Opportunity Scholar Stories

Opportunity Scholar Alum Gives Back to Help Future Students Succeed

By Veronica Craker

Former Opportunity Scholar Aaron McCullough has found joy in reconnecting to the organization. McCullough joined cohort four at Washington State Opportunity Scholarship in 2015. Today, he is a design engineer at Amphenol Network Solutions in Spokane. But McCullough is still a part of WSOS, now as a volunteer, giving his time to review essays from students applying for the Career and Technical Scholarship. He credits the experience with his local WSOS career development manager, who helped him navigate the difficult job market during the pandemic.

“We met often over my years in school,” McCullough said. “With his help, I developed an excellent resume and practiced many skills that helped me navigate a difficult job market during the pandemic. I still consider him a valuable resource.”  

McCullough grew up in a small town in Ferry County, where he admits to having little exposure to STEM fields.

“I knew I wanted to be a mechanical engineer thanks to a high school field trip, but I knew very little of what the job would look like,” he said. “College taught me not only the technical aspects of my degree but also gave me access to job fairs, clubs, and career development professionals. These resources helped me develop professional skills and the tools I needed to succeed in my field.”

McCullough is happy to be part of an organization providing equal educational opportunities for all students and believes that scholarships can play a crucial role in making this a reality.

“I always appreciated that WSOS not only took the time to invest financially in students, but also took particular interest in the success of each Scholar,” he said. “I found the occasional check-in via email or in person encouraging and the professional development resources helpful. One opportunity that I found especially meaningful was representing WSOS to my local community to greet new Opportunity Scholars and recruit new applicants. It was an opportunity to thank WSOS for their support and benefit my hometown with resources they desperately needed.”

McCullough recently supported WSOS by reviewing scholarship application essays. He says he found the process to be challenging and enjoyable.  

“It’s really fun to read the essays and see a variety of people from different walks of life and the struggles they’re going through and why they are pursuing this,” he said. “It’s rewarding just to see the students and their goals and aspirations and to know that since you’ve made it through, you can help them a little bit on the way.”

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