Aidan Livingston, Class of 2020
Aidan Livingston, Searcy Family Scholarship Recipient
The first time Aidan Livingston truly felt the power of the Vanderbilt community was during his Introduction to Astronomy course.
As he walked into Professor David Weintraub’s office one day—worried about “burdening” him with basic questions—he was stunned to find that Weintraub was excited to help him.
“He’s this guy who’s a fantastic professor at a great university, who’s writing books left and right, and who’s getting high praise. To have access to people like that, who want to help you and who are great at what they do, is really cool,” Livingston says.
It was a defining moment for him, and indicative of the value Vanderbilt places on faculty mentorship of undergraduate students. Livingston has since come to appreciate the many relationships he has forged with faculty members invested in his personal and educational growth.
As a high school senior from Naperville, Illinois, Livingston visited Nashville for a campus tour on an unseasonably cold fall day. Despite the weather, he immediately felt the warmth of Vanderbilt’s welcoming atmosphere. He was ecstatic when he got his early-decision acceptance letter and learned of the generous financial aid package awarded to him through Opportunity Vanderbilt.
“My mom was at work when I opened it,” Livingston recalls. “It was nice to be able to call her and say ‘I got in, but also…’”
In addition to the acceptance letter, he had also received the Searcy Family Scholarship, established by Conner and Ginny Searcy for students at the College of Arts and Science. Livingston’s father passed away when he was fifteen, so the scholarship support helped ease the financial responsibility for his mother, who was also putting his older brother through college.
“Having the ability to experience Vanderbilt debt free has been wonderful and something I never dreamed of,” he says.
Livingston’s not one to let such an opportunity go to waste; he has worked hard to make the most of his time at Vanderbilt. He’s an economics major currently completing the honors program, a teaching assistant for Associate Professor Willis Hulings and a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. And, Livingston spends several hours a week working at the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery.
As a member of the Men’s Cross Country team, Livingston also spends much of his time running—a longtime passion. He finds joy in the training and accomplishment in working toward longer-term goals.
“It’s easy in college to get a bit lost,” he says. “It’s kind of this summation of short-term things, like assignments or tests, so it’s nice to pursue something over an extended period of time and see how it turns out.”
With the support of the Searcy Family Scholarship, Livingston has more freedom and flexibility to explore his future beyond Vanderbilt. He followed in his older brother’s footsteps this summer with an investment banking internship in New York and is considering concentrating on international trade for his senior research project.
During his final year at Vanderbilt, he is keeping his career options open. Regardless of where he ends up, Livingston is grateful to Vanderbilt and the Searcy family for helping him get there.