Campus and Community


Talking 'Bout My Generations

There were plenty of reasons why first year student Nicole Hauck decided to attend University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. For one thing, there was the location and layout of the campus, which, following a campus tour, Nicole declared made her feel very comfortable. She also was intrigued by the university's many academic offerings, and impressed by the facilities and technology available to students. "It was very natural to envision myself living and learning here," she says. Of course, it didn't hurt that UWSP is pretty much in Nicole's blood, as the 2017 Alumni Generations Scholarship recipient's family ties to the university run deep and wide.

The Alumni Generations Scholarship was created in 2013 by the estate of former UWSP board member Allen Barrows '48 and his wife Adeline. It is open to all students who have at least one alumni relative, although preference is given to incoming first years. Applicants must submit a list of family members who have attended the university, as well as an essay detailing how relatives who are alumni have impacted their lives for the better.

Nicole discovered the scholarship when she was browsing through the UWSP website. Her ties to UWSP go back three generations. "I have fifteen close relatives that are alums of UW Stevens Point," she says. That's not counting numerous "distant" relations and other relatives who attended classes but did not graduate from the university.

The progenitor of Nicole's strong academic connection is her great-grandfather, Lawrence Zalewski (pictured right), who graduated from Central State Teachers College in the 1930s. Zalewski worked fulltime while attending classes in order to support his wife and five children. The family struggled financially.

"When he attended, his family did not have a car," Nicole reports, "so on the weekends he walked fifteen miles home to spend time with his family."

His first job after graduation was as a math teacher in Knowlton, Wisconsin. According to Nicole, in addition to presenting lessons, he brought in wood for the furnace, pumped water for use in the school and shoveled snow so students could enter the building. He performed all  those duties for the grand sum of $30 a month.

Zalewski stayed active for years as a Central State Teacher's College alumnus, donating in support of various scholarships. "His dedication to education, despite numerous hardships, has greatly inspired me and really emphasized the importance of education," says Nicole.

Other sources of familial inspiration include Zalewski's five children, all of whom attended classes at UWSP–including Nicole's grandmother, Anita Wolfe–and three of whom graduated from the university. The next group of family alums came from her mother's generation. Shari Hauck graduated in 1991. Nicole gained a double connection to UWSP from this generation; her father, William Hauck '91, is also an alumnus.

Documenting such an extensive network of alumni connections via the application essay turned out to be a labor of love for Nicole. "The subject matter was something I am very passionate about," she says. "[I] found that being able to share my interests and history was enjoyable, and gave me the opportunity to learn even more about my relatives."

"Ms. Hauck clearly articulated the importance of having strong family role models in her life who helped guide her and also instilled in her a strong desire to seek and embrace knowledge," says board member Grant Huber, ’83 who was on the Alumni Generations Scholarship selection committee.  "I liked that she shared her belief that 'the quest for knowledge is never over.'"

The $1,000 scholarship award will be put to good use helping Nicole achieve her goal of a career in medical technology. She seems to be gravitating toward the university's Clinical Laboratory Science program, and also hopes to study abroad.

"I have always hoped for the opportunity to travel and learn about different cultures," she says. "I also think it is a fantastic method of learning a language through immersion. I have been studying Spanish for five years now, and would love to apply those skills in a more natural setting."

Being able to do volunteer work through the university also seems to hold special appeal. "I think it will be a great way for me to get involved in the community and campus," she says.

There are many people Nicole would like to thank for the award, including the Alumni Association, those who created and have donated to the Generations Scholarship and "all of my relatives who have made this possible."

"This scholarship signifies an alleviation of financial burden for me, as well as the recognition of the hard work and involvement of my family on this campus."