Anjard is thankful for his experiences and accomplishments at Kansas State University, made possible by scholarships and the generous donors who fund them.
Passionate, hard-working and service-minded is how those who know Thomas Anjard describe him. A senior in industrial engineering from Overland Park, Kansas, Thomas is thankful for his experiences and accomplishments at Kansas State University, made possible by scholarships and the generous donors who fund them.
“I think scholarships are important because students come from very different backgrounds,” Thomas said. “Scholarships help because they give every student the opportunity to achieve their goals, regardless of whatever their life was like before. I wouldn’t be at K-State if it wasn’t for the scholarships offered to me.”
During his early years of high school, Thomas and his family were financially unstable and experienced food insecurity. Because of this experience, Thomas initiated the Food Recovery Network in Manhattan, which is a national nonprofit group and student movement against hunger and food waste. Thomas and his team collected food from the performance table for athletes and distributed it to local churches to feed the homeless.
“I went through difficult times in high school, but it made me more aware. When I came to K-State, I thought about what I could do on campus to make a change,” Thomas said. “When I found out so many students were food insecure, I wanted to create a way to get these students really nutritious, good food. Food isn’t something students should have to worry about.”
During his time at K-State, Thomas received numerous scholarships, such as the Goss Discovery Scholarship, Celebrating Service and Leadership Award, Neal Atkinson Junior Leadership Award, Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity McKee Scholarship and the Koplik Memorial Scholarship. Thomas also received the Gilman Scholarship, which allowed him to study abroad in the Czech Republic at Czech Technical University. Only 27 percent of applicants received the award the year he applied.
“I think every scholarship I’ve received has been personal. I’ve been working since I was 12 to put myself through school,” Thomas said. “When I received any type of scholarship, I was aware of the monetary value and how much of a commitment it takes for someone else to give that away so a student could go to school. It’s something that made me motivated to do well.”
Thomas received an unexpected letter from one of the scholarship donors, expressing appreciation for his hard work and assuring a bright future. Thomas keeps the letter in his backpack for daily motivation.
“When I read the letter, it puts into perspective that it’s more than just some person donating their money to some kid to go to school,” Thomas said. “It’s more personal, and there’s so many people that are focused on helping students like myself.”
On top of his commitment to the Food Recovery Network, Thomas is involved in the senior honor society Blue Key as the director of scholarships.
“I had so much experience with scholarships affecting my life that I wanted to be in charge of the whole scholarship process for Blue Key, so I could help students the way Blue Key helped me,” Thomas said.
Thomas said his favorite experiences at K-State included joining a fraternity — Delta Sigma Phi — studying abroad, establishing the Food Recovery Network, and being one of the student founders of the IMSE Skill Xcelerator, which is a program designed to help students develop technical and professional skills. After graduation, Thomas intends to stay involved with K-State by serving as a mentor for students in the Skill Xcelerator.
Thomas’ achievements have been a result of his hard work ethic, along with support from donors. After facing various challenges in life, Thomas looks toward the future and hopes to continue making a difference in the community. “I definitely know that so many opportunities I’ve had have been because of help from other people,” Thomas said. “They’re giving it to me so that I’m able to achieve my goals and have the experiences that will help me grow into the person I’m going to be.”