Extraordinary Donation Leads to Extraordinary Inspiration

Monday, Sep 27, 2021

100 Extraordinary Women

In 2018, 125 area women committed to fund new “100 Extraordinary Women” scholarships for seven women students each year through the UW Wausau Campus Foundation.

This is our fourth of five years of awarding $25,000 to support women pursuing a liberal arts education and starting right here at the local UWSP at Wausau campus.  The following women are this year’s recipients of the 100 Extraordinary Women Scholarships.

BONNIE BLAISE is a graduate of Merrill High School and a first-generation college student in her family.  As an English major, Bonnie has been active on the campus MUSH literary magazine and served as the Editor in Chief this past year. She said: “By being awarded this scholarship I am able to focus more intently on my classes and make sure I am walking the right path to lead me to a career I will enjoy for my whole life.”

LYDIA GAULKE was educated in a home school environment and took some classes at D.C. Everest High School.  As an Art major, she was inspired after winning a state-wide flag design contest in 2019, and she has been active as an editor of the campus MUSH literary magazine.  She said: “I’m encouraged to continue my academic journey, to expand my horizons in writing and design. Such generosity inspires and motivates me to do my best and not give up, to relentlessly pursue my calling.”

TANYA LYBERT is a non-traditional student who returned after several years to major in Social Work. A graduate of Flambeau High School, she overcame health and family challenges. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, her goal is to earn a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work and help mental health patients. She said: “The100 Extraordinary Women scholarship is helping me reach my career goals. Without this scholarship I would be struggling a lot more financially and I am not sure if I would be able to continue without the help of this scholarship.”

VICTORIA REUTER is a graduate of Mosinee High School and Elementary Education major. She has worked for local agencies to help children and women with learning disabilities and looks forward to career in Education. She said: “This scholarship will allow me to work part time so that I can focus on my studies and volunteer opportunities. I am grateful for those in the community who are helping make a difference in my academic career.”

SIERRA SMITH is a graduate of Merrill High School and a first-generation college student in her family.  She plans to major in Social Work, and is active in many volunteer activities on the campus and in the community.  She said: “With the help of this scholarship, I will be able to cut back my hours at work to focus on my studies. It will also aid for further education in the future as I continue on to graduate school.”

AERIAL THAO is a graduate of Wausau East High School who majors in Biochemistry and Pre-Med.  She has been active in many volunteer activities and is a first-degree Black Belt in taekwondo, having learned important life lessons from competition. She said: “Being a recipient of the 100 Extraordinary Women scholarship allows me to devote more time toward my education. I am relieved of my financial burdens for this upcoming school year which allows me to dedicate more time into my studies and activities which will help me become a future physician.”

SAMANTHA TREVINO is a graduate of Merrill High School and first-generation college student in her family.  She majors in Social Work and Criminology and has been active in various volunteer activities on the campus and in the community. She said: “The scholarship means that I can breathe a little more as I can focus a little less on financials and more on academics. It also has given me an extra push to find other resources to help me with the cost of my education. lt has been a blessing.”

Read more about our 100 Extraordinary Women Campaign.