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Impact Story; Scholarships

In June, Maggie Handfelt told an audience at the Community Foundation's Philanthropy on the Rocks event about the impact a scholarship had on her. Maggie received a scholarship from the Sandra Zink Memorial Scholarship Fund. Read on to hear Maggie's story in her own words.

By Maggie Handfelt

When I was asked to speak about the impact the Ms. Zink Scholarship had on my

education journey, I agreed in a heartbeat. For many reasons, I consider myself extremely lucky to have been one of Ms. Zink’s students. It's once in a lifetime, if you're even that lucky, that someone like Ms. Zink is a part of your life. My time with Ms. Zink in school furthered my love for the life sciences, and she pushed me to enter a predominantly male career field, always reminding my friends and me that we were strong independent women who could do anything we put our minds to. Without Ms. Zink, I wouldn't have even considered UW Stevens Point as a school and would have missed out on some unique natural resource schooling as well as missed

out on connecting with “my people”.

Being awarded the Sandra Zink Memorial Scholarship has allowed me to take a step back financially and work only one job in college, freeing up time to not only build bonds with the people I love but has also provided me the opportunity to work side by side with esteemed natural resource professionals. With my mind away from the financial burden of college, I could focus my time on school, both inside and outside the classroom. A big part of getting a degree in natural resources is gaining experience. For me, this experience came in many forms, all of them unpaid. Throughout my first year of college, I had many opportunities to work hands-on in the field. Some days I was out on the river electroshocking fish or taking a forest biodiversity sample, or even trying to wrangle chipmunks out of traps (which if you have never had to do before, chipmunks are very sassy).

I am forever grateful for the Ms. Zink scholarship because, without it, I would have had

to spend my time working a second or even third job during the school year, and would have missed these wonderful volunteer opportunities. Additionally, I am fortunate enough to be spending part of my summer studying natural resources in Europe, and scholarships, including the Ms. Zink memorial scholarship, are what allow me to take these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities during my college years. I think I speak for all recipients of the Ms. Zink memorial scholarship when I say that college would not have been the same without it. From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful to have been selected as a recipient and look forward to passing on my passion for sciences just as Ms. Zink did.

Making a gift to a scholarship fund not only makes education opportunities more accessible but can also make them richer and more rewarding. You can make a gift to the Sandra Zink Memorial Scholarship or any of the funds at the Community Foundation online or by mailing a check to Community Foundation, PO Box 77, Elizabeth IL 61028.

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