2020 Distance Education Scholarship winners announced

Pictured clockwise, from left, are Dawn Drake, Ruth Miller and Gary Apperson.
Pictured clockwise, from left, are Dawn Drake, Ruth Miller and Gary Apperson.

The Center for Distance Learning is proud to announce the 2020 winners of the Dawn Drake Excellence in Distance Education Scholarship, Gary Apperson Memorial Scholarship, and Ruth Miller Challenge Scholarship. The scholarships, which are awarded each year to students enrolled in distance education programs, were created to provide additional financial support for UW-Platteville students.

The 2020 Dawn Drake Excellence in Distance Education Scholarship was awarded to Crystal Yang, who is pursuing her Master of Science in Organizational Change Leadership. Drake was a true Pioneer in distance and online education, and was central in developing the university’s first online programs. She oversaw distance and continuing education at UW-Platteville from 1999, with the creation of Distance Learning Center (now Center for Distance Learning), until her retirement in 2018. Drake’s passion lies in making quality education as available and accessible as possible, and her scholarship provides one $750 award each year.

Joshua Odegard, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program, was selected for the 2020 Ruth Miller Distance Education Challenge Scholarship. The $750 scholarship is awarded each year to one UW-Platteville student earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration at a distance. Ruth Miller was one of the university’s first distance education graduates, earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1982 via print-based courses. She was a single working parent while completing her degree, so she created her eponymous scholarship to help students pursuing a degree while balancing other aspects of life, such as parenthood, financial challenges and careers.

The 2020 Gary Apperson Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Jessie Geurts, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. Apperson graduated from the program in 2006 and later taught criminal justice online for the university. Previously, he served on the Anchorage, Alaska, police force from 1977–2002. Apperson was very involved as an alumnus and received an award in 2014 for his volunteer efforts with UW-Platteville. Teaching and mentoring students were some of his greatest passions, in addition to motorcycling, which he shared with his wife, Deb. Their rides took them throughout Alaska and even to Platteville every few years to see the campus and visit colleagues in person. Sadly, Apperson passed away in January of 2017. His family, friends, and colleagues created this $1,000 yearly scholarship to carry on his legacy and enthusiasm for education, mentoring, and giving back.

To contribute to student scholarships, visit www.uwplatt.edu/give.