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Anonymous donors fund endowment for global learning

RELEASED: Dec. 22, 2010

Mai Neng Vang
Mai Neng Vang

EAU CLAIRE — Donors who wish to remain anonymous have established a scholarship with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation to support students who seek to expand their global awareness. The first recipient of the scholarship, created in honor of Tom and Eleanor Wildrick, is sophomore Mai Neng Vang, Stevens Point, a political science major who will study at William Paterson University in New Jersey this spring through the National Student Exchange program.

"I was delighted to hear that a donor has provided this opportunity for students with financial need to participate in global learning experiences," said Bruce Ouderkirk, director of the university's Student Support Services program. "The cost is a barrier for many students who would like to engage in these experiences, and this scholarship will make an important difference."

According to Ouderkirk, Vang was selected for the scholarship because she has demonstrated exceptional leadership potential. This fall, she is serving as a mentor for the Student Support Services program to help incoming freshmen make a successful transition to postsecondary education, as well as for the university's Commanding English Program, which provides a structured first-year experience to help students improve their reading and writing skills. She also tutors for Eau Claire Family Literacy, helping adults in the community prepare for GED and citizenship exams.

As a freshman, Vang conducted campus tours for fifth-grade students in UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Beginnings program, which encourages young, at-risk elementary students to pursue higher education. She also supervised middle- and high-school students of color participating in the Opening Doors program of UW-Eau Claire's Office of Multicultural Affairs.

"Although she is just a sophomore, she has assumed many leadership roles in which she has served as a role model for younger students from underserved backgrounds," Ouderkirk said. "Somehow, she has also found time to volunteer to assist with Special Olympics activities and to be an active member of the Hmong Student Association on campus."

The anonymous donors supporting the Tom and Eleanor Wildrick scholarship said they have enjoyed a life of travel, have worked with people from a wide range of cultures and want to provide a global learning opportunity for students through study abroad, National Student Exchange, service-learning projects or a cultural immersion experiences either in the United States or abroad.

Students who are former participants in UW-Eau Claire's Commanding English Program are especially encouraged to apply. Additional awards will be made in 2011 through 2013.

For more information about scholarship funds, visit the UW-Eau Claire Foundation website.

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RD/JP

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