Posted 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, 2023
Two from UWL earn $3,000 state scholarships
Two UW-La Crosse students are among 19 from throughout the UW System to earn Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership scholarships.
Jenasea Hameister, a junior public administration major, and Ava Krause, a sophomore education major, each received a $3,000 Tommy G. Thompson Leadership Scholarship. The awards are given to students who exemplify Thompson’s spirit of tackling big problems through teamwork and determination to make Wisconsin a better place. Recipients display dedication, inventiveness and leadership, and are expected to go on to make an impact in their communities.
Hameister, who currently serves on the La Crosse City Council for the 5th district, has been involved in student government on campus since she was a first-year student. She heard about the scholarship opportunity through the Student Association and decided to apply because she is funding her college education on her own.
In defining and demonstrating what a strong leader means to her, Hameister says it’s perseverance through challenges, along with being dedicated to make positive change and being kind to others.
“Before my time at UWL, I had experienced various challenges,” she explains. “I began college as a first-generation student with little understanding of the complexities that came with being an undergraduate student.”
Hameister is currently in a capstone class and hopes to present her research at a regional or national conference.
“Receiving this scholarship will help me in funding my education further and will allow me to continue my current involvement at UWL,” she explains. “I have a lot of goals for this semester and making time for them all can sometimes come at a mental cost.”
Hameister, whose parents struggled with drug addiction, was raised by her aunt and uncle, who advocated for her and eventually became her guardians. She plans to attend law school and is interested in environmental law, public interest law or family law.
“At the end of the day, I just want to give back to my community and help people reach their highest potential,” she says.
Krause, who is from La Crosse, says she decided to apply for the scholarship after seeing Thompson visit campus in fall 2021 during a COVID-19 vaccine campaign.
“I found him to be engaging with the students, just like I hope to be with my future students as a teacher,” says Krause.
She says the visit also showed Thompson’s commitment to the “Wisconsin Idea,” the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the campus to the boundaries of the state.
“As a future educator, I will continue this message while focusing on being a role model to my students, their families and the community."
Krause says through her many campus activities, which include numerous organizations as well as serving as a resident assistant and student senator, she has focused on leading with kindness and empathy. She says receiving the scholarship allows her to continue focusing on academics, as well as growing as an effective leader while connecting with other students through compassion and thoughtfulness.
“Besides being a tremendous honor to receive this scholarship, it has greatly contributed to reducing my spring semester tuition bill,” she notes. “This scholarship also allows me to dive deeper into my classroom studies so that I can continue building my knowledge on reflective practice in the teaching field as I hope to connect with my students through meaningful relationships.”
Krause is working on a double major in Elementary/Middle Education and Special Education and hopes to eventually earn a master’s degree and become a school administrator.
Krause isn’t the first in her family to receive the prestigious scholarship. Her sister, Mattie Mae Krause, won a Thompson scholarship in 2020, the first year the award was given.