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Students grateful to receive UW Trustees' Scholars Award

Apr 11, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

Eight students from Fremont County have been awarded the University of Wyoming Trustees' Scholars Award.

The scholarship is renewable for up to four academic years or until the student receives his or her first bachelor's degree -- whichever comes first.

According to the UW website, the Trustees' Scholars Award is given to a limited number of Wyoming's top students for academic achievement. The award is described as being "highly competitive."

To receive the scholarship, recipients must be first-time students at the university and they must pursue a bachelor's degree.

Riverton High School

Two students from Riverton High School, Autumn Hutson and Kathryn Thayer, were awarded the UW Trustees' Scholar Award.

"I was very excited to learn I had received the trustees' scholarship," Hutson said. "I went to my counselor's office (Mr. Irvine) to find out if I got it. He pretended like he had bad news and told me to not be upset with what he had to say."

Hutson said she began "freaking out" and praying he was wrong.

"Mr. Irvine then revealed that I had got it," she said. "I was so thankful and ecstatic."

Hutson will be attending UW, but has not decided on a major yet.

"I am very honored to receive such a valuable scholarship, and I intend to make the most of the time I've been given," she said.

Thayer, who plans to attend UW in the fall and have a dual major in oboe performance and music education, said she was excited about receiving the award.

"I knew getting the scholarship meant that I'd be able to go to UW in the fall -- I was also relieved knowing this took a lot of stress off of finding money to pay for college," Thayer said. "I felt accomplished as well. Even though I took several advanced and dual-credit classes, I was able to keep up my grades to earn the scholarship."

Thayer said the scholarship means she will be able to save money for graduate school and go to the college she wants to attend.

"I also wish to continue my performance degree to receive a doctorate," she said. "To do this, I'll have to transfer out of state, which will be expensive. Receiving the scholarship is really exciting for me, and I can't wait to attend UW in the fall."

Lander Valley High School

Four students from Lander Valley High School received the scholarship, including Andrew Gramlich, Nicholas Merritt, Emily Schimelpfenig and Madeline Smithbaker.

"I was ecstatic when I first heard that I had received the trustees' scholarship," Gramlich said.

He has not selected a college or a major yet, but he said receiving the scholarship has shown him he is moving in the right direction.

"Receiving this scholarship means to me that I'm almost set for college," Gramlich said. "I can go into life with almost no debt at all, and it will be (a) good start for me."

Merritt, who plans to major in engineering or astronomy, said he has not chosen a college yet.

"When I first found out, I was happy and relieved to have such a good option available," Merritt said. "Receiving the scholarship is an honor, and I am grateful to be among the recipients."

Schimelpfenig also shared her excitement for receiving the scholarship.

"I was very excited when I found out I received the scholarship, because it relieved a lot of stress about money and college," she said.

Schimelpfenig will attend UW and plans to major in pre-law and minor in science, Spanish or business.

"It means I can save money, and plan better for my future, allowing me to have greater success," Schimelpfenig said. "Saving all this money in my undergraduate school will benefit me and keep me out of debt from loans for grad school."

Smithbaker said she also will attend UW and is thinking about medical school with a major in a science-related field.

"When I found out I received the scholarship, I was very surprised," Smithbaker said. "It was exciting to be recognized for all of the work I put in to academics in high school."

She said receiving the scholarship "means a great deal" to her and her family.

"It means I'll have zero debt getting my undergraduate degree," Smithbaker said. "It really will allow me more freedom during summers and breaks, and I'm very appreciative."

Other schools

Shoshoni High School student Mark Ballou and Wind River High School student Tia Hampton also received the UW Trustees' Scholar Award.