Impact of Giving -- Scholarships
More than 12,000 stories exist on campus; stories about international travel, service to communities, faculty/student research, financial trials and triumphs. Our generous donors help provide a happy ending to thousands of those stories.
To create a scholarship, contact us at (800) 782-9522.
Impact of Scholarships
More than 86 percent of UNI students rely on some type of financial aid.
Alderman Scholar, Jennifer Bumgarner, considers her learning disability a blessing
"As a kid, school was difficult for me because I had dyslexia," says Jennifer Bumgarner ‘06. I was going to special education classes, but my friends thought I was going to advanced education classes. They didn't know I had dyslexia. I was a figure skater and the kids wanted to be like me on the ice. In the classroom, I wanted to be like everyone else."
Jennifer dreamed of becoming an astronaut or a doctor. "You will never make it," she heard many times. She put that dream on hold when she became a teenage mom. "I needed to work so I took a job as a housekeeper at Covenant Medical Center. From there I saw how successful people were in their careers, and I knew I wanted more for my life."
The journey that led Jennifer to the University of Northern Iowa took her down the path of CNA, EMT and paramedic. "So I was in the going-to-be-a-doctor mode when I entered UNI. I loved my classes. I had so much fun in psychology class that I changed my major. I got involved in research and was selected to present on Capitol Hill. This was the first time I had traveled. UNI paid for me to go and later I went to Palm Springs, Calif., to present."
Jennifer received a phone call that brought new challenges and new opportunities while she was working on her masters degree. "I was proctoring a test when I received a phone call that my husband had been hit by a semi. He received a brain injury so I had to take care of him along with my three children. I took a job with Lutheran Services as a drug tester. Within three months, I was promoted to supervisor and within six months, I became the service coordinator managing child and welfare services in 12 counties. So there was a lot going on. Then I got laid off because of budget cuts at the agency."
Trials seem to be a constant in Jennifer's life, but she has discovered how to cope. "The way I look at it is life can be hard, but regardless of what is thrown at you, it is the way you look at it. I find a positive in every negative. I don't dwell. There are so many times I could have thrown my hands up and given up on life, but instead I looked at what did I learn from this and where can I grow."
The one time Jennifer wanted to give up was during the last semester of her junior year. Jennifer says, "I just wanted to cry. I was so close to graduating, but then there was no more funding. I had some professors who had seen how hard I worked and they told me to apply for scholarships. I received the Alderman Scholarship that took care of the rest of my school. I am so very grateful. It made all the difference in my life. When I received it, I just wanted to hug someone.
"My education has been my saving grace. Being able to attend college and get my four-year degree and see that I could go as far as I wanted to with it, was the inner strength to feed my resilience. My experiences at UNI and the support I received were amazing.
"Even though I was labeled with a disability, I see it as a gift, a blessing. Because of that, I communicated with my professors. I had to take what they delivered to me, reset it in my brain and then I understood. I think that is one thing that makes me unique in my field; I see things differently, plus it is a combination of growing up in poverty, the struggles I've had, the way I look at them, and my passion for helping people."
Jennifer owns a consulting business and is writing a series of children's books. Her first book, "Walking in Mommy's Shoes," has been published by Tate Publishing.Scholarships feed passion for helping children with disabilities
passion for helping children with disabilities
When Olivia Hawley was growing up, she dreamed of becoming a trainer at Sea World. That is until she learned that a whale had pinned a trainer in a tank. Her thoughts then turned to working with children. Today, Olivia is a junior at the University of Northern Iowa. She has a double major in communication sciences and disorders and Spanish. "My dad is a Spanish teacher and my mom is a speech pathologist," says Olivia. "I just combined the two professions."
Olivia looked at other colleges, but when she was offered the College of Humanities, Arts & Sciences Dean's Award, she was surprised and excited. "I love to work with kids," says Olivia, "and especially kids with disabilities. This scholarship allows me to pursue my career in communication disorders."
Olivia says, "My family and I are so grateful for this scholarship. I have also received an honors scholarship and a multicultural scholarship. Without these awards, I couldn't be involved in activities at UNI, and I couldn't study abroad."
Last summer, Olivia participated in Camp Adventure in Germany on the second largest Air Force base in the world. She worked in a day camp with youth ages 7 - 13. Next semester, she will travel to Oviedo, Spain, to work on her Spanish major. Her tuition will be covered by her scholarship. She looks forward to living with a local family and perfecting her Spanish. Her home family will only speak in Spanish and her classes will be taught in Spanish.
Currently, Olivia is active on the UNI campus as a member of the UNI Chapter of the Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association. She observes in the Roy Eblen Speech Clinic and completed two shadowing projects off campus this fall. She also works as a student intern in the Alumni Relations office.
"I am so grateful for all my experiences at UNI," says Olivia. "My family is very purple. My grandfather was the head of the modern languages department at UNI. My brother is a freshman and my 13-year-old sister wears purple and gold braces."
Future teacher volunteers for Special Olympics
"My elementary teachers were my role models," says Zach. "I knew in 5th grade that I wanted to be a teacher. Thanks to the scholarships I have received, I'm able to focus on my studies and participate in life-changing activities at UNI. I helped raise $3,000 for the Cancer Society, volunteered at a school for children with special needs and for Special Olympics. Because of these experiences, my desire to teach is even greater."
Zach, graduate student, Physical Education/Teaching/Coaching
Future doctor keeps community clean
Matt says, "Being selected to receive the Albert D. and Susan Donovan Endowed Scholarship is an honor and means a lot to my family and me. It allows me to attend college and get my biochemistry degree, while keeping the costs as low as possible."
As early as grade school, Matt knew he wanted to become a doctor. Two of his school buddies had dads who were doctors, and they played a major role in mentoring Matt. While in high school, Matt started taking college courses to get a jump-start on his degree. He is involved in intermural sports such as football and softball. As a member of the Student Nature Society, he has gone into the community to help clean local parks.
Matt, sophomore, Biochemistry major
Big dreams become reality
"Wow, I can't believe it. I am so excited to be doing field experience in Cairo, Egypt. In my four years at UNI, I've had some incredible, mind-blowing experiences that have taken me abroad--thanks to generous support from friends of UNI. They have made a girl with big dreams and a small pocket book so happy."
Amy, Senior, Art and Spanish major
"I am an entrepreneur and a Carver Scholar. I received the scholarship because I overcame many obstacles leading to my college education. My parents both dealt with severe illnesses as I was growing up, which left me to spending much time alone. By sixth grade, I was designing web sites. By tenth grade, I was freelancing. I soon was contacted to do an internship at Lockheed writing flight control software.
"Now I have an office at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center where I own the Book Hatchery. This company is dedicated to on-line publishing. With the help of scholarships, I am accomplishing incredible things."
Nick, senior, Computer Science