WILLISTON, N.D. - Sophomore Alaury Liesener was ecstatic to hear of the Williams County Graduate Scholarship (WCG) beginning Fall 2015. After having filled out numerous scholarship applications for her first year at WSC, Liesener was relieved to find the WCG Scholarship covered her second, more expensive, year at WSC.
Graduating from Ray High School in 2014, Liesener chose WSC so she could attend college and maintain her work schedule on her boyfriend's farm near Epping, ND.
"Initially, I wanted to come to WSC because it is so close to home, only a thirty-minute drive from the farm to the college, but once the WCG Scholarship was announced I knew WSC would be for sure where I was going," Liesener said. "This scholarship means I won't have to work a full-time job, that I can be a full-time student."
In addition to returning to her position in chemical sales at Ray's Farmers Union Elevator upon graduation, Liesener plans to apply her business degree from WSC this spring to expand the photography business, Laury Lynn Photography, she established in 2009. She will also utilize what she has learned at WSC keeping books on the farm.
"I would like to say thank you so much to everyone who made this scholarship possible. I can't express how amazing this opportunity is. I have enjoyed this year at WSC more than any other year of school," said Liesener.
Giving back to the community is at the heart of the WCG Scholarship. In Alaury Liesener's case, the scholarship not only eased the financial burden of higher education, but it also has made her second year at WSC educationally fulfilling and personally memorable.
"Last year, I was attending school and working full time. It was a lot for me to handle, but the WCG Scholarship has made life SO much easier," Liesener stated. "This scholarship helped me and my family financially. Since I had more flexibility with money, knowing that my school was paid for, I was able to take an amazing hunting trip with my dad. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I will always cherish the memories we made."
WCG Scholarship students compose 33% of WSC's total record-breaking enrollment of 1,038 students for Fall 2015. Through the partnership of Alva J. Field, the North Dakota Challenge Fund, and the Williston State College Foundation, 344 students have been awarded the WCG Scholarship as of census day, September 22, 2015. Averaging $3,455 per student for Fall 2015, $1,229,119 total awards have been disbursed including books, fees and tuition.
WSC Foundation Vice President Charlotte Schilke is pleased to know that this scholarship is providing community members with education to return to local businesses.
"My hope is that the Foundation will be able to expand this program and make it available for other surrounding counties like McKenzie, Divide, Burke, and Mountrail," Schilke said. Terry Olson, Executive Director of the WSC Foundation, agreed: "Our board is excited about the numbers. We are looking at a way to expand this program to include neighboring counties."
The WCG Scholarship will continue as long as revenue and earnings continue. Now, thanks to the North Dakota Challenge Fund, personal contributions will go even further. Dr. Raymond Nadolny, President of Williston State College asks anyone thinking of a charitable gift this season to consider this unique opportunity: "For every two dollars donated, the North Dakota Challenge Fund will contribute one dollar." For anyone interested in contributing to the WCG Scholarship please contact the Williston State College Foundation at 701.572.9275.
For more information about the Williams County Graduate Scholarship please contact WSC at 701.774.4220
For any information regarding WSC, please visit www.willistonstate.edu,
call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.