The University of Wisconsin-Superior Foundation has introduced a new scholarship opportunity to support Native American students. The Maawanji’idiwin – “The Place Where We Come Together” Scholarship was named after the newly constructed medicine wheel on campus, and was announced at a dedication ceremony for the medicine wheel in September.
The Maawanji’idiwin Scholarship will provide funding support for Native American students enrolled at UWS who demonstrate financial need. It is a ‘community’ scholarship, meaning it was created by faculty and staff of the university and community members rather than by a particular donor.
While the scholarship has been created with initial funding, the goal is to grow the endowment fund to be able to award a $1,000 scholarship to a qualified student each year.
“I think it’s great that students do not have to prove they are Native or be enrolled in a federally- recognized tribe to receive it,” said Nell Barri, UWS sophomore student. “Native students who are not enrolled in their tribes are often disadvantaged when looking for financial support. This scholarship shows Native students that their identities and cultures are valued here. As a Native student, UWS has been a great choice for me because it has offices and programs like the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), the Native Nations Student Organization (NNSO), and the First Nations Center (FNC) which create a family-like community.”
Kat Werchouski, assistant director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion said, “UWS is really making a concerted effort to embrace and support all students. We’re nurturing a campus culture that ensures that all students are welcomed and supported throughout their education journey. UWS is not just ‘identity focused,’ it’s ‘identity conscious,’ meaning everyone is committed and thinking about how to incorporate inclusivity into their work.”
UWS also recently established a partnership with Bayfield High School to increase visibility of the university among Native students there.
“We are introducing UWS to Bayfield students by having a presence at key events like science night and other major family/community events,” said Werchouski. “We hosted an ‘Instant Decision Day’ at the high school and students applied and were accepted that same day.”
Contributions to the Maawanji’idiwin Scholarship may be made online at uwsuper.edu/give.