Winners announced for two Distance Education scholarships

December 28, 2016

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Distance Learning Center is pleased to announce Amanda Geddes and Karen Nguyen as the winners of the John Deere Woman in Engineering and Herb Kohl Charity scholarships, respectively. The scholarships are named for the organizations whose donations made the awards possible.

Candidates for both scholarships were expected to have a history of academic excellence and to submit an essay addressing why they were deserving of the award. Tara Krueger, chair of the scholarship committee, said it was their essays that made Geddes and Nguyen stand out among the applicants.

“While we received many strong applications, the committee was impressed by both Geddes and Nguyen’s essays. Their work captured a determination to excel, both personally and professionally,” Krueger said. “We are honored to provide some financial assistance as they work towards their degrees.”

Throughout the year, the scholarship committee awards several scholarships to distance students. Find a full list of opportunities here.

About the Winners:

Amanda Geddes received the John Deere Woman in Engineering scholarship, and will receive $2,000 to help cover her final semester in the Master of Science in Engineering program. Geddes is able to apply the things she learns in the classroom to her work as a Geotechnical Engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In this role, she has worked on flood response projects throughout the country. One of the most major projects was the construction of the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System. Amanda currently is a lead engineer on a flood response team and has deployed on several emergency response missions.  As the only woman in her unit, she has faced challenges, but her education and determination have seen her through.

It was also while working in New Orleans that Geddes decided to pursue Tae Kwon Do. She is now a second degree black belt and teaches children’s classes. Geddes said that the classes are one of the most rewarding ways she could share her experience as a successful and driven woman. “There is no greater joy than seeing a child grow in strength, mentally and physically, and achieve things they thought were impossible,” Geddes said. “Especially in young girls, I see them grow most in self-confidence and self-esteem. I try to pass on to them lessons that will allow them to succeed, to show them that they are strong.”

Karen Nguyen won the $250 Herb Kohl Charities in part by the powerful story told in her essay. Over the years, she has faced many financial and emotional struggles, including losing her job in the economic downturn, helping her brother through school, and coping with the death of her husband at just 40 years old.

As challenges came and went, education played an important and steady role in her life. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the California State University – Fullerton. She also earned two project management certificates at the California University – Irvine, and was recognized with an Alumni Achievement award. Nguyen has brought that same enthusiasm to her work in the Master of Science in Project Management program at UW-Platteville and the Distance Learning Student Advisory Board.

Outside of her studies, Nguyen serves as the National Manager for Program and Technology Integration at Kia Motors America. She also works as a motivational speaker for professional conferences and charity events, as well as raising her two young daughters.

About UW-Platteville Distance Education
UW-Platteville offers five master’s degrees entirely online, along with bachelor’s degrees at a distance. Visit UW-Platteville's online degree programs, call 800.362.5460 or email to learn more about our programs and scholarships.

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