Marly Beck Reframes Her Thinking

Marly Beck photo
When faced with a number of rejections in pursuing scholarships over a three year period, Marly Beck, a Purdue University senior from Indianapolis, took time to reflect and reframe her thinking. In the process, she exemplified grit, one of the 5 pillars in Purdue’s Steps to Leaps program.

The definition of grit within the constructs of Steps to Leaps states, “Life is full of ups and downs. Learn strategies to tap into your inner fortitude to overcome challenges and become your best Boilermaker with steps to resolve and character.”

Marly’s resolve and character were tested when she sought scholarships. “I applied to a number of graduate school scholarships with the idea that I wanted to study in the UK and needed to get some graduate funding to do so. I received a string of rejections from every single one. I realized that if this wasn't the path that my skills had prepared me for, then I had to think more creatively about it.”

Marly is studying for a dual degree in sustainable food and farming systems in the College of Agriculture and global studies in the College of Liberal Arts. She is the student director of ACE Campus Food Pantry and active in the Purdue Student Farm Organization.

The ACE Campus Food Pantry makes food more readily available to Purdue students, faculty and staff who experience food insecurity. It also focuses on the eradication of the root causes of hunger.  

The Purdue Student Farm Organization supports the Purdue Student Farm and promotes sustainable food and agriculture in the community. Members water transplants in the greenhouse, build infrastructure, plant crops, weed, harvest, deliver produce, and host social and educational events related to small farming.

The scholarships for which Marly applied and did not receive were aimed toward leadership and commitment to intercultural learning. After some introspection, Marly decided to switch gears and apply for service programs.

“I realized that the activities I have been involved in were giving me the skills to focus in those areas,” Marly said. “I determined that what I'm good at might not be related to graduate school programs and intensive academic programs. I love interacting with people directly and working on advocacy. My interests and strengths tie to working with communities and service. So I'm applying for service programs in the next few years.”

Marly demonstrates her passion for advocacy through her volunteer activities. “I was able to connect ACE and the student farm, and we have a really good relationship,” Marly said. “I'm passionate about examining food insecurity around college campuses to see how it impacts education. A college campus is where technology, social sciences and social understanding interact. It’s like a makerspace for creative solutions to not enough food access or availability."

Marly has advice to other students who face turndown. “Take a short minute to be sad about a rejection, but also take a moment to examine yourself and better understand what you want out of experiences and where you could grow.”