First Scholars -- These Southern Illinois University Carbondale freshman who are participating in the First Scholars program for the 2012-2013 academic year met recently with program benefactors, Eric and Deb Suder of The Suder Foundation. Pictured from left are: front row -- Sarah Menckowski, Jacqueline Lopez, Christina Gilroy (SIU Carbondale First Scholars program coordinator), Eric Suder, Deb Suder, Lindsie Lafferty and Rachel Berry; second row -- Alexander Schneider, Kelsy Hanley, Annette Torres, Ilcen Lopez, Jazmine Garcia, and Camille Kelly; third row -- Ashley Tobin, Steven Ta, Holly Conner, Khadijah Daniels, and Amanda Novak; and back row – Kelsey Becker, Abel Aguilar, Jason Howell, Janeesha Hammond-Bryant, and Pedro Razo. (Photo by Russell D. Bailey)
November 07, 2012
‘First Scholars’ program benefactors visit students
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students in the First Scholars program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale recently met their scholarship benefactors when Eric and Deb Suder visited campus.
First Scholars is a grant program backed by The Suder Foundation that provides scholarships and a support system for first-generation students. First-generation students are those whose parents (or grandparents, or great-grandparents) do not have college degrees or certificates, and who completed less than two years of school after high school.
The Suders themselves were on campus recently to meet the students currently enrolled in the First Scholars program. This is the second year for SIU Carbondale students in the program, and the third year the grant has been in place. The first year of the grant was to plan and implement the support system for students.
According to The Suder Foundation, first-generation students may face a variety of challenges once they enroll in a university. These challenges can include students having limited access to information about the college experience; a limited knowledge of time management, college finances, budget management, and the bureaucratic operations of higher education; doubts on their academic and motivational abilities, and difficulty balancing family, work and school responsibilities.
The program provides much more than financial assistance to students. Program coordinator Christina Gilroy said program goals center on helping students feel connected to the University and to the academic community, while simultaneously encouraging them to develop into community leaders who will “pay it forward.” Students work closely with a peer mentor, participate in community service projects, and join registered student organizations to help them be involved in the college experience.
Gilroy said the Suders’ visit was inspiring for the students.
“I think some of them were intimidated at first at the idea of meeting people who seemed so remote to them,” she said. “But once they met them, they were enthusiastic about how down-to-earth the Suders are. The students are grateful for the assistance that the Suders are providing for them -- not just financially, but also in anticipating and providing for some of the challenges unique to first-generation students.”
The Suders were on campus in late October. Eric Suder has said that SIU Carbondale’s mission and the goals of First Scholars Program mesh well.
For more information about the program at SIU Carbondale, visit firstscholars.siu.edu/. To learn more about The Suder Foundation, visit www.firstscholars.org/.
The First Scholars for 2012-2013 listed by hometown are:
Antioch: Kelsey Becker
Aurora: Rachel Berry
Blue Island: Victoria Manna
Brighton: Lindsie Lafferty
Calumet City: Taylor Townsend
Carpentersville: Steven Ta
Chester: Britney Schroeder
Chicago: Jazmine Garcia, Janeesha Hammond-Bryant, Camille Kelly, Jacqueline Lopez, Amanda Novak, Asurca Rodriguez, Annette Torres, Alexus Travis
Chicago Heights: Alejandra Esparza
Chrisman: Amanda Ingram
Christopher: Sarah Menckowski
Cutler: Amie Conway
Elk Grove: Abel Aguilar
Evanston: Khadijah Daniels
Fults: Aaron Mueller
Grayslake: Damian Zieminski
Gurnee: Kaitlyn Griffin
Ingleside: Cody Hepner
Manito: Sarah Lohman
Mineral: Amber Blackert
Mount Vernon: Ashley Tobin
Norridge: Nicole Kmiotek
Oak Lawn: Pedro Razo
Pekin: Holly Conner
Rockford: Ryan Fernandes
St. Joseph: Cody Dees
Vandalia: Cameron Keppler
Rolling Meadows: Kelsy Hanley
St. Joseph: Cody Dees
Yorkville: Ilcen Lopez
North Vernon: Alexander Schneider
Festus: Jason Howell