Scholarships really do change lives, families, and entire communities. Nearly 6,900 UNLV students are being helped by the private scholarships available through the UNLV Foundation.
Undergraduate recipients receive an average of $1,379 in scholarship funds while taking on an average of $5,890 in student loans. Excluding law, dental medicine and nursing, graduate students receive an average award of $2,347 while borrowing $17,155.
Here are a few of the people whose lives have been touched by gifts to UNLV.
Jessica Urgelles is trying to create a brighter future for Las Vegas' most vulnerable children -- those whose mothers are drug addicts. The doctoral student in psychology has seen with her own eyes the tragic impact of mothers who put their own need for drugs ahead of their child's well-being. "You'd think moms would want to do anything for their children," she said, "but their decisions are completely skewed by the drugs they're using."
Urgelles' dissertation research focuses on helping families by developing interventions for mothers who have been reported to Clark County for child neglect and maternal drug abuse. Her critical work is supported by the Barrick Fellowship and the Patricia Sastaunik Scholarship.
The Art of Scholarship
Percussionist Jeremy Klewicki doesn't miss a beat when asked why he moved from New York to Las Vegas to study jazz at UNLV. "UNLV offered me several scholarships, for both my musical ability and my academic merit," he explained.
Klewicki is a recipient of the Jay Morrison Jazz Studies Scholarship, the Mary Dougherty Honors Scholarship, and an Undergraduate Achievement Award.
"UNLV had something else those New York conservatories didn't," he added, "...this thing called the Honors College."
As an Honors College freshman, his academic horizons are expanding. "I feel like I'm learning things that matter, things that help make the difference between my being a drummer and being a musician; the difference between being a technician and an artist."
Sowing Seeds of Scholarship
Jamie Mitchell has a design in mind for his future. The dynamic UNLV Honors College junior hopes to create sustainable entertainment landscapes, whether it's resort properties, golf courses, or theme parks.
Mitchell is pursuing his dream with help from the W. Leslie Sully Scholarship, established in 2013 in memory of the attorney who represented the UNLV Foundation for more than 30 years. His widow, Cheryl Sully, said, "My husband and I visited botanical gardens wherever we traveled and his pockets were always full of the seeds he'd collect along the way. He had a passion for anything green. Although he enjoyed a successful career as an attorney, transforming our desert backyard into a personal park-like oasis was his labor of love."
The W. Leslie Sully Scholarship supports landscape architecture majors. Mitchell is the scholarship's first recipient.
On Track to Succeed
Cortney Miller is learning a lot about muscles -- as both an athlete and an academic. When she's not working out as one of two sophomore hammer throwers on the UNLV women's track and field team, she's studying kinesiology in the School of Allied Health Sciences.
Miller, a graduate of Calvary Chapel High School in Las Vegas, is the 2014 Sheila Tarr-Smith Scholarship awardee. The scholarship is named in memory of the track and field star who became UNLV's first-ever national champion when she grabbed top honors in the 1984 NCAA heptathlon. "This scholarship gave me the means and motivation to succeed at UNLV," says Miller, who, according to her coach, is on track to break records herself. "Anywhere else wouldn't feel like home."
Support Worth Smiling About
Raised by a mother in the hospitality industry, UNLV freshman Jessica Hillman learned at an early age the power of a winning smile. Now, when she talks about the opportunity she's been given to study at the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, the Hornbuckle Family Scholarship recipient's smile is irrepressible.
"I am so grateful to be studying in Las Vegas, and for the scholarship support that makes it possible," she beams. The scholarship was established through a gift from Hotel College alumnus Bill Hornbuckle '84, president and chief marketing officer for MGM Resorts International.