Second Chance Scholarship

When Kwakha Lynn “Beatrice” Kiondo lost her cultural contribution scholarship after struggling to maintain a qualifying GPA, she feared she would have to return home, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic brought increased challenges.

The University’s radio station ultimately bridged the gap between quitting and staying.

Kiondo had come to campus in 2016 to study food science technology, and her scholarship had covered enough of her tuition that her parents could supply the rest. She also found a job at KMSU Radio, shying away from “on air” work but doing everything else from cleaning the station to making calls for the station pledge drive.

“Working there made me meet people more like people and not miss home as much,” she said, adding that operations director Karen Wright has become her “American mother.” “I was very scared to be in this country, but my first job was my best job.”

Kwakha Lynn “Beatrice” Kiondo

While Kiondo worked hard to do well at school, she failed some classes and as a result lost her scholarship. This led to further financial struggles.

She made use of services such as Campus Kitchen and the ECHO Food Shelf, while some University staff members collected winter clothes, blankets and other necessities for her.

Kiondo managed to improve her GPA enough to requalify for her scholarship but was still saddled with debt. As the COVID-19 pandemic created even more challenges for students, she feared she would have to stop her studies and return home without a degree.

However, Kiondo received unexpected help thanks to the Jim Gullickson KMSU Scholarship, which was organized last year in honor of Gullickon’s retirement from his longtime position as KMSU station manager. This $3,000 scholarship is available to students who have worked for KMSU and demonstrate financial need, regardless of GPA. Kiondo was the first student to receive it.

“I was rooting for [Kiondo], because I know that she’s been through some pretty terrible financial crunches,” Gullickson said. “I’m particularly enthused that [the first recipient] was an international student. We’ve had a lot of international students involved in the radio station, and they are very involved and very engaged.”

The scholarship was promoted campus-wide during February, which has been deemed scholarship application month on campus, said Jodi Bruns, senior director of Advancement Services.

Kiondo with KMSU operations director Karen Wright.

Students are encouraged to submit their scholarship applications through Scholarship Finder.

“Based on eligibility criteria, Scholarship Finder then aligns them to many scholarships for which they may be eligible. They can also do keyword searches within the almost 500 opportunities to find scholarships that align to their interests, majors, locations, etc.,” Bruns said.

She added that students who work at KMSU may also be eligible for the John L. Hodowanic Endowed Scholarship and the University Advancement Student Employee Scholarship which are awards of up to $1,500.

“This amount has helped me so much,” Kiondo said. “[Gullickson and KMSU Radio] have been there and shown light when there was no hope. I’d like to say thank you to Gully and everyone who contributed to the scholarship. I won’t let anyone down.”

Kiondo plans to graduate in 2021 and return to Uganda to work in food science technology.