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Department of English and Philosophy Distributes Emergency Scholarships to Majors in Need

Photo collage: left, John Bolliger, middle, Kathryn Rose, right, Melody Mattison Hannula.

Scholarship recipients, from left: John Bolliger, Kathryn Rose and Melody Mattison Hannula

 

Many students are suffering financial hardships during these difficult times. To alleviate stress from financial burdens, the Idaho State University Department of English and Philosophy created an emergency fund to support majors. 

The fund was the brainchild of Evan Rodriguez, assistant professor of philosophy. The emergency scholarship was ultimately funded from donations from faculty members in English and Philosophy and a generous donation from the Keating Rodriguez Gratitude Fund. 

“During these difficult times, it really makes a world of difference to know that I have the support of the English and Philosophy department,” said scholarship recipient Kathryn Rose, a senior majoring in English with an emphasis in professional writing. “Their generosity has helped make my transition to distance-based learning much easier. I am proud to be able to represent such an amazing program here at ISU!”

Because the department recognized that many students had immediate financial needs that could impact their ability to continue at ISU, it created the fund and disbursed initial stipends in less than a month. The fund was initiated in late March and advertised widely to majors in philosophy and English, who applied through the Bengal Online Scholarship System (BOSS). 

"I know our faculty members want to support our students every day," said Jessica Winston, chair of the Department of English and Philosophy. "This level of generosity shows how much our faculty understand what students are going through. We want them to have all of the resources they need to continue on with their education and change their lives." 

By the third week in April, the department was able to distribute more than $5,000 in support to all of the majors who applied, all 15 of whom demonstrated real need but some of whom were in the throes of financial crisis. 

“Any time I ever need any kind of assistance, the faculty is always there for me,” said recipient John Bolliger, a triple major in philosophy, political science and sociology. “During these times it is especially important that we pay it forward, and the department is definitely doing just that.” 

Winston thanked the Keating Rodriguez Gratitude Fund and department faculty members who donated to it. She also expressed gratitude to those who helped to initiate and coordinate the scholarship: Evan Rodriguez, assistant professor of philosophy; Russell Wahl, director of philosophy; Thomas Klein, undergraduate director in English; Matthew Stucki, director of development in the College of Arts and Letters; and Deb Green, director of scholarships.

"We know that there is an even greater need among our undergraduate majors and our graduate students," Winston said. "It is my hope that we can continue to raise funds to help more of our students during this regional, state and national emergency." 

Klein, who reviewed applications from students, also expressed his gratitude to the Keating Rodriguez Gratitude Fund and members of the department, who were able to help students "at a particularly crucial moment." 

“Financially, it wouldn't have been possible for me to pursue an English degree if not for the scholarships from ISU,” said recipient Melody Mattison Hannula, an English major with a literary emphasis. “Getting financial support specifically from the English and Philosophy department serves as a reminder that they care about me enough to invest in my future.”