Welcome to a series of stories celebrating SIU’s 150th anniversary.
Melina Launay is a senior from Mt. Vernon, Illinois, studying elementary education.
Why did you choose SIU?
I chose to go to SIU because they made me feel confident in their ability to lead me onto becoming a great teacher. I am very excited about the progress I have made as a future educator.
What inspired you to choose your area of study?
I decided to become a teacher because I want to be that positive influence in the students who may not have someone at home. I love children and I have a strong desire to see our future generations grow up and lead the country. Strong and caring teachers need to be teaching our future politicians, doctors, and inventors.
What was your reaction when you received the Bertrand scholarship?
I was actually very surprised. I had not heard anything from the scholarships and just assumed I did not make the cut. I was very overwhelmed with joy upon receiving notice of my scholarship.
How will the Bertrand scholarship help you make a difference in society?
This scholarship made me realize how fortunate I am a student of Southern Illinois University. I am passing the word and encouraging other students to apply for SIU and their scholarships because they are available for so many different students of all kinds.
Do you have a message that you would like to share with Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand?
I would like to thank you for your generous donation. This scholarship is helping me pay for schooling, as well as limit the amount of student debt I will have upon graduation. I am using this money towards school, which ends up helping me buy supplies for my future classroom because I have more money in my pocket. I greatly appreciate your scholarship, and I hope to use this to take every opportunity I have at becoming the best possible teacher.
Why should donors consider establishing a scholarship fund for students?
I am very fortunate. However, many people I know do not continue their education because they cannot afford it. Financial aid can be hard to complete for students who may have messy family situations. Scholarships are a great way to give back to the community and invest in the life of a prospective leader.
Has receiving this scholarship inspired you to give back to SIU in the future?
I will definitely consider finding a way to give some sort of donation to either a student or school in the future. I want to make a difference in the lives of others, and I was very appreciative of my scholarship.