Nicholas Dykstra

My name is Nicholas Dykstra and I am currently a fifth-year student here at
UW-Madison. I was born in Madison and have spent my entire life in this amazing
city besides my junior year of high school, which I spent studying abroad in Mexico
with Rotary International, and this current academic year, which I have been lucky
enough to spend in Belo Horizonte, Brazil studying at Universidade Federal de
Minas Gerais, one of the top universities in Brazil.
I grew up on the eastside of Madison, attending Lowell Elementary, Georgia
O’Keeffe Middle School and Madison East High School. I have always been an
outdoorsy individual and I am a huge fan of the Madison bike paths. I have always
been a proud Madisonian, and thanks to the Arndt Family Scholarship I am now a
proud Badger!
This scholarship, by eliminating the financial burden of pursuing a college
degree, has allowed me to challenge myself and construct my ideal university
experience. I am happy to say, that because of this scholarship, I was able to take a
5 th year to complete my degree here at UW-Madison. This means that I was able to
study abroad last year in Brazil, which has been an irreplaceable learning
experience. These extra two semesters also made it possible to challenge myself
with a triple major. I am only one year away from graduating with a degree in
Spanish, Portuguese and Biology and the Arndt Family Scholarship, and the
community that surrounds this scholarship, have been essential in the pursuit of my
academic dreams.
After graduation, I plan to spend a few years working and living life before
pursuing a PhD in the field of botany. I hope to find a job related to sustainability
and agriculture, either conducting research or producing food for the local
community. After completing my PhD, I have rather ambitious dreams of
reinventing the approach to agriculture in the United States, on both a cultural and
scientific/technological level. I am interested in medicine and public health, but my
love for the outdoors is too strong to ignore. I hope that at some point in my
professional career I am able to merge these two passions and change the way that
Americans get their food. The Arndt Scholarship, by making it possible for me to
pursue my undergraduate goals, has put me on the right path to eventually
accomplish this crazy dream of changing our agricultural system in order to
improve public health.
This Scholarship is an exemplary case of sharing one’s fortune. Being an
Arndt Scholar has reinforced, on a very personal level, the importance of paying it
forward. This scholarship has had a deep impact on my life and I am certain that this
impact will be a lasting one.
I could not be more grateful for the opportunities that the Arndt Family
Scholarship has presented me. Thank you to John Arndt, the entire Arndt Family and
everyone involved with this amazing scholarship. I cannot wait for my chance to pay
it forward!