The Power of Scholarship: Jennifer Chang

In her own words

How has the Dr. Rusty Barceló scholarship from the University of Minnesota’s Women’s Center impacted my education and my life? Let me count the ways.

First, it validated that I, an immigrant woman, deserved the same education and opportunities as everyone else. Studying Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Science and Engineering, every class was mostly male; so I often sought out women’s groups such as the Women’s Center or the Society of Women Engineers, where it provided a breath of fresh air and a degree of support that my male counterparts could not quite provide.

Second, it helped me concentrate on my education. Receiving this scholarship meant that I only had to work at my part time job on the weekends, leaving me the rest of the week to write my 40 page lab reports. It meant that instead of working extra evening or night shifts, I could both study and get a good night’s rest in preparation for an exam the next day. It meant that I could afford to take a volunteer position in a Chemistry research lab on campus that furthered my learning and growth, instead of taking on another job at the local restaurant for minimum wage. Collectively, it led to a higher GPA and campus involvement, which played a major role in my finding an internship and a job.

Lastly, it still impacts my life today, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Every scholarship that I earned in school was another loan I did not have to take, which ultimately led to my being able to prioritize my job search first and foremost by interest, rather than by compensation. It also provided me a chance to start saving for retirement early, instead of putting the money towards high interest rate loans.

Although at times it may be hard to pinpoint exactly where and how each scholarship dollar is beneficial, scholarships do make an incredible impact because they improve the recipient’s quality of life.

I would not be where I am today without the Women’s Center’s help. Hopefully someday I will also be able to make such an impact on one’s life. I am confident that I can speak on behalf of all scholarship recipients that we immensely appreciate the generous donations – however small or large.