Naturally Inspiring


FY12 Scholarship Program
Click to see the 2012 Scholarship Program

A note from Chancellor Rogers:

Dear Friends,

Sherry and I were thrilled to have welcomed you to the 15th annual Scholarship and Award Breakfast. This is one of our favorite events — what a delight it was to see our students come together with our scholarship donors and supporters, you who help our students make their plans and dreams come true. At last year’s breakfast, Nelson Carpluk ’12 spoke of the impact scholarship funds had on his ability to complete his schooling. He talked about the motivation he derived from regular communication with his scholarship donors. And he talked about his plans for the future.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is in the business of helping develop a strong Alaska workforce; build intellectual strength; and make a place in this busy world for quiet inquiry.
This is heady stuff, and none of it could happen without students’ hard work and donor support. Thank you for all you do to make it possible.

Chancellor Brian Rogers

Guest Speakers:

Theresia Schnurr

Theresia Schnurr - A long way from home

Theresia chose UAF so she could ski and study. Theresia says that in her home country of Germany, there is no such thing as a student-athlete. “You have to be either a professional skier or a student.” She’s now a member of the UAF ski team and working on a degree in biochemistry with a minor in business.

“Being a student-athlete is not easy,” she says. “It requires constant communication with professors, missing lectures and labs, and studying in hotel rooms and airports. But when I compare UAF with what my friends experience in Germany, it becomes obvious how lucky I am to be part of a university that has small classroom sizes and a low professor-student ratio.”

Theresia was recently recognized for academic honors by the Athletics Department and named the Dr. Wood Scholar Athlete of the Year for women’s skiing. She plans to graduate next fall, ski one more season and then start a master’s degree in biotechnology.

Theresia is the recipient of the Cynthia J. Northrup Physical Education Scholarship. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to come all the way from Europe to study at such a unique place where you will find moose in your front yard and northern lights on your morning run!”

Elijah Verhagen

Elijah Verhagen- Balancing work and school

Elijah left his hometown of Nenana to study construction management at the UAF Community and Technical College. At UAF, he could stay in the state he loves and continue his job in construction while attending school. “The construction management instructors are very accommodating,” he says.

Elijah plans to return to Nenana to help it grow with beautiful homes and buildings. “I love constructing something, and when it’s all finished stepping back and knowing that I built it,” he says.

Elijah is the recipient of the UAF CTC Construction Management Scholarship. He is very grateful for the scholarship, as it has kept him from going into debt. “I think it’s essential to help inspire students to work hard in school for good grades and not just be apathetic about grades,” he says. “Scholarship support has helped me feel more loyal to UAF and want to continue to go here and work hard to show my appreciation for the scholarships I’ve received.”

Wynola Possenti

Wynola Possenti - Getting the word out, connecting with people

Wynola started college taking night classes at what was then the University of Alaska Extension, now known as UAA. When she had the opportunity to move to Fairbanks to continue her studies, she took it. In Fairbanks she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, and began a 20-plus year career at UAF, teaching just the sort of student she was when she started out. “I can relate to the returning students,” she says. “They’re really motivated to learn— they work all day and then come to class at night.”

Wynola’s husband, Richard, taught in the psychology department from 1966 to 1998. Wynola says research was his first love in academia. His years as a researcher for the U.S. military made it clear to him the significance of sharing research, and Wynola’s classroom experience showed her the importance of public-speaking skills. So it was natural for Wynola, when she decided to establish a scholarship fund in his memory, to focus on the two themes. The Richard G. Possenti Student Research Memorial fund supports research and travel to conferences to present the student’s research. Last year, at the Scholarship and Awards Breakfast, Wynola met Chris DeCou, who had received a scholarship from the Possenti fund. He told her of his hope to travel to Beijing to present his research at the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s 26th World Congress, in September 2011.

Wynola feels that the opportunity to engage in meaningful relationships with diverse cultures is an important aspect of university life. She is pleased to have helped Chris travel to China to present his findings.

Wynola is the first of three generations to have passed through the halls of UAF — her daughter, Karina, graduated in 1992 and her granddaughter, Macy, in May 2011. She is proud of her long, close association with UAF, and is happy to continue to support students through her husband’s memorial fund.

2012 Scholarship & Award Breakfast Thank You Video
Click to hear thank-yous from scholarship recipients!
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