Growing up on a family dairy farm didn’t allow much time for slacking off, recalls Jennifer Holle.
“Since I’ve been able to carry a small bucket, I’ve been out in the barn helping with chores,” says Holle, who comes from Baldwin, a small town near River Falls. “Between feeding and caring for calves, milking cows and assisting the vet, I learned the value of a hard day’s work.”
Holle brought that work ethic from the farm to CALS, where she’s majoring in dairy science. She plans to start veterinary school in Madison this fall.
Besides hard work, another key to Holle’s success has been crucial financial assistance. Holle is a two-time recipient of a Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarship, a program that CALS set up in 2009 specifically for young people like her—promising students whose financial circumstances pose a barrier to education. So far CALS has awarded 34 such scholarships totaling $56,000—assistance made possible by CALS alumni who contribute to the program.
Wisconsin’s rural young people need that help. Rural per capita income is 20 percent less than in metropolitan areas, and 40 percent of CALS students demonstrate significant financial need. Rising tuition costs make their distress even more acute.
Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarships make a difference. “Before receiving the scholarship I was working almost 30 hours a week while going to school full time. This ultimately led to spending less time on school,” says Jacob Salzman, a recent landscape architecture graduate from Fall River. Getting the scholarship in his senior year allowed him to focus on studies and projects that helped him land a job upon graduating.
But it’s not just the kids who benefit. In the long run, educating rural youth can have a profound effect on their home communities. “I already have committed myself to a career in food animal veterinary medicine here on Wisconsin’s dairy farms while being involved in and committed to the dairy industry,” says Holle.
In other words, Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarships aren’t just cash awards—they’re an investment in Wisconsin’s future.
The UW Foundation maintains more than 6,000 gift funds that provide critical resources for the educational and research activities of CALS. To help support Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarships, visit: http://www.supportuw.org/giving?seq=8105This article was posted in Communities, Next Steps, Spring 2012 and tagged Dairy, Give, Jennifer Holle, rural life, Students, Wisconsin Rural Youth Scholarships.