LIHUE — Kauai High School graduate Michael Dressler was dispirited by the lack of positive responses to his scholarship applications, and almost lost momentum for his freshman year of college this upcoming fall.
But Dressler kept on trying, and he eventually found success.
“When I first started applying for them, it was pretty discouraging because I wasn’t getting anything for a while,” Dressler said. “But when I started getting some scholarships, it motivated me to keep applying for more. It really kept me going.”
This past week, Dressler, 18, earned his fourth scholarship, a Monsanto Hawaii’s Life Sciences Scholarship worth $1,000.
“I was a little surprised just because it’s so competitive. I wasn’t exactly expecting to get it,” he said. “It felt great though, it’s going to help me get through college.”
Monsanto Hawaii’s scholarship is open to graduating seniors of all high schools in Hawaii who will be attending college to pursue a discipline related to the life sciences, such as agriculture, biology, botany, genetics, horticulture, plant physiology, chemistry, crop science and soil science.
“It’s an exciting time with so many different life science career paths available for our youth,” said Dan Clegg, Monsanto’s Hawaii business operations lead. “Not only have they already demonstrated excellence in their high school academics, but through their pursuit of a life science career, they can apply their future knowledge toward making our community a better place to live.”
Of the 10 scholarship recipients, Dressler was the lone student from Kauai.
“I put a lot of work into the application and this was a very competitive one,” he said. “It felt really good to get it.”
He also received scholarships from the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, Kauai High School Foundation and the Bank of Hawaii. Dressler’s efforts are worth the trouble, since he intends to eventually attend medical school.
“Right now, I’m going to attend George Fox University in August,” he said. “It’s a Christian college in Oregon. I’m looking to go into orthopedics and become an orthopedic surgeon. And after I finish school, I want to come back to Kauai.”
When asked why, Dressler’s answer was simple.
“It’s nice here. I like Kauai more than anywhere else,” he said.
Dressler intends to major in biology, and already feels prepared, crediting his time at Kauai High as a student-athlete participating in soccer and tennis.
“Playing sports in high school and working around that was a good experience for me,” he said. “The biggest obstacle I have to overcome is time management.”
Dressler might already be pretty good at time management — in addition to academics and athletics during high school, he also performed community service and became an Eagle Scout.