Trevor Osaki – Troop 295

Trevor Osaki í17 talks about ìDoes Federal Financial Aid Raise College Tuition?î Occidental Collegeís Undergraduate Research Center hosts their annual Summer Research Conference on Aug. 4, 2016. Student researchers presented their work as either oral or poster presentations at the final conference. The program lasts 10 weeks and involves independent research in all departments. (Photo by Marc Campos, Occidental College Photographer)

Trevor Osaki,  Troop 295, Cypress

Trevor Osaki graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Occidental College in Los Angeles in 2017. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2010 and was the second youth in the Orange County Council to receive the William T. Hornaday Award for Distinguished Service in Conservation. After graduating from Occidental College, Trevor decided to pursue a doctorate degree in economics and received a five-year fellowship to support his post-graduate endeavor.

Professionally, what are you doing to today?

I am a third year Economics Ph.D. student at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where I teach a course in financial management in addition to completing my research and other educational requirements to earn my doctorate degree. My goal is to be a college professor and economist.

Why was achieving the rank of Eagle Scout meaningful to you?

Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout reflected a culmination of experiences, skills and values that I had learned up that milestone, whether it be outdoor skills, communication skills, or cheerful service for my community. Yet, I believe all Eagle Scouts must remember that this milestone does not mark an end, but rather a new beginning to utilizing the skills you have learned in Scouting. My responsibility as a Scout is not over (as they say, you are always an Eagle Scout) and I use what I learned in Scouting every day. This is all about applying everything I learned along my Scouting journey towards being an adult who makes a positive impact, whether to an individual, teammates or the community, in any shape or form – being a good citizen. And of course, there is always something new to learn!

What key skills did you learn in Scouting that has enabled you to be successful?

One of the key skills that I learned in Scouting is a sense of communication, which goes hand in hand with a lot of other skillsets such as teamwork and leadership. Strengthening my communication skills enabled me to be transparent with my peers and enabled us to better achieve both our personal and mutual goals. As a graduate teaching assistant and lecturer in economics classes at UCSB, I help communicate the course expectations with students so that they know what to do to learn the material and to succeed academically. Whenever I can, I  communicate with my students so that I know what to do to both address their needs and to make myself an effective educator – which is crucial for being able to present my own research or teaching a class. On reflection, Scouting prepared me to effectively communicate to a diverse group of individuals, no matter their cultural, religious, educational or ethnic background, or age.

What did you learn from Scouting that impacts your everyday life?

I think Scouting has helped me provide a clearer perspective of my surroundings and peers – in particular, what part I can do to make a difference to my community. Scouting inspired me to lend helping hands to those who may not be able to help themselves or may feel a bit lost. In my graduate program, I have been serving as a mentor to first-year students (who are subjected to rigorous coursework and test-taking all year long). I mentored a student who seemed to be having a bit of a tough time adjusting to graduate school life and connecting with his classmates. But I did my best to give him tips on making it through the first year and to be comfortable reaching out to his peers. To my surprise, he later cited that my mentorship made a big difference on his experience in his program thus far. I believe that if there is someone out there in need of help or in need of a friend, I might as well try to make a difference for them. A little bit of kindness towards others can go a long way!

Looking back, how did Scouting help you to get to where you are today?

Scouting has its challenges from completing a challenging hike or organizing and coordinating a service project, but it has inspired and endowed me with the self-confidence to continuously test and expand my limits. It is largely an exercise of having a bit of courage (after all, a scout is brave) to venture into areas of uncertainty, which may seem intimidating at first, but may lead to unimaginable positive outcomes. In college, I took a gamble of learning the ins and outs of economic research. Although academia is full of challenges, I challenged myself to venture into complex research which seemed to be intellectually stimulating, full of opportunities and above all – fun. My self-determination has led me on the path to successfully becoming an economist. Right now, I am loving every second of it!

What was your one best memory (event, activity, adventure, camp, award) of Scouting?

One of my favorite memories was going to the 2010 National Jamboree. I went on a East Coast tour before the commencement of the jamboree and got to see things I never thought I would (such as the liberty bell in Philadelphia or the Statue of Liberty in person).I made some new lifelong friends inside and outside my jamboree troop. The latter is especially important since the jamboree experience enables you to meet fellow Scouts from all over the country (and even the world). I encourage Scouts to attend a jamboree as part of their Scouting experience, if they can. The world is quite a diverse place, and I think every Scout growing up should be imbued with a sense of global community – to learn from others’ experiences and to also realize that each of us are a lot more alike and relatable than we think.

What else would you like to add about your experience in Scouting?

As I have described, Scouting has given me so many opportunities to make new friends, learn new skills and make a difference to others. I’ve would have never had these experiences if I had not been in Scouting. So, to all the boys and girls who have just taken their first steps into Scouts: I hope it does the same for you. Take advantage of the many opportunities it can provide, and they can take you to places you will have never imagined, now and in the future.

What advice do you have for a Scout who aspires to achieve the Eagle Scout rank?

it is a great goal and milestone, but remember, it does not mark the definite end of your Scouting experience. Attaining the rank only opens up a new chapter for you to continue your adventures. Many parables often compare reaching the rank of Eagle Scout to climbing and reaching the top of the mountain. The climb is challenging so you must pick up new skills to continue upward. But you reach the top of the mountain, it gives you a clearer view of your community and the world beyond that. A good, long view from the summit can give your bearings in life: where do you stand? What can you do to give back to your community? Furthermore, do you spot people that may need a helping hand? Once you have reached this rank – hike back down with fresh perspectives, to explore and make a difference in the world.