Scholarship Stories from the University of Illinois Springfield

Stories of students at UIS and the generous scholarship donors who support their dreams

Author: Marilyn Kok (page 2 of 3)

How one UIS couple is bringing hope and a future to Myanmar

Matt and Heather WallaceFirst Matt Wallace told Heather Trammel he was serious about a future with her.

And then he really surprised her….

They were on a bus in Russia. Matt was doing an internship between his junior and senior years at UIS, and Heather, who had recently graduated, had come with other UIS students on a trip sponsored by the Christian Student Fellowship, a student organization at UIS.

Matt took a seat next to Heather and got right to the point: “We need to talk about US happening,” he said, ” and I don’t mean US as a fleeting thing.”

Heather wasn’t completely surprised. She and Matt had worked together at UIS the previous year as friends only, but she was aware that something had changed between them here in Russia.

Before she could respond, however, Matt hit her with this:

“And just so you know—I’m going to live in Myanmar after I graduate.” Continue reading

How would you respond to the news Dana McCarver received?

Dana McCarverDana McCarver ended her sophomore year exhausted.

A full load of classes and a fulltime job wore her out, and when she went home to Arkansas in the summer she looked drained.

Her sister, a nurse, took one look and said, “Dana, this isn’t normal. You need to get blood work done today.”

Preliminary results showed that Dana needed a blood transfusion. Good, she thought. A quick transfusion, and I’ll feel better.

But the next day, a kidney doctor called. Continue reading

One of the most beloved events of the year…

2015 Scholarship Luncheon

Monroe Brown sitting with Gloria Calovini and Jack Dolan (facing Monroe)

If you were to walk through the Sangamon Auditorium Lobby this past fall on Wednesday, October 28, you may have had to hold your breath to fit between the crowded tables.

That was the day of our annual Scholarship Luncheon:

  • 270+ people
  • 124 students (give or take)
  • 150 donors and special guests
  • 18 tables
  • and lots and lots of introductions, smiles, conversations, laughter, stories, and “thank you’s.”

At the Scholarship Luncheon, donors have a chance to meet the students who have received their scholarships.

Around the Office of Advancement, we call it “our most beloved event” because it is so gratifying for us to watch donors meet, face-to-face, the person who is benefitting from their gift and to see the gratitude in students’ eyes. Continue reading

Her high school lab leads Taylor Cooperider to a valuable career

Jessica Sheffield and Taylor Cooperider

Taylor Cooperider (right) with Jessica Sheffield in Microbiology Lab at UIS

A high school student walked into a lab….

Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but discovering your calling in life—the one career you know will make you happy—is no joke, and that’s what happened the day Taylor Cooperider walked into her high school Biology II lab.

Taylor had worried a little about this particular lab. The task that day was dissecting a cat, and Taylor loves cats. It didn’t sound like much fun.

But once Taylor had a chance to look at the cat’s anatomy and see how the heart and liver and everything else inside the cat worked together, she became enthralled.

In fact, it was during that lab that Taylor discovered laboratory science would become her career. Continue reading

A young man in trouble clarifies Greg Irwin’s future

Sally Pancrazio, Greg Irwin

Dr. Sally Pancrazio and Greg Irwin at the 2015 Scholarship Luncheon

The young man, hardly more than a boy, who came to the Cunningham Children’s Home was in terrible trouble.

He had been abused by his father. He’d been given too little to eat.

All this affected his behavior. With little or no cause, he got into frequent fights—often with people much older and bigger, and he paid the price in pain. He trusted no one. Continue reading

From donor to friend–how the Garrisons do it

Garrisons with Jinger Sanders

Jinger Sanders, Glen Garrison, Lola Garrison at the 2012 UIS Scholarship Luncheon

When Jinger Sanders received the first Garrison Family Scholarship back in 2012, she knew—of course—that she’d be receiving financial support.

She had no idea how much more the Garrisons would be giving her!

Continue reading

A mother’s generosity inspires a memorial scholarship

Burks Oakley, II, at the Scholarship Luncheon

Burks Oakley II at the 2015 UIS Scholarship Luncheon

Dr. Burks Oakley II spoke at the 2015 UIS Scholarship Luncheon, representing donors. He has given an endowed scholarship fund to UIS in honor of his mother, Grace Brorström Oakley. These are his remarks:

Continue reading

Family emergency fails to derail Dan Garcia

Dan GarciaOver the years, Dan Garcia has been a huge help to us here in the Office of Advancement. He spoke at one of our big donor appreciation events, willingly appeared on a scholarship video and posed for the above photograph which appeared at many gatherings.

One day stands out in his memory—and no wonder. For Dan it was one of those “wrenching-news-hits-you-like-a-ton-of-bricks” days.

I asked him to start his story there.  Continue reading

Late start both a challenge and blessing for Kim Koratsky

Kim Kortasky Work by day. School by night.

As so many other students have done at UIS—especially during the years when the University was known as Sangamon State University—this is how Kim Koratsky earned his degree.

As a student, Kim received the Mary and Nelson Howarth Memorial Scholarship, and while he didn’t know it back then, his life and his career would add to the honor Mary and Nelson receive through the scholarship. Continue reading

In baseball, in the classroom, Adam Warda achieves success

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UIS wasn’t Adam Warda’s first choice for college.

Following high school graduation, Adam enrolled at Southern Illinois University, where Adam had a baseball scholarship.

Unfortunately, he suffered an injury and didn’t get to play as much as he had planned. After his sophomore year, he returned home to attend a junior college.

While there, he caught the eye of UIS baseball coach Chris Ramirez, and that brought him to UIS.

He’ll be graduating at the end of fall semester. So even though UIS wasn’t his first college, it will definitely be his last! Continue reading

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