Meet the Lincoln Scholars
Students using the Lincoln Scholars Initiative to help pay for their undergraduate degrees say the scholarships offer them the chance to explore the possibilities within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and make important decisions about their futures.
Ryan Renee Evans
Ryan Renee is a first-generation student whose grandparents raised her. She didn't think she'd be able to afford to attend Illinois. The Lincoln Scholars Initiative made it possible.
Through the Lincoln Scholars Initiative, Tomasz Luka found freedom to explore his major rather than having to worry too much about his finances. Majoring in actuarial science, Luka devoted his time at Illinois to his studies and interned with CNA Financial.
"It feels like a really big accomplishment now that I'm closer to the finish line," Tomasz said, shortly before graduation. "It only hit me this (last) semester—you're kind of moving the status of your family up."
Malik Moulton grew up memorizing maps and looking for landmarks. Illinois was his dream school; he's wanted to attend since seventh or eighth grade. Now, he's studying geographic information science and planning to attend grad school.
Norman Baig, an aspiring doctor, believes his scholarship keeps him invested in his studies. Norman, who's from Hanover Park, Illinois, is majoring in chemistry.
"If I had not gotten the scholarship, I may have chosen a different, probably less prestigious university," he said. "Lincoln Scholars gives me a sense of accountability, which is motivation for me to perform well and get the most out of my education."
For Lucy Li, coming to Illinois as a Lincoln Scholar helped her reconnect with her Chinese heritage. Lucy said being on a campus full of people who celebrate their roots allowed her to embrace her own.
Lucy immersed herself in campus life by joining various international dance groups and participating in Student Senate and the campus chapter of National Organization for Woman. She majored in statistics and plans to work for a startup company.
"I remember when I found out I was a Lincoln Scholar and I met all the other Lincoln scholars," Lucy said. "I feel like it's definitely a huge honor to have that."
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