The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation recently awarded three Ralph and Clara Rutledge Memorial Scholarships, totaling $7,000 to former Fort Atkinson High School graduates Erica Vander Mause, Olivia Nichols and Alexis Kent.
Ralph and Clara Rutledge were long-time residents of the Fort Atkinson area. While they didn’t have children of their own, they lived near the old high school on South High Street and maintained an interest in local students. As part of their estate planning, the Rutledges chose to endow a scholarship fund through the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation.
Rutledge Memorial Scholarships are available to residents of the Fort Atkinson area or graduates of Fort Atkinson High School who are enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, in a graduate program at an accredited college or university, leading to a master’s, doctorate, or a professional degree. The recipient may be a full or part-time graduate student but must be making steady progress toward a degree.
Selection is based on academic achievement, potential for success in their chosen field, community involvement, and citizenship.
Students earning Rutledge Memorial Scholarships in 2018 are:
Erica Vander Mause
Erica Vander Mause, a 2010 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, has been awarded a $3,000 Rutledge Memorial Scholarship.
Vander Mause graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the spring of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. That fall, she enrolled at the University of Utah to begin a Ph.D. program in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry.
Since 2016 she has been diligently working in the lab of Professor Carol Lim where she is leading a cutting-edge project on cancer treatment. Dr. Lim lauded Vander Mause’s academic credentials as “stellar,” her potential as a scientist as “extremely high,” and her character as one marked by “strength, perseverance, poise, confidence and high integrity.”
After a target graduation date of 2020, Vander Mause plans to apply for a postdoctoral training position and then work as a professor at a smaller university similar to UW-Oshkosh where she first developed her passion for laboratory research.
Olivia Nichols is the recipient of a $3,000 Rutledge Memorial Scholarship.
A 2010 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, Nichols earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2014 and a master’s degree in human development from Auburn University in 2016. Her research, outstanding academic record, and positive contributions to the school’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies led to her being selected by Auburn University as one of the 10 most outstanding master’s students school-wide for that year.
Now in the Ph.D. program at Auburn, Nichols is continuing her research into the development of social and emotional skills of preschool children. After earning her degree, she hopes to teach human development at the university level while working with center-based childcare providers to improve curriculum, interaction and opportunities for child growth.
Alexis Kent has been awarded a $1,000 Rutledge Memorial Scholarship.
Kent, a 2014 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, recently earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This fall she will be enrolling at Xavier University in Ohio where she will pursue double masters’ degrees in healthcare and business administration.
A desire to pursue a career in healthcare, but not smitten with clinical work, led Kent to consider working instead on the challenging administrative end of the field. While an undergraduate, she tested out that interest, working as a unit secretary in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. The job gave her critical experience and confirmed her future path.
When she graduates in 2021, Kent hopes to work as an administrator in a facility for the elderly or take a position in a hospital, working her way up to possibly one day running a healthcare facility.