Ten First-Generation Students Receive Scholarships

Photo of First-Generation Scholarship Recipients 2012Lebanon, Ill. — Ten McKendree University students have received $1,000 First-Generation Student Success Scholarships, funded by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Walmart Foundation.

The 2012 scholars at the Lebanon, Ill., campus are first-year students Cassandra Ochoa of O’Fallon and Deante Siller of Markham; sophomores Nathan Hunt of Harrisburg and Lora Kern of Belleville; and juniors Nykhala Coston of Edwardsville and Kayla McClain of Belleville. Sophomore Michelle Deatherage, of Freeburg, is a student at the Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Junior Martha Feldkamp and senior Michael Willis are students at McKendree’s Louisville, Ky., campus. Brandi Foster, of Olney, is a junior in the Accelerated Instruction at McKendree (AiM) program.

“These students really do exemplify what it takes to complete a degree at a four-year institution when one is a first-generation student,” said Lisa Brennan, coordinator of first generation student success. “Reading their essays and applications, it became clear that they share tenacity, motivation and a willingness to reach outside of their comfort zones and ask for assistance. Each takes responsibility for his or her success but is also willing to try new behaviors to be successful, including tutoring or becoming more involved with the university community.”

The “McKendree Firsts” program combines academic, personal and financial support for those who are the first in their family to attend a four-year college. It started in 2010 with a grant from the CIC and the Walmart Foundation.

“I wish I had had this program available to me when I started college. As the first person in my family to attend college, I was really clueless about how academia worked,” said Dr. Brenda Boudreau, professor of English, chair of the Humanities Division and director of the Writing Resource Center. “We have many first-generation faculty and staff on this campus who really understand the challenges of being a first-generation college student, and who welcome the opportunity to work with them.”

A reception was held for first-generation scholarship recipients and their families on Mar. 22 at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University’s Lebanon, Ill., campus. Left to right, Lisa Brennan, coordinator; Dr. Christine Bahr, provost and dean; Nykhala Coston, Michelle Deatherage, Deante Siller, Lora Kern, Michael Willis, Kayla McClain, Cassandra Ochoa, Dr. Brenda Boudreau, director. Not pictured are Martha Feldkamp, Brandi Foster and Nathan Hunt.