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Meet Our Students

Meet: Marissa Chukwu

Marissa Chukwu (’18, Bio.)

Marissa Chukwu (’18, Bio.) always dreamed of attending college to study the medical sciences and become a doctor, eventually gaining the experience to one day establish a hospital in her home country of Nigeria.

First, though, she needed to conquer a substantial hurdle: the rising cost of higher education. “I always had that problem of figuring out how to finance my way through college,” she says.

Her mother was divorced and unable to help Marissa financially. But that obstacle disappeared when Marissa enrolled at WSU and received a generous scholarship to help pay her expenses.

“My mum has always been so supportive of me and the fact … » More …

Meet: Yuliya Baranovskaya

Yuliya Baranovskaya (’17 Bus. Admin.)

Scholarships have empowered Yuliya Baranovskaya in her studies at WSU Tri-Cities, where she has earned a place on the President’s Honor Roll each semester since her freshman year. Now a junior, Yuliya is grateful for the opportunities that keep her educational goals on track as she balances a multitude of responsibilities.

“For me, attending college is not a choice, but a must,” she says. “Working two jobs and being a full-time student was my choice, backed by necessity. In a situation like this, any extra help for tuition and school expenses is welcomed. Scholarships increased my ability to put extra time into school, which is … » More …

Meet: Adam Bakken

Adam Bakken (’15)

Thanks to the scholarships that paid most of his expenses at WSU, Adam Bakken is well-prepared for his next step in life: becoming a teacher and ultimately, working in the field of international education.

Adam will graduate in December with a double degree in Elementary Education and in Linguistics, with a Japanese minor and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language teaching certificate.

“I have always known that I want to be a teacher, instructing the future leaders of tomorrow. I now know I will do this by teaching English to non-native speakers,” he says.

Adam worked part-time while attending WSU, but scholarships made the … » More …

Meet: Janelle Mendoza

Janelle Mendoza (’14; ’15) records programming announcements in the studio of Northwest Public Radio on the campus of Washington State University in Pullman.

Avid listeners of Northwest Public Radio know her name and recognize her voice, but they are unfamiliar with what defines Janelle Mendoza’s character: a determination to overcome obstacles and graduate from WSU with two undergraduate degrees.

Janelle was facing an abrupt end to her educational journey at WSU. “I couldn’t afford many things that were essential to doing well in school, such as purchase books or even pay tuition, which held me back from registering in classes,” she recalls.

Her parents had been borrowing the money to help pay for tuition, fees, books, and housing. But financial pressures increased dramatically when her family was no … » More …

Meet: Yadira Olivera

College has taught graduate student Yadira Olivera a notable lesson she will remember throughput her life: “There is room for mistakes and growth, but
never failure,” says the Robert E. McNair Alumni Scholar and recipient of myriad scholarships. » More …

Meet: Kiyana Boyd

WSU Foundation Scholarship reception at the Davenport Hotel, Spokane Washington.

Kiyana Boyd
Junior, Management Information Systems (MIS)
Hometown:  Federal Way, Washington


Kiyana Boyd is a first-generation college student and member of the inaugural class of First Scholars at Washington State University. She is a recipient of the Meyers Family First Scholars at WSU scholarship provided through the generosity of Gina Meyers (‘85). By giving back to her alma mater in this way, Gina is encouraging first-in-their-family college students to pursue higher education and to get the most from the opportunities provided … » More …

Meet: Grace Reed

I am…
Grace Reed, a junior majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. I am also an Honors student and a Fulbright Summer Institute participant.

My scholarships are important to me because…
They represent the faith that WSU has in my ability to perform as a dedicated student, and they are a sign of support from those who have gone before me. My parents taught me the value of taking education seriously and are encouraging me to pursue graduate school, if I wish.


» More …

Meet: Ashley Vu


Junior Ashley Vu is a recipient of the Phil and June Lighty Leadership Scholarship among many others. Never one to shy away from hard work, Ashley is pursuing a double major in pre-medicine and mechanical engineering. Add in her strokes for women’s lightweight crew and her service across campus as a tutor, including in the Honors College, and this undergraduate’s significant impact on the WSU community is clear.

A particularly meaningful WSU experience?
Ashley counts her role as an alumni relations student intern among her most … » More …

Meet: John Kempf

Kempf6-199x300In May, 2014 John Kempf completed his first step toward his lifelong goal of becoming a professional training facility owner and strength and conditioning specialist by earning his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at WSU. Thanks to scholarship support, this first-generation graduate is now ready to “pass on the love” and put his knowledge and skills to use helping others.

Tell us how scholarships helped you make the move from “WSU student” to “WSU alumnus”… 

I would not be who I am today with without the WSU education I have been blessed with. The entire process shaped … » More …

Meet: Sarah Belter

It’s safe to say becoming a member of the Cougar family has had quite an impact on Sarah Belter. From her impeccable academic record to her school spirit, she is the model student preparing to graduate with a degree in computer science that will lead to an exciting future. A proud recipient of numerous scholarships, including the University Achievement Award that she received twice, she acknowledges that this support has greatly helped her focus on what is really important.

“Receiving the University Achievement Award, the Rhiger Scholarship, and the Hardgrove Scholarship in my first two years allowed me to really focus on my academics and … » More …

Washington State University Foundation
Washington State University