Student thankful for UW System Vax Up! ‘70 for 70’ scholarship — and for the vaccine

Five university students among 70 statewide to receive $7,000 award
​Jerry Poling | November 18, 2021

At first, Grace Pederson couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The University of Wisconsin-Stout student received a message that she had won a $7,000 scholarship.

Her first thought was, “Oh my gosh! I better double-check that this isn't a mistake before calling mom!” she said.

It wasn’t a mistake. Pederson is one of 70 UW System students chosen randomly to receive the scholarship. The System announced the scholarships Nov. 16 to celebrate the success of its Vax Up! “70 for 70” campaign to help reduce COVID-19 infection rates across campuses and statewide.

Pederson, a sophomore from Eau Claire, is one of five UW-Stout students — or $35,000 total — to receive the scholarship.

Grace Pederson, a sophomore, is one of five UW-Stout students and 70 UW System students who have won a $7,000 scholarship as part of the Vax Up! “70 for 70” campaign.
Grace Pederson, a sophomore, is one of five UW-Stout students and 70 UW System students who have won a $7,000 scholarship. / Contributed photo

“It’s a huge honor and will help me explore my passions,” said Pederson, who has switched her major twice and now is in the environmental science program.

She has worked part time to help pay for her education, so receiving a major award such as this out of the blue still is a shock. “This scholarship will certainly take some stress off,” she said.

Pederson also is thankful for the opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine, which qualified her for the System scholarship drawing but is even more valuable to her personally.

“Getting vaccinated was a necessity for me. I have multiple people in my family who have compromised immune systems,” she said.

As of Thursday, Nov. 18, 78% of students and 91% of faculty and staff at UW-Stout have been vaccinated.

“We are so proud of our students who stepped up to the plate and helped our campus reach the 70% vaccination rate,” said Sandi Scott, UW-Stout dean of students. “It’s exciting to know that the scholarship dollars were awarded to randomly selected students who helped us hit the mark!”

In addition to the System scholarships, the university is providing another seven scholarships for the same amount through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund — HEERF III — federal grant. Those winners also have been randomly chosen but still are in the process of being verified.

UW System President Tommy Thompson set a goal for 12 universities to reach a 70% student vaccination rate. All but one reached the goal, while UW-Madison ran its own campaign.

UW-Stout students reached the goal on Sept. 29, well ahead of the Oct. 31 System deadline.

“We took up a challenge to educate and inform students as a part of a vaccination campaign to help keep our universities safe – and it has succeeded,” Thompson said. “What a thrill it is to be able to tell students they have won a $7,000 scholarship. I am so proud of our students, faculty, staff and administrators who helped make this happen.”

The System released a short video on social media featuring Thompson celebrating the accomplishment with all university mascots, including UW-Stout’s Blaze.

 

Kylie Anderson, a graduate student at UW-Stout, won a photo shoot with the mascot blaze as part of UW-Stout’s efforts to encourage students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Kylie Anderson, a graduate student at UW-Stout, won a photo shoot with the university mascot Blaze as part of UW-Stout’s efforts to encourage students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. / UW-Stout

Other student winners

Vaccinated students at UW-Stout also were eligible for daily prizes during the fall campaign. More than 60 of them won items including gift cards for local businesses and campus outlets, gift baskets and group private boxes for Blue Devil football and basketball games.

Another prize was a photo shoot with the campus mascot, Blaze. The winner was Kylie Anderson, of Somerset, who is graduating in December with a master’s degree in school counseling. She also earned her bachelor’s from UW-Stout.

For the photo shoot, Anderson included three of her best college friends. “It was a super fun experience for us to have together before I graduate in December. It's something that I can cherish forever, especially because Stout is so important to me as an alumni,” Anderson said.

She interned this fall at two public schools, one of the reasons she was vaccinated.

“I knew getting vaccinated would be important to help keep safe those students I was working with daily,” she said.

“I care greatly for the Stout and Menomonie communities. Between my bachelor's degree and my master's degree, I've been a student at Stout for five and a half years, so I have great care and love for campus and the people who make it great. Keeping them and myself safe was super important.”

###


Symphonic Band presents winter concert in the Great Hall Dec. 4 Featured Image

Symphonic Band presents winter concert in the Great Hall Dec. 4

Songs will depict dreamscapes, natural and historic settings
School of Education’s Teach Day gives high school students opportunity to ‘explore teaching in an interactive way’ Featured Image

School of Education’s Teach Day gives high school students opportunity to ‘explore teaching in an interactive way’

Education students help to inspire others to meet the growing need of teachers in Wisconsin
UW-Stout choirs join in sharing musical traditions of Estonia, Poland and Ukraine in concert Dec. 3 Featured Image

UW-Stout choirs join in sharing musical traditions of Estonia, Poland and Ukraine in concert Dec. 3

Highlights include national folk songs, ‘Carol of the Bells,’ Swan Lake Ballet performance