Posted 7:06 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3, 2022
Students share how scholarships enhance their college experience
When he graduated from high school, Alex Gergen set an ambitious goal: to earn his bachelor’s degree without accruing debt.
Now in his junior year, Gergen is on track to make that dream a reality — thanks in part to the Jo Arney Student Success Scholarship.
The scholarship — which memorializes Arney, the former director of UWL’s Student Success Office — provides $1,000 in aid to a first-year or transfer student, with preference given to multicultural students, first-generation students and those with a financial need.
“The Jo Arney Student Success Scholarship has made a tremendous impact on my college experience,” says Gergen, who is studying exercise and sport science after transferring from the University of North Dakota. “It has allowed me to focus more on my classes and not worry as much about the financials.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by many scholarship recipients at UWL — including some, like Gergen, whose scholarship was made possible through One Day for UWL, the university’s annual day of giving.
This year, One Day for UWL will kick off Oct. 18, with new ways for donors and friends of UWL to support campus causes.
“One Day for UWL is about creating a culture of philanthropy, gratitude and giving back,” says Greg Reichert, vice chancellor for Advancement and president of the UWL Foundation. “It’s about bringing together all those who love UWL and uniting them behind the common purposes of education, research and service.”
Thanks to funds raised during One Day for UWL, junior Elle Hersperger has less stress and more financial security.
After receiving a UWL Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship, she no longer worries about paying her annual membership fee to the American Marketing Association.
“This is a club that has opened an unbelievable amount of opportunities for me,” says Hersperger, a marketing major. “Since the scholarship is going toward tuition, I won't be beating myself up for paying club dues — which is money that could have gone toward my tuition.
“I also take my studies very seriously, and the Legacy Scholarship allows me to spend less time stressing about money and more time on school and studying. I have been on the dean's list since my first semester at UWL and plan to continue that success through my senior year.”
Scholarships and fellowships supported by One Day for UWL are also creating transformative educational opportunities, preparing students to take the next step in their careers.
Abby Lewis, a senior majoring in biology and microbiology, received a Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship allowing her to do hands-on research with UWL faculty this summer.
Lewis’ research focused on ways to genetically engineer bacteria to produce products such as vinegar and vitamin C at a lower cost.
“The fellowship has enhanced my college experience,” she notes. “I got to research further and connect the techniques and theories I’ve learned about in classes. I also got experience with writing grants and giving a scientific presentation, which will be beneficial in the future.”
Scholarship recipients say there’s a hidden benefit to the help they receive.
Equally important to the financial assistance, Gergen says, is the overall feeling of support — knowing people have hope and confidence for his future.
“I am incredibly humbled by the fact that people would believe in me enough to help me accomplish my goal,” he says. “It means a lot to me.”