Contact: Katryn Conlin, Director of Communications
Five Winona Area Learning Center Grads named Papenfuss Scholars at MSC Southeast
College and high school staff surprised students at home with the good news -- 2 years of college at no cost
Winona, MN (June 30, 2021) -- In March, the Minnesota State College Southeast Foundation announced the establishment of a $200,000 fund that will provide specialized support for Winona Area Learning Center graduates.
Made possible by a gift from the Jerry & Patricia Papenfuss Family Fund of the Winona Community Foundation, the Papenfuss Scholars Program (PSP) will meet the college expenses for five Winona ALC graduates at MSC Southeast for up to two years.
On June 23 and 24, MSC Southeast and Winona ALC staff members visited five students in person to notify them that they had been selected as Papenfuss Scholars:
- Faith Borzyskowski, Associate of Science in Nursing
- Devin Foster, Software and Web Development
- Ethen Infield, Construction Technology
- Ike Scholl, Computer Engineering Technology
- Zach Weilandt, Electronics Technology
"Originally, we planned to send out a letter, but then we thought it would be more fun to go see the students in person," said Emily Cassellius, principal of Winona Area Learning Center. "We contacted a family member in advance so that we knew they would be at home but we could still surprise them. It was a great celebration!"
Each student was presented with balloons and a "swag bag" full of goodies from the college. Then they posed for photos with college and high school staff.
"It was wonderful to be a part of this exciting day. It was a great show of support for these amazing students!" said Chris Cook, MSC Southeast Admissions Representative.
Funds will be awarded as "last-dollar" scholarships, meaning that after federal and state grants and any other scholarships are applied, the program will cover the remainder of their tuition and fees. Several of the students noted that without this support, it would have been impossible for them to attend college.
"Not only will tuition, books, and fees be covered, but each student will receive a modest stipend to help with living expenses," said Josiah Litant, MSC Southeast Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
The students will also have the advantage of working with a dedicated Student Success Advisor, Shannon Sullivan. Shannon previously worked at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and was a Retention Advisor, Financial Aid Assistant, and an Admissions Assistant at MSC Southeast for seven years.
"We are excited about having a special person at the college to provide ongoing support and who will be a point person so we can stay in touch with our graduates going forward," said Emily Cassellius. "And we are all so grateful to the Papenfuss Family Fund for their generosity in making this opportunity possible."
"We look forward to welcoming these students into the MSCS community and being part of their ongoing journey; MSC Southeast is proud to be their educational institution of choice," commented Josiah Litant. "We are eager to continue building our relationship with the Winona Area Learning Center and their graduates through this visionary partnership."
About Minnesota State College Southeast
Located in the historic river towns of Red Wing and Winona, Minnesota State College Southeast is a two-year technical and community college that prepares students for a lifetime of learning by providing education for employment, skill enhancement, retraining, and transfer. The Winona campus opened its doors in 1949; the Red Wing campus opened in 1973, merging with Winona in 1992. The two campuses now have distinctive characteristics but are one college in structure, policies, procedures, and mission. Both offer small class sizes, state-of-the-art facilities, and an environment that is friendly and supportive. In addition, more than 30 majors are available online. Minnesota State College Southeast is a member of Minnesota State. For more information, visit www.southeastmn.edu.