Contact: Lindsay Hyman
Local Student Awarded Postgraduate Horatio Alger Scholarship of $40,000
Stephanie Nielsen Will Pursue a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology with Scholarship Assistance
WASHINGTON, August 5, 2010 – The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is proud to announce that Stephanie J. Nielsen of Audubon, Iowa has been awarded the Dennis R. Washington Achievement Scholarship to assist in funding her postgraduate education. Stephanie will receive $40,000 from the association.
Stephanie was eligible for this scholarship because she is a 2005 alumna of the Horatio Alger Iowa State Scholarship Program—an award given to high school seniors who overcame adversity and life obstacles while excelling in academics and contributing to their communities. The Dennis R. Washington Achievement Scholarship is awarded to students seeking graduate and professional degrees and is made possible by a $10 million grant from chairman emeritus and Horatio Alger member Dennis R. Washington, and his wife, Phyllis.
Growing up on a small family farm, Stephanie developed a strong work ethic at a young age. After her family struggled with financial problems and liquidated their farm, it was nearly impossible for her parents to support her college career. Stephanie remained committed to her academics, and with the financial help of the association she received a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science and a minor in Spanish from the University of Iowa in 2009. With the help of the Dennis R. Washington Achievement Scholarship, Stephanie will begin work on a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Iowa this fall.
After completing her degree and clinical fellowship, Stephanie plans to be a speech and hearing clinician, with aspirations of conducting field research in the future. Stephanie was inspired to enter the field by her two ill cousins; one cousin born with Jacobsen syndrome and the other cousin who became deaf after bacterial spinal meningitis. She hopes to help children with developmental disabilities learn how to communicate through speech and language or other alternative methods.
“I've developed a passion for children with developmental disabilities and I really want to help them and their families,” said Stephanie. “It means the world to have the Horatio Alger Association believe in my dedication to this line of work and be willing to help me succeed so that I can better serve others.”
“We are proud to support Stephanie in the next chapter of her academic career,” said Tony Novelly, president and chief executive officer of the Horatio Alger Association. “Stephanie is a steward of the Horatio Alger mission through her perseverance, commitment to lifelong learning and helping those in need. The association is also grateful for the financial support and numerous contributions of Dennis and Phyllis Washington.”
Dennis R. Washington, founder of the Washington Companies, has his own Horatio Alger story of inspiration and success. Facing childhood polio and other adversities, Washington’s work ethic and unwavering motivation helped him to become vice president of the largest construction company in Montana by age 26. Later, he created his own construction company, which grew to be one of the largest in the nation. The Washingtons believe in the power of education and helping young people in need reach their dreams, and have given a great deal of time and support to the association and various other charities.
Stephanie joins three other 2010 Dennis R. Washington Achievement Scholarship recipients: Seyer A. Baqi of Smyrna, Del.; Thanh T. Le of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; and Brian C. Thomas of Opelousas, La.
About the Horatio Alger Association:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association offers three annual scholarship programs: the National Scholarship Program, state scholarship programs, and graduate grants. Since 1984, the association has awarded over $70 million in college scholarships to deserving young people. The association is a Combined Federal Campaign participant; # 77062. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.