Student stories

Meet just a few of our outstanding students who have benefitted from the generous gifts of visionaries like you.

Julia Brodecki

Julia Brodecki

Materials Science and Engineering ’20

“On campus, I am a committee chair on the recruitment committee of the Society of Women Engineers, as well as a member of Illini Solar Car where I work in a clean lab to make solar modules that will power the car.”

Michael Gale

Michael Gale

Industrial Engineering ’20

“I am from Dixon, Illinois and I am very excited to become my family's first engineer. I hope to become a manufacturing engineer for a well-known company, and eventually move up into management as a plant manager.”

Ivan Gallardo

Ivan Gallardo

Computer Engineering ’18

“As the oldest of six, my parents cannot afford to assist me in paying for my education, but they have never stopped encouraging me to succeed. Paying for my education has been a challenge and the main reason for my attending a community college before transferring to Illinois.”

Omar Joya

Omar Joya

Electrical Engineering '17

"My entire story as an engineering student would not have been possible without the support of donors. A gift goes a long way; it does not just go to a scholarship - it goes to an infinite set of experiences that otherwise would not have been possible."

Anthony Lambert

Anthony Lambert

Engineering Undeclared '20

Anthony Lambert received several competing offers to other engineering programs across the country. Ultimately, the combination of in-state tuition coupled with a generous scholarship package encouraged him to choose Illinois.

“Receiving a scholarship helped give me the confidence that I am smart enough to attend one of the best engineering universities in the world.”

Edgar Mejia

Edgar Mejia

Mechanical Engineering ’18

Edgar is proud to be a student in the College of Engineering and knows that his dream of an Illinois engineering education is made possible by the scholarship support he has received.

Mason Metzkes

Mason Metzkes

Aerospace Engineering ’20

“Over the course of the last year, I was on the borderline of being able to afford college, but through the generosity of this scholarship, it put us just past what my family needed to be able to afford me attending Illinois.”

Ryan Noe

Ryan Noe

Aerospace Engineering ’18

“Paying for college tuition is a daunting task, and your generosity is helping me reach my goal of graduating from the University of Illinois.”

Tiffany Price

Tiffany Price

General Engineering ’18

“I am currently a second-year transfer student in systems engineering and design. I plan to pursue a secondary field in automotive engineering. I am a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, and a cultural organization called Women of Colors. I regularly attend Illini Volleyball games and I enjoy swimming and resistance training in my free time.

Receiving a scholarship allows me to worry less about money and gives me more time to focus solely on my education. I am truly blessed and thankful to receive this scholarship.”

Ann Rajan

Ann Rajan

Computer Science ’20

“In my Honors Intro to Programming course, I lead a project called StudyBuddy. I am a backend developer of the website/mobile app that matches up students to study based on their location and courses. I plans to see this project to completion even after finishing my honors course.

I am also a member of the Society of Women Engineers where I am the Team Tech External Relations Chair, as well as the co-founder of the Girls Who Code Club. Outside of my engineering-based activities, I am passionate about music and a member of the University Philharmonic Orchestra.”

Karolina Urban

Karolina Urban

Civil Engineering ’19

Karolina Urban is thrilled to be a student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois. Karolina's father is a construction worker, so she grew up watching buildings being created from the ground up. Karolina says she chose Illinois because with an Illinois engineering degree she “can create something greater. I can build skyscrapers in Chicago. That amazes me.”

Karolina serves as the Outreach Committee Chair for the Society of Women Engineers. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, swimming, and water polo. She spends time outdoors and says that photography keeps her “relaxed and is an expression of my appreciation for the world.”

Karolina is proud to be a student in the College of Engineering and realizes that her dream of an Illinois engineering education is made possible by her scholarship support. She someday hopes to help other students achieve their educational goals.

Christian Williams

Christian Williams

Mechanical Engineering ’20

“I grew up in Park Forest, IL about two hours from the University. I am freshman mechanical engineering major. I was interested in pursuing an engineering degree because I have had a love for cars since I was a kid. After graduation, I hope to work in the automotive industry working on design safety or fuel efficiency.

Receiving a scholarship has inspired me to pay it forward. Once I have graduated and become financially established, I want to fund scholarships for students as donors have done for me. I want to make sure price is not a factor in a student's decision to pursue an education. Thank you to the donors who made this scholarship possible because it means you believe in me and my potential to do great things in the future. ”

Kara Wong

Kara Wong

Engineering Undeclared ’20

Kara and her mother support young women living in poverty-stricken regions around the world to receive an education. Initially, they only sponsored one girl from China, but with the additional financial support Kara received, they have been able to sponsor two other women.

Samuel Zandi

Samuel Zandi

Engineering Physics ’18

“I am exceedingly grateful for your generosity and am extremely humbled. Your support takes away from the stresses of paying my full tuition and allows me to focus more on academics than outside work.

I enjoy tutoring other students with coursework in classes I have already completed. I also enjoy attending Illini Basketball and Football games and I am looking forward to seeing how well Lovie Smith will lead our football team.”

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