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Opening doors, unlocking futures

Posted 8 a.m. Monday, July 25, 2022

Delanie Johnson, a senior majoring in public health and community health education, says a Multicultural Student Scholarship was critical to her ability to pursue a college degree at UWL. The scholarship fund is supported by the Student Affairs and Diversity & Inclusion annual golf outing.

Scholarships help multicultural students pursue their passions

Delanie Johnson fell in love with UW-La Crosse almost instantly.

“When I first stepped foot on the UWL campus, I knew this was somewhere that I wanted to be,” says Johnson, a senior majoring in public health and community health education. “It truly felt like home from the minute I arrived.”

But as is the case for many multicultural students, the financial demands of attending college presented a major hurdle. In fact, Johnson doubts whether she would have been in a position to earn her degree had it not been for a Multicultural Student Scholarship.

The scholarship fund — supported by the Student Affairs and Diversity & Inclusion annual golf outing — has helped dozens of students over the past two decades.

"Financial burdens should not stand in the way of students pursuing their education and career goals. This is especially true for our outstanding multicultural students,” notes Vitaliano Figueroa, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. “These scholarships are a small but important step in removing barriers and giving students the opportunity to realize their potential."

In some cases, scholarships can be a deciding factor in whether or not a student earns their degree, regardless of that student’s knowledge or work ethic.

Johnson is a model student — she serves as a Vanguard, volunteers with Gundersen Health System and participates in the McNair Scholars program, which helps students from diverse backgrounds prepare for graduate school. 

Despite her passion and abilities, the cost of higher education almost prevented Johnson from enrolling at UWL in the first place.

“I am so honored to be able to receive this scholarship,” says Johnson, who grew up in Waukesha. “Without it, I honestly don't know if I would have been able to attend school. I am so grateful for them being able to take a chance on me and knowing that others believe in my future.

“As a multicultural student, I know that the odds are often against me,” Johnson adds. “I applied for the Multicultural Student Scholarship because I believe that it's time to push back on the statistics. I want to show that no matter who you are or what you have faced, you can do it. Representation matters.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Natalie Maufort, another Multicultural Student Scholarship recipient.

Before coming to UWL, Maufort had little to no experience participating in multicultural organizations. As a junior majoring in nuclear medicine technology, Maufort has become heavily involved with the Office of Multicultural Student Services, as well as UWL’s Diversity in STEM organization and the Native American Student Association.

“Any scholarship I receive is an exceptional honor,” says Maufort, who grew up in Seymour, 20 miles west of Green Bay. “I understand the great consideration that goes into selection and aim to use any contribution toward my education to its greatest advantage. Every penny that goes toward my education allows me to spend more time on my studies and organizations.”

Maufort encourages all multicultural students to put themselves out there, apply for scholarships and get involved with campus organizations.

“Within these organizations, I have had endless opportunities to become involved on UWL's campus and the surrounding La Crosse area,” she explains. “I deeply value everything UWL has done for me and will continue to be involved on campus.”

To learn more about scholarships, including how to apply or help fund them, visit the UWL Scholarship Resource Center website.


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