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Graduate studies scholarship recipients named at UW-River Falls

February 5, 2016

A University of Wisconsin-River Falls scholarship established to honor a Minnesota legislator has been awarded for the first time. Mike Collins of St. Paul, Minn. and Chelsey Turner of Spring Valley, both graduate students seeking teaching licensure at UW-River Falls, each received $5,000 from the Bruce F. Vento Science Educator Scholarship.

The scholarship, which was established last year to honor the memory of U.S. Representative Vento, is targeted to support students pursuing a science education degree, a cause close to Vento’s heart, according to Susan Vento, his widow. Before entering Congress, Vento was both a science and social studies teacher in a junior high school and a UW-River Falls graduate.

The scholarship recipients, both enrolled in the STEMteach program at UW-River Falls, were selected based upon academic standings and demonstrated financial need.

Turner said she was grateful to the Vento family for establishing the scholarship. Having worked several jobs to support her undergraduate education at UWRF, Turner said the scholarship enables her to focus solely on her graduate degree.

“I’ve always been scrambling to get enough money to get through school,” Turner said. “When I learned I got the scholarship, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.”

In addition to the Vento scholarship, several other STEM-teach students were awarded $3,000 scholarships funded by the National Science Foundation grant awarded to UW-River Falls in 2014 to establish the STEMteach program. These recipients are Nichelle Wollberg of Colfax, Erica Frear of Burnsville, Minn., Stephen Klebs of Hastings, Minn., Sheri White of Stillwater, Minn., and Alex Jones of Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

All STEMteach candidates in good academic standing and enrolled in the winter term of the program are eligible to receive this scholarship, which is intended to provide financial support during the apprentice teaching requirement of the program.

The STEMteach graduate program began last June. It provides a pathway for candidates who majored in math or science as an undergraduate or have work experience in math and science fields, to obtain their Wisconsin teaching license for middle or high schools in one year. The program of study includes early hands-on experience in teaching and the option to continue studies to earn a master of science in education degree.

Applications are being accepted now for the second cohort of the STEMteach program that begins this summer. For more information about STEMteach or the scholarships, email diane.bennett@uwrf.edu or visit http://go.uwrf.edu/STEM-teach