Doctoral Student Receives International Scholarship for Dedication to Sustainable Change

12-17-2018


by Ellie Walburg (B.S. ’17)

Education helps empower learners to be positive influences in their communities. Recognition for that can help fuel their motivation.

That's the case for students like Brad Brown.

Brown is a current student in Cornerstone University's Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership and Development program. He serves the community as assistant chief of administration at the Grand Rapids Fire Department. With his dedication to education and being equipped for sustainable impact, Brown was awarded an international scholarship in recognition for his educational influence.

The Richard A. Freund International Scholarship is an international award given by the American Society for Quality (ASQ), an organization in over 130 countries that promotes quality champions in transforming the world's organizations. The scholarship is in honor of Richard A Freund, past ASQ president, to support the recipient as he or she pursues graduate studies.

One award is distributed annually to an applicant from around the world. The focus of the scholarship is on awarding a graduate student in a field that aligns with quality control, quality improvement and/or management.

"I've been a member of ASQ for about 10 years and they really influence quality in every industry," Brown says. "Lean and continuous improvement initiatives are a big piece to that, and that's what I'm studying at Cornerstone in the Ed.D. program."

Dr. Jeff Savage, dean of business for Cornerstone's Professional & Graduate Studies (PGS) division, mentions how this award is a testament to Brown's quality work.

"Brad is a high-caliber student and an impressive leader in his profession," he says. "His professional work informs his scholarship within the doctoral program, and the doctoral program influences his contributions to the work that he does, the impact he has and the leadership he provides. We are pleased that The American Society for Quality has recognized one of our students for this distinctive scholarship, and it's great to see that financial opportunities exist for students to help them pay for their doctoral studies."

Not only does this scholarship provide Brown the opportunity to cover some of the cost of tuition, it also serves as a motivation and encouragement for him as he continues on his doctoral journey.

"To put my dissertation focus out to a third party and have them acknowledge, 'this is a good course of study that will have an impact on society,' and validate that through this scholarship, it really provides motivation for me as I'm 18 months into this journey," Brown says.

Perhaps part of what captured the review board at ASQ is Brown's consistent ability to apply what he's learning to bring about positive change in the Grand Rapids community. "Not a day goes by when I cannot directly apply my coursework to my job," he says. "Time and time again, the curriculum really impacts how we respond to the citizens of Grand Rapids."

Empowering leaders for real-world influence is a foundation on which the Ed.D. program is built. Savage has recognized Brown's influence in the doctoral program.

"Within requirements for this scholarship, one sees the foundation of our program, which is to apply research and theory to practice," Savage says. "Our doctoral program is theory-informed but practitioner-focused. For one of our students to receive this kind of an award signifies that a prestigious outside organization recognizes the value of what our students are doing in their professions."

Earning recognition from this international organization through this scholarship has propelled Brown on a course for continued success and to finish his program strong.

"I'm humbled," Brown says. "It was an international award given to only one person in the world, and for them to recognize a firefighter from Grand Rapids is a bit overwhelming. I'm very appreciative of the opportunities I've been given and understand that I want and need to give back because I've been given so much.

"I really feel like there's nothing between now and my graduation that stands in my way. I know that when my cohort and I come out on the other side, we're going to have a bigger impact on this world."

With a passion for the Grand Rapids community and for education, Brown's real-world influence is something worth celebrating.