Scholarship and support helps student achieve goals

Matthew Muente


Matthew Muente, the winner of the 2017 Ruth Miller Challenge Scholarship, has faced some unique challenges in his life and education. Muente, who is from the Milwaukee area, started out on an accelerated path of learning—entering high school a year early and taking part in the honors program. After graduation, he started his own music store before deciding to pursue an associate’s degree in Chemical Technology at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

He was working on his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Marquette University when his studies were interrupted abruptly following his arrest. “Unfortunately, due to some poor choices, I am currently incarcerated for a felony Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge,” Muente said.

Though he was devastated by the arrest after four prior years of sobriety, Muente continued to evaluate his situation. “I was looking for opportunities to continue my education while in prison. A friend told me about the UW-Platteville BS in Business Administration degree program; it seemed like an excellent opportunity,” he said.

Muente plans to complete his degree by December 2018 and is currently working on his program through print-based courses. His assignments and correspondence with his instructors are completed through the postal mail, and exams are proctored on-site. “One of the biggest challenges in completing distance learning courses would definitely be the lack of internet availability. This makes research and communication with instructors a more time-consuming process,” he said.

However, Muente sets goals and schedules to ensure that he stays on track. “It is important to review the material upon enrollment, then set realistic short-term goals and a timetable for completion of units/courses. I have found that achieving these goals can generate a great sense of accomplishment,” he said.

While the financial support of the scholarship is important to helping him complete his degree, Muente said the support of friends, family, and others are just as critical now and as he plans to complete an MBA in the future. “There are a lot of people who have been very helpful and supportive in regard to the achievement of my educational goals. I am very grateful for the support and encouragement of my family and significant other. The Distance Learning Center staff at UW-Platteville as well as the Education Department staff at Oakhill Correctional Institution have been very helpful in facilitating my progress. My achievements are not mine alone; all of these people played a part.”

About the Ruth Miller Challenge Scholarship

Matthew Muente’s commitment to his education despite his circumstances made him an ideal candidate for the Ruth Miller Challenge Scholarship, which is meant to help business students balance their education with challenging aspects of life.

This scholarship was founded by alumna Ruth Miller in 2015 to honor the role education played in her life. Miller was a single working parent when she completed her Business Administration degree in 1982 and went on to a successful career in the energy field.

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