More than 95% of Linfield students need and receive financial support in order to attend Linfield. Gifts to the Linfield Fund for Student Scholarships go directly in support of students and have an incalculable and positive effect on their lives. Thank you for considering a gift of support. Below are just a few of our current scholarship students.
Mara Youngren-Brown '21
When Mara arrived at Linfield from Kenai, Alaska, she brought great expectations for her college experience.
“I chose Linfield because I had family close by, but the biggest factor in my decision was the financial aid package. Linfield offered me the most generous scholarships, which was extremely important to me, especially since I am paying for my own college education,” she said.
“Another big factor for me was the study abroad program. Other schools I considered didn’t have a program as strong as that of Linfield,” said Mara, who will be studying abroad in China for the 2019-2020 academic year. Named one of two Gilman scholars this year, she received a $5,000 scholarship to support her study in China. “This scholarship will help me spend time in my home country, learn about the culture and my own identity. My goal is to become a global citizen who can affect change on an international scale. I hope to get into international politics and become a diplomat, possibly for the state department.”
Studying under Dawn Nowacki, now professor emeritus of political science, Mara found a role model. “I have learned so much from Dawn, especially about working in the international relations field as a woman," she added.
Mara has had many other influential faculty including Lindsey Mantoan, professor of theatre and communication arts. “She offers interesting courses and has taken a personal interest in my own developing talent,” says Mara. “I have started performing in plays for the first time in my life, and it has given me new confidence. And while I had danced competitively for many years, I found a new love of dance at Linfield by having the opportunity to choreograph performances and explore my artistry. Having been in choir for years, the Linfield women’s choir feels more like a sisterhood to me than just a singing group. Linfield taught me that you have to put yourself out there and turn your fear into action. And this philosophy has brought me amazing opportunities and growth.”
You may also recognize Mara from Linfield’s recent Giving Days, where she has been the driving force behind engaging students to spread the excitement. “I want to help students find a lifelong passion for Linfield,” she says “and recognize the investment made in us and our responsibility to invest in future students.”
Joel Toledo-Urana ‘20
Joel Toledo-Urena ’20 is giving back as much as he’s getting from his Linfield education.
A physics major, Joel is mentoring four incoming first-generation students who are part of the Linfield First program. The new program offers scholarships, mentorship and support to first-generation students.
As the first in his family to attend college, Joel already knows the questions the new students will ask – because he had them himself as a new student. He will help students choose classes, find the resources they need and adapt to living away from home.
In addition to mentorship, Joel is representing his classmates in various leadership roles on campus. He’s a member of Greek life, vice president of the Society of Physics Students and a student senator.
Initially unsure of a major, he worked with the Career Development Office during his first year to identify his affinity for physics. Since then, he has conducted research with Jennifer Heath, professor of physics, for the past two summers. She recognized his potential and encouraged him to apply for the summer position.
“We’re trying to understand the electronic properties of graphene and 2D materials,” says Joel, who uses an atomic force microscope in his work and sometimes consults with physics alumni who offer insight.
He credits his Linfield professors for his growth. “They all have given me the chance to do things on my own and learn to never give up.”
Joel plans to pursue a Ph.D. in medical physics and ultimately do clinical work and research. But his Linfield experience would not have been possible without scholarships.
“There are so many of us who would not be here without aid,” Joel says. “I want to give a big thank you to everyone who donates. Without their help, I wouldn’t have come to college or have any inclination of what to do with my life.”
Austin Hilton '20
Austin Hilton ‘20 is seizing every opportunity during his Linfield experience.
Whether he’s on the basketball court, in the science lab or in the classroom, Austin, a biology major, knows the importance of trying new things.
One new thing, a philosophy class taken during his first year, “explained the why” and has changed his scientific mind set.
“It opened up a whole new way of thinking for me,” says Hilton, who added a philosophy minor to his existing chemistry minor as a result. “The philosophy of science explained the why of everything. What makes it a scientific theory? Philosophy is helpful for problem solving.”
Two summer research experiences have also shaped his education. In 2018, he took part in a project aimed at conserving Fender’s Blue Butterfly populations with Chad Tillberg, professor of biology.
Most recently, he examined gene mutations and their effect on chemotherapy treatments with Sreerupa Ray, assistant professor of biology. The research will ultimately help doctors understand how and when to adjust cancer treatments for patients with gene mutations.
The daily interactions with faculty and other science students is crucial, Austin explains.
“Science is collaborative, so being able to talk about what we do is important,” he says. “At Linfield you’re meeting with faculty every day – in class and around the science building. Knowing they care about you and want you to succeed is invaluable.”
As a student-athlete, Austin works with coaches and professors to balance the demands of his schedule. Coaches, including Shanan Rosenberg, men’s basketball head coach, encourage academics.
“Coach Rose teaches us to not be afraid to ask for help or ask questions, whether we’re on the court or in the classroom,” says Austin, a forward on the team. “And my professors know they can trust me to do my work and not fall behind when I go on basketball trips.”
He plans to pursue a Ph.D. and teach at a small college, a dream that’s been shaped by his relationships with Linfield professors.
“Linfield is a special place,” he says. “We have so many opportunities here -- it’s what sets us apart from other schools. Support is important for us to continue.”