My commencement ceremony at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County brought a big surprise.
UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen announced at the event that I had been named a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholar. I will received $40,000 per year (for up to three years) toward tuition, living expenses, books, and fees when I continue my studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison this past fall.
The Chancellor said I was the very first student I got to know when she began her position as chancellor a year and half ago. I worked hard and was committed to serving my community, and this generous scholarship will ensured that I could focus on my studies when I transferred to UW-Madison in the fall.
Pearce graduated from UW-Marshfield about a year ago, having earned an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree with a mathematics emphasis. I now study business at UW-Madison.
I am among 75 scholars nationally—and the only one from Wisconsin—selected to receive last year’s scholarships on the basis of academic achievement, leadership, service, and other factors. I am the first UW Colleges student to receive the award.
I was active in student government, serving as UW-Marshfield/Wood County Student Senate president, president of the UW Colleges Student Governance Council, and chair of UW Student Representatives—which includes student leaders from across the UW System—for 2016-2017.
I also have tutored peers in math, co-edited the Insight campus newspaper, sung with campus choral groups, and co-owned custom woodwork and solar businesses. I was a member of Marshfield Young Professionals, and received the UW-Marshfield/Wood County Recognition of Meritorious Achievement in Mathematics and the UW Colleges Lee Grugel Memorial Leadership Award in 2015.
My years at UW-Marshfield/Wood County represented my first time in a classroom, as I was homeschooled my whole life previously. Despite some initial nerves though, I look back at my time at UW Colleges as inspirational.
Even more than most people I started college as an adult, so I had no idea what to expect. It’s been absolutely transformational…all of these things together have significantly changed the course of my life.