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Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Nathan Tappen smiles in this photo

May 2017


Nathan Tappen has a lot of experience helping and guiding others.

His long list of activities and involvement at Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, Ill., includes tutoring and mentoring underclassmen. His goals were to help younger students succeed academically, and encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and get involved.

"I talked to them about making the most out of high school and making it a good memory," Tappen said.

He plans to take his own advice, this time as an SAU Fighting Bee. This fall, Tappen will join the the campus community as an Ambrose Scholar, a designation that includes a full tuition scholarship.

Tappen is from the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, Ill. In high school, he excelled academically while maintaining deep involvement in school and community service activities. His desire to help others was sparked during a 5th grade field trip to a food pantry.

"I remember being exposed for the first time to what it is like around the world. Volunteering at the food pantry and seeing poverty in my own community was eye-opening," he said.

So he acted.

Tappen is a long-time volunteer for Feed My Starving Children, an organization which prepares, packages, and sends food to third world countries. During high school, he also volunteered at the Crystal Lake Food Pantry and Music Makers for Life Inc., a music school.

In high school, he was a member and treasurer of Tri-M Music Honors Society, a senior retreat leader, and an active member of National Honor Society.

Tappen plays the drums and was very active in various school music programs, including jazz band, pep band, rock band and the pit orchestra.

It was in passing that he heard about St. Ambrose University, "and when I looked into it, I liked what I saw. I prefer a small- to medium-sized campus and the Catholic aspect of it was important to me," he said.

He also liked SAU's strong academic programs. "The liberal arts focus is nice because you are are not just studying the surface of something, you are also looking at what is beneath, the ethics. You are not just taught how to solve a math problem-- you are also taught to ask questions," he said.

Tappen is looking forward to exploring all SAU offers, then deciding on a field of study. He is thankful for the scholarship and finding a university that encourages and supports service learning and volunteering.

"That reflects the kind of thing I have always tried to do-- to help others as much as I can. To know I found a university where I can easily continue to do that is a good thought," he said.

"A lot of people have helped me throughout my life and I am so blessed to have so many things and a comfortable life. It motivates me to help others," he added.

MORE LIKE THIS:AmbroseZine, For Prospective Undergraduates, Institutional-Campus

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