Taking a first plane trip and performing with the marching band at the Cotton Bowl. Volunteering with Engineers Without Borders. A student’s ability to attend her first-choice school – Western Michigan University.
These are just a few of the life-changing experiences made possible by scholarships awarded to College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ students. Here are the students’ stories.
Doni Graham, industrial and entrepreneurial engineering student:
Because she has scholarships, Doni Graham can share her talents with the entire Western Michigan University community, enjoy a long-time hobby, and make memories.
“The Medallion and CEAS scholarships allow me to continue in activities that I’ve been in my whole life,” Graham says. “Having these scholarships has allowed me to be in the Bronco Marching Band, which has allowed for so many incredible experiences. I’ve performed at the Cotton Bowl and the Idaho Potato Bowl. The only time I’ve ever flown was with the band.”
Kayli Holmes, engineering design student:
Deciding how to allocate her free time is easy for Kayli Holmes. She asks herself, “Is what I’m doing meaningful?” When she learned about Western Michigan University’s branch of Engineers Without Borders and their quest to bring clean water to a small village in Nicaragua, Holmes thought, “Oh, wow! This is really cool.”
Holmes says scholarships have allowed her to volunteer with Engineers Without Borders rather than hold down a paid job during the school year. A fresh redesign of the chapter’s website and other marketing materials explaining the need for funding are among the outcomes Holmes produced while serving as the organization’s secretary. All for the quest to bring fresh water to Nicaraguan villagers.
Holmes enjoys combining creativity with engineering skills learned at WMU and realizes this sets her apart from her academic colleagues. “My creativity helps me approach problems solving situations differently than other engineering students,” she says. The graphic design skills Holmes developed working with Engineers Without Borders helped her get her first internship, and she plans to continue to use her creativity professionally upon graduation.
“I would like to do product development within a team atmosphere,” she says. “I like to work and see where art and engineering come together – where beauty and function meet.”
The scholarships she’s received have made it possible to better prepare for her professional future, Holmes says. “The scholarships allow me to focus on and establish balance between the creative and engineering applications,” she says. Also, “it would add so much pressure to work during the school year. I feel that I’m more prepared than I would be if I had to work because I’ve been able to focus on my schoolwork.”
Elise Olsen, pre-engineering student:
While Western Michigan University was the last school she visited, it was first in Elise Olsen’s heart. Unfortunately, she applied after the deadline for many scholarships but, because of her passion for the University, WMU staff made her aware of other scholarships for which she could apply.
“I just fell in love with WMU,” Olsen says. “I applied late, so I missed the cutoff for a lot of scholarships I would have qualified for, so I was quite grateful when other scholarships were made available to me.
“They (the scholarships) made it possible for me to come here, which I really wanted to do. I fell in love with the amazing engineering campus. It was a perfect fit.”
Austin Dosh, chemical engineering student:
As a high school senior, Austin Dosh was debating between Western Michigan University and Michigan State University when he received word that he’d been awarded the WMU Excellence Award. That tipped the scale to WMU.
“The WMU Excellence Award helped me decide on WMU,” Dosh says. “It made WMU the more affordable option.”
Dosh, who plans to graduate in Spring 2020, says having the scholarships means he’s accumulated less student debt, which allows him to make a more selective choice when weighing job offers. “I’m able to be more open about job possibilities and don’t feel like I have to jump at the first offer. I can wait and look for the job that’s the best fit for me.”