Tag Archives: Rotary Scholars

We Believe…

–submitted by Linda Baldwin; photos by Mike Engelberger

Rotary scholars start their journey by asking us to believe in their abilities and to invest in their future. The scholars who spoke with us today illustrated how that belief and investment has paid off …one hundred fold.

Seven scholars shared their dreams and hopes and their gratitude to the club and to their mentors for helping to make those dreams come true. Amazing stories of what they would do were told…all knowing that their educational dreams would not have been possible without a Rotary scholarship.

Brandon Alvarez CarreraBrandon Alvarez Carrera (Levy Scholar), the first of his family to attend college, hopes to prove to his family and the community, that his background wasn’t correlated to his academic success. On a path to a degree in Engineering Physics, he’s grateful for the support group that helps him on his journey.


Shamell HomeslyShamell Homesly (Brandenburg Scholar) shared that the excitement she felt when notified of her Rotary scholarship was breath taking. Shamell is studying to be an elementary teacher at Madison College and will transfer to a four year university after completing her associates degree. Destined to be a teacher, Schamell thanks club members…”everyone of you has helped put me on a path toward success.”

Cristian Claudio TeutliCristian Claudio Teutli (Levy Scholar) is proud to be a Badger and is grateful to Rotary for making it possible for him to attend UW. What motivates him to push through the challenges is his dream for the day when he can say, “Mama, Papa, I made it. And I don’t want to hear you say that money is an issue anymore.”


Lilly GonzalezAzucena (Lilly) Gonzalez (McBeath Scholar) is proud to say she will be part of the 2016 graduation class at UW-Whitewater with a major in Social Work and a minor in Criminology. Lilly says that she was blessed with financial help from Rotary and an amazing mentor, Mary Rouse who boosted her confidence all the way. Also, she thanked the Kay family for their scholarship to help with summer school.

Karen Bauer
Karen Bauer
(Synergy Scholar) will graduate in May with a degree in Anthropology and English and a minor in Spanish. She hopes to get her PHD. Karen is especially thankful for the support of the club and her mentor, Dick Lovell.

Patrick RoyPatrick Roy
(French Scholar) says he was one of those guys who you would never imagine working as a Chicago banker.  He credits his mentor, Moses Altsech, for providing him with guidance to stay in school and he will graduate from UWM Summa Cum Laude this year and take the Chicago banking job.

Kay PowellKay Powell (French Scholar) (via video) thanks Dr. John Bonsett-Veal for being a very important part of her live. She’s graduated from UW-Madison and is working on a graduate degree in Optometry. Kay encourages Rotarians to be mentors.

In May, a new group of students will need a mentor. Please consider jumping in to this satisfying role.

(CLICK to watch the video presentation by our Rotary Scholars)

We want to thank our donors who made these scholarships possible:  Nate Brand, Heggie Brandenburg, Harry French, Dick Goldberg, Perry & Virginia Henderson, Louie Hirsig, Tom Leonard, Irving & Dorothy Levy Family, Andy McBeath, Regina Millner, Mike & Patty Wilson, Worzala Family.  In addition, we have our Synergy Fund which is a fund available to all members who are interested in making a gift to our Scholarship Program.  We also thank Lori and Arlan Kay for the new fund they established to provide one-time grants to our Rotary scholars.

Kay Family Scholar Introduced at January 6 Luncheon

Kay Scholar Photo

Back row from left: Mary Rouse, Arlan Kay & Isaac Gonzalez (Lilly’s father); Front row from left: Lori Kay & Lilly Gonzalez

In 2015, Lori and Arlan Kay provided a $50,000 gift to our Madison Rotary Foundation to establish the Kay Family Scholarship Fund.  Lori has been a member of our Rotary Club since 1987, and Arlan has been a member of the Oregon Rotary Club for over 40 years.  This fund provides one-time grants to current Rotary scholars who need funding for educational expenses beyond the eight semesters of scholarship payments they are receiving through our scholarship program.  This year’s recipient of the Kay Family Scholarship grant was Lilly Gonzalez, and she was introduced during our January 6th Rotary luncheon.  Lilly attends the UW-Whitewater and was able to take summer courses towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Criminology with this grant provide by the Kay Family Scholarship Fund.  Thank you to Lori and Arlan Kay for making this grant possible for our Rotary scholar.

Mentor Scholar Mixer Highlights

–submitted by Mary Rouse; Photos by John Bonsett-Veal and Stacy Nemeth

IMG_0207All Rotary Scholars and their mentors were invited to get together prior to the January 8, 2014, Rotary meeting. It is an annual event sponsored by our Club. Mentor Leader Ellie Schatz convened the 11AM meeting.  Twenty-five Scholars and 20 mentors attended this event which opened with a mixer bingo quiz for both groups to provide more opportunities for the students and Rotarians to meet and get to know each other.  Prizes were awarded to the top finishers.

IMG_0222  IMG_0227   IMG_0232  IMG_0238

Photo 1: Lynn Phelps and Juan Becerra; Photo 2: Cristian Claudio Teutli; Photo 3: Wes Sparkman and Melanie Ramey; Photo 4: Karen Bauer and Mike Wilson

Ellie continued the discussion by posing several questions to the entire group for reflections and anecdotes about their experiences, talents and interests. Here are two examples: Scholar Cristian Claudio Teutli  plays the drums and sings.  At the request of group members, he provided spontaneous entertainment by drumming on the table and by singing a song a capella in Spanish.  Another student, Karen Bauer attends UW-Eau Claire and has recently assumed the presidency of an interfaith student organization. 

IMG_0208Dick Lovell  (pictured at left with scholar Karen Bauer) outlined the Rotary Internship Matching Program and encouraged the students to register by January 31, 2014, if they are seeking internships for the summer of 2014.   He also encouraged them to sign up on the Rotary Scholar Mentor Facebook page.

Bob Shumaker, current chair of the Scholarship Committee, presented and narrated a video which was just made about the Mentor Program in 2013.

IMG_0209  photo5  photo6

Photo 1: Marcy Martinez and Leslie Grendahl; Photo 2: Karl Gutknecht, Nate Brand and Juan Becerra; Photo 3: (back row, from left) Cristian Claudio Teuli, Alex Carrera and Lynn Phelps, (front row, from left): Mike Wilson, Cristian Claudio Teutli, Jordan Johnson and Patty Wilson

The recurring theme of the meeting was how much the Rotary Scholars are valued by our Club members with a focus of making sure they have all the support they need to ensure their graduation.  The meeting adjourned to the weekly Rotary Club luncheon where, once again, the Scholars were welcomed and their graduation from college expected.

IMG_0214  IMG_0203  IMG_0217

Photo 1: Kody Parman and Dean Nelson; Photo 2: Jordan Johnson and Patty Wilson; Photo 3: Roth Judd and Carlos Solano

Mixer Magic – Rotary Scholars Came Together with Mentors on January 9

–submitted by Ellie Schatz, Rotary Scholar Mentor Committee Chair

Most members of the club are well aware that we have 80 scholarship recipients attending college with our support. But where are they; what are they doing? On January 9, we found out. About 40 scholars and mentors spent an hour learning about each other and sharing their stories. Kyle Gallagher Schmitz graduated in December and has new wheels to show for it, according to mentor Bob Shumaker. From our mixer questionnaires we learned that only Kyle has a motorcycle, only Dick Lovell eats oatmeal for breakfast and Brian Basken eggs!

DSC_0011  DSC_0054  DSC_0058

(Pictured in 3 photos above from left: Dick Lovell, Danielle Greenfield, Leslie Villarreal, Sharyl Kato, Lin Rohr and Ana Selenske)

The question of how mentors might better help their scholars resulted in the only moment of silence during the whole hour. But when reworded to ask what has a mentor done that you consider awesome, the scholars all seemed anxious to share: Sharyl Kato has been there for Leslie Villarreal day and night. Being that they are neighbors (how did that happen?) Ismat Bhuiyan and Deb Raupp take walks together regularly. Khadim Niang is proud of Tom Popp’s work in Malawi, and Sharyn Alden is proud of Emma Crawford’s trip to help provide dental care in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Raven Wood likes shopping with Melanie Ramey and Jazzmin Franks thanks Mike and Pat Wilson for finding her a job in the administration office at Madison College.

DSC_0004  DSC_0014  DSC_0013

(Pictured in 3 photos above from left: Patrick Mather, Ana Selenske, Sergio Becerra-Ramirez, Lily Gonzalez, Jazzmin Franks, Khadim Niang and Kyle Gallagher Schmitz)

We had fun trying to figure out who had traveled the furthest in 2012 and who was born the furthest away from Madison. Ismat thought she might have the record with both her birth and her recent trip back to Bangladesh. Several people thought Mike Wilson, our kiwi, might have it. With no geography expert in the room, neither could claim the prize. Pa Done Yang, born in Thailand, kept her claims for distance silent. She told me she hasn’t been back and instead is seeking scholarships to go to China to find her Hmong people’s roots. Internet research shows Christchurch is about 600 miles further than Dhaka, and although Christchurch has it over Bangkok by a hair, it had to be some distance to the refugee camp. Hats off to all three!

DSC_0045  DSC_0005  DSC_0012

(Pictured in 3 photos above from left: Juan Becerra, Karl Gutknecht, Kalia Winkle, Pa Done Yang, Julius Starlin and Mike Wilson)

Sergio Becerra-Ramirez thought it unusual that he and Juan Becerra were unrelated and shared a last name. Pa Done Yang and Chie Yang, also unrelated, said that’s not unusual — Yang is a common name in their culture. What they do share is a mentor — me, and I share the common-name syndrome with them, given my maiden name — Smith!   The bottom line: our Foundation scholarship money is being well invested in supporting these scholars. And, the mentors agree that their time is just as well invested. It was indeed Mixer Magic to spend time together with all these scholars and mentors.

DSC_0041  DSC_0009  DSC_0016  DSC_0018

(Pictured in 4 photos above from left: Ismat Bhuiyan, Deb Raupp, Ellie Schatz, Chie Yang, Mary Rouse, Lily Gonzalez, Jazzmin Franks, Club President Wes Sparkman with Ellie Schatz)

Highlights from 6th Annual Rotary Mentor-Scholar Picnic

–submitted by Stu Levitan

About 25 Rotary scholars and their respective club mentors enjoyed themselves at the now-traditional summer picnic at Nate Brand and Regina Millner’s beautiful Fuller’s Woods home on July 15. The kitchen crew of Kevin Hoffman, Mike Hoesly and Jim Ruhly, led by co-chair Gary Peterson braved the sweltering heat to staff the grill, as members supplemented the menu with salads, sides and desserts. Admiral Dick Pearson, who with Noel, hosted the first two Mentor-Scholar picnics, took several groups on tours of mighty Lake Mendota in his deck boat.  A fine time was had by all.


 Following are quotes from those attending the picnic:

“Ismat and I had a great time seeing scholars from last year and welcoming new scholars. The food, fellowship, boat ride and hospitality (thanks Nate and Regina) were wonderful! It was good to connect with a couple scholars who were having challenges during their freshman year away from the Midwest. This event allows for both celebration and problem solving.”  —Deb Raupp 

“The beauty of the lake and the gracious hospitality of Regina and Nate provided the perfect setting to celebrate and share with some absolutely amazing young adults! As I left I told my husband, this is another reason why I am grateful to be a Rotarian!”  —Lin Grace Rohr 

“We had a super GREAT time at the picnic and we felt it was the best ever. Leslie loved the opportunity to get to know the other students and she loved the food, the BOAT RIDE and the beautiful home of Regina and Nate!!!! Sharyl loved the opportunity to connect with the other students and other Rotarians as we don’t often have a chance to relax and chat at Wed lunch meetings. Sharyl REALLY loved the food, it all seemed extra yummy this year and special thanks to the “grill guys” who grilled to perfection on such a hot day!! Best, Sharyl Kato