2021 Distance Education Alumni Board Scholarship winners announced

Pictured left to right are Wara Pirzada and Luis Cano.
Pictured left to right are Wara Pirzada and Luis Cano.

The Distance Education Alumni Board selected students Luis Cano and Wara Pirzada as the 2021 recipients of its scholarship. The scholarship was created by the board in 2016 to help provide additional financial support to distance education students as they complete their degree.

The Distance Education Alumni Board represents the Distance Education Alumni Chapter of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Alumni Association. 

“The scholarship program is an important part of the Distance Education Chapter’s outreach to both current and former students. It provides an opportunity for alumni to support current students while highlighting the important work of the Alumni Association,” said Vice President Joe Roy, an alumnus of UW-Platteville’s distance education program, who earned his Bachelor of Science in criminal justice in 2014 and Master of Science in criminal justice in 2016.

Luis Cano, who is in the Master of Science in Project Management program, is originally from Mexico and moved to the United States in 2012 to work for Nestle USA developing engineering projects. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering at the University of Guanajuato in 2006 but knew at the time his educational journey wasn’t over. 

“I realized how important it was to have a degree to be successful in life but most importantly, I understood how important it was to invest my time, resources and energy in my continuous learning and improvement,” said Cano.

Cano has since taken on a new role as maintenance supervisor at Nestle’s largest U.S. facility, leading a group of 20 employees. The role has reinforced the importance of professional and academic growth, and led him to UW-Platteville’s online project management program. After earning his Project Management Certificate, he is now working on his master’s degree. 

“Since day one I realized that distance education was limitless and was going to offer me that amazing plus that I needed in my career to learn more and improve my individual and managerial results in the organization.” 

Wara Pirzada, who is also in the Master of Science in Project Management program, is a food scientist in a research and development lab of a global producer of colors, flavors and fragrances. In her role, she facilitates sales by incorporating the company’s capabilities and technologies into their customer products and provides technical support to its sales account managers. Through her work, she has seen the direct benefit of her coursework in UW-Platteville’s Master of Science in Project Management program. 

“After working and collaborating on several projects, with the growing workload that we are encountering, and being assigned a new role of managing the relationship between R&D and the global innovation team, I have realized the impact of project management on a project’s outcome. We can have a depth of knowledge on a certain subject but if not executed properly, which entails setting a scope/objective, schedule/timing, and budget/cost from the start, it is unlikely to go anywhere.”

Pirzada earned a bachelor’s degree in biological science from the University of Illinois but chose to continue her education in project management to help develop leadership and management skills. 

“That is as essential for my everyday work, just as much as technical work is,” she said. “As I work towards my degree and continue to apply my learnings at work, I am grateful of the distant education program for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow as a professional to help me win new businesses for my company by having a competitive advantage on leading projects effectively and effectively executing them.”

UW-Platteville offers 10 undergraduate degrees, including Associate of Arts and SciencesAssociate of Science in Business AdministrationAssociate of Science in Hospitality and Tourism ManagementBachelor of Science in Applied Computing; and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; plus Bachelor's of Business Administration in FinanceHuman Resource ManagementIntegrated MarketingIntegrated Supply Chain Management, and Management. The ten master's degree programs are Applied BiotechnologyCriminal Justice, CybersecurityEngineeringHealthcare AdministrationIntegrated Supply Chain ManagementOrganizational Change Leadership, Project Management, Sport Administration and Strategic Management. The university also offers 16 graduate and undergraduate certificate programs.

To learn more about the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's online programs, visit Go.UWPlatt.Edu/Online.

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