Emilie Rengler

When it came to deciding where to go to college, all I knew was that I wanted to pursue some kind of applied arts on a small campus that allowed me to connect with instructors and classmates. I moved every two years growing up, so there wasn’t really any place I called “home”. It wasn’t until I happened to meet a very kind admissions counselor from Lawrence Tech at a college fair in New York that LTU was on my radar.

I decided LTU would be a much better fit for me than the larger schools I’d been visiting. At the time, I didn’t realize just how important a close-knit, student-focused community like the one at LTU would actually be.

When I first came to campus, I was having some health issues that I didn’t think much of. I was just excited to dive into my degree program and had started a work study program in the Office of Student Affairs. But soon I was missing classes for days at a time—even spending 10 days in the hospital undergoing tests—and worried about keeping my grades up.

My professors were extremely supportive. They kept their doors open and dedicated time to talk with me and help me with classwork. Once I was diagnosed, I had to take an entire year off to focus on my health and adjust to life with Aspen, my new service dog. Kevin Finn, the Dean of Students, really encouraged me to take all the time I needed to get healthy and not to worry about my financial aid. “We’ll figure it out,” he said.

That support system has meant the world to me. Faculty, staff, and administrators are always willing to sit down with students and hear them out. If we’re having a problem, they take a personal interest in helping solve it. Between that and the donor-funded scholarships that I receive, I don’t know that I would have had a chance to succeed at another university. I’ve even been able to add a minor in Graphic Design and I’m set to graduate in the spring. Scholarships help me focus on my education, instead of worrying about how I’m going to afford tuition on top of my medical bills.

One of those scholarships is from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and last year I had the chance to meet with some of the donors who have supported me. A number of the women were educators themselves and they really inspired me. We all shared our stories and I’m so thankful for people like them who are willing to invest in someone else’s dream.

Sometimes life throws us curveballs. I didn’t expect to be in the position I am, but I’m thankful every day for the people who helped me get back on track.

My story has a happy ending thanks to donors. You can help another student write theirs!

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Mateusz Gibiec

When I was growing up in Poland, there didn’t seem to be too many options in front of me in terms of a career path. My uncle was a doctor so, even though I was more interested in computers and technology, I thought medicine would be a good choice for me—especially because math and science were some of my strongest subjects.

But everything changed after I spent my senior year of high school as an exchange student in St. Joseph, Michigan.

My host father was a Mechanical Engineer and, after spending a few months learning more about his job, I grew determined to not only stay in the U.S. to attend college but to pursue a degree in engineering. True to form, I did tons of research on the different disciplines and universities that offered them.

I kept a chart weighing all the variables that mattered to me when it came to my college experience. I looked for a school that was big enough to offer a strong, well-respected Computer Engineering degree (plus athletics!) but small enough for everyone to know your name—professors and fellow students.

For me, Lawrence Tech was a no-brainer.

I didn’t have to make the choice between academics and athletics and I’ve had the opportunity to be deeply involved in campus life, first in Student Government and now as the president of the Student Philanthropy Council.

Everything I love about LTU is possible because of support from alumni like you. And I know without a doubt that I would not have been able to attend such an amazing university without the scholarships I’ve received.

Coming to LTU truly changed my life and opened so many doors for me. I’m asking you to make a gift to help current and future students who are chasing their dreams and trying to build a better life—for themselves, their families, and for our communities.

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Matthew Eovaldi

Growing up—from the time I was eight or nine years old—my dad was really sick. He was wheelchair-bound and suffered from diabetic neuropathy and congestive heart failure. So I learned at a younger age than most the impact that serious illness has not only on a person’s life but on their family’s. It was because of my dad that I planned to pursue a degree in a medical field. And I wanted to do more than help treat symptoms; I wanted to contribute to finding real solutions.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to start on that path, so after graduating high school I enrolled at a local college to study health sciences with a focus on phlebotomy. But something was missing.

Some of my friends were at Lawrence Tech at the time so I decided to look into the Biomedical Engineering program. I knew that earning an engineering degree from a university with a rigorous theory and practice approach would pay off in the long run so, even though a lot of my credits wouldn’t transfer, I decided to make the leap. I had to work 30 to 40 hours a week in addition to being a full-time student in order to afford tuition; it was important to me to not put that burden on my parents.

Then, two years ago, my father passed awayin the middle of my academic year. I started struggling in my classes.

But one of the best things about LTU is the personal attention from faculty. I didn’t really open up to anyone at school about what had happened, except for my History professor Dr. Philip Vogt. He was a big help when I was having a hard time and, to my surprise, he even attended my father’s funeral. He really went the extra mile and I think that says a lot about how supportive the LTU community is.

I think that may have been a breakthrough moment for me. Now I’m more determined than ever to work hard and earn my degree, for my dad.

This past fall I was fortunate to receive the Chamberlain Scholarship. With everything my family and I have been through, I was so excited I could have cried.

Every student at LTU faces their own unique challenges—whether they’re financial, academic, personal, or all of the above. But what we all have in common is our drive to succeed and to make an impact on the world. Donations from alumni and friends help break down the barriers that stand in our way, whatever they may be.

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Josh Dirlam

When I arrived at Lawrence Tech as a freshman in 2014, I felt a bit out of my element and I was nervous about being at a university where I didn’t know anyone. But during convocation, President VirinderMoudgil told us something that stuck with me: at a small school like LTU, unlike at a larger “big-name” university, we would have the opportunity to really make an impact—to play a role in writing its history.

That motivated me to get involved on campus and make a difference. I wanted to leave a legacy.

It began with joining LTU’s first golf team. Most of my friends were heading off to public universities around the state so I was apprehensive when the coach reached out to recruit me. Ultimately, I knew that I’d be helping to build the program from the ground up at LTU; I couldn’t have had that opportunity anywhere else.

During my time at LTU, I’ve had the chance to be a part of some other great “firsts”. I was a member of the university’s first Collegiate DECA team and was one of four members to place in a competitive event at our very first state-wide conference. And now, in my final year, I’m serving as the Senior Class Gift Campaign Chairin a new student-led effort to raise money from graduating seniors to provide financial support for our fellow students.

Even though juggling athletics, academics, and other act ivies on campus is a challenge, I’ve been able to keep my GPA above a 3.8. My parents (especially my dad, who was a Michigan State Trooper for 31 years) instilled a strong work ethic in me so it’s always been very important to me to do well and make them proud.

And everything LTU has given me started with scholarships. Without them, none of this would have been possible.

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Marie Anne Torres

I started playing soccer when I was six years old and I always knew I wanted to continue through my college years. But in Canada, where I was born and raised, collegiate sports work very differently—and athletics scholarships are limited. My family and friends all warned me that being a student-athlete at an American university would be too much to handle. No one I knew had followed that path.

It was my junior year of high school that Lawrence Tech’s soccer coach at the time recruited me. She was by far the biggest factor in my coming to LTU. She went above in beyond to help me navigate the admissions process and really made me feel valued. I didn’t have anyone else in my life who knew what to do, including high school counselors, but she was there supporting me every step of the way. Off the field, I got just as much support.

Even though I had excelled at science throughout school, I decided to major in Media Communications because I knew I would ultimately be happier using my creative side. After my first month at school, I called my parents and told them I’d found my passion!

My academic advisor and program director Jody Gaber saw my strengths and encouraged me to take an advertising course; I resisted because it didn’t seem like the right field for me but, by the end of the first class, I was hooked. Throughout my time at LTU, Jody has been a blessing. Networking opportunities and close relationships with faculty are such an important part of every student’s experience and she is a great example of that.

I feel very fortunate to not only be earning a degree in a field I love (it doesn’t even feel like work!) but to be doing so without the overwhelming financial burden that I know many students have to carry. I took a chance coming to LTU and have had remarkable opportunities to learn, grow, and be part of a community both on and off the field.

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Sierra Kurzatkowski

Like so many other kids in the Detroit area, I grew up in a “car family”. My grandfather worked on the assembly line for more than 30 years and he had his classic 1960s car that he was always working on and waking up the neighborhood with. I learned everything about cars from him and I got my artistic side from my mom and grandmother. From the time I could hold a marker, I was drawing on walls while also being steeped in car culture. Becoming an automotive designer has always been my path.

My mom is a veteran of the Air Force so, when I enrolled in art school, I was going to receive a lot of help financially for the first two years. But the college I was attending didn’t feel like a good fit for me. I knew that I wouldn’t be happy unless I went somewhere that had more of the traditional campus community feel; I wanted to learn from faculty who were really in tune with the industry today and alongside students who could push me to be better while still being inclusive.

A friend who was in the Transportation Design program at LTU encouraged me to apply and, even though almost none of my credits would transfer, I decided to make the leap. I had to start over after two years at another school but it was the best decision I could have made.

The environment at Lawrence Tech is incredibly welcoming. I’m currently pledging the sorority Chi Omega Rho and participated last semester in the Miss Lawrence Tech pageant to compete for a scholarship. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved on campus and make connections—both with faculty and with fellow students.

I will admit that I’m nervous about what will happen when the scholarships and grants I receive because of my mom’s service run out. And I know I’m not alone. So many talented students and their families have to make tough decisions every year when the cost of an education becomes too great. But limited means shouldn’t limit possibilities. Scholarships give me the power to design my own future.

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Kate Allen

Sometimes, even when we have a destination in mind, the journey can be unpredictable.

I fell in love with Biology when I was in fifth grade. I’ve always learned better by doing hands-on work and, until that point, I had really only been learning about the life sciences in books. Once I had the opportunity to dissect a sheep’s lung, everything finally clicked for me. I was able to see first-hand how the respiratory system works, and I was hooked! All of the dissections and laboratory experiments I’ve performed since then have only deepened my love of Biology.

After graduating from high school, I knew I was looking for a school that could provide a research-university experience while still being small enough for me to build relationships with faculty—and my fellow students. For that reason, Lawrence Tech was the perfect fit!

I arrived on campus excited to continue my journey but faced a number of challenges. Transitioning to college can be tough, even for students like me who are passionate about their majors and have an enthusiasm for learning. I struggled academically my first year, to the point that I feared I might have to drop out. Glen Bauer, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, supported me when I was feeling hopeless; he saw potential in me and, without hesitation, wrote a letter of recommendation that allowed me to continue receiving financial aid. Slowly, but surely, I improved my GPA and got back on track; now, months before graduating with a degree in the field I love, I am so grateful that I was given a second chance at my future.

My hands-on theory and practice education at Lawrence Tech really prepared me for my career. Participating in professional organizations like the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and American Chemical Society also gave me the opportunity to network and expand my knowledge in my field.

Pursuing my love of Biology has been a dream come true, and I owe it to my amazing professors and the LTU alumni and friends who fund the scholarships I was fortunate to receive. As the oldest of three children, I always knew I had to set a great example for my siblings, and my parents instilled in me early the importance of education. Like many other students I know, I could not have attended Lawrence Tech without financial aid.

So to those who have made a contribution to Lawrence Tech: thank you! Your support means so much to me and to every LTU student following their dreams.

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Noah Balanda

When I was a kid, I was completely obsessed with the Star Wars films. I must have watched them over 100 times and learned everything I could about them and how they were made. I spent hours making stop-motion movies with my Legos. And when Jurassic Park came out, my love for movies grew even deeper. From a young age, I knew I was passionate about film production.

But the path I followed to arrive at my current major, Media Communication, had some detours.

Soccer and basketball were always a big part of my life growing up. My father is a professor at another university in Michigan, and I had an opportunity to walk onto their basketball team and attend tuition-free. But after being offered a soccer scholarship at LTU and visiting campus, I knew it was where I belonged.

After a year in another area of study, I felt like I was losing my way. I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing, and I also was having a hard time financially. I took a year off to reevaluate what I really wanted to do and met with Jody Gaber, director of the media communication program at LTU. She’s spent more than 20 years in the film industry, and she made me realize that I could have a career doing something I truly loved.

The hands-on experience I’ve gotten at Lawrence Tech has been invaluable; I get to work in the university’s marketing department helping to produce real content, and I’m a media assistant for the media communication program. I also am a teaching assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences and tutor fellow students. Helping others learn has definitely deepened my own understanding.

I have grown so much in the time I’ve been at LTU, academically and personally, and it would not have been possible without the scholarships I receive. As one of four kids in the family, I felt it was important that I did well in school and take some of the financial burden off my parents. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve had because of generous support from LTU alumni and friends!

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Austin Curtis

Austin was destined to be an Engineer. As a kid, he was always taking things apart and putting them back together again. Studying at Lawrence Tech was a goal that seemed out of reach because he didn’t know how he and his mother could afford it. But, with the help of scholarships, Austin has had the opportunity to pursue his dreams at LTU!

See his story: 

Alex Gruber

I chose my major because I have always been very passionate and curious about living things, and molecular and cellular biology allows me to explore life at the smallest level. I hope to apply the knowledge that I learn here to graduate school and use it to become a physician assistant.

My mother is the reason I am interested in this path. She is an x-ray technician and has always tried her best to pass on any information she knew about the medical profession to me. As a child I was a bit of a hooligan and broke many bones, which allowed me to get a great look at her work in the medical field: taking x-rays, putting on and removing casts, removing stitches, and even draining fluid out of my uncle’s knee post-surgery.

Both my father and brother are alumni of Lawrence Tech and told me about the great experiences they had with the school. The hands-on approach the school takes along with the small class sizes were big influences in my decision to attend Lawrence Tech. What really sealed the deal for me was a phone conversation I had with Dr. Anthony Sky [former chair of the department of Natural Sciences] before committing to Lawrence Tech. I was initially uneasy of coming to a traditional “engineering school” as a biology major, but Dr. Sky called me after I emailed him and answered every question and concern I had about the school. All the information he provided me with was more than enough to make me see LTU was right for me.

The opportunity to play college lacrosse while furthering my academic career at a great school was icing on the cake! Since coming to Lawrence Tech I have been involved in Student Government as well as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Serving as the Vice President of Public Relations within Student Government has allowed me to network with students and faculty alike on campus.

After graduating from Lawrence Tech I plan to enroll in a physician assistant master’s program at another university. I feel that Lawrence Tech has prepared me well for this not only with an excellent academic background, but also by helping me to understand what requirements I must fulfill and advising me the best strategies to accomplish my goals. The opportunities I’ve been given at Lawrence Tech will help me immensely in accomplishing my goals as well, through the numerous scholarships I’ve been granted.

I’m grateful to have received the Presidential Scholarship (awarded to incoming freshman with a GPA above 3.8 and an ACT score over 30), LTU Competitive Scholarship (awarded to incoming freshman after an academic competition on LTU’s campus), Alumni Legacy Scholarship, and an athletic scholarship for men’s lacrosse. This outstanding help in the financial aid department will have saved my family and me over $100,000 by the time I graduate in the spring of 2017. This is invaluable to me as the typical cost of a physician assistant graduate program is between $65,000 and $76,000. The generous amount of scholarships I was awarded also allows me to gain valuable experience in preparation for PA school in the form of volunteering in the emergency room at St. John Providence Hospital right here in Southfield.

I would thank each and every donor personally if I could for the contributions that they have made to Lawrence Tech. Without them and their generous gifts it would not be possible for me to attend this school on the scholarships that I do, meaning I would not have to freedom to play college lacrosse and participate in the many extracurricular activities that I do. Furthermore, their contributions support the cutting edge technology and excellent professors that provide me with the quality education that I am receiving.

Without the generosity of our donors, many of the great minds that attend this school might not have chosen Lawrence Tech. The contributions not only fund scholarships but also help to build excellent facilities and bring in professors with great knowledge of their field that truly care about their students. Almost every professor I’ve had here was willing to go the extra mile to help me with any questions I might have had. I look forward to a time when I can give back to the school that has given me so much.

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Darius Lewis

When I was younger, I really thought I’d be an architect. My twin brother and I used to build cities out of cardboard, Q-tips, and our mother’s hair pins. I was attracted to design but, as I got older, I began to set my sights on law school.

But when I heard that General Motors was looking for interns my senior year, everything would change.

I’ve always loved cars so I knew I had to jump at the opportunity to get a glimpse into the automotive industry. Through that internship, I discovered a passion for engineering; although designing how things looked was one of my interests early on, I realized that what I really wanted to do was make things work. One of my mentors at GM recommended I look into Lawrence Tech—and the rest is history.

Even though I knew LTU was the school for me, it took me a couple semesters to find the major that was right for me. Everything clicked when I settled on Engineering Technology and working with the amazing faculty in the department gave me the confidence to get engaged outside the classroom and become more active on campus.

Professors like Holly Helterhoff taught me to value my individuality and to overcome my stage fright. Being a part of organizations like Student Government, the National Society for Black Engineers, and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity helped me put those lessons to use and become a leader.

I have grown so much in the three years I’ve been at LTU, academically and personally, and it would not have been possible without the scholarships I receive. My mother always stressed the importance of getting a good education and my hard work paid off when I received the Horldt Bihler Endowed Scholarship and the W. Bernard White Education Foundation Scholarship. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve had because of support from alumni and other LTU donors!

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My favorite subject growing up was always art; I was most drawn to fashion, interior design, and architecture. My father was an architect, and, when I was younger, he would often take me to work with him. I remember being inspired by the work I saw, even at a very young age. I saw how design could evoke an emotional response and solve problems. For me, no other career path was ever an option.

I have two uncles who attended and loved Lawrence Tech, so they encouraged me to take a tour. I spent my first two years at a university overseas, and I was impressed with LTU’s program when I visited. I would have the opportunity to work with faculty who have industry experience and with my peers in a more collaborative studio environment. 

Three years later, I am so glad I made the decision to come to LTU. Being a part of the American Institute of Architecture Students chapter, and serving as president, gave me a number of opportunities to learn from my peers, network with professionals, and develop my leadership skills. My senior year, I was one of only 10 students accepted into the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure program, which allows me to get hands-on experience with firms in the area as I work toward finishing my degree.

But what I’m most thankful for is the chance to use my knowledge to help others. Through a directed study program, I developed a workshop that teaches high school students about architecture and design. I brought the workshop to a high school in Detroit in 2016, showing inner-city students how design can have a positive impact in their communities, and I hope to continue educating kids around the state.

None of this would have been possible without the scholarships I receive. As the oldest of four children, I definitely feel a bit of pressure to set a good example, and it was important to me that I did well in school in order to take some of the financial burden off my parents.  I am beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve had because of support from alumni and friends!

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Garrett Vonk

Math and science were always my strengths growing up. I found that I especially excelled in chemistry, so, when it came time to head off to college and choose a career path, that seemed like the most logical choice. But after my first semester, it felt like something was missing. I had come to Lawrence Tech for the small-school environment that would allow me to build close relationships with my professors and my peers—and I realized that what I really wanted was a major that gave me more interaction, more collaboration, and a chance to help others.

My best friend, Max, happened to be a business administration major at LTU, and he really encouraged me to consider it. After meeting with Director of Business Programs Mina Jena, I knew I found the right fit.

In just my first two years, I’ve had a lot of great opportunities and grown so much. I serve as a first year mentor to freshman students, which I find very rewarding, and I’ve been able to take advantage of a hands-on Speechcraft workshop that has helped me develop my public speaking skills. I even get to watch the College’s new stock ticker every day and keep up on a hobby I’ve had since I was a kid—the stock market.

But just this semester, I’ve gotten to be a part of something really exciting. Max and I helped start a Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapter at Lawrence Tech, with the goal to enhance the education of students with interests in marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. In February, we traveled to Grand Rapids to participate in the Collegiate DECA State Conference. Despite tough competition, we brought home trophies in nearly every event we competed in. Now, we have the chance to represent LTU in the international competition!

Support from alumni like you makes all of this possible. The scholarships I receive help me focus on getting a great Theory and Practice education, instead of how I’m going to pay for it. I know so many other students who simply would not be able to attend LTU without scholarship support.

Donor support funds the scholarships that keep bright minds in the classroom and the academic and technological resources that unlock their potential. Thank you to everyone who has helped make Lawrence Tech the amazing university it is today!

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