A beautiful sunset over the University of Wisconsin–Madison Memorial Union greeted returning adult students at the Outstanding Adult Students Scholarships and Awards, hosted by Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) on April 23.
Each faced challenges that would have sidelined less motivated people. Friends and families smiled, cried, and cheered as these exceptional scholars shared their stories and received recognition for their hard work.
As one award recipient said, “Life is full of restarts.”
Life is full of restarts for students like Adrian Molitor (center), who faced incarceration and recovery but was supported by people who encouraged him to keep writing.
Miranda Newman put off a zoology degree because people told her it had low earning potential. Her son convinced her to follow her dreams.
Jessica Shattuck took a 20-year hiatus from school; her tenacity helps her thrive in the master’s in social work program.
Aysha Dominguez dropped out of college several times, but will soon enter a master’s program in curriculum and education.
Donald Hayes played football at UW-Madison 20 years ago but left for the NFL. He’s completing a sociology degree, thanks to his wife and daughter’s support.
Kristen Maples (right) recovered from addiction. Now earning her master’s in library sciences, she will help people bridge the digital divide.
Some returning adult students like Nicole Metko (to Bucky’s right) are motivated by seeing their children excel in school.
Jennifer Proud is a paradox: a 46-year-old disabled woman; a first-generation college student; and a molecular biology major who wins bets with her children about her ability to excel in her classes.
Areli Estrada emigrated to the U.S. as a child. She is pursuing a master’s in community development and wants to help underserved communities like where she was born.
Bucky helped adult students like Kasey Kohlhardt, working on a master’s in social work, celebrate their scholarships and successes.
A mother of 8, pharmacy student Andrea Gray (second from left) credits her family and the support network at UW-Madison.
Photos by Sharon Vanorny