Elliot Nguyen '17, a music major and Phillip Evans Scholar from Menlo Park, Calif., adopted Kirby, a Shepard mix who was about to be put down, from the Providence Animal Center in Media, Pa. While Nguyen gave Kirby a new life, Kirby is also a giving new life to him. Nguyen has trouble with his balance, and Kirby is helping him get around campus.
"With Kirby, it's a lot steadier," he says. "I can go over ice and snow in a safer way than before." Nguyen also notes that Kirby can pick up household items like keys and open doors for him. Nguyen is in the process of training Kirby to be a certified service dog.
As an Evans Scholar, Nguyen receives financial support to plan creative and life-enhancing experiences that will expand his horizons and help him achieve his goals. Last summer, this meant purchasing woodworking tools to build a violin. He is now working on building a guitar out of spruce and black-hearted sassafras. "To engage in an artistic endeavor and be able to look back and see what I've accomplished," he says, "has been a really important experience for me."