BRF Alumni not only shine during their years in school, but also once they have completed their educations and enter the workforce. Below is a short update on a few past BRF Alumni Scholarship recipients. The BRF community should be very proud of these young men and women, the services they are providing and the marks they are leaving on the world today.

Olivia L. (BRF Class of 2011) graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2015 from UW Oshkosh with a degree in Biochemistry and a distinctive award for her work in Biomolecular Science. Olivia went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from Concordia University’s four-year pharmacy program and became a Dr. of Pharmacy. She did her internship at Froedert Hospital and began her career there as a Clinical Pharmacist. Olivia works in both the transplant and cardiology departments with the hope to eventually work in cardiology full time.

Maria L. (BRF Class of 2013) went on to attend UW La Crosse, majoring in Exercise/Sports Science with a minor in Spanish. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Exercise & Sports Science and then continued with grad school at UW La Crosse in the physical therapy program, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2020 and is now a Dr. of Physical Therapy. She was one of only three students to receive a scholarship from the La Crosse Foundation. Maria did her clinical studies in three different locations, including Arizona, where she accepted a job offer. When she graduated, the pandemic was in full force. She was not able to have a traditional graduation and wasn’t able to start her job as expected. Maria wanted to stay in Arizona and thanks to BRF resident Roger Castle, she was able to do so. She stayed at his second home and he only asked that she pay utilities. Maria worked at Target and made it through COVID. She has now started her originally planned job, where she loves her patients and feels she is truly making a positive difference in their lives.

Matthew L. (BRF Class of 2015) graduated from UW La Crosse in 2020 where he majored in Sport Management with Concentration in Coaching. He is currently attending UM Twin Cities and will be graduating in May of 2022. Matthew has been selected to serve a paid school year internship with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. He will be working with event coordination, collaborating with athletic department units, campus and city officials, and vendors. Matthew will also be assisting with event production including game operations, guest services, crowd management, participant transition, risk management assessment, and emergency response. He will also be assisting the administration in hiring, training, and supervising staff, fiscal and inventory management and updating operation publications.

Hannah S. (BRF Class of 2015) graduated from Chippewa Valley Technical College in 2017 and from UW Eau Claire’s Health Care Administration Program in 2020. Hannah received several local scholarships to help with the costs of her post-secondary education. She writes “I would like to thank the committee for giving students the chance to prove their academic excellence and by funding their educational journey with these generous scholarships. Going to college and working part-time is no easy task and the scholarship awards provide much needed help. Again, thank you on behalf of every student for the opportunity to attend college and lead a successful life.” Hannah financed most of her education by working two part-time jobs, one at Kwik Trip and the other as a CNA. She writes ‘During my years in college I’ve found satisfaction in giving back to the community by volunteering and working as a Certified Nursing Assistant to extend my education as a Health Care Administrator even further. I believe being a strong leader means being knowledgeable in all roles, not just your own. I aspire to be the type of leader where I’m not just seen as the Administrator, but can help my clinical staff with the daily tasks.” Hannah currently holds both Federal and State Nursing Home Administrator Licenses and serves as an administrator for Dove Healthcare systems. She is responsible for the overall operation of the fifty bed SNF in Rice Lake and the 35 unit RCAC located in Baron.

Nikolas P. (BRF Class of 2016) graduated with highest Latin honors from the University of Minnesota in 2020 with a degree in aerospace engineering. In 2017, Nick drove to Texas, INTO Hurricane Harvey, to begin his first of two internships with NASA. The second internship was done at NASA in California. He is currently working at Honeywell in the Twin Cities applying his skill set to drone research/development while simultaneously attending graduate school for robotics at University of Minnesota. Nick also continues to compete on the UM triathlon team.

As you can see, these fantastic young people are thriving. They have overcome many obstacles from COVID to speech impairment, learning disabilities and financial struggles, and all have been successful. What a commentary they are on the BRF community and an inspiration for all of us to be the best we can. It truly ‘takes a village’, and what a village we have been blessed with where people are willing to share their time, talents and money to help others succeed. If you, or someone you know, is interested in contributing to any of the Foundation Scholarship Funds, please contact the Foundation office. There are options available for donations of all size.