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Science Journal

Paying It Forward

1 block image tout Willaman Bridge at University Park.

We talked to some of our alumni about the impacts that Penn State scholarships had on their undergraduate career and why they chose to give back.

I was fortunate to have received a graduate teaching fellowship from the statistics department while I was pursuing my master’s in statistics. Without this support, attending graduate school would have been unaffordable for my family. When I graduated in 1980 and began my 31-year career with the U.S. Census Bureau, my graduate teaching experience served me well. I had the privilege of spending three years teaching statistics classes and survey sampling techniques to representatives from developing countries, thus enabling them to conduct and analyze their own surveys and censuses. All in all, my two years at Penn State were some of the happiest in my life. My education at Penn State proved invaluable, and the scholarship made it possible. As token of my appreciation, I continue to support Penn State by donating regularly. I have also included Penn State in my estate planning so other students will have the opportunity to reach their goals and live out their dreams.
Harland Shoemaker ‘80g Statistics

"I received a couple of scholarships that helped support my time at Penn State: a four-year scholarship from the Alumni Society and a four-year scholarship from the Department of Chemistry. When I first received notification of my scholarships, it was a huge boost to my confidence and my feeling of being welcomed by Penn State. I came from a tiny high school, out in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania, and I knew I was at an academic disadvantage because of it. That support was emotional, not just financial. But this money was also a tremendous financial relief for my family. I don’t give a ton of money (I have kids of my own I’m putting through college now), but I give and will give for the rest of my life, in gratitude and to give that same chance to another kid."

"I received a merit scholarship from the physics department my junior and senior year. It was a total surprise, as I did not apply for any scholarships. As the fourth child in my family to attend college supported by my parents, they of course were very happy to have a portion of this burden lifted. I have never forgotten this, and this was a primary motivation for me to also establish a scholarship endowment in the physics department to help future students, just as I was helped when I attended Penn State."
—John Dudley ’77 Physics