want to be a veterinarian, I wanted to focus on a mixture of crop and animal sciences,” said Rudolf.
When she was talking to an advisor at OSU she learned that the program is fairly small compared to other programs at the university and that it will allow her to have one-on-one interaction with the professors and to be able to explore a wide range of opportunities and make contacts.
Rudolf said she really enjoys studying soils, and that was the focus when she was in the FFA program at North Lake.
Instead of limiting herself to one area, Rudolf wanted to be in a field that would allow her to study soils, animal sciences and natural resources. She said that her degree will allow her to work with natural resource organizations, the Bureau of Land Management, or even farm or ranch as it will give her a background in the sciences would help her if she decides to go the farming route. Rudolf is currently planning on going into government natural resource management.
She had advice for this year’s seniors, and advice for any high school student, encouraging them to apply for as many scholarships as they can. She recommended that students do their research, search for scholarships, and get the materials together as many scholarships require the same basic material such as transcripts and letters of recommendation.
“As a senior apply for every scholarship that you can, do not expect to win, buckle down and see it through,” said Rudolf.
The scholarship through the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame is made possible by contributions from the Mac Tarnahan Family Trust and only awards six scholarships across Oregon for students who plan to attend college in the state.