June 26, 2014

Scholarly Impact

Erika Trigg, past scholarship recipient

Erika Trigg, Saginaw native and recipient of several Saginaw Community Foundation scholarships.








At age six, Erika Trigg loved animals. When she grew up, she wanted to be a veterinarian. By age 10 or so, surrounded by a microscope, specimen slides and gurgling test tubes hung over a Bunsen Burner at the kitchen table, she was certain she’d be a scientist. A desire she maintained into college. She loved to experiment. She loved to find the solution. And where she wound up isn’t where she thought she’d be.


Pursing interests

Erika is an exceptional student and individual. She graduated in 2010 number two in her class of 43 from Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy (SASA). She was a math/science concentration student, finishing with a 4.02 grade point average with plans to enter college to study medicine or science.
As a result of her hard work and determination in high school, Erika was awarded numerous scholarships, including several from Saginaw Community Foundation.
“I am so grateful for the scholarships I received from the Foundation,” said Erika. “I was able to attend college without incurring any student loans. I was able to focus on my studies and pursue things that interested me.”


Extraordinary extracurricular

Over the last four years at the University of Michigan-Flint, full-time student Erika has been busy. Not only with her studies, but with getting to know her adopted community of Flint, Mich.
“I feel like you don’t truly know a community until you know its needs.”
It’s a mantra that has guided Erika since growing up in Saginaw. Volunteering here, she learned about her hometown. And when she moved to Flint, she got to work getting to know her adopted community in the same way – by giving back.
She has stood outside in the cold and snow ringing a bell for the Salvation Army. She has assisted at the North End Soup Kitchen and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. She served as a programming intern and most recently the director of communications for Michigan Youth Leadership. And this is just to name a few of the 14 organizations where Erika has made an impact.
“It feels good. I really enjoy the satisfaction I get knowing I am helping someone.”
Because giving back is what Erika does – and so far she given 907 hours of her time while maintaining a 3.96 grade point average.


Finding a calling

Erika’s mother, father and grandmother all had careers in the medical field. And given her interest in math, science and medicine at an early age, it seemed like she would follow her family’s footsteps. But things didn’t quite turn out the way anyone expected.
“I became involved with multiple student organizations and committees right away so I could truly learn all that the university had to offer,” said Erika. “Eventually, I became an orientation leader.”
Erika soon discovered that as an orientation leader, she would be able to inspire incoming students to fall in love with their new university and spark a desire to become connected to the school, other students and staff.
“Interacting with others, planning events and being hands-on had always been hobbies of mine. When I learned I could make a career out of that interest, it prompted me to switch to a communications major. I graduated in May and this fall I will pursue a Master of Arts degree in student affairs administration at Michigan State University.”
According to Erika, orientation is where students begin to establish a sense of belonging.
“I have found (being an orientation leader) very rewarding.”


Looking forward

The future looks bright for Erika. A future that she is confident she will make a difference in by continuing to work hard and connect with students to have an impact on their career decisions.
“My mother is an inspiration to me. I remember seeing her work hard when I was younger to get her Master’s degree. She taught me that hard work pays off and I want to work just as hard as she did to achieve my goals.”
As another way to give back, Erika and her mother are exploring creating a new scholarship here at Saginaw Community Foundation.
“I can’t thank the community foundation and its scholarship donors enough. The scholarships I received made such a difference in my life and allowed me to find a dream I didn’t know I had. My mother and I want to be able to offer students an opportunity to find their dream like I found mine.”





2013 was another great year of making an impact in Saginaw County. Download a PDF and read more inspiring stories and see what is going on “behind-the-scenes” in our latest annual report.