Since beginning his journey as a double major in Business Administration at the Tepper School and Creative Writing in the Dietrich College’s English department, not to mention playing on the men’s basketball team, Blake Chasen, BS ’16, has been infused with appreciation, predilection and perspiration surrounding the Carnegie Mellon community. So when he was presented with an opportunity to dedicate an additional year of his talents to the University as a Fifth Year Scholar, he gladly accepted.
Fifth Year Scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate a thoughtful and creative approach to their Carnegie Mellon experience and augment the community in unique ways. The program provides selected students with the opportunity to remain on campus for one extra year following the completion of their normal course of study. During that year, they are to complete a Community Impact Project.
“The program is designed to give students the opportunity to pursue a broadened educational experience while also working on a project that will enhance the campus community,” said Chasen. “I was motivated to get involved because of my love for our community.”
The Fifth Year Scholars program is represented by students who demonstrate excellence in both academic and extracurricular accomplishments. Scholars contribute to the intellectual community in a range of activities including completing undergraduate research, serving as program directors, and participating on college-based advisory councils.
Chasen is involved with many other activities including: the Student-Athlete Advisory Council; the English Department Student Advisory Council; the University Student Affairs Council; and various entrepreneurial centers with his startup company, flagtag, an app that offers users real-life prizes through a gamified, augmented reality Easter egg hunt.
It was this high level of participation in extracurricular activities that motivated Chasen to help other students who are juggling multiple ventures and assignments. His Community Impact Project, writing a manual he intends to entitle “Stress Manifesto,” will provide incoming students with best practices and helpful advice related to time management and stress reduction.
“I'll be talking to representatives from all over campus – athletics, Greek life, each of the colleges, and health services – to compile an informative guide for new students,” Chasen said.
In addition to completing the Community Impact Project, Chasen was also interested in the opportunity to pursue scholarly interests related to his fields of study, and continue his athletic career at Carnegie Mellon.
“I think that the program will help me toward my professional and personal goals because it will make me a more well-rounded scholar. I think that the breadth of my education through the Fifth Year Scholars program will serve me well,” he explained.
“Adding a fifth year to my studies will allow me to supplement my Business Administration and Creative Writing education with additional classes in philosophy and entrepreneurship.”
The additional year will also allow Chasen to participate in men’s basketball during the 2015-2016 season beginning on Nov. 17. After suffering a knee injury during his sophomore year, Chasen was forced to sit out for the season, making him eligible to play during his fifth year of studies.
“The abilities and interests of our undergraduate Business Administration students are quite wide-ranging, and Blake is a great example of that. All Business students must complete an academic minor, but through hard work and creating opportunities, he has turned a minor in English into an additional major in Creative Writing,” said Steve Pajewski, executive director of the Undergraduate Business program. “I look forward to seeing what Blake will be doing five years from now.”
The Fifth Year Scholar program was founded at Carnegie Mellon in 1991 in response to a proposal from several student leaders and faculty members. Fifth Year Scholars are supported by free tuition and a $7,000 fellowship.