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Four Receive UW-Eau Claire Classified Staff Scholarships

RELEASED: Sept. 8, 2008

Classified Staff Scholarship recipients
Cynthia Welch, left, Wayne Kochan and Kimberly Vlcak are UW-Eau Claire classified staff members who recently received awards from the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's Classified Staff Grant Fund. A fourth recipient, Kylee Prestin, is not pictured. (Photo by Bill Hoepner, LTS)

EAU CLAIRE — Four classified staff members at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire recently received scholarships from the Classified Staff Grant Fund.

Receiving $250 awards were Wayne Kochan, custodian; Kylee Prestin, medical assistant in Student Health Service; Kimberly Vlcek, office manager in the Academic Skills Center and clerical staff member in Counseling Services; and Cynthia Welch, university program associate serving as office manager for Student Support Services and Services for Students with Disabilities.

Two women who completed bachelor's degrees at UW-Eau Claire while working as full-time members of the university's classified staff established the Classified Staff Grant Fund to support other classified staff members pursuing an education while working full-time at UW-Eau Claire. Linda Haag, who is retired, and Susie Warden, who retired and then returned to work as a limited-term employee in Registration Services, created the Classified Staff Grant Fund through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation after completing their degrees to make certain other classified staff members had a similar opportunity.

Kochan is a graduate student in history at UW-Eau Claire. He has completed 24 credits, taking one class per semester. He hopes some day to use his degree to obtain a job as a historian at a library or museum.

"I was pleasantly surprised to receive the grant," Kochan said. "The grant is greatly appreciated. I work full time and go to school part time and do not receive any financial aid. This will help me a lot."

Prestin currently provides direct and indirect patient care as a medical assistant with Student Health Service and hopes to become a registered nurse. She is pursuing her nursing degree at Chippewa Valley Technical College. She will be eligible to become a licensed practical nurse after the fall semester and a registered nurse the following December, after passing licensing board examinations.

"I appreciate the support of my co-workers and superiors while furthering my education," Prestin said. "The scholarship is a wonderful program. I will use the money to offset the cost of my tuition."

As office manager in the Academic Skills Center, Vlcek supervises the clerical assistant staff and oversees the payroll for more than 90 student assistants. As a member of the clerical staff in Counseling Services, she schedules appointments, maintains client files and transcribes case notes. She is working toward a degree in counseling at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

"Receiving the grant money affirms my commitment to pursuing a degree in counseling and eases the financial burden a bit," Vlcek said. "I am very appreciative that the Foundation offers this scholarship to classified staff."

Welch refers to her pursuit of a degree as her retirement plan. She is working toward a comprehensive English education certification at UW-Eau Claire. She'd like to teach at-risk teens after she retires from UW-Eau Claire.

Welch handles phone calls, appointment scheduling, budget issues and hiring and supervising student assistants as a program associate in Student Support Services and Services for Students with Disabilities. She also serves as a testing supervisor for students with disabilities who are entitled to test accommodation and helps facilitate accommodations for students with disabilities. She has been employed with the UW System for 33 years, 18 years at UW-Eau Claire.

"I have found that many of my classes complement my university responsibilities and enable me to better understand our students' issues and needs," Welch said.

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KH

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