The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation is pleased to award $12,000 in 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.
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.
Students earning Jim and Lee Vance Scholarships in 2018 are:
Abraham Martinez, a 2015 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, has been awarded a $4,000 Vance Scholarship.
Martinez is entering his fourth year at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he is double-majoring in accounting and finance. He plans to graduate with two degrees in the spring of 2020.
While at UW-Whitewater, Martinez has been heavily involved with the University Honors Program, serving on the Honors Council, and as a Peer Mentor in the university’s First Year Experience Program helping incoming freshmen settle into college life.
His career goal is to become a certified public accountant from which position he hopes to be “a translator for the common person to understand their finances,” and to serve as a role model for his family and community. As he stated in his application, studying finance has taught him that “I am the pilot of my own life,” and he hopes to use his education to help others steer their own ship.
Evalise Yang has been awarded a $4,000 Vance Scholarship.
Yang graduated from Fort Atkinson High School in 2016, earning a $1,000 Ed Karrels AP Computer Science Scholarship for her outstanding work in the high school’s AP Computer Science class. She is now enrolled at UW-Whitewater where she is studying information technology with an emphasis on networking and security.
The Director of UW-Whitewater’s Honors Program describes Yang as a “stand-out” member of that program and she got equally high praise from her academic advisor in the College of Business and Economics who described her as “a joyful, enthusiastic and creative individual who is resourceful, dedicated and responsible.”
Upon earning her degree in 2020, Yang notes her dream job would be to use her knowledge of technology and the Internet to help the government tackle online crime and work to prevent such tragedies as human trafficking.
John Compas, a 2015 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, has earned a $2,000 Vance Scholarship. Compas will be a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall where he is double majoring in computer engineering and computer science.
After graduating in May 2019, Compas hopes to combine the abstract problem-solving of computer science with his engineering training to pursue a career creating original products. He is especially interested in using his training to solve global problems and help communities in impoverished areas. Already, as an undergraduate at UW-Madison, Compas spent two years working with and leading a team of Engineers without Borders to improve the water quality and distribution in a small, rural community on the coast of Ecuador. He is considering continuing this type of work with a two-year stint in the Peace Corps after graduation.
Patrick Stiles, a 2017 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, has been awarded a $2,000 Vance Scholarship.
Stiles just finished his freshman year at UW-Madison where he is majoring in industrial engineering but he will officially achieve junior status this fall thanks to some summer coursework and the college credits he earned from taking Advanced Placement courses while attending Fort Atkinson High School.
One of the most inspiring parts of attending UW-Madison, Stiles noted in his application, is the Wisconsin Idea – the emphasis on the campus of not just learning the material, but being able to apply it to the real world and make a difference. He looks forward to continuing in that spirit when he graduates in May 2021.