Scholarship Recipients


Astrid Levesque headshot

My first year at Parkside has brought me various valuable opportunities to further my educational journey, both through courses and hands-on experience. My courses have allowed me to further explore my interests and beyond that, I have been able to further my education through getting involved in clubs. Currently, I serve on the executive board for the Parkside Journal of Science and am a senator in Student Government. Additionally, I am a student government representative for the Parkside Asian organization and am conducting undergraduate research using rats and skinner boxes studying feeding behaviors. These experiences have had a great impact on my life and have been some of my favorite memories. One of the most memorable of which was getting together with a big group of friends from my general chemistry class and studying together in the study rooms in the commons. For the rest of my education at Parkside, I plan on continuing to engage in psychology research, clubs and participating in more research. After graduating I plan to attend medical school. 

bailey peterson headshot

My name is Bailey Peterson, and I am pursuing a degree in Applied Health Sciences with a concentration in medical laboratory science. My family has a strong background in the healthcare industry, so I've been immersed in science since before I can remember. From studying my sister's nursing textbooks in middle school, to assisting with procedures in an animal research laboratory in high school, I've always had a passion for the STEM field. I am looking forward to continuing to be a part of scientific research and the advancements that will come along with it.  

 My time on-campus has been fairly limited, as I have had few classes in person classes up until this point. I am looking forward to becoming more involved in extracurricular and on-campus activities this year. Next year, clinical rotations are going to be a valuable part of my educational path, and I anticipate this to be the highlight of my college experience.  

 Unexpectedly, my favorite memory at Parkside so far has been the tedious work I completed in my genetics laboratory last year. Here, I was able to advance my comprehension by learning a variety of techniques and processes including the genetic mapping of Tribolium castaneum, micro-pipetting, and operating electrophoresis machines. I am looking forward to creating new and lasting memories as I enter the last half of my undergraduate educational career.

cristian marquez headshot

Good Evening. My name is Cristian Marquez and I am a Physics major at UW-Parkside. My future plans are to enroll in UWM’s mechanical engineering program after I get my associates in Physics from Parkside. My dream job would be working for any company making an impact and helping society move forward. My education has meant a lot to me, it gives me hope that someday I will work a job I love and be passionate about.  

I'm currently participating in an Internship with Tecomet in Kenosha as a design intern. My favorite memory while being at Parkside was when I met my physics professor, Dr. Paul Mohazzabi. Never have I ever met someone with so much passion for teaching. Paul has made learning enjoyable instead of stressful. I will miss Parkside once I graduate but unfortunately, like all good things in life they must come to an end at some point! 

elise zevits headshot

I came to UW-Parkside to prepare for a career in medicine after obtaining my original undergraduate degree in history and working as a teacher abroad. My initial goal was simply to take the courses I would need for medical school, but coursework and research opportunities at Parkside have steered me in the direction of an MD-PhD program. While I am keeping my options open in terms of specialization, I hold a particular interest in endocrinology and type 1 diabetes research, as well as a desire to improve access to high-quality treatment options and patient education.  

I was initially nervous about returning to school and wondered whether I could handle the science coursework and I credit a few talented professors and inspiring mentors for guiding me along this path and equipping me with the skills to help me thrive here. From our very first conversation about returning to school for pre-medicine studies to ongoing MCAT prep sessions, I have also benefited tremendously from the guidance and enthusiastic support of Dr. Bryan Lewis.       

Among my favorite memories from Parkside so far was the opportunity to work alongside my faculty mentor in the Chemistry Department, Dr. Ilirian Dhimitruka, studying free radical compounds and their broader effects on human health. I look forward to continuing our research and contributing to building a deeper understanding of these unique compounds and their potential applications in the realm of human health and disease prevention.  

Another incredibly rewarding experience has been serving as a Supplemental Instruction leader for Organic Chemistry I helping students not only master the content but enjoy the learning process as well. This experience truly demonstrates the interconnected nature of teaching and research — something I wish to carry forward into my medical career.

hunter cheney headshot

Greetings, my name is Hunter Cheney. I am a senior majoring in chemistry with a minor in biological sciences. After graduating from Parkside, I aspire to attend graduate school and obtain my doctorate in chemistry. My hope after receiving my Ph.D. is to eventually become a professor. 

Before I started my undergraduate studies, I enlisted in the United States Army and I believe my time in service was required in order to full appreciate the true extent of academia. Parkside has afforded me the opportunity to grow academically, obtaining new knowledge and hard skills required for future endeavors, as well as enhancing my scientific inquiry process.  

At Parkside, I have worked as a supplemental instruction (SI) leader for organic chemistry, a chemistry tutor, and an assistSTEM mentor for the chemistry department. I hope the guidance, motivation, and support I have provided to students helped pave a clearer pathway as they work towards their respective future. 

My favorite memory/activity has been participating in research with Dr. Ilirian Dhimitruka. With his guidance, I aided with design and conducted experiments, analyzed data, and presented our findings. Dr. Dhimitruka is solely responsible for inspiring my new-found passion for research, for which I would never have received without my time here at Parkside. 

joel lee headshot

My future plans very broadly are to continue to help people wherever I go. The reason that I came to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside was because we have the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. I knew this was a program that would give me the ability to help people not only in my leisure time, but also in my professional life. This is why I value my education, because it allows me to do things professionally that I otherwise would not be able to do. While I love learning for the sake of it, I feel that if you do not apply what you have gained from education to the world around you then you are not honoring the privilege that has been given to you. I have had the pleasure of receiving an education here at Parkside and have done many special things within these walls. One particular thing that stands out in my mind is when my classmates and I partnered with the Parkside Library to hold a community conversation on microaggressions. We had great food, delicious drinks, and most importantly productive conversations about an issue that many of our students and faculty face in their everyday lives. While this is certainly a special thing that I have done at Parkside, I’d have to say that my favorite memories at Parkside are actually what might appear rather mundane to some people-sitting in class with my classmates and learning about topics that I am extremely passionate about from some of the best professors that I have ever had. Lastly, I would like to thank the College of Natural Health and Sciences for this considerable gift and recognition! 

julia jones headshot

After graduating from Parkside, I plan to continue my journey of lifelong learning by attending graduate school to pursue my Ph.D, and possibly become a professor one day. I chose to study physics with the intent of applying it to solutions for the environmental issues we will continue to face. However, I won’t be doing this right away. First, I will resume an ongoing, self-driven “sabbatical” that began before attending Parkside in 2017. Traveling and working around the world, specifically on farms or communities that emphasize sustainable, organic, and self-sufficient practices is something I am very passionate about. I look forward to incorporating what I learn into my future research/career.  

My focus throughout my education has primarily been on the sciences, but one of my favorite experiences here was traveling to China with Voices of Parkside through a choral exchange program. We performed several concerts with strangers that quickly turned into lifelong friends, and I will cherish memories from that summer forever. Majoring in physics with minors in biology and computer science, on top of being a Research Assistant for two years, my journey at Parkside has been long and arduous. I learned though, that sometimes when we feel buried, we have actually been planted! I am thankful for the foundation Parkside has provided for me to grow as a scientist, an artist, and a thriving human being with the ability to contribute to the higher good.  On top of all of the opportunities and knowledge I've gained in my years here, I am able to graduate this spring with virtually no student debt, which is a blessing I do not take for granted. Thank you Parkside and thank you CNHS for believing and investing in me. 

logan sivak headshot

My education has been a top priority for me ever since I started going to school and for as long as I can remember.  I have always had very high expectations for myself and have set challenging goals that I am striving to achieve.  I hope to take part in giving back to the community by helping others get back to doing daily activities. 

I am currently pursing an Applied Health Sciences major and my hopeful future plans are to eventually earn my master's degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I hope to one day work at Munster Community Hospital near my hometown in Indiana.   

In addition to my academic experiences, I am currently a member of the Parkside softball team both of which have provided wonderful opportunities and memories.   My favorite memory at Parkside was team bonding at the beach when we played flag football and capture the flag with softball.  I am very grateful that Parkside has given me amazing friends that have now become family. 

nick winter headshot

My education has been a cornerstone of my life. It has given me the chance to explore different pathways and learn more about myself as a person. Here at Parkside, my education has been no different as through my courses here, I have begun to understand what it means to truly learn. Besides my courses, my education has also been enhanced by getting involved in other activities. For instance, I am currently working as a Supplemental Instruction Leader, serving as the Treasurer for the Physics Club, and conducting research on bumblebees near campus. All of these experiences have had a big impact on my life and created various memorable moments. One of these moments was when I was studying with my peers for an upcoming exam. We had a lot of fun going over the anatomy of various organisms, but more importantly, we became a support group for each other. After attending Parkside, I plan to pursue a master’s degree, with a focus on Biological Sciences.  

Headshot of Ria Patel

My name Ria Patel, and I am currently a Junior at UW-Parkside majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology. In the future, I plan on going to medical school and getting my Master’s in Public Health. I hope to become a physician who also works within the Public Health field by collaborating with community organizations.   

My education has allowed me to have the freedom to explore different subjects/ideas. My passion for science and medicine started as an area in my education where I wanted to expand my knowledge. I became fascinated by the subjects and realized that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and public health. Additionally, my education played a critical role in allowing me to become more open-minded and think more creatively.   

While at Parkside, I have gotten to participate in many special activities. One that specifically stands out is going on a house build with UW-Parkside’s Habitat for Humanity. Being able to help build a house for people in my community is an experience that I will truly never forget.   

My favorite memory from Parkside has to be my long study sessions with my friends. Booking a study room, filling all the white boards with all our notes, and complaining about our test all night was not the most glamorous experience, however, there is nothing better than finally fully understanding the material and getting to show the professor what you know!   

samantha meyer headshot

After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in psychology over ten years ago, I decided it was time to pursue a master’s degree. My life took many exciting and unexpected twists and turns between the completion of my bachelor’s degree and my enrollment in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program here at Parkside. During that time, I had many valuable experiences and life lessons that lead me to where I am today. I am grateful for the experiences I have had in my career, which helped reignite my passion for working in the mental health field. I am very thankful for my supervisors and colleagues with Racine County Crisis who encouraged and supported me in my decision to future my education.   

I have just started my second year and my education here at Parkside has already given me so much knowledge and insight into the field of counseling and mental health services. The content covered in courses has been informative, has benefited me in my current employment and has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth. I am excited to continue my education and work towards my goal of becoming a licensed professional counselor. I plan to continue to work in our local communities, as the need for mental health services continues to grow.   

Being a graduate student, my experiences on campus have been different than my undergraduate experience. The graduate program’s cohort model has allowed me to become close with my fellow classmates and develop strong relationships. I appreciate the sense of community this has brought to my educational experience here at Parkside. I am grateful for those relationships and am excited to see myself and my classmates grow into professionals in our field. I look forward to developing more lasting relationships with others, both here at Parkside and within our community.  

shelly diesz headshot

My education has always been my top priority since I was a little girl. I always try to learn as much as I can from my classes because I know in the future, I will be directly involved in helping people in need. After I graduate, I plan to attend graduate school with the intent of becoming an occupational therapist. My dream would be to work in an outpatient rehabilitation center where I can help patients return to their daily lives.  

While I have been at Parkside, there have been many activities that I have participated in. I am on the softball team here at Parkside and some of my best memories come from moments with my team. The one particular activity that holds the most special place in my heart is our first team bonding. That day was when I first really got to know my teammates and form friendships with them.  

One of my other favorite memories from Parkside is my softball team's Halloween practice. We were all allowed to dress up as whatever we wanted for this practice. A couple of my teammates and I decided to go as characters from different episodes of SpongeBob. Planning these costumes brought me closer to these people who are now some of my closest friends. 

vanessa reynoso headshot

I would like to thank you for choosing me as a candidate for the scholarship sponsored by the College and the CNHS Advisory Board for this year. I am a first-generation Latina student interested in becoming a neurosurgeon. My plan after receiving my bachelor’s degree is to attend a Medical School program to further my education. Education to me means a key to opening doors for a better future, while also expanding my knowledge and helping me gain new skills to become not only a student but a learner. Education is a powerful skill no one can take away from you.  

My parents come from Guadalajara, Mexico where it is extremely hard to get a good education. I truly appreciate my parents for their hard work so I will always strive for my education. At Parkside I feel at home. Parkside has helped me out a lot in my career but one special event that I have participated in that has impacted me a lot is the Multicultural Leadership Retreat. This experience was very introspective for me because it helped me think critically about who I am as a leader. Another memory I will never forget is when one of my professors Dr. Penny Lyter invited me to brunch for Easter; not only did Dr. Lyter made me feel certain that I can achieve my goal, but she is a great positive role model who inspires me to be great.  

Once again, thank you.  


Travis Bonczkowski Headshot

Continuing my education has been a goal for many years. I’ve worked many labor-intensive jobs in warehouses and factories but never gave up on the dream of finishing my education. I always knew I wanted a career in the biological sciences, but it was only until the beginning of the current pandemic when I realized I needed to focus on making a difference.

I had an environmental science teacher in high school tell me that knowledge was only good as long as you used it for something. So, with that in mind, I plan on eventually enrolling in an MD/PHD program immediately after my time at Parkside. I hope to be doing medical research in the fields of virology, immunology, or medical biochemistry years from now.

My first year at Parkside was all online so this is my first year on campus. While it might not seem like much, the first time I stepped into my organic chemistry lecture hall, it finally felt like I was moving forward on that dream I had all those years ago.    

Anna Bowman Headshot

After finishing my education, my current plan for the future is to work at a natural history museum as a curator. I enjoy working with collections and sharing my knowledge with others, so this career seems like it would be a comfortable fit for me.

Studying geosciences at Parkside has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the Earth, from its creation to now, and even its possible futures, while acquiring valuable skills to effectively apply my knowledge, whether in a classroom setting or not.

Though my experiences have been limited by the pandemic, I was able to participate in a few geology labs outside of the laboratory setting such as walking down to the Pike River to measure its discharge and setting marbles in the Lake Michigan shore to calculate littoral drift. In fact, they make up some of my favorite memories so far at Parkside. I remember that on the day we went to the lake, before we collected our data, me and my classmates all searched for any interesting rocks to take home as little souvenirs, as any geosciences student would do. Seeing all of my classmates’ pockets full of rocks made me feel right at home.

Rachael Hall Headshot

My education has meant the world to me. Taking a few years off before starting college has shifted my perspective on learning. I missed the classroom, and I missed structured learning. Learning is one of my favorite things to do, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to study at Parkside. Although most of my classes have been online, I am so grateful to my professors for trying to make lasting connections through a screen. I have not had the typical college experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I am passionate about the therapeutic relationship and how therapy can bring healing to individuals. I have also really enjoyed learning about attachment theory. I am pursuing a degree in psychology and working towards a mental health skills certificate and a professional writing and communication certificate. After graduating from Parkside, I plan to attend graduate school for counseling psychology. My hope is to eventually become a licensed therapist. 

Being a part of student organizations has enriched my college experience. I have really enjoyed being a part of Straylight Literary magazine throughout my time at Parkside. Working with authors to help publish their work has been really rewarding. Throughout the pandemic, Straylight met virtually. One of my favorite memories at Parkside was meeting my team in person and being able to have what started as virtual relationships translate into in person connections.

Molly McBride Headshot

I am pursuing the pre-medicine program and a psychology major at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. After graduation, I aspire to attend medical school and eventually work as a rural physician. I grew up in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, where Dr. Thomas Wood, a physician at Reedsburg Area Medical Center and a UW-Parkside board member, introduced me to the university during my junior year of high school. After meeting with Dr. Bryan Lewis and visiting the beautiful campus, I knew that Parkside was the college I hoped to attend.

Today, I am grateful for my educational experience at UW-Parkside. It has provided me with a clear path toward medical school, helped me develop knowledge and skills in preparation for my future career, and allowed me to meet wonderful students and professors.

While at UW-Parkside, I have worked as a supplemental instruction leader for biology and as a biology and chemistry tutor. For supplemental instruction sessions, I planned activities involving course material and met weekly with a group of students. My transition to drop-in tutoring posed a new challenge as I was unsure which subjects and problems students would request help with. Students asked about a range of topics, from general chemistry lab techniques to organic chemistry reactions, and we worked as a team to improve their understanding. I enjoyed supporting my classmates as they enhanced their understanding of concepts throughout the semester.

During my time away from campus, I often return to my hometown to volunteer in the local hospital and surrounding community. As I progress through my third year at the college, I reflect on my favorite memories of interacting with the friends and faculty members I have met, and I look forward to continuing my studies this semester.

Hillary Piskun Headshot

My future plans include continuing with my education after I have completed my bachelor's degree here at UWP, with pursuing a master's degree. I also plan to seek out a management position using my skills in the Health Information Management setting.

To me my education means opportunity. It means an opportunity to better myself, the opportunity to better those around me, and the opportunity to build a better life for my family. 

My favorite memory at Parkside has been the excellent communication between the faculty, staff, and myself. There are so many staff members in each department that are always willing to help and provide assistance when needed. I always feel welcome and supported here.

Leah Poulos headshot

When I transferred to UW-Parkside as a Sophomore in the Spring of 2018, I was nervous about my ability to do well academically and develop strong connections with peers and faculty. However, these fears disappeared immediately after courses began; my professors were all highly committed to student success and easy to engage with, and I quickly made friends with many of my classmates. Receiving an education from UW-Parkside has enabled me to thrive both in and of the classroom and I am incredibly grateful for each of the amazing opportunities I have had while attending.

My favorite activity has been participating in research with Dr. Francis Mann and Dr. Fabian Preuss. With their help, I designed and ran experiments, analyzed the data from them, and then presented my findings at the local, regional, and national levels. While gaining these relevant, meaningful laboratory experiences, I was able to see firsthand how scientific advancements are translated from the benchtop to the bedside and discover my passion for research.

My ultimate career goal is to become a physician-scientist. In addition to serving disadvantaged populations and working to decrease gaps in health equity, I intend to conduct research that elucidates the cellular mechanisms underlying diseases that afflict my patients and discovers innovative, cost-effective solutions.

Emilija Stankovic Headshot

Hello, my name is Emilija. I am a senior in the pre-physical therapy program, majoring in Applied Health Sciences as well as a double minor in Exercise Science and Health Communications. I plan to pursue my doctorate in Physical Therapy and am currently in the admissions process for the upcoming term.

I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had during my undergraduate career here at Parkside. As a first-generation college student, Parkside has helped guide me through the college experience with a plentiful number of academic resources. As I continue my education, I continue to appreciate the skills that I have learned and the people that have created an impact on my life. My advisor, Kim Armstrong, has helped me through every obstacle that I have ran into and continues to be a resource for me as I apply to graduate school.

While at Parkside, I have been a member of Pre-Health club where I was able to meet peers that are interested in the same field as me and look to them for guidance. This club has provided me with volunteer opportunities, internships, and insight from healthcare professionals that have helped put me on the right path towards my future career.

My favorite memory from Parkside is being involved in a community-based learning project for my communications class. My classmate and I used this opportunity to create a podcast about vaccine hesitancy and distributed it to Parkside students. It felt good knowing that the platform we created helped make Parkside a safer environment. I look forward to making a difference in my community as I move forward with graduate school and am grateful to Parkside for ensuring that I am ready.

Hannah Tangen Headshot

My name is Hannah Tangen and I am a senior, majoring in chemistry with a concentration in professional chemistry. I am also pursuing a green chemistry certification. During my time at Parkside, my education has grown to mean several things to me which include independence, responsibility, excellence, and future opportunities.

An opportunity that I had at Parkside that has made an impact in my life was the opportunity to work with Dr. Allen in the Natural Products lab, SC Johnson Integrated Science Lab, and in her research lab. Some of the projects I have participated in included cannabinoid analysis of Industrial Hemp samples by LC-PDA, Chromium (VI) analysis in water and beverages using IC-ICPMS, and the analysis of cations and anions in surface water samples with IC using a conductivity detector.  The past projects that I have participated in have helped my future plans by solidifying the feeling I have been having that after graduation I would like to get a job working with chemical instrumentation.

Lastly, being at Parkside has made several lasting memories which include helping build the set of Urinetown: The Musical for Behind the Scenes and producing pure Lidocaine in Advance Organic Chemistry Lab.  My favorite memory from Parkside is when my friend and I went to a craft event that was being held in The Den the second week of our first semester at Parkside. We both made dreamcatchers, but what made that event meaningful was the people who were there, running the event and making other dreamcatchers with us who were extremely nice and welcoming. My friend and I did not know anyone at Parkside besides each other, but meeting such pleasant students made the transition to Parkside easier and I have made lifelong friends from being at Parkside.

Headshot of Tyler Thompson

I am incredibly grateful for the education I am receiving through UW-Parkside. My education has helped me gain confidence in myself as a student and feel hopeful for a promising career in the future. The most difficult decision I’ve faced as a student has been trying to determine what I enjoy learning about the most. I finally chose to major in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics with minors in Math, Chemistry, and Computer Science. Over the summer, I was able to gain experience doing research at the Medical College of Wisconsin through the SPUR program. Without the guidance and advocacy of professors from UW-Parkside, I never would have known to apply and ultimately be selected to participate in that program. Pursuing further study and research as part of a graduate program, such as through MCW, is one of the options I may pursue once I graduate from UW-Parkside. I am also looking into graduate programs for Computer Science which would complement the Bioinformatics portion of my major.

I feel very fortunate to have made the choice to attend UW-Parkside as a sophomore two years ago. I have had nothing but positive experiences here at Parkside. The professors are outstanding! They are very approachable and always willing to help. They make an extra effort to make personal connections with their students too. One of my favorite memories from UW-Parkside was when my Chemistry professor had me go up to the front of the class to shake his hand after I did well on an exam. I’m looking forward to my senior year as I begin working as a tutor for Math, Chemistry, and Biology in the Parkside Academic Resource Center. I’m also excited to have the opportunity to conduct more research in a lab throughout my final year.

Headshot of Jessica Topp

Getting a college education empowers me to be an asset to society and will enable me to pull my family out of poverty while working in a rewarding field. Having gone from being a troubled teen that almost dropped out of high school to someone who values education, I now realize that the sky is the limit. The love and support I continuously receive from friends, family, and UW-Parkside has been paramount to my perseverance and success.

Post-secondary education has opened many doors of opportunity that I never could have imagined. Since I transferred to UW-Parkside, I have been graced with several opportunities that have allowed me to apply what I am learning in the classroom. One of these projects is water quality monitoring for the Pike River, which involves gathering data and collecting water samples for testing. I have also been working with Kenosha County Parks on a restoration project for Petrifying Springs Park. This internship has helped me develop technical writing skills and social skills for natural resource management.

When I complete my B.S. in environmental biology, I plan to work as an environmental scientist with a focus on water resources. My unique background in both electrical engineering and environmental science will allow me to tackle environmental issues in a variety of ways, whether it be assembling control panels for water treatment systems, restoring wetlands, or improving renewable energy technology.

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