“We were both very fortunate, attending SDSU, to achieve some academic scholarships. Both of us landing here in Brookings and having such a great time at SDSU, we wanted to give back.”
During their three years as SDSU Admissions Ambassadors, Tyson and Nicole Leite gave hundreds of campus tours to prospective students and their parents. However, now busy, young parents themselves, they get another tour each spring provided by the student who receives the Tyson and Nicole Leite Student Ambassador Scholarship.
“We did put that one stipulation in there,” said Tyson, “that being ex-ambassadors, we’d like a tour. That was my favorite part of being an Admissions Ambassador was giving tours. I always jumped at the chance to give a tour of SDSU.”
Nicole said that while they live in Brookings—Tyson is a product service engineer with 3M and Nicole is a second grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary—they don’t often get to see what’s happening on campus.
“Even though we live in Brookings, and we have season tickets to football, basketball and wrestling, we don’t get to see the campus,” Nicole said. “We see Frost Arena and the stadium. It’s fun to see how the dorms have changed.”
Maybe it was due to Tyson’s engineering background—he majored in manufacturing engineering techology and industrial management—but his favorite part of the tour was always showing off the 3D model of the campus in the Briggs Library.
“We had to go there and see,” said Nicole of their latest tour. “It’s still there. And it’s updated."
"Tyson was in his glory.”
>> Nicole Leite
“I loved, loved, loved showing that,” Tyson said of his days giving campus tours. “We always talk about how it’s a walking campus. I loved pointing out all the buildings, the proximity of the buildings.”
During their time working for Admissions, Ambassadors were required to offer one tour a week, usually on Fridays. They also worked at Jackrabbit receptions around the state and during Senior Day and Junior Day.
“You give five or six tours a day on those days when you have a huge audience that comes to SDSU,” Tyson said.
Students could also put in extra time in the Admissions office. Nicole—an early childhood education major— took advantage of that.
Juggling work and academics was important to the Leites when they were in school and as they tried to decide how to give back to SDSU.
“The Ambassador program is near and dear to us. We both worked on campus while we studied through the Ambassador program. That’s why we wanted to give it to someone who focused on that same academic and work balance in college.”
>> Tyson Leite
With new attention focused on their baby Jackson, now seven months old, smart choices help their gift go farther. The Leites use a match from 3M to fund half the scholarship. Yet, less than 10 years removed from graduation, they are younger than most alumni who decide to fund scholarships.
“We were both very fortunate, attending SDSU, to achieve some academic scholarships,” Tyson said. “Both of us landing here in Brookings and having such a great time at SDSU, we wanted to give back.”
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