New Scholarship Makes a Lasting Impact for Incoming Student

Stephanie Trejo

Stephanie Trejo, recipient of the Steve & Judy Legenhausen Distinguished Scholarship Award.

For most high school seniors, the decision to further their education is the first of many big decisions. The importance of a campus’ size, the institution’s location, the major course offerings and the cost of attendance become common conversation topics. This was not any different for incoming first-year student, Stephanie Trejo.

Stephanie, a senior at Butterfield Secondary, had many big decisions to make regarding where she wanted to pursue her bachelor’s degree. Growing up within 45 minutes of Minnesota State University, Mankato, Stephanie always knew it was a great school. It wasn’t until her junior year, when her high school counselor took their class on three college visits, including Minnesota State Mankato, that Stephanie knew it was the place for her. “After the visit, I knew that I could picture myself pursuing my degree there,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to attend a school like MSU that has diversity and academic challenges.”

Stephanie also appreciated the sense of community on campus. After growing up in a town of around 600 people, Minnesota State Mankato’s size felt like the perfect transition for Stephanie.

With the decision of where to go made, Stephanie now has other important decisions to consider. She’s still figuring out what she will major in. At the moment, she’s focused on either Communication Disorders or Social Work—but she is glad that she’ll have the opportunity to explore many options at Minnesota State Mankato.

She’s also glad that she’ll be able to continue pursuing extracurricular activities. Throughout her high school career, she has been extremely involved in many activities. Since ninth grade, she has played the bass clarinet in the Senior High Band and recently participated in the Section 6 Honor Band. She has also participated in one-act plays and served as her class president since 10th grade. Stephanie has been involved in many community service events as well, such as elementary reading nights, preschool screening, community nights. She has also served as a translator as parent/teacher conferences or new student orientation, which influenced her decision to minor in Spanish.

One of the final decision-making steps in determining where Stephanie will go to college was the financing of her education. In January of this year, Stephanie applied for the Presidential Scholarship—a stressful process, because the application includes two personal essays. Stephanie wanted both essays to accurately represent herself so that she would be considered a candidate for the scholarship.

In February, Stephanie was invited to campus to interview for the Presidential Scholarship. After the deadline dates passed and she hadn’t heard anything about the scholarship, she assumed that she had not received one. Although she was disappointed, she was extremely grateful that she had been considered as a candidate.

But in March, Stephanie received a call from the Admissions Office informing her that she would be the first recipient of the new Steve & Judy Legenhausen Distinguished Scholarship Award. Specifically designated for a first generation student, the scholarship will cover all tuition and fees for four years. It is one of the University’s most prestigious scholarships. “I am very grateful,” Stephanie says. “I still can’t even express how grateful I am.”

Receiving this new scholarship made all the difference in Stephanie’s decision to attend Minnesota State Mankato. Now she is just excited to come to campus next fall and start her first year at Minnesota State Mankato.

This story highlights students, faculty, staff, and/or events from Student Affairs Offices fostering big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.