Meet SIU Scholarship Recipient – Victoria Estes

Scholarship Donor Luncheon: Victoria Estes and Christian Moe.

Victoria Estes, scholarship recipient, pictured with Christian Moe, scholarship donor.

Victoria Estes is a sophomore from Tremont, Illinois, studying theater. She is the recipient of the following scholarships: University Excellence Scholarship, Christian H. Moe Playwriting Scholarship, and Theater Scholarship.

Why did you choose SIU?
The campus is absolutely gorgeous, and the people are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. It felt so welcoming!

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I have always had a passion for theater. I love to act, write and sing! Theater is the best avenue for me to explore all of those aspects.

What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
My most memorable experience was definitely the first Dawgs Nite Out when I was a freshman. I went with my newly found friends and we had a blast!

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
I’m a sophomore and I’ve already added so many new experiences that will look impressive when I go into the workforce.

Could you tell us about the impact of the scholarship on your education at SIU and your life in general?
It has allowed me to branch out and try more avenues of theater that I may not have had the finances to try without the scholarships. I’ve had more opportunities to add to my résumé than I ever thought possible!

Why should people consider donating to SIU?
There are many students that are brilliant and have wonderful plans to better the world, but they may not have the finances to receive every possible opportunity to reach those goals.

If you had $1,000 to donate to SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit? Why?
I would donate to a theater student interested in playwriting or dramaturgy because students should feel free to explore career paths that they never thought were possible!

 

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Meet SIU Scholarship Recipient – Rachel Bolerjack

Rachel Bolerjack - SIU Bertrand Scholar

Rachel Bolerjack is a senior from Mt. Vernon, Illinois, studying chemistry.

Why did you choose SIU?
SIU’s College of Science stood out among the other schools I was looking into because they seem to care more about individual students than the overall class size. SIU was also the only school that had not only an undergraduate research program, but a well-developed one. Finally, by being rewarded the Excellence Scholarship, I was able to go to my chosen university without putting an impossible financial burden on my parents and myself. My choice for SIU was a no-brainer.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
For my entire life, I have always had a curiosity about the universe and how it functions; to the point where I would spend my entire summers watching the Science and Discovery channels.  I knew early on that I would want my career to be in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).  It wasn’t until my Intro to Chemistry course during sophomore year of high school that I discovered chemistry was my passion.  It was through this field that I could explore the inner workings of the universe and understand them.

What are your hobbies, interests, and/or activity groups that you are currently involved in?
Currently I’m involved in research on campus. I recently completed a semester of synthesis research on thermoelectric cooling nanomaterials in Dr. Ahmed’s engineering lab, and I am beginning to work on what eventually will be my senior research project with Dr. Wang in the chemistry department. I also work for the lab manager for the chemistry department to help prep teaching labs.

What was your reaction when you learned that you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I was extremely thankful for receiving the scholarship, as it is one of many factors that made it possible for me to achieve my goal of higher education. It is because of generous donors that I am able to attend SIU and receive the education and research experience that I’ve dreamed of. I will always be grateful to Gary and Marsha Bertrand for making this possible.

What does receiving the Bertrand scholarship mean to you? What difference did it make in your life?
All my finances are in my name since my family cannot provide any financial help, therefore I solely take care of them. When I was beginning my hunt for a higher education institution, it was difficult to find an institution with the degree and programs I wanted without having a high price. I was extremely fortunate to receive scholarships because without them I would not have been able to afford my degree at any university.  This includes this scholarship as well. Without it, my education would not have been able to be funded, which would have made it financially impossible for me to attend SIU.

How has the donor’s generosity impacted your view on your education and goals for the future?
It is because of generous donors that students are able to achieve their goals and make a difference in the world. After being able to achieve my goals through the help of donors and scholarships, I would like to one day do the same. The impact a donor has on a student’s life is monumental and after being on the receiving end I want to eventually be on the giving end.

How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
My career goal is to lead research in solar technology to achieve efficient, resilient, and affordable solar cells. This goal cannot be achieved without first obtaining my education and research experience. My bachelor’s degree is just one of the many educational steps I am taking to obtain my desired career. Without this scholarship, my path to this career would have been very unstable, if not nonexistent.

Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?Thank you for your financial support to SIU students.  Without you, many students dreams and ambitions would remain just that. Education is a fulfilling part of a person that cannot be taken away but its obtainment can be impossible due to financial status.  It is because of you that this student can accomplish her dreams and she will always be thankful for that.

Why should donors consider establishing a scholarship fund for students?
Unfortunately, the world is not funded on grit alone. Just like research, a valuable education must be funded in some way, shape or form. There are many individuals who want to obtain a higher education but cannot afford it. They then settle for less than their dreams and the world loses out on an individual who can make a difference. Investing in students and the differences they will make is one of the greatest investments someone could ever make.

Has receiving this scholarship inspired you to give back to SIU in the future?
There will always be an individual who believes they cannot afford their dreams. With an increase in lower income families and rising college prices, investing in students is going to become more and more important. As someone who’s life was changed by a donor, I plan on one day returning the favor. I know the gut dropping feeling of seeing the average yearly price of an institution and it being more than what your house is worth. I never want to see a hardworking individual turn away from their hopes and ambitions because of a price.

How would you like to support SIU students in the future?
There are many ways to help SIU and future students, but the most probable way I would contribute is through a scholarship fund. It is because of these that I have been able to attend SIU, and I know others will be in the same position.

 

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Meet SIU Scholarship Recipient – Angel Galeana

Angel Galeana - Bertrand Scholar

Angel Galeana is a junior from Caseyville, Illinois, studying computer science and business administration.

Why did you choose SIU?
I decided to attend SIU because of the great computer science program, great atmosphere, and the university was closest to home.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
Growing up I was always interested in technology. I enjoyed fixing and programming computers. People like Bill Gates inspired me to be a software engineer.

What are your hobbies, interests, and/or activity groups that you are currently involved in?
Here at SIU I’m involved with The National Honor Society RSO, Minorities in Computer Science RSO, Association for Computing Machinery RSO, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers RSO and Latino Culture Association RSO.

What was your reaction when you learned that you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I was very happy and thankful for this scholarship.

What does receiving the Bertrand scholarship mean to you? What difference did it make in your life?
This scholarship means so much to me because it’s a representation of how much I have accomplished in my life despite all the challenges I had to over come throughout my life. This scholarship has allowed me to focus more on my studies.

How has the donor’s generosity impacted your view on your education and goals for the future?
The donor’s generosity has motivated me to continue my education and get closer to achieving my goals.

How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
The Bertrand scholarship will help me motivate others to pursue their goals because anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?
I want to thank you for your generosity and I hope to be able to help other students in the future.

Why should donors consider establishing a scholarship fund for students?
Donors should consider establishing a scholarship fund for students because it will allow students to achieve their career goals and have the opportunity to give back as well.

Has receiving this scholarship inspired you to give back to SIU in the future?
Yes, I look forward to giving back to SIU to help future students.

How would you like to support SIU students in the future?
I would like to donate for a scholarship fund.

 

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Scholarship allows student to pursue his passion

SIU Scholarship Recipient Logan Jerolds

Logan Jerolds is planning to take his local work ethic global.

The freshman from Jonesboro is studying foreign language and international trade. He said SIU’s international student population was an important factor in his decision to come to Carbondale.

“I’ve wanted to be involved with international students and their culture,” Jerolds said. “That’s always been my passion.”

Coming to SIU wasn’t a given for Jerolds. As is the case for many students, there were financial hurdles to overcome. He applied for loans and filled out applications for numerous scholarships.

“I wanted to come to SIU, so I started saving right off the bat,” he said. “I was just even praying about it.”

Then came the news he had received the Martha Lence Wynn Scholarship, which is worth $8,000 a year. This scholarship is specifically for graduates of Anna Jonesboro High School. The funds ensured Jerolds was able to begin his Saluki journey.

“It brought an extreme amount of joy to me, because when you know you’re not going to have debt for the rest of your life that just brings this weight off,” he said. “I have the utmost gratitude to the donors.”

Jerolds said he encourages other students to get involved with activities at SIU.

“You can jump in and become part of the university really fast,” he said.

While his time at SIU is still in its early stages, Jerolds’ ultimate goal is to travel abroad and see as much of the rest of the world as he can.

“I really do have a desire to travel the world,” he said. “I’ve been spending a lot of time and a lot of hard work for most of my life saving for that.”

 

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

2018 SIU Academic Scholarship Lunch

“What truly matters in our communities and at this university are, first, the people we make of ourselves and, second, the people we assist in the making of themselves. The nice thing about SIU, and there are many, is that it is a wonderful place to do both.”
– Dr. Marsha Ryan, JD ‘87

Meet SIU Scholarship Recipient – Carmen Burkett

Carmen Burkett - Bertrand Scholar

Carmen Burkett is a senior from Carterville, Illinois, studying zoology.

Why did you choose SIU?
SIU is a beautiful campus, offering unique experiences, and the degree program I desired.

What are your hobbies, interests, and/or activity groups that you are currently involved in?
I enjoy the beautiful, natural surroundings and outdoor activities close to SIU. It has been a great experience to meet International students through the conversation partner program and other activities.

What was your reaction when you learned that you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I felt extreme gratitude.

What does receiving the Bertrand scholarship mean to you? What difference did it make in your life?
I am so thankful–not only have I been given the opportunity to learn and grow academically, I have had so many wonderful experiences since starting at SIU. I have met people from all over the world, witnessed exciting research, and been part of something great.

How has the donor’s generosity impacted your view on your educations and goals for the future?
I hope to one day be able to tangibly help others achieve their educational goals,thereby building society as a whole.

How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
I hope I, too, can be a source of inspiration and practical assistance to others who are working toward their goals.

Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?
I am so very grateful. Thank you.

Why should donors consider establishing a scholarship fund for students?
This is truly an investment in the future of society.

How would you like to support SIU students in the future?
I would like to be part of nourishing the learning environment for others.

SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience – William Locher

SIU Student William Locher, SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience

William Locher is a junior from Springfield, Illinois, studying international affairs and German.

Why did you choose SIU?
It sounds cliché every time I talk about it, but when I came to SIU for a visit, the staff and faculty laid everything out on the table and made it feel like they truly wanted me to come here. It was very apparent that this university cares about the students it brings in. I knew I could succeed with that kind of mentality among SIU faculty and staff. I haven’t been disappointed for a second in this regard since being here.

What would you tell a prospective student about SIU?
The faculty and staff care about us doing well as students and want to help in any way possible. I would also say that there are just so many avenues to pursue success here. Again, it sounds cliché, but it’s true. Finding a group, professor, job, etc. to push you forward in your career is not a difficult thing to do here, it’s just a matter of taking the opportunities put in front of you.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I was on a school trip to Germany in high school where I lived with a host family for three weeks and traveled through Germany for an additional week. Throughout the experience, I was captivated by the culture, but also by the similarities and differences of the German culture and American culture. Learning about the German education, economic, and political system made me wonder about how our systems work together in the greater scheme of things. I’ve always wanted to work with people, as well. I told myself when we were standing outside the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the United States Embassy that I would work in that exact building (the Embassy) someday.

What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
There are quite a few that come to mind, but definitely one of the top was the eclipse. I’ve told people that the eclipse was one of the top five single events of my life, really. It was incredible to see the masses of people come to Carbondale. I loved how everyone embraced it and showed our pride for everyone to see from all over the country.

Have you received any scholarships as a student? 
I am a University Excellence Scholar.

What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals?
This scholarship means everything to me. I probably would have come to SIU even without the scholarship, just based on how the faculty and staff treated me when I came here for the first time, but it definitely helps. This scholarship has given me the opportunity to start my life after college on the right foot to avoid debt. This scholarship, paired with working as University Housing student staff has made it possible for me to pursue even higher goals for after my time at SIU. Saving money now means I have the opportunity to do more later.

How has SIU inspired you?
My courses at SIU have truly shaped the way I think. In the political science department, at least, my professors – especially Dr. Shulman and Dr. Tilley – have provided the best possible environment for productive discussion. I have learned more in their classes about people and ideas than anywhere else. They have taught me that there is always a counter-argument to every point and that we, as productive members of society, MUST be willing to see that counter-argument to any point we may make. It’s crucial to positively impacting our society and our world. It’s how we will move forward.

Why should someone consider donating to SIU?
Because SIU is making life happen for a lot of people. It’s inspiring people to go out and do big things for the world. I know I’ve felt that way.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
I brag about how well I know my professors and how easy it is to get involved with anything you want. I love the relationships I’ve built with my professors; it’s something most other universities cannot offer. From what my friends at other places have said, they only see their professor when they go to class and sometimes even only on test days, which isn’t even close to the case for me. I brag about how easy it is to commit yourself to the university in any way possible and to develop yourself professionally and socially.

If you had $1,000 to donate to the SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit?
I would donate it for student worker positions or to help the prospect of new residence halls. Student workers are really important to the campus, but it could be argued that jobs are even more important to those students that have them or, more importantly, don’t have them due to a lack of funding. Many students work so hard to help themselves with school payments and other financial strains, and many of those that want jobs on campus can’t get them because of insufficient funds. I think the campus would benefit greatly from more students being directly involved with the campus and it would make many feel even better about being here.

 

You can support SIU students during SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 7, 2018: https://siuday.siu.edu/

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience – Anna Radecki

Anna Radecki is a junior from Oswego, Illinois, studying dental hygiene at SIU.

Anna Radecki is a junior from Oswego, Illinois, studying dental hygiene.

Why did you choose SIU?
I chose SIU because of the Dental Hygiene Program. This is the only bachelor’s degree program for dental hygiene in Illinois, which will make me more qualified to work in different dental hygiene fields.

What would you tell a prospective student about SIU?
I would tell a prospective student to choose SIU if they want to find a second home while getting an amazing education.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I was inspired to study dental hygiene because my orthodontist and my dentist at home gave me the smile I always wanted. I would love to do the same for others!!

What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
My most memorable experience at SIU was accepting my bid to my sorority, Delta Zeta, and joining the amazing Greek community here!

Have you received any scholarships as a student?
I am a University Excellence Scholarship recipient!

What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals?
This scholarship is very important to me because it has taken the financial burden of paying for tuition off me and my family. I can focus on learning instead of focusing on how to pay for my education.

How has SIU inspired you?
SIU has inspired me because of all the recent advancements in my dental hygiene program that have made me excited for my future career. For example, after years of waiting, the dental hygiene program has finally received a digital Panoramic machine for radiographs which will better prepare me and my peers in the program.

Why should someone consider donating to SIU?
Someone should consider donating to SIU, specifically the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, because my peers and I are the next generation coming into the medical field and donations would give us experiences to help better treat patients in the future.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
When I talk to my friends about SIU, I brag about the unique programs that many other in-state schools do not offer. I also brag about Greek Life to my friends from back home. The Greek Community here has made Carbondale feel like home and I could not imagine going to school anywhere else.

If you had $1,000 to donate to SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit?
If I had $1,000 to donate to SIU, I would donate to the Dental Hygiene Program in order to cover the cost of a student’s dental hygiene instruments. These instruments are incredibly costly and I would love to help take away the financial burden from a student coming into the program.

 

You can support SIU students during SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 7, 2018: https://siuday.siu.edu/

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience – Mitchell A. Niccolai

SIU Student Mitchell Niccolai, SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience

Mitchell A. Niccolai is a senior from California, Pennsylvania, studying Wildlife Habitat Management and Conservation.

Why did you choose SIU?
I visited the campus and saw how beautiful it was along with the surrounding natural areas and fell in love. Hunting, fishing, camping, and pretty much anything outside has been a large part of my life and coming to SIU allowed me to continue those activities through my college years. I was also swayed after speaking with some of the faculty in the forestry department and researching the quality of the program.

What would you tell a prospective student about SIU?
SIU is a rather large university, but also provides that small college feel. Campus is full of others that share your interests and ideas, but is also home to those who are different than you, which make it a great place to grow as a person while expanding your views. The City of Carbondale is definitely something else, too!

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
Growing up, I spent most of my time in the outdoors with family and friends. From hunting to fishing to camping to boating, we were always outside. This has always made me want to choose a career in the environmental field and the forestry program here at SIU bridged the gap between dream and reality.

What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
The SIU student body holidays are always a good time, but the friendships and bonds formed here are going to last a lifetime and will always be the most memorable aspect about my time at SIU.

Have you received any scholarships as a student?
I am currently receiving the Dean’s Scholarship.

What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals?
The Dean Scholarship and the in-state tuition both mean a lot to me. Not only did they make it possible for me to attend SIU, but they made all the hard work I put into school in high school well worth it. This acknowledgement of my successes and knowing the work it took me to achieve those successes continues to drive me to work hard and give the best effort I can give in everything that I do.

How has SIU inspired you?
Being an officer (president and vice-president) of the collegiate chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association here on campus has inspired me to lead others. It has also inspired me to help others while in the process of leading.

Why should someone consider donating to SIU?
Overall, SIU provides an excellent environment for learning, social activities, and research but none of that would be possible without donations.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
The quality of the forestry program and the research opportunities that I have been able to be a part of.

If you had $1,000 to donate to SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit?
Supporting Touch of Nature not only helps to support SIU students but members of the community as well. Working there has allowed me to learn about various aspects of recreation and given me the opportunity to pass that new knowledge on to the groups we work with. Touch of Nature has provides a hands-on arena for many of my classes by bringing the information learned in the lecture into perspective and showing its practical use.

 

You can support SIU students during SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 7, 2018: https://siuday.siu.edu/

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

SIU Day of Giving 2018: Give the Gift of Experience – Caleb Gomes

Caleb Gomes is a junior from Du Quoin, Illinois, studying Music Theory & Composition in Higher Education.

Caleb Gomes is a junior from Du Quoin, Illinois, studying Music Theory & Composition in Higher Education.

Why did you choose SIU?
I came to visit SIU a year before my freshman year as a prospective student, and got a chance to meet with some of the School of Music professors. The amount of interest that they invested in me that day, in what they could do for me, what SIU could do for me, and what I could bring to SIU, along with specific things they could do to help me reach my specific career goals, absolutely amazed me. It was an immediate personal connection that I failed to make at any other university that I visited. That was the primary reason I came to SIU. Even on my prospective visit, I was already family.

What would you tell a prospective student about SIU?
Do what I did. Come to SIU, see the campus for yourself. Even if you live 20 minutes from campus, you don’t know what you’re missing. There’s so much about SIU to discover that even the local people don’t know about. You gotta dig in, find your professors and ask them questions. Everyone is so willing to give answers. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learnt from going here the last two years. Ask questions. It takes you so far here.

What inspired you to choose your area of study?
Music is a huge passion of mine, but I’ve always been a good all-around student. I originally came to SIU pursuing pre-optometry and horn performance. Over the course of my first two semesters, I discovered my true interests. Although I was excelling in my science classes, I decided that I had a true knack for music composition. So, with the mentoring of my music professors, I changed my track to Music Theory & Composition in Higher Education. It’s the best decision I have made. I’ve gotten so many amazing opportunities in music composition and performance through the SIU School of Music that I never dreamed I’d be able to have.

What is your most memorable experience at SIU?
Every time I get to perform at SIU, whether it’s with the SIU Wind Ensemble, SIU Concert Choir, SIU Symphonic Band, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, SIU Pep Band, or the SIU Marching Salukis, it’s always a memorable experience. But I think my most memorable would be performing with the Marching Salukis during the recent eclipse at Saluki Stadium. Being in that stadium and experiencing the eclipse with 15,000 other people along with all my dear friends in the Marching Salukis was absolutely amazing.

Have you received any scholarships as a student?
I have received several scholarships through the College of Liberal Arts for performing the SIU’s ensembles. I’m also a recipient of the University Excellence Scholarship.

What does the scholarship mean to you and how has it enabled you to pursue your goals?
Receiving the College of Liberal Arts scholarships has definitely given me motivation to further pursue music and perform in as many ensembles as I can. I’m actually thinking of joining the SIU Studio Jazz Orchestra next semester. These scholarships have definitely eased the cost of being a music major at SIU as well. Instrument repair, upkeep costs and ensemble costs can add up

How has SIU inspired you?
I would say the most inspiring person at SIU is my horn professor, Prof. Jennifer Presar. She has a pure passion for music that I’ve never experienced from anyone else. She’s taught me so much about music, and how to put emotion into my music and my playing. She’s also been a great mentor for me, guiding me through all my classes and recommending workshops, composition and performance opportunities, and connecting me to amazing people in the musical world.

Why should someone consider donating to SIU?
In today’s age of exceedingly higher education costs for students, any help along the way with scholarships is such a burden reliever for students. They provide motivation to pursue specific career goals. They help ease the costs of fees, and help the students focus on what they’re here for, an amazing education. They also let the student know that there are people who genuinely care about them and their futures and are willing to pay to make sure they reach their goals.

What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about SIU?
We have one of the most gorgeous campuses that I’ve ever been to. Places like Thompson Woods, Campus Lake, Touch of Nature, and Giant City Park are the reasons why some people come to SIU in the first place. As a tour guide, bringing my group through Thompson Woods is always my favorite. I love seeing their face in awe as they realize that we actually have a gorgeous forest in the middle of our campus.

If you had $1,000 to donate to the SIU, what would you like to see that money benefit?
I’d put it towards funding our graduate school programs here. For me, having a graduate student that’s received their bachelor’s degree in the same program I’m pursuing can provide a great resource for me. I can ask them questions, gain knowledge, and be inspired by them. Having this extra fund in our graduate school program definitely gives incentive for more graduate students to come here to learn from our professors, while teaching and inspiring the next generation of undergraduates.

 

You can support SIU students during SIU Day of Giving on Wednesday, March 7, 2018: https://siuday.siu.edu/

Engage with us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram.