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2022 National Scholarship Ceremony honors award-winning students and their UND mentors alike

The 2022 National Scholarship Ceremony honored the UND students and recent graduates pictured above, all of whom have won national or international scholarships. The ceremony also honored the students’ faculty mentors. Photo courtesy of UND’s Academic Support and Fellowship Opportunities office.

It was just another Zoom screen on the wall of just another Memorial Union meeting room, but the people on the screen and their stories showed that this was not just another event.

Take Taylor Roehl, for example. A freshly minted UND graduate, Roehl (pronounced “Rail”) was taking part in the event from her host family’s home in Munich, Germany. That’s where she’s spending the academic year as a recipient of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship, an award that lets her immerse herself in German language and culture while she applies to medical school.

Or take Marshall Nunberg; his face on the screen was being beamed in from Taiwan. After double-majoring in Chinese Studies and Political Science at UND, Nunberg won a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship from Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On Taiwan he’s perfecting his Mandarin Chinese while studying at National Chengchi University, one of the island’s best-known and most prestigious universities.

The event being attended by Roehl, Nunberg and others from around the campus and country was the 2022 National Scholarship Ceremony. The celebration on Nov. 18 honored UND students who’ve won or been finalists in national or international scholarships over the past year. Five students and about 25 family members and academic mentors attended in person, while another five students and assorted family members attended online.

And as Roehl and Nunberg’s examples showed, the students being celebrated by the ceremony have earned recognition that comes from far beyond UND.

“This is such an exciting event,” said Eric Link, UND’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, to those gathered in person and online. “It’s wonderful to hear about so many great projects, and more important, to meet such an amazing array of students who are doing such outstanding work.”

Eric Link, UND’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, addresses the 2022 National Scholarship Ceremony in the UND Memorial Union on Nov. 18. Phot by Tom Dennis/UND Today.

‘No one really does this alone’

Ceremonies such as the 2022 National Scholarship event are important for two reasons, Link said. “First, of course, we are recognizing the achievements, the hard work, the dreams and the aspirations of the students. Some of their visions of what they’re hoping to do are truly inspiring.”

Second, Link said, “we’re celebrating the culture at UND of mentorship and cooperation between faculty and faculty, faculty and students, and students and students.

“It’s the network: the building of friendships and collaborations that happens right here on campus as a result of pursuing national scholarships and awards.

“Because no one really does this alone, right?”

At the hub of those networks for many of the students is Yee Han Chu, UND’s academic support and fellowship opportunities coordinator. At one point in his remarks, Link spoke of the “doors of opportunity” that UND students will encounter, but that may not open unless the student turns the handle and walks through.

One of those doors, it’s safe to say, leads to a student’s first meeting with Yee Han Chu. For it’s Chu who tells students about scholarship opportunities, counsels them on application strategies and timetables and makes sure the students get help from faculty mentors along the way.

“I want to take a moment to say how grateful I am for what I get to do here at UND,” Chu said at the ceremony.

“I really get to help students make their dreams come true. And the grander the dream, the better, because that’s what scholarships are all about: helping students dream big.”

Along those lines, this year’s cohort of scholarship winners is especially notable, Chu said. “That’s because they want to dream big, they can dream big, they have the skills to dream big – and we are a community that will support that flight.”

Yee Han Chu, academic support and fellowship opportunities coordinator at UND, speaks at the 2022 National Scholarship Ceremony at UND. Photo by Tom Dennis/UND Today.

The mentors’ vital role

Throughout Chu’s tenure at UND, she has made a special point at the annual National Scholarship Ceremony of honoring not just the award-winning students, but also their faculty mentors. Students and mentors alike were recognized and given plaques at the 2022 ceremony; and Sydney Menne, a 2022 Goldwater Scholar and, among multiple other honors, a recent finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship, showed in her remarks that she has taken this lesson to heart.

“Scholarships also mean working as a team,” said Menne, the Student Speaker at the gathering. “And I’m so grateful that UND has such a supportive faculty, because I know that without all of the help from my mentors, letters-of-recommendation writers, people who provide feedback on essays and of course, Yee Han and her hard work, I wouldn’t have had all of the amazing academic and professional opportunities that these awards bring.”

Provost Link urged the students to be both proud of their accomplishments and grateful to the mentors and others at the University who helped them both dream and achieve big.

“And I’d like to leave you with another thought,” he said.

“Someday when you’re all hugely successful out there in the world, please remember this ceremony.

“Remember the friends and loved ones and faculty and fellow students and staff who encouraged you, who helped open doors for you. … When you are five years, 10 years or 20 years from now, think back on this experience, and pay it forward a little bit.

“Be a mentor for the next generation of students. Show encouragement and build some enthusiasm for people who’ll be just like you are today: sitting in a room and about to be recognized with a plaque and applause for what you’ve accomplished so far, and what you’re going to accomplish in the future.

“In other words, take that spirit and give back,” Link continued. “Whether it’s through volunteer work or mentoring, teaching, supporting or showing enthusiasm, I hope that you will make this event a possibility for the next generation of students, five, 10, 15 or 20 years down the road.”

Sydney Menne, a physics and math major at UND and a 2022 Goldwater Scholar and Brooke Owens Fellow, was the Student Speaker at the 2022 National Scholarship Ceremony at UND. Photo by Tom Dennis/UND Today.

The following is a list of the UND students who were honored at the 2022 National Scholarship Ceremony, along with the students’ national scholarship, hometown, major and the names of the students’ mentors.

Zackary Anderson
Scholarship: Cobell 2022
Hometown: Rolette, N.D.
Major: Psychology
Mentor: RaeAnn Anderson

Payton Cole
Scholarship: Fulbright English Teaching Award Czech Republic Semi-Finalist 2022
Hometown: Burlington, Wis.
Major: Master of Fine Arts
Mentor: Todd Herbert

Kaleigh Degeldere
Scholarship: Gilman 2022
Hometown: Grafton, N.D.
Majors: Political Science, Psychology and Legal Studies
Mentors: Joan Jorde and Shelby King

Madelyn House
Scholarship: Truman Finalist 2022
Hometown: Bismarck
Majors: Political Science and Public Administration
Mentors: Mary Feller and Mark Jendrysik

Elisabeth Kolb
Scholarship: Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Germany Scholar 2022
Hometown: West Fargo, N.D.
Majors: Biology and German Studies
Mentors: Diane Darland and Amanda Nagy

Vincent Ledvina
Scholarship: AGU Michael H. Freilich Student Visualization Grand Prize Winner 2021
Hometown: Woodbury, Minn.
Major: Physics
Mentors: Wayne Barkhouse and Tim Young

Sydney Menne
Scholarship: Brooke Owens Fellow 2022 and Goldwater Scholar 2022
Hometown: Shoreview, Minn.
Majors: Physics and Mathematics
Mentors: Yen Lee Loh and Tim Young

Marshall Nunberg
Scholarship: Huayu Enrichment Scholarship 2022
Hometown: Beach, N.D.
Majors: Political Science & Chinese Studies
Mentors: Lucian Stone and Brian Urlacher

Gabriel Randall
Scholarship: Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange – Young Professional Semi-Finalist 2022
Hometown: Grand Forks
Major: Marketing
Mentor: Trevor Lennon

Taylor Roehl
Scholarships: Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Young Professional Scholar 2022 and Fulbright English Teaching Award – Germany 2022
Hometown: New Leipzig, N.D.
Majors: Forensic Science and German Studies
Mentors: Thyra Knapp and Amanda Nagy

Sabrina Sullivan
Scholarship: Goldwater Scholar 2022
Hometown: Farmington, N.M.
Major: Petroleum Engineering
Mentors: Tom Robinson and Curtis Searle

Shealynn Wells
Scholarship: Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship 2022
Hometown: Johnstown, Wyo.
Major: Nursing
Mentors: Elle Hoselton and Aaron Mehus