UW-W alumna gives back

‘02 and ‘09 UW-Whitewater grad gives back to single mothers

Katelyn Black, Lifestyle Editor

Being a single mother and attending college is a hard combination to find balance between.

But it was exactly this idea that inspired Laura Lawrence, with the help of her daughter, Reagan, to create a scholarship for single mothers attending UW-Whitewater full time.

The scholarship will award one single mother $2,500 for one semester to help students in this situation.

The idea stemmed from Laura Lawrence’s own experience with motherhood and education.

Lawrence received her Bachelor and Master degrees at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater in 2002 and 2009, all while raising her daughter, Reagan.

Now, ten years after her graduation from UW-W,  Lawrence  sits as the Director of Global Marketing for Harman Industries in Dallas, Texas.

And now, because of her success, Lawrence felt that she was in a position to give back, which is exactly what she did this past year.

Lawrence proposed the scholarship idea to Greg Rutzen, the director of corporate philanthropy and interim president for the UW-Whitewater Foundation.

From there, it was up to Rutzen to help carry the idea through the formal process and spreading the word around campus.

“I had to get creative. I was asking for help, getting the word out to students, faculty, and staff, who were either eligible themselves or knew someone who might be, could hear about it.”

From there, Lynn Smith with adult student connections joined in to raise that awareness for the scholarship around campus and through to the people she represents.

“With this particular scholarship, it didn’t become available to our university until summer,” said Smith.

“So then [Mr.] Rutzen called me because I work with returning adult students and possible single mothers would fall within the group of people that I work with.”

In the end, the outreach worked, and the scholarship received 23 different applications and essays with one chosen as the final winner for the fall semester.

The recipient of the fall award money has been notified, but the name is not currently being released to the public.

Students who wish to apply for the scholarship for next semester are invited to apply through the normal scholarship portal in December.