J Murphy STEM Scholarship Announces First Recipient

The J Murphy STEM Scholarship, an exciting new scholarship established in 2016 with the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation, is a unique and impactful opportunity available only to Eau Claire Area School District students. The Foundation is thrilled to announce the first recipient of the scholarship:

Mikaela Walters, Memorial High School, Class of 2017

The scholarship was founded by the generosity of an anonymous donor with family roots in the area and an interest in helping students pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). Each year, one applicant will be selected to receive an incredible $10,000 scholarship to apply toward their tuition and fees. In addition, the scholarship is renewable for up to four years, for a total possible funding of $40,000 per recipient. Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Sarah French shared that the rarity and exclusivity of the program is truly special. “Scholarships of this size we traditionally see at the state-wide or national level. To have this impact available exclusively to our Eau Claire Public Schools students is something to be celebrated.”

Ms. Walters will begin her studies in biology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the fall. She is looking forward to a career in prosthetics, inspired by a love for adaptive athletics. “I was fascinated by the abilities and courage these athletes had thanks to the technology of prosthetics and other adaptive equipment,” she shared. An athlete on Memorial’s cross country team as well as a member of National Honor Society, Ms. Walters is also involved with Chippewa Valley Nordic Ski Team, Eau Claire. It was the ski team and its various events and opportunities that opened Ms. Walters’ eyes to the possibilities within adaptive athletics. “I want to be a part of this positive change in others’ lives. By pursuing a career in prosthetics, I hope to make a difference in others’ lives.”

Ms. Walters was one of many remarkable candidates who applied for the scholarship. “With the impressive number of quality applicants, the decision of who to award the J Murphy STEM Scholarship was a very difficult one to make,” Scholarship Selection Committee member and Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation trustee Jenny Fesenmaier said. “After much discussion within the committee, Mikaela stood out as a student that exemplified the inspiration for the scholarship.  Her hard work both in and out of the classroom, along with her desire to pursue a degree in biology in addition to engineering at UW-Madison, makes her an excellent representative of this scholarship.”

Careers in STEM fields are some of the quickest growing today and are among the most popular career choices for area students. The J Murphy STEM scholarship will support one outstanding student each year as she or he pursues a career in a STEM field, be it in research, teaching, or alternative paths.  Ms. Walters was thrilled to be honored as the 2017 recipient for the J Murphy STEM Scholarship. “Words cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to receive this scholarship,” she shared. “This financial support will be such a tremendous help and will allow me to put a greater focus on my education. I'm very excited to begin my studies in biology and can't wait to see where STEM takes me in the future.”