Four students earn Vance Scholarships

The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation is pleased to award scholarships to four local students from its Jim and Lee Vance Scholarship Fund.

The Vance Scholarship Fund was established at the Foundation in 2015 thanks to a sizable bequest from the estate of the late Lee Vance. Working with her husband, Jim, Lee had planned to establish a fund at the Foundation that would provide scholarships for Fort Atkinson area students.
This is a unique scholarship fund in that, in addition to being residents of the Fort Atkinson area or graduates of Fort Atkinson High School, eligible students also must be either attending one of the colleges the Vances attended or pursing a degree in a field related to the Vances’ fields of study. Additionally, the fund supports women over the age of 25 who have gone back to school to further their education.

Selection is based on the applicant’s seriousness of purpose, the content of an essay outlining the applicant’s plans, what they have done to prepare for the chosen education and career, personality, initiative and likelihood of success.

To learn more about the eligibility requirements for the Vance Scholarship, visit the Foundation’s website,, or contact program administrator, Sue Hartwick, at (920) 563-3210 or via email at

Students earning Jim and Lee Vance Scholarships in 2017 are:

Amy Flessert

Amy Flessert, a 2004 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, has been awarded a $4,000 Vance Scholarship.

Flessert earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 2008 and later, a master’s degree in English and composition from Marymount University in Virginia. She is now enrolled at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric, while working full-time as an instructor of English at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), the second largest community college in the United States.

At NOVA she works with a group called Great Expectations, which helps foster care students achieve their goals at the college and she also regularly mentors students who are often the first in their families to go to college. Her passion is teaching.
Flessert hopes to finish up her doctorate in 2020 and then become a full professor at NOVA

Lillian Cook

Lillian Cook has been awarded a $3,000 Vance Scholarship.

Cook graduated from Fort Atkinson High School in 2014 with an impressive 3.99 gradepoint average. She has continued to excel in the classroom at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where she is heading into her senior year, pursuing a degree in actuarial science.

This past summer, Cook gained valuable experience at CUNA in Madison where she worked as an actuarial intern in their Pricing and Product Development Department.

Upon earning her degree from UW-Eau Claire in 2018, Cook hopes to find work as an actuarial analyst. Her long-term goals include slogging through the ten exams that actuaries can take to be certified as a ‘fellow,’ which is the highest ranking an actuary can have, and eventually assuming a leadership position in which she would supervise other actuaries.

John Compas

John Compas, a 2015 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, has earned a $3,000 Vance Scholarship. Compas will be a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall where he is double majoring in computer engineering and computer science.

During his time at UW-Madison, Compas has worked as a software development intern for the United Health Group in Minneapolis, MN, and as machine learning developer for Blackthorne Capital Management in Whitewater. In addition, upon enrolling at the UW, he joined the school’s Engineers Without Borders organization and traveled to Ecuador where he led a team in constructing a sedimentation tank to help improve the water quality in a rural Ecuadorian community.

Upon graduation from UW-Madison, Compas is considering a stint in the Peace Corps. His long-term goal is to work for a bold, innovative company such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX designing software for rocket or satellite systems.

Yana Rawinski

Yana Rawinski, a 2014 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, has been awarded a $1,000 Vance Scholarship.

This fall, Rawinski will begin the fourth year of a five-year biomedical engineering degree program at Marquette University. During the school year, Rawinski works at Marquette as a teaching assistant in a physics lab and as a research assistant in the biomedical engineering department, all while earning an outstanding 3.96 gradepoint average in her own studies.

This past summer she worked as an intern at Titan Spine in Milwaukee, a company that designs implants for spinal medical procedures. She now hopes to continue to work for them after she graduates in May 2019.